The Three Best, All-Time Tips for Increasing Your Blog’s Readership

Laura Christianson of Blogging Bistro  continues her series of

fantastic tips for social media and website management.

Since 2004, when I started blogging, I’ve read – and tried – just about every tip imaginable to lure readers. I could regale you with a list of 100 (or 1,000… or 10,000) tips to drive traffic to your blog, but I won’t. That’s because you have to do only three things to pump up your blog’s readership.

Side note:

Ignore every steroidal article you stumble across that includes the words:

“INCREASE TRAFFIC TO YOUR BLOG 2000% IN 10 DAYS!!!!” (or something similar).

While it is possible to quickly make leaps in readership, for the vast majority of bloggers, readership increases at a slow, steady pace.

Forget the hype and get real. Here are the three basic, bottom-line things you need to do well—and consistently—to build your blog’s readership:

1.  Format your posts for skimmers

There’s no bigger turnoff than a 400-word blog post that’s one endless paragraph. Well, maybe one bigger turnoff: a 400-word paragraph written in 8-point Courier.

Forget what your high school English teacher taught you about writing lengthy, detailed paragraphs. Instead, write like a journalist. Short sentences. Short paragraphs. Short words. Axe the jargon.

Baby Blue EyesThe white space between your paragraphs makes it easier for readers to hone in on subheads and other key words you want them to notice.

Include a graphic element in every post. Readers’ eyes are drawn to images; a visual that illustrates your point, placed in a consistent location in every blog post, will capture readers’ attention and draw them into your article.

2.  Give ‘em your best stuff

Some bloggers – particularly those who blog to sell a product or service – believe in teasing their readers with juicy tidbits.

Then, just when their blog post starts to get interesting, they stop delivering the goods and start pitching their product.

“Sorry folks, you don’t get the rest of my earth-shattering information unless you spend $49.99 on my e-book; or $999 for my amazing, life-changing workshop.”

These shysters aren’t really sorry at all, are they? They’re evil, scheming marketers who only want our money.

To them, I say: You won’t hold me hostage. I’m boycotting your blog, your e-newsletter, and I’m blocking your e-mails.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel more inclined to buy from bloggers who give me useful information for free. They don’t have to give me everything – I understand they have to earn a living – but when they give me something, I begin to trust them. And once I trust them, I’m much more likely to pull out my American Express card when they ask me to buy.

3.  Don’t check your visitor stats

Wait a minute, Laura. Did you just say, “DON’T check your stats?”

That’s right, I did. I know it sounds counterintuitive… how can you grow your blog if you don’t know how many people are visiting? But hear me out on this…

Too many bloggers obsess over their stats, checking them daily – or multiple times per day. If you’re like most bloggers, checking your stats daily will only discourage you (because most bloggers get fewer than 100 page views per day).

Why bother? Channel your energy into something more productive, like… say… blogging!

If you blog because you get a kick out of sharing what you’re learning or you love to entertain people, you’re on the right track. Don’t let the numbers (or lack of them) get you down. Focus on the craft of blogging, and you’ll soon discover that you have five loyal readers… then 50 loyal readers. And most bloggers would rather have 50 intensely loyal fans who anticipate every post than 5,000 ho-hum visitors who drop in every once in a while.

I challenge you to avoid looking at your visitor stats for a full month. Not even a peek!

For the next month, just have fun with blogging. Work on writing interesting, entertaining, easy-to-read articles formatted for skimmers. I’ll bet that after a month, you’ll notice a bump in traffic to your blog.

Try it and let me know how you do.

*Feel free to reprint this post on your own blog. I’ll be happy to e-mail you the HTML, so all you have to do is copy & paste, and the formatting will remain intact. If you reprint it, please include the following byline:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From NCWA’s archives and re-posted from September 14, 2009 on Blogging Bistro. Reposted by kind permission.

A relationship marketer for over 25 years, Laura Christianson owns Blogging Bistro, a company that helps people enhance their Internet presence through Websites, blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.  She’s the author of three books and enjoys mentoring emerging writers and teaching at writers’ conferences. An active member of NCWA since 2004, Laura lives in Snohomish with her husband, their two teenage sons, and two gigantic tomato plants.

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “The Three Best, All-Time Tips for Increasing Your Blog’s Readership

  1. Oh goodie goodie, thank you Laura. Some great advice for the precise thing I am working on today. How Timely. I hadn’t thought about writing the blog for “skimmers”, but I will now. Actually, I am a skimmer, so I can relate!

    Like

  2. What a wonderful post, Laura. You’ve articulated some of the ideas about blogging that have been sort of nebulously floating around in my brain. I can testify from personal experience that these three things really do work.

    I’d like to add one more item to your must-do list, though: consistency.

    I only blog twice a week, but I blog twice every week. For more than two years, I have blogged every Tuesday and every Friday (and before that I consistently blogged every Sunday).

    Readers need to know that you’re going to show up with new content when they visit your site. It’s annoying to find a great new blog and come back to visit it, only to find the writer hasn’t posted anything new in two or three weeks.

    It’s far better to consistently post once a week than to post every day for a week and then not post anything for a month.

    I’ve managed to build a decent-sized following (400 readers) for my twice-weekly blog, and I think it’s largely because I’m consistent in writing new posts.

    That, and the three things you said. (My blog readership has nearly doubled in the six months since I started including photos. Hmm, I wonder if there’s any correlation?)

    Thanks again for a great post.

    Like

    • You are right on target about consistency, Kimberlee. Every once in a while, when I have a particularly busy schedule (such as during the last two weeks), I give myself permission to take some time off blogging. For me, that means posting a new article once a week instead of my usual 3 times per week. Readership does drop off when I do that, I’ve noticed.

      In preparation for a workshop I taught at a local conference on Thursday, I visited the blogs of all the conference’s vendors and sponsors. Most of their blogs hadn’t been updated in a month or more. During my presentation, I mentioned “consistency” more than once!

      I need to write my next column for the Snohomish County Business Journal. You’ve just given me the inspiration for that column, so thanks!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s