I SEers, Craig here again. In my last post, I told you about my best promotional source. I made this a link, in case some of you missed it. This way I don’t have to do a lot of review.
Blogging is all about friends.
We talked about what to write, what not to write, and keeping a bit of consistency. We also discussed some of the cool people you can meet along the way.
Today, lets expand into some of the things you can do to keep people coming back, and to find new followers. We’re going to start with hosting.
If you’ve been blogging any length of time, you have a few followers. While it might seem like we all follow the same people, that’s only partially true. When one of your fellow authors has a new release, or something to say, it’s pretty easy for them to tell their followers about it. They need a way to reach new people, and your blog is golden.
You may follow a few of the same people, but there will be some that are unique to you. If you allow someone to post on your site, they get to reach some new potential readers. Good for them, right? It’s also good for you, and I want to go over it.
Many of your guest bloggers (authors) will have what I call regulars. They will follow your guest to your site. Many of them will check out your blog, maybe the wares in your sidebar, and you have the chance to collect followers yourself, or maybe sell one of your books. Clean the place up, and make everyone feel welcome. Many of these regulars will share the post to support their friend. This is in the form of tweets, Facebook posts, Pinterest, and even reblogs. This exposes not only the guest’s post to new eyes, but your blog as well.
While I’m on the topic, make sure you have those sharing buttons active and in place. You do this through the WordPress Admin link.
A big part of being an author, (and blogging is also writing) is never giving someone a reason to say no. Make it easy for people to share all of your posts. Set up those sharing buttons, and make sure reblogging is always an option. There’s one more thing I want you to do…
Turn off the “switch” that requires you to approve all comments. Make it easy for people to comment. Don’t give them an excuse to say no. I’ve gotten about three spam comments in four years. One click and they’re gone. People are funny, if they see their comment is awaiting approval they may decide you don’t trust them, it’s subtle but they may feel unwelcome. Don’t get me started on solving Captchas. Turn that stuff off, be brave.
WordPress has a great spam filter built into the system, but it isn’t perfect. The rare one will slip through, and the opposite is true too. Check your spam filter and make sure the good guys didn’t get stuck there. It’s much easier to fix this stuff than it is to approve every single comment by hand. Truth is, you probably won’t have any spam problems.
Last time we discussed responding to comments. Some of these will be directed toward your guest, but you can still hit the like button to show you appreciated them. If there is a discussion going, join in.
Guests are going to provide purchase links, social media contacts, and more. When you include these, here is another tip: Set all links up to open in a new window. The reader might want to browse your site, but if a link overwrites the page they may not come back. Don’t give them a reason to say no.
Remember, you’re also building goodwill here. One day you’re going to need a place to post about your next book. People will remember how helpful you were, and volunteer their space for you.
Next topic: Regular Features. There are any number of things you can do on a weekly basis that will keep people coming back to your blog. For myself, I try to make Lisa Burton Radio a weekly post. I’ve been moderately successful, but Lisa always needs guests. Drop me a line if you’re interested.
Maybe you have something else that could be a weekly event. Maybe you’re a baker, belong to an aquarium group, or have other interests that could make a weekly post.
You don’t have to be original, but it helps. There are all kinds of prompts in the blog world, and most of them are a lot of fun. There are photographic writing prompts, Wednesday Wander, Thursday Doors where people post photos and write about the doors, Friday Haiku, book reviews, all kinds of things. Whatever you do, be consistent with it. Some people get into these and want to see your weekly micro- fiction, door photos, etc. Once they get used to coming back, they’ll keep coming back. Maybe they’ll spot your next book sale or release.
The beauty of the weekly events is that you become part of a community. This community can bring a lot of eyes to your product.
There are some things I don’t do that will increase your blog following. Everyone has to decide these on their own, but I’ll brief on them here.
Reblogging: Okay, I do some of this. I try to reserve it for outstanding posts I find, and friends with something to promote. I’ve watched bloggers build up a large following by reblogging lots of content, but there is a down side. Remember back in the first post where I mentioned that you are the brand. This means that most of your content needs to be original. You want followers, but you also want quality followers. If you’re only gaining non-active followers you aren’t gaining much. It will increase your numbers though.
Lists: People love lists. These can be in the form of what to do, what to wear, what not to do, etc. They can also be lists of useful blog posts, like Story Empire does on Fridays. These can get the comments jump started too.
Infographics: You’ve seen those ven diagrams that are kind of cartoony. People love them, and I can’t deny they catch the eye. There are apps out there to create them, and they could even become a weekly post.
Awards: If you’ve been blogging for more than a week, you’ve likely been presented with the Leibster Award. There are hundreds of awards in the blogging world. Accepting an award means you answer the questions posed, then come up with a list of your own questions to pass on. You are the brand, and these can really help people learn about you. The downside is you have to narc out a group of your friends and pass the award along, like a chain letter. They will draw eyes to your blog though.
Challenges: These are similar to the awards, but they’ve died out a bit recently. I think they’re more fun, and I have participated in some. These work by challenging others to post a photo of their work space, book shelf, maybe to write about something. Participants are asked to post a link in your comments, and this gets the readership flowing. Participants can follow your comments, and check out a bunch of writing spaces. They can be nearly anything, and can work really well. When you are the link repository it can be a big benefit.
I thought about making this into two posts, but I think it fits here. I may do a third one, I may not. My blog is my best promo tool, and hopefully these posts will help you make your blog more popular too. Let me hear from you in the comments. Did you find something helpful here? Are you willing to try something new? Do you have something additional to add?