From time to time people ask me for advice on how to attract more readers and generate blog traffic. So far I haven't written up a comprehensive answer, but you can see my short take below. (I also get some questions related to which blog tools and Blogger hacks I use for extra functionality. To this end, I'm developing a list of blogging resources you may choose to explore.)
So let's get to it.
How Can I Promote My Blog and Attract More Readers?
Phase One: Content
- Aim for meaningful, interesting content. Try to avoid rambling or lite-weight pieces that only your mother would (possibly) read.
- Play to your strengths. Develop a unique voice. For example, if you're a seminary student who loves NCAA basketball, don't hesitate to post about "theology & hoops..."
- Once you've identified a few things you like blogging about, mention them in your blog description and/or personal profile. People will identify your blog with clear topics (i.e. "Christian spirituality" versus "my thoughts on life"), which will encourage them to keep reading.
- Post on a consistent basis. Three to five times a week is a good place to start.
- Break up your text with photos, pull-quotes, or graphics. Use paragraph breaks to avoid the dense-wall-of-text look.
- Scan the Blogger Help section for a variety of hacks and how-tos that will let you customize your blog's unique design.
- Publicize your blog using directories (see my blog tool list) and search engines (like Google and Yahoo). This means you will have to visit various sites and manually submit your blog address, unless you want to pay someone to do it for you.
- Use descriptive titles rather than cute ones. For example, Surprised by Joy - C.S. Lewis may not be as personally gratifying as A Supernaturally Good Autobiography, but people may find it when they search for "C.S. Lewis" in Google. (This isn't a hard and fast rule, just something to keep in mind.)
- Comment generously on other blogs. The blogosphere is all about networking and discussion; a side benefit of thoughtful comments on other blogs (
hey nice post come c my blog) will be more visitors to your own place.
- Interact with your own commenters. If you engage with your visitors, they'll come back. If you ignore them, they probably won't. This especially applies to readers who invest time and gray cells in their comments.
- Provide subscription options using email and RSS. If you don't know what RSS is, find out. Then sign up with Feedburner for better subscription options.
- Related to RSS: Enable "full content" in Blogger (Settings > Site Feed) so people can read your posts in their feedreaders, and various search engines can pick up your full RSS content.
That's all for now...this list will be expanded on an ongoing basis. One caution: there's little point in blog promotion (phase 2) if your content isn't good. That's why phase 1 comes first. If you have questions or suggestions to improve any of the above, let me know.