6 Easy Ways to Grow Your Blog Readership

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When I first starting blogging, I had no idea what I was doing. In my mind, a blog was like that line from that Kevin Costner movie: “If you build it, they will come.”

Well, I built it, and honey, let me tell you: they did not come. I put up a post and waited. And made pie. And checked my blog stats to see how many people came to visit until finally, a system error message popped up on the screen: “Nobody came, and stop checking because you’re overloading our system.”

Duly noted.

What was I doing wrong? Didn’t people realize how spectacular my blog was? Didn’t they want my expertise despite the fact that I wasn’t an expert in anything (and despite the fact that they didn’t know me from Adam or Adam’s cat)? What was the deal?

Well, fast forward a couple years and I’m finally starting to “get” what a blog is supposed to do and how to maximize it. A blog is supposed to –get ready for this—share content.

Quanie, dude, everybody knows that! Why don’t you tell us something we don’t know!

Well, did you know that most bloggers quit blogging because they build it, and nobody comes?

Did you also know that most posts don’t get clicks, not because of poor content, but because the title of the post doesn’t grab people’s attention and therefore doesn’t prompt people to share it?

Did you realize that your blog boils down to you, the blogger, being the brand?

Well, Ms. Smarty Pants, if you have all the answers, then why don’t you share them?

Dude. If you insist.

  1. This might seem like a no-brainer but ask yourself: who is the audience for your blog and what types of things are they interested in? For example, I’m a writer, and so are most of the lovely folks who visit my blog. As a result of that, I write about all things writerly: the process of writing a novel, marketing, publishing, etc.
  2. Be relevant! Find out what’s going on in your industry and blog about it. You can do this by subscribing to other authors’ blogs or following them on Facebook and Twitter to see what others are talking about. Then write about those issues and give your own two cents. For instance, I just ran across a Goodreads thread titled, “Are Indie Authors Really Authors?” Is that conversation worthy or what?
  3. Does the title of your blog post catch people’s attention? Does it give folks the retweet fever? Example: you’ve just written a brilliant post and you’ve titled it, “Marketing for authors.” Snooze fest! Better: “8 marketing tips for the cash-strapped author.” You’ve written another post and you’ve titled it, “The importance of encouragement.” Better: “How a shady donut vendor helped me to finish my novel.” And after someone clicks on the link to read the article, the content should be so engaging that people want to share it.
  4. What makes people want to share a post? Not only the content, but also, you! Remember: when you blog your personality should shine through, so ask yourself: what’s the “voice” of your blog? Are you inspiring? Funny? Insightful? Snarky?
  5. Share the love. Yes, this means visiting other blogs and leaving meaningful comments. Not just “Great post, dude!” It helps if you actually read the post and say something insightful or funny enough to make the blogger and their commenters interested enough in you so that they want to find out who you are. It’s likely that they’ll visit your blog and leave a comment. Do this enough times with any particular blogger and bam: a friendship made in blogger heaven.
  6. Be visible. How can people visit a blog that they don’t know exists? There are many places where you can promote your posts: Twitter (by using hashtags like #amwriting, #MondayBlogs, or #wwwblogs. In fact, blogger Paula Reed recently wrote a blog post called “Using Twitter Hashtags to Grow your Blog Traffic. It’s very helpful. You should definitely check it out.), Shewrites,  Insecure Writers Support Group, Google+, Goodreads groups for writers, Facebook. Remember: your goal is to connect, not spam people from here to eternity. There’s no better way to get unfollowed than to keep hollering out, “Buy my book!” Your goal should be to connect, engage, and build relationships. Otherwise, what’s the point?

This should go without saying but I’ll say it anyway: your blog should also be easy to read and navigate. If people have to squint to read your posts or scroll for eternity to get to your content, it doesn’t matter if your posts are Nobel Prize worthy. It’s likely that people won’t stay long enough to see what you have to say.

Having a blog is a great way for any author to build their platform but it definitely takes time to build. It’s not always easy but if you stick with it, you’ll eventually see some growth. What about others? What things are you doing to grow your blog or increase your blog traffic? What do you find works best or doesn’t work at all? What’s the thing you wish you knew at the very beginning of your blogging journey? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

And Happy Thanksgiving Week to All! 🙂

50 thoughts on “6 Easy Ways to Grow Your Blog Readership

  1. Pingback: Digital Lit. #6: Blogging in the classroom | The Ashen Pheonix

  2. I really enjoyed your post, and I will consider some of your suggestions. If you sit there nobody will see your post, you need to get the word out (social networking sites). I’ve found the most effective is LinkedIn and Google+, and list it through search engines.

  3. Hi Quanie. This is the first post I read on your blog and I loved it.
    I’m very new to blogging, I’ve only been blogging for a few months now, and I feel like I’m crawling. I’m still trying to decide what I want to blog about, though I know my niche in the dieselpunk community (that’s what I write myself).

    I enjoyed reading the comments as well, and all of you sound like experts in comparioson to me. Though I can say, as some others have said, that for a long time I didn’t blog because I thought I had nothing to say, and now that I’m doing it I’m enjoying it so much. But alas, I can’t share experiences because I have none 🙁

    One thing I definetely have to improve on my blgo are headings. I use very plane ones at the moment, I know, just the title of the book I’m reviewing or the meme I’m doing. I’ll try to work on that. Thanks so much for hte adivece 🙂

    • I’m glad you liked the post! And I wouldn’t worry if I were you. It takes some time to find your voice as a blogger (unless you just have it figured out from the gate), so just continue to blog about things that you like, network with other bloggers, and most importantly, don’t give up! Thanks so much for stopping by:)
      Quanie recently posted..6 Easy Ways to Grow Your Blog ReadershipMy Profile

  4. Great post! It’s amazing that some of this stuff has to be told to anyone. But it’s all very true and bloggers can get the blogging blues pretty quickly when their numbers aren’t shooting through the roof in the first day/week/month/year even. Slow and steady was my method. I did what I knew how to do and hoped that it would be enough. Gradually I learned how to appropriately reach out without shoving my link down people’s throats haha

  5. LOL!! “Well, I built it, and honey, let me tell you: they did not come.” Oh Quanie, that is so damn true. I did the same thing when I started blogging. I hit publish and sat back smiling, waiting for the readers to come pouring in. Ha!

    It’s a learning process, like everything else in life. Thanks for the great tips this week! Happy Thanksgiving!
    Liz Blocker (@lizblocker) recently posted..Thanksgiving for WritersMy Profile

  6. Happy Post-Thanksgiving Quanie! Your post brought back some memories. I first started blogging to build my author platform. But then once I built it, no one came. Including me. I started my Weebly blog but had no idea what to with it. So it wasn’t until I went back 4+ months later, that I started blogging again with much clearer writing goals. Then I started adding visual content to my blog posts after my 1 year blogging anniversary. And not only have my readership jumped from 10+(probably more than half of that number was me checking my blog) to 150. As well as I started getting comments. I swear, I wanted to kiss my first commenter. Now, I have some revisions to do to my blog, like add an author’s press kit and or a digital business card, updating my book blogs, etc.
    lidy recently posted..How to Write the Calm Before the StormMy Profile

  7. Quanie, dude, your writing always makes me laugh! Like you, I started out writing posts and waiting for readers to come. Took me a while to realise “Oh, I’m supposed to announce my latest post somewhere …” and then the readers started coming. Visiting blogs is important. Leaving comments (helpful ones, not the copied-and-pasted ‘Great post’s) is important. And more importantly, the contents ought to stir something in the readers. Excellent post here and of course I’ll tweet and Google+ it around!
    Claudine @ CarryUsOff Books recently posted..Those Who Light Our PathsMy Profile

  8. I hear you about wondering where everybody is – I ran my blog for quite a while before I started getting many readers and more than one comment per entry. ^_^ I have to say, things like IWSG and blog events specifically meant to help people find new blogs to follow are great – I think most of my readers found my blog because of those.

    And while I think I’m pretty good at most of the points you covered, I know I don’t do anything for staying relevant. >_< I'd rather talk about what I'm working on and/or issues I'm having with the process than anything else, really. Ah, well.
    Mason T. Matchak recently posted..And the Plot Hid from the Author.My Profile

  9. Thanks for the link, Quanie. I noticed a few referrals from your blog, so you’re obviously doing something right! One thing I’ve observed from visiting is how much you interact with folks who comment, and how easy and conversational that interaction is. Not everyone can pull that off. A few times you’ve made a point of saying you were going to hop over and check someone else’s blog out right then and there, and I think that makes people feel valued, which is always a good reason to return for a visit. Hoping you have a lovely Thanksgiving.
    Paula Reed Nancarrow recently posted..What No One Tells You About Popular PostsMy Profile

  10. I started blogging in 2006 on MySpace. I did the same thing–posted and nothing. I started clicking around and commenting on blogs. The next thing I knew, I had daily readers. I read more blogs and my blog readership grew. Eventually I made the “Top Blogs” list and people could easily find me.

    There’s no such thing here. If you want people to read, you have to read theirs. I do post links on social media, but that doesn’t usually get comments, just clicks. The commenters are those whose blogs I read and comment on. Published authors are always saying blogging is a waste of time, but they don’t ever comment anyone else’s blog. They think just by virtue of being published, when they post a blog, people should just flock to it.
    Stephanie Faris recently posted..My BIG Announcement!!!My Profile

  11. Fantastic post, as usual Quanie! I can always count on gathering up an incredible amount of content from reading your posts. Not to mention, you are super funny. It’s nice to be able to take away great advice and a few laughs along with it!
    Like you, I had NO IDEA what I was doing when I first started blogging. I also thought, “If I build it, they will come.” Thankfully, some of my beloved friends and readers from She Writes, (people like you, Kelly, Claudine and Chrys) have stuck it out with me through the mud! I began this journey in hopes I could attract readers by sharing the realness and truth about what had been going on in my life at the time. I knew my journey here began on sad and devastating circumstances but connecting with other authors like you has helped steer me into a better direction.
    And I’m finding my way around with help from the experiences I live through as well as the content you have so kindly advised us here today=) It’s all about the content! But I also think it’s about who we are as authors and how everyday life influences our storytelling as well as the heart of our writing.
    gina stoneheart recently posted..Soulful Friendships and The Release of Medeia Sharif’s The Attic of Sand and SecretsMy Profile

    • Ha! I think that’s the general consensus here: none of us knew what we were doing at first and learned by trial and error. I’ve met so many fantastic authors (like yourself!) who have been so supportive. That’s why it’s so important to connect with other writers and bloggers. Otherwise, we’d probably go crazy, lol.
      Quanie recently posted..6 Easy Ways to Grow Your Blog ReadershipMy Profile

  12. Thanks for another wonderful, pertinent post on ‘all things writerly’! This one is especially relevant to me as blogging seemed an on-ramp to an unfamiliar highway and was once a cattleguard that brought me to a screeching halt. What could I possibly say and who would want to read it anyway? And imagine looking into the soft brown eyes of a Hereford calf and thinking ‘branded’. Yikes! Herbie had no choice, but I do and what if (gasp!) I change my mind? Then it hit me like an unexpected plop from the rafters of the barn—just be yourself! Now I’m flying down that highway touching up my nails thanks to bloggers like you…Okay, mostly you!

  13. Another great post. What’s really sad is that so many blogs I visit that have truly powerful writing about important and interesting topics seem to get so little traffic. I worry about them, and just hope they don’t give up because what they have to offer is truly worthwhile. It’s one of the things I love about blogging, finding these other amazing people who happen to be writers or artists or home-grown philosophers, or who are struggling in deep meaningful ways with difficulties we all face and could learn from. I feel blessed to have found them. And I hope others do too. Maybe this blog post will help them–so many great tips. The best one, for me, what I think helped my traffic most was #5 Share the Love. So important.
    deborahbrasket recently posted..The Light-Craving Stories of George SaundersMy Profile

  14. Like you, I had not a single clue when I first started blogging. And if I keep it all the way real, I still struggle with it at times. What I didn’t expect was that blogging would be so time consuming OR that I would enjoy it so much! I would put up a new post daily if my schedule allowed for it. Balance between being a blogger and being a novelist is something I’m still trying to attain. I’ll get there eventually!

    Amen to blogger friendships made in heaven! I love reading your blog Quanie because a) you have great relevant content and b) your awesome personality shines through.
    Faith Simone recently posted..Confessions of Faith: Don’t Give UpMy Profile

  15. I’ve definitely been in that “If I build it they will come” mentality, only to discover that isn’t so true. One of the challenges for authors, is deciding whether to build blog content that attracts other writers–which is what most of us naturally gravitate toward–or content that resonates with readers. My former blog catered to other writers, and I’d built a small readership. Now, in my two group blogs and personal blog, I’m trying to build a blog that appeals to readers. I find that to be a lot more difficult. Still, authors are also readers, too. I frequently buy the book of a fellow author because of either a post on their blog or the relationship I’ve built with them over time.
    Reese Ryan recently posted..Hot Carolina Nights Series Coming in 2015My Profile

    • I struggled with that for the longest time: write for writers or for readers? I decided to gear my blog towards other writers because I had no idea what to write to attract readers! I mean, I thought of posting excerpts of my WIPs but I’m too superstitious to do that, lol. So I’m gearing more towards other authors and I’ve met so many wonderful, supportive authors here on my blog in the process. I have no regrets!
      Quanie recently posted..6 Easy Ways to Grow Your Blog ReadershipMy Profile

  16. “they did not come” bahaha, I look forward to every blog you do because you always make me smile. So for me, I initially started talking makeup and beauty stuff since that’s what my book is about (HUGE FAIL) I’m far from an expert and there are TONS of great beauty bloggers out there already. When I switched to blogging about my passion, writing, I’ve found the ideas come very easily. I also love visiting others and meeting so many wonderful people, and reading their perspectives. Also, not being afraid to let my natural voice shine in my blogs has been freeing for me!

  17. Very helpful post with lots of great suggestions! I’ve found that both Twitter and commenting on others blogs has really helped me out! I’m also doing a giveaway this week, and I hope it has the added benefit of increasing traffic! I love your style, and I look forward to your posts!

  18. Good points. I also read on a blog that getting business cards made is a promo tool also. I got mine done cheaply at Vista Print. Just leave them in relevant places. Essentially, the serious blogger is selling a brand, with what they have to say, which is why I changed over to an illustration/comic blog.
    totsymae (@totsymae) recently posted..A Holiday Blessing from the CastMy Profile

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