Before Sel embarks on her upcoming blogging adventure, my first instinct was to impart on her my advice about how to approach it. I know what you’re thinking,
“Mike, you haven’t reached 300 readers and your posts don’t get published elsewhere. You’re not exactly a blogging role model, are you?”
I admit that’s a sound argument and Sel is likely wondering what on earth I could tell her. However, during my short life as a blogger I’ve noticed a thing or two or three, and they all conveniently start with the letter P. Neat huh?
The biggest thing I’ve learnt over the past 12 months is to be patient. People won’t emerge from the woodwork to visit your blog straightaway, especially when it’s fresher than a newborn and you have little content. Be patient. ‘Build it and they will come’ won’t work for the majority.
Plan your design, content, and posting schedule. Not down to the smallest, most obsessive detail, but having a plan helps you find a rhythm so the blog runs smoothly. Planning also minimises anxiety. If you know tomorrow is a blog day, then you can do other things today and not feel guilty. And because you aren’t anxious, you won’t rush your posts, which will likely mean better quality. Win-win-win!
Post, and post often. Don’t let the blog sit dormant. If you can’t commit to regular posting, how can you expect others to commit to reading it? In combination with planning, this doesn’t mean firing off a hundred posts a month just for the hell of it as I’m hoping quality is still a thing, but the key is consistent posting.
Participate in the blogging community. Visit other blogs. Like posts (that you actually like). Comment and offer feedback, especially when requested. If you aren’t doing this for other people, how can you expect them to do it for you?
Be persistent. Did you post an article that has so far received little to no attention? It doesn’t matter. Keep going. If it happens to all of your posts over a long period of time, then I would suggest stepping back to see why (i.e. maybe you don’t use tags?), but in the short-term don’t let minimal activity knock you down. Remember the point about patience?
Do you enjoy what you’re writing about? Because it comes through in most posts I read. If you struggle for readers, don’t feel like you need to change what you’re doing if it means losing the pleasure and interest you initially had. When I moved away from what I enjoyed writing about (for a short period) it was negatively noticeable in my writing, my content, and resulted in little attention. Your honesty will eventually shine brighter than simply writing about the latest trend or #hashtag.
Own your blog. Don’t treat it as a cheap scribble pad, thrown to the back of the cupboard, ending up dog-eared, torn, and mouldy. Your blog is the fancy-looking leather-bound journal that was lovingly bought for you by a special someone. It’s something you take great care of, look at often, write in often, and would be proud to show off to others. Treat your blog as a special possession, and others will too.
These tips apply to bloggers interested in expanding their readership. If you write for yourself and yourself only, with zero interest in other people reading your posts, these tips have no relevance. Also, there’s no factual basis behind this, rather I’m basing it on my own observations. When I follow these tips, I notice small spikes of activity. When I don’t, my blog becomes as quiet as a lonely flower blooming in the middle of a prairie.