Following on from yesterday’s post about starting blogging, this post is about increasing your readership, particularly with the usage of Social Media.
When I started blogging, there were not really many outlets to get my blog out there. I picked up some readers here and there, more through sheer coincidence than any actual plan. Occasionally someone would comment on my blog, and I would be pleased that someone was actually reading it.
Since I started using Twitter to promote my blog, I have gained a lot of readers. And more people comment, both on the blog or on Twitter. And let’s be honest, that is what we are all looking for, us bloggers. As much fun as it is to write, it is a lot more fun if people are reading and enjoying the blog.
If you don’t use Twitter, then have a look at my Twitter guide first to get a basic overview of what it is all about. Don’t be mislead by the Daily Mail – Twitter is not about discussing what you had for breakfast, but a fast moving, information exchange highway.
I use Twitter to stay up to date with the trends and news, to communicate with both real and imaginary internet friends, to have fun. It might take a couple of days to get into it, but do persevere. And most importantly, do not lurk. Twitter is best when you communicate with others, don’t be afraid, jump in and reply to something one of the people you follow posts.
When using Twitter to promote your blog, don’t just post links to your blog – no one will follow you if you do this, it is like following a spammer (a twitter account set up to promote a dodgy business deal or spread viruses; they spams others in the hope that they will click on the link).
Think about using the name of your blog in your Twitter name – you have a NAME and a USERNAME which begins with @ (mine is @lynncschreiber) – I don’t actually do this any more as I use my name but if you don’t use your real name on your blog then get your blog name on your Twitter profile.
Find other bloggers you like and follow them, then look at the people who they follow, check out their profiles and latest tweets and follow them too. Once you build up a group of other interested bloggers, you will notice an increase in blog traffic. Bloggers tend to like reading blogs, and may link to your blog or retweet (RT) one of your posts if they find it interesting. I am sometimes inspired by a blog that I have read, and write a post based on that one, linking to the original blog.
Many blogs have a Facebook page set up to promote their blogs, to reach people who are not on Twitter. You might use your private FB account, or set up a new one in the name of your blog – this will depend on whether you want your friends and family reading your blog.
As with Twitter, the key thing is posting enough to stay interesting and interacting with others – something that I am not that good at doing on Facebook at the moment, I need to try harder. At some point it gets difficult to keep up with it all, so you may like to choose just one of these options.
The final website that sends my blog a lot of traffic is Mumsnet. In 2011, Mumsnet set up a Blogger’s Network. There are, as you would expect, a fair few blogs about parenting, but also blogs on many other topics. You must apply to join, and your blog will be checked to see if the content is appropriate for a parenting website (so maybe don’t apply if you blog about the latest bondage gear). The blog will then be included in the list of blogs, latest posts put on the Bloggers’ Network homepage, and if you are lucky your blog may be picked out and featured for a day or two.
You can connect with other bloggers on the Network forum – this is a part of the main Mumsnet website so your posts there can be read by the non-blogging Mumsnetters. You can post a link to your blog here for other bloggers to read or chat about blogging, or ask questions about technical issues.
Another great blogging network is Britmums which is much more blogger focussed than Netmums or Mumsnet.
Don’t feel that you have to do all of these options. They are ways of building followers, but you do not have to do them all. And some of them, such as Mumsnet and BritMums update automatically so you don’t have to be constantly posting links to your blog.
Do’s And Don’t
Do publicise your blog, but don’t spam people with too many links to it. A couple a day is fine, especially on Twitter as it is fast moving.
Do make it easy for your readers to find you – add buttons to your blog to encourage readers to share on Twitter or Facebook, and a link to your Twitter page.
Do build up a community around your blog – read and comment on other blogs, reply to comments on your own blog
Do get involved in “memes” if you want to – basically a meme is when one blogger posts about something that interests them and asks others to do the same, linking to other blogs on the same topic. It can be feminism, frocks or something completely different. Amother popular one is Silent Sunday.
Do read and comment on other blogs, using your blog email address and linking to your blog (if there is an option to do this, most comment forms have space for your URL).
Do use hashtags to direct traffic to your blog. If you blog about knitting, use #knitting. That way anyone seeking information on these topics will find your blog link