But as my number of followers grew exponentially, it became challenging to check out each and every new one of you. But still I wanted you, my followers, to know I value you, so that's when I placed you at the top of my blog. I wouldn't want to keep posting if nobody was reading.
So today, I decided to take some computer time to see who my followers are. I randomly started clicking on the little faces, and what a pleasant surprise it was! There are old friends there, from my 2+ years blogging, who I feel like I've known forever. And there are followers I've never 'met', many with blogs, from everywhere! The first one I tried was, I think, from Turkey (not really sure since I couldn't read the language), and another from, I assume maybe Denmark or Sweden (again, I'm guessing based on language). Wow.
Then I saw one from "the Woodstock School" - hmmm - I've recently visited both Woodstock NY (home of the music festival) and Woodstock Vermont, both a reasonable distance from my home for a day trip, but I hadn't heard of the Woodstock School. No wonder - this Woodstock School is in India!!!! http://artatwoodstock.blogspot.com/. Check out their phenomenal high school age student artwork - it will blow you away!
Today, as a result of looking at my followers, I also visited a blogger from Texas: http://artistsaremagic.blogspot.com/;
from Pennsylvania: http://artipelagoteacher.blogspot.com/;
from Brooklyn (also where my dad was from): http://artexplorium.blogspot.com/;
from Germany, I think (another one in a foreign language): http://klexbude.blogspot.com/;
There were more - from Missouri, New Zealand, Nebraska, and Australia for example. Some of these folks have been around for a while, but more seemed to be relatively new bloggers.
So I have a little advice. If you have a newish blog, and want people to read it, and to follow it, you have to get them to find you somehow. Being quiet and waiting for won't make it work. Your blog is not a field of dreams, where if you build it, people will simply come. You need to recruit. You need to make people want to visit you. Here's what will work:
- Leave comments frequently on the blogs you read and like. I don't know about all of you, but when I read a comment from somebody new, who I don't know, I usually click on their profile to see if they have a blog too. So commenting on a blog is a good way to get people to visit your blog.
- Post a lot. You want readers to find something new when they come and visit. Don't feed those same stale brownies leftover from a month ago! I want something freshly baked!! ;-)
- Invite people to visit. There it is again; you have to leave comments on other blogs and say "come visit my new blog!!!!". It works. That's how I got going. And again, when they visit, they don't want those stale brownies... am I repeating myself?
- Fix the layout of your blog so that your followers are visible, and your archives are visible too. My first stop, after I've looked at the current post on a new blog I'm reading, is to dig through their archives and find their FIRST EVER post. It tells me a lot about you. Also prominently place your list of labels. More about that in a few more bullets.
- For goodness sakes, don't just say "I teach at the Bla-Bla School in Bla-Bla county" Uh, what state is that in? Or what country? Where the heck ARE you??? It made the Woodstock School infinitely more intriguing to know it was in INDIA!
- If you are from a place where you speak in a language not commonly used world-over, please put a translator button on your blog. If I can't figure out what it says, I probably won't come back, and I'll bet I'm not the only one. I doubt I'm the only blog reader who doesn't read Turkish.
- Use labels (also called tags) wisely, for two reasons:
- You want people to find you using a search engine like Google and shrewd tagging will make all the difference.
- You want people to be able to find posts that interest them when they get to your blog. For example, I'm a freak for papier-mache, and for dragons, and for Matisse. If either of those three things show up in your labels, they will be my first stops. Or maybe I want to find something I know you previously posted, but I don't know when. If there are no labels, it can get pretty painful searching your archives, scrolling through month after month, to find that one lesson you wanted to remember.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you leave a comment on a blog saying "help, I don't know how to do this", readers will hop over and visit and help you out. Guaranteed. Art teacher bloggers are nice people!