May 7, 2008Filed under: Blogging Tips -- Darren Rowse @ 04:18pm
I still remember the rush that I felt when I realized that someone was reading my first blog… and that it wasn’t my Mum!
Bloggers love to know that there’s someone reading the posts that we write.
Whether we’re blogging on a personal blog about the quirkiness of our pet ferret or blogging for money on a blog analyzing stock market trends in Tokyo we all have at least some interest in growing the numbers of those who log in each day to read what we have to say.
“But how do I grow the number of readers to my blog?”
It’s a question that I asked a lot of more experienced bloggers when I first started out and one that these days I get asked regularly too.
Over the coming weeks I’d like to explore this topic here at the Scribefire blog in a weekly post.
This week I’d like kick things off with a question that a blogger asked me in my first months of blogging that I believe has been responsible for me growing my blogs to have over 90,000 subscribers and 50,000 daily visitors…..
Would You Read Your Blog?
Hold on Darren…. where’s the traffic generation tips? How’s this question going to bring me readers?
I hear you – I wasn’t that impressed with the question either when it was directed at me. I’d asked the blogger for a tip on how to bring in readers and he answered with that!?!
I’l be honest – I discarded the question to the ‘trash’ in my email setup and didn’t give it a lot of thought.
Years later I realized the wisdom of that question.
Sometimes we have to learn the hard way and when it comes to this topic I tried a lot of ways to grow the readership of my blogs. I started blogs on topics that I thought would be popular, I wrote posts that were controversial with the hope that they’d draw in readers, I networked with bloggers, I begged for links and spent hour pouring over my source code attempting to get things just perfect in terms of SEO.
Some of these things paid off to some extent – but the lesson that I ended up learning was that I should stick to blogging about things that I was interested in and that I should blog on those blogs in a manner that was authentic to who I was. Ultimately my success came from developing blogs that… I would read.
If you wouldn’t read your blogs – why would anyone else?
There are a number of reasons why this question is important:
â€¢Â Â Â Sustainability – building a successful blogs takes a concerted effort over the long haul. It takes years to grow a blog up to the potential that it has and if you don’t have an interest in the topic or are writing in a style that isn’t reflective of who you are it can be difficult to sustain a blog for longer than a few months.
â€¢Â Â Â Readers catch passion – blog readers are a fairly intuitive bunch and if you’re heart isn’t in your blog then you’re unlikely to write in a way that engages them in a way that will convert them to loyal readers. Someone recently told me that they read ProBlogger because they could tell that I loved my topic. I think that says it all.
â€¢Â Â Â Reality is Important - as I look at the posts that generate the most traffic for my blogs it strikes me that they are usually around the problems that I have had and how I’ve overcome – the posts emerge out of my real life. One of the main reasons that people use the web is to search for ways to overcome problems or fulfill needs that they have. To find how someone else has fixed an issue that you have is something that people will reward with loyalty (and some free word of mouth marketing).
But What About the Reader?
Some might read about this post and think that I’ve got it all wrong. Am I saying you should ignore the needs of your readers? Should you start with them and write for them primarily?
Of course your reader needs to be in the front and centre of your focus if you want to build a popular blog. It’s important to be in tune with them, be interacting with them and writing about things that apply to their lives – however unless you’re also writing for you you might just find that others are not drawn to your blog in the first place.