Honestly, folks…I have no idea.
However, ever since my friend, Terrill, from Creative Potager blog, asked me a question about blog hits, I’ve put on my Thinking Cap.
Here was Terrill’s question:
Do you have any tips Kathy that you can offer new blog writers to help them to increase their readership?
I had just congratulated her on getting 3,342 views since she started at the end of December. That is quite a feat! If you’re a relative unknown blog-writer, you can be lucky to get a 1,000 hits in a year. Sometimes (it pains me to say) 250 hits. Sometimes, a certain blog just doesn’t catch on fire in the cyberspheres. It can be heartbreaking.
I’ve had sizzling blogs and dud blogs. The dud blogs were anonymous: just checkin’ to see how this blogosphere works without a network of friends, publicity, and blabbing. (Of course, don’t tell your dud blogs they were duds. Shhh. That isn’t nice. And, besides, maybe you are writing them from your heart and it doesn’t matter if three other readers ever witness your words. More on that later.)
Last year’s Opening the Door, Walking Outside blog started with something like 28 readers per day in December, 2008. It jumped to an exciting 53 in January and 54 in February. Yet every month it crawled or leapt upward, especially when the search engines started rolling. (It helps to visit lots of places and write about them. The search engines love that.) At the end of the outdoor commitment year, the blog usually hit between 300-400 hits a day. It was great! (The old blog still gets over 200 hits a day and not a word has been written since December. Hmmm…. The new blogs are envious. They sniffle about it sometimes. I try to be patient with them. It takes a while to build up readership, you blogs…)
My infant blog Simply Here (started last week) is lucky to get 20-30 hits a day. She isn’t too fussy. She’s a brand new baby, a different kind of blog. A blog of lyrical words, a poetry blog, a shimmery blog. I grin when anyone reads her.
So here are the tips from my limited knowledge.
1. Write a zinging headline. Write a headline that will pull people away from their busy lives and intrigue them. How many of you would read a blog that said “Tips for Increasing Blog Traffic.” OK, maybe you would. Maybe you would get a zillion hits. But I think creativity in blog titles often helps. (And it entertains the blog writer to no end.)
2. Add photos to your words. Yep. This is a biggee. My newspaper-husband-photographer said, “If you want to get ANYONE to read your words, use photos. I’ve been telling reporters this for years.” I sniffed back to him, “Yeah, well I’ve written other blogs without using a single photo and people read ’em!” But he is right. 99.6% of you people process visually. Stun ’em with something that intrigues the eye.
3. Here’s the publicity part. Publicize. Open your mouth and share about your blog. Twitter it. Facebook it. Tell your mom and dad and brothers and sisters and Uncle John. Yack, yack, yack about it. Although, I must warn you: this scheme can backfire. If people think you’re tweeting your own horn too royally, they’ll scowl and mutter and refuse to read. And they might even write you off as a raving ego-blogger. You have to balance the scales. Get the news out in a neutral way. (I have never succeeded being neutral too often.)
4. Write a blog about what moves you. Your passion! Your excitement! Your joy! That’s what will gain you readership. If something excites you, it’s bound to excite Mary and Joe Reader. They’ll feel your energy. They’ll feel your creativity. They’ll think, “We want some of that energy for ourselves.” They’ll subscribe to your blog.
5. OK, here’s the karma part. What comes around goes around. This means you are not alone in the world. You are not a solo blogger. You are surrounded by a community of bloggers who would like readership. Thus, out you go into the blogger-world and shake hands and read and introduce yourselves. Say, “Hi. Wow, you wrote a great blog. I am going to put you on my blogroll.” Nine times out of ten they come over and visit your blog. Then they put you on their blogroll. Pretty soon you’re friends. Reciprocate, reciprocate, reciprocate. We’re not all out to get readership for ourselves. We’re out to become a Better Community. All of us. WordPress, Blogger, Typepad and the rest. Amen.
6. Write a lot. Write every time the muse strikes. As creative channels, we stand at the ready. The Universe wants to create through us. If we’re open, the Universe is ready. If you open your eyes you will see 6,000 things to write about. Start now and don’t stop. (Unless you want to take a nap or celebrate your 30th wedding anniversary in the Bahamas. Hi, Laurie at Speaking from the Heart! Don’t you even think of us when your gone!)
7. Be yourself. Be your unique wild wonderful quiet exotic beautiful self. Speak your own truth through your blog. Don’t imitate any one else. When you’re most truly yourself, others perk up and look around. They want to be more truly themselves. They will be inspired and stick around to find out how to succeed.
8. If you’re the kind of person who can…don’t worry about blog hits AT ALL. Share from your heart. Write because you love to write. Ignore every single piece of advice just offered if your heart tells you “no, that advice is not for me.” Blog because. Just because. Blog because it enriches your day. Blog because you just have to share about what happened. No hits can be just as enriching as a zillion hits. (Yeah, right, Kathy…)
Now! I really truly want to hear from YOU. Any other advice for new blog writers wanting readership? Some of you probably know lots more than I. Do share! We’re all ears… What’s the secret to blogging success?