A friend asked me how my “blogging thing” was going recently, and I couldn’t help but smile. “It’s going great!” I responded, and then I couldn’t help myself, so I shared some of my blog stats. These may not be the most impressive stats to some, but are truly astonishing to myself because I’ve had several blogs over the years, none of which have been this successful. In the 4 months since I’ve started blogging on WordPress :
- I’ve reached 21 posts (Woohoo for #22!)
- My page has been viewed 2,031 times
- I average 63 comments a month
- Thursdays seem to draw the most traffic and my page seems to be a good “just before lunch” read, as 11am is the time when I receive the most views
- The post “Our Road To Rowyn” is the most popular to date; garnering 121 unique viewers the day after it was posted with a whopping 461 views total
- Amassed an amazing following of 71 peer’s. *This is probably my favorite stat, not because amount of followers is a big deal to me, but because that many people are interested in what I have to share.
With that, my friend asked me how I seemed to pick up the steam that I have in such a short period of time, especially compared to my previous attempts which never seemed to really get traction with the masses. It was at that point that I said, “Dude, I honestly don’t know. It’s CRAZY!” And while that was true at the time of the conversation, I’ve dwelled on it for a little while now, and I’ve been able to really pinpoint the things I feel have made this little space of mine the most successful to date. So, to my friend and other new bloggers, here are the most important tips I feel I could share :
- WORDPRESS!!! Before any of my other tips, I have to acknowledge that the platform that WordPress provides to bloggers is above any other I’ve come across in the past. They have created what I feel is the social network for bloggers. It’s the Facebook of the blogosphere. It provides an easy to navigate dashboard, a ridiculously simple integration of other social networks, documentation for every single bell and whistle it provides, free hosting for your blog, awesome themes, and a myriad of other features that truly allow a blogger to feel comfortable. It gives you the ability to easily follow other bloggers, integrate their content into your own blog via reblogs, (thanks Tumblr) a plethora of widgets and themes and anything else you could possible ask for in a platform. In other words, WordPress is the #1 reason I feel my blog has reached the point that it has.
- Respond to your comments – This one should be a no brainer, but I’m surprised by how many other bloggers don’t follow this simple courtesy. You need to engage your audience. Make them feel as though they are a part of the blog themselves. When they pat you on the back, thank them. When they question your logic, discuss it with them. When they get on your nerves, let them know. Regardless of the context of the situation, responding to your comments will always show that you are engaged with your viewership and that they matter to you. One reason I stop reading a blog is because I leave comments on several posts, without the author ever engaging me in conversation. If I took the time to read your blurb and share my own feelings on it, it just seems obvious to me that responding in the same form would be appropriate.
- Don’t segregate your user base – This is another one that surprises me from time to time. While some can do a wonderful job of engaging their readers in a conversation that would oft result in arguments, such as Arden did with her recent post on religion, others seem to totally ignore the fact that their readers have their own opinions which they are entitled to. Look, we all know a blog is your personal space and you can write about whatever you damn well please, but if you’re looking to reach more people and really open up your blog to as many as you possibly can, then taking a relaxed stance on all subject matters is probably a good route to take. Don’t get offended if your readers disagree with you, don’t push your own position on others, and allow healthy discussion and debate via your comments. Now, I’m not saying don’t stand for what you believe in on any specific topic; I’m saying remember that everyone who reads your content may not agree, and if they don’t, you can at least ensure that your presentation is acceptable to all those reading regardless of their personal stance. Or, like in my example above, welcome those who are from the opposite side of the spectrum to discuss and make it evident you are a student of the world and have an open mind towards all positions.
- Mix it up or Keep it real – I believe that mixing it up is a great way to keep your readers engaged. Of course, on the opposite end, if you have a very specific theme, then stick to it! For example, my blog may be categorized as a ‘daddy blog’ in which I speak about becoming a parent, but I also post my photography, fictional tales, partake in writing challenges, and a myriad of other types of posts to constantly try to open up my readership to new viewers. On the other hand, if you’re shooting for a specific audience, keeping things on topic may make more sense. I’m sure readers of Black Box Warnings wouldn’t really care to read my countdown to the football season.
- Proofread, Proofread, and Proofread again – I don’t think I have to say much else on this one. If you misspell a word or two, it isn’t a big issue, but if your entire blog is wrought with misspellings, broken links, etc. it takes away your credibility as a writer who cares about their product. You have to remember that your blog is your product, and that you must have it up to the best shape as possible before expecting others to want to indulge in said product.
There are other things I think help, such as including pictures/videos in your posts, but I think they are more subjective compared to my suggestions above. I hope that my little insight on why I believe this blog has picked up steam versus my previous ones helps both my friend who inquired and anyone else out there who is looking to pick up some steam.