Recently a newer blogger, Sheena, who blogs at Midnight Mona Lisa, asked me a question. She noted that my readership has been growing steadily and asked for advice for both herself and other new bloggers, to help them get their blogs out there. She thought that perhaps answering this question would be a good idea for a future post. So first I commented on HER blog to respond, and now am putting my response out here for all of you, as per her request.
Keep in mind that I've been blogging less than a year and 1/2 now, and I didn't have a clue what to do when I started either, and I'm not particularly tech savvy which makes it even more challenging. Most of you are WAY more proficient than I am with the technical end of this stuff. For me it's all a bunch of guesswork and occasional panic. But when I started I knew I wanted readers, so I applied some logic and here's how I proceeded and what I suggest:
- I posted comments on LOTS of blogs, and each time I added my blog address in the comment and boldly invited (begged?) people to come visit. I think this helped to get visitors for the first time
- I try to always post a good pic at the top of each post as a "hook" to get people to want to look at it and also try to have an interesting post title. Lots of us who have been blogging a while follow dozens and dozens of blogs and can't always look at every post. But I know that if something hooks me,either by the pic or the post title, that's the first one I look at.
- Post a LOT. Readers will get to know you better and will come back to see what you are up to. You need to give readers a reason to want to keep checking in.
- Don't be afraid to express opinions and be quirky. After all, we are art teachers, and are therefore often a little odd, right? I've noticed that some of my more opinionated posts have gotten the most visits. People seem to enjoy posts where the blogger really speaks her (or his) mind (with a sense of humor).
- Continue to make comments on blogs, so bloggers will get to know you and will check into your blog to see what you have to say.
- I don't think there's anything wrong with asking bloggers to add you to their blogrolls, though I didn't do this. I'll be adding Sheena.
- I think how you arrange your blog can help. I try to use labels that will make it easy to find me on an internet search, and I put my labels and archives in a prominent place on the blog so it should (hopefully) be easy for a reader to hunt for something in my older post. Also make sure your readers can leave comments - set it up so that you get an email telling you whenever there is a comment, as sometimes someone will leave a comment or question on a post from a year ago and you want to make sure you see it! (and be sure to respond to those questions/comments).
- And finally, don't be afraid to ask for help. I find bloggers really come through when you post a technical question. I'll admit that sometimes I don't understand their advice, but there have been times that it really helped.
(This is me doing one of my favorite things on an overcast day on the Maine shore - slogging through tide-pools!)