Yes, dear reader, these last couple of weeks i’ve been harassing you, being omnipresent on twitter and facebook, drawing your attention towards my blogposts in every possible way. It wasn’t to my benefit , it did it all for you. Pure love!. I wanted to know if all the generally accepted theories on blogging and how to beautify your statistics are working. So allow me to offer my sincerest of apologies for the way i’ve been behaving these last couple of days. It must have been terribly irritating!
First the good news, Yes you can! It’s not difficult to boost your figures.
Now the bad news, If you want to become a one hit wonder, i’d say, read all the tips below, and growth will be your part. If – however, you want to acquire readership and a loyal public on a permanent basis, all the below might show itself as being counterproductive to your goals. There’s only one constant factor, and that’s hard work (and added value). All the rest are little tricks, of the trade, which, if not used carefully might very well end up , ruining your reputation.
I probably won’t tell you much new facts, but allow me to share my findings, first hand, it’s the least i can do.
1 The blog in itself.
It helps if you can write. It looks like a stupid recommendation, it is not. When you’re not fluent (by the way, the original blog post is in Dutch, my native language), but rather tedious, with a crappy style and a total lack of humor, chances are your audience will find you boring and drop you altogether. Be sure to have an opinion, albeit not the most popular one, use good humor, and use it scarcely, and well proportioned. Readers don’t want to get bored, they need added value, entertainment. Nice pictures, catchy titles, original statements, it helps. Ask questions, and press your audience for replies, it creates involvement.
2. Your network .
In the early days, i was convinced that my friends actually used my webpage as their homepage. Not even my mother did that! So i started looking for other solutions. That was a period in my life where i had like 5 regular readers. I tried email, which didn’t really work. Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook, are my natural channels. My audience grew at least tenfold. Hence the importance of your title, it should be tweetable and haver appeal : ‘A sociodemographic study on the effect of personalization on the linear correlation with statistic readership growth’ won’t cut it ‘Sex sells’ on the other hand… A sure winner!
The reason is obvious. THere’s no such thing as a ‘source effect’ yet. A little piece written by Guido is not the same thing as ‘some remarks by Philip Kotler’. Give it a twist, some provocation, some mystery, the vague promise of a solution, poetry, anything goes, but dull!
There are other things to be said on the network topic :
Content wise: reply upon reactions. It creates loyalty, interaction, conversation. Carry the discussion towards the appropriate platform, facebook for the light stuff, twitter and linkedin for the more work related issues. Think before you do so. It affects curiosity, people will catch up on the thread.
Reading and commenting on the blogs of those readers who reacted on your posts is also helpful and a sign of politeness. It creates strong bonds, Just like in real life. Strange, isn’t it? Kindness leads to kindness.
The network in itself : if you’re only present to boost your self promotion, you really didn’t get it. There’s some sort of sympathy coefficient, which counts. Engage in the discussions, be sharp, witty and real. Get a personality and a face in the online communities. It adds to your credibility and hence to your readership.
You can fake it if you want. A small lists of tricks and hints that work.
Not everyone sees the tweet announcing your blogpost. Learn to live with it. you can re-tweet later on the day, but twice is an absolute maximum, if you want to avoid looking like a prat. If the content is good, people will pick it up and spread it, if not, you look like an complete failure, drawing attention to things which have no added value.
Remember that people aren’t idiots and don’t like self promotion at their expense.
Another way of doing it, is by constantly looking for discussions where you can plug your old articles into the discussion ‘Interesting ideas there, i’ve written a blogpost on the subject’ … don’t overdo it, please, it’s so obvious…
You can also try to be a smart ass by making purely mechanical remarks like ‘Too bad, another x readers and i would have reached my all time high with this blogpost’. Reaction is guaranteed, and an increase of 20%, depending on the width of your network is possible. Any publicity is good publicity. But think twice. do you want clicks or readers that enjoy your writing and will come back?
On the shady side, but perfectly acceptable : take a successful viral, put it on your blog, and write a comment. Your piggy bagging on someone else’s success. If it doesn’t bother you, that’s ok. i personally find it not very enriching, nor does it add value to your own writing. but it works.
Simple brains, on the other hand. If you know you’re going to be cited on #followfriday, it might be wise to have a really good blogpost as your last contribution, so that new followers, who want to get acquainted with your work get a positive impression. nothing wrong with that. Again, if that’s the only article you can write, your creating future problems.
This is a tricky one. Posting on a regular basis helps, that’s for sure. The attention span of a blogpost doesn’t exceed two days. Afterwards your readership diminishes with half for every other day (100-50-25-12-6-3-1) My gut feelings says that i should at least post once every other day. . It gives you a sort of constant flow of clicks, where good articles are rewarded with peeks because of a ‘spread’ effect.
This last week, i posted two articles a day, which is a very harsh rhythm, if it is not your main activity. It does add to your visibility and thus to your readership, on the other hand i’m not sure that a flow of this kind will not end being irritating in the end. A side effect is that your writing improves too.
External links, can help a lot. But there’s no general conclusion to be drawn. the presence of your name and blog on external sites sometimes help, but it’s got a lot to do with the quality and the traffic of that particular site. It didn’t really work for me. what does help is the fact you’re being quoted by influential bloggers. It happened on several occasions, and it affects your twitter followers as well as the daily visitors to your blog.
I’ll quantify most of these phenomena in another post, but for now, if you have other questions, feel free to ask, you know where to find me…