NBI: 3 Little ThingsMay 14, 2012
So, you’ve started a blog, and of course now you want people to read it. Blog promotion is certainly important, and those thousands of hits aren’t going to come after just a day. Readership is something that needs to be built from the ground up.
I didn’t plan on this NBI article being the first I write for the blog, but my schedule is so sporadic these days (read: so dependent on the moods of my infant daughter) that I am driven to bang out the words whenever the inspiration strikes. I got the idea for this post talking to my brother, who is studying corporate communications and is playing around with the idea of starting his own blog. The other day he asked me for some advice on getting his blog noticed.
Look around and you’ll see tons of tips for promoting your blog and networking — tips getting onto Twitter/Facebook/Google+, keeping a schedule and posting consistently, being yourself and honest with your readers, etc. etc. etc. — all very good advice, a lot of which I follow myself. But of course, my brother already knows all this; it’s stuff I’m sure he’s studied in his courses on the importance of social media. What he wanted to know was some of my personal experiences, the other things I do on this blog that I feel has helped increase my readership over the last couple of years. The three little things I told him:
1. Ooh, pretty pictures!
Maybe you’ve noticed, but I love me some pictures. With only a handful of exceptions, all my posts are accompanied by one or more images.
As an artist, I understand all too well the way we humans are drawn to visual stimuli. Sometimes, having a picture helps pull in your audience’s attention. Even if the title of the post doesn’t interest the reader right away, the picture might. When adding images, keep things tidy and neat, make sure it’s not too distracting and that it doesn’t make a mess of your formatting. And keep it relevant to your subject! A lot of people do image searches, and when they find your site they might very well read your post as well. Who knows, it might earn you a new regular reader.
And okay fine, it’s also an excuse for me to show off some of my pretty screenies. Screenshot whore that I am.
2. Keep it clean!
Opinion might be divided on this subject, but I personally opt not to swear on my blog, or at least, I try hard to keep things PG-13. No, I am not a prude; you can ask my husband, who will attest to the way I swear like a sailor when I’m at home in real life. In fact, maybe more than a sailor (something I am striving to change, now with this whole pesky role-model-for-my-children thing and all). I also don’t have a problem with other blogs that let loose; a lot of my favorite blogs that I read do. Swearing is just something I don’t want for my own blog.
Firstly, it’s because it might deter people from sharing your articles. For example, I used to share all sorts of cool things I find on the web with my boss, because she was cool. And yet, probably not cool enough that I would be comfortable sharing with her an article that had a naughty word every other sentence. Like it or not, I also find people are also more willing to heed your opinions when you’re not spouting them off with a potty mouth.
Secondly, I don’t swear on my blog as an exercise in writing. If there’s a better way to express something without dropping an f-bomb, I challenge myself to find it.
3. Reply to comments!
Before I go on, I just want to say that when it comes to replying to comments, I believe in doing it for its own sake. That doing so has had a positive effect on social networking and building readership is just a side effect. A happy side effect. Never mind that if someone took the time to read my writing and leave a comment, I feel I should also take the time to acknowledge and reply. I just love comments, period. And I very much enjoy replying to them, it’s one of my favorite things to do in my day. I’m a little sad that I am not so good with it now, due to time constraints.
Plus, one reason I started blogging was because I wanted to be part of the community. Sharing opinions and having discussions is what it’s all about, and for me that was the whole point of this blog. After all, it’s not as much fun when the interaction is only one way, at least not for me and probably not for the reader as well. I know that personally, I am more likely to revisit a blog again and again when I know the blogger will have a response to any question or comment I might have. I also feel a stronger connection to that blogger.
Believe it or not, I owe many great friendships to those little conversations in comment sections!