The most common email I get in my inbox is the one that asks a question about blogging. “How do I grow?” “How do I get more followers?” “How do I network with others?” There are so many of these questions that it is easier for me to answer via a post instead of responding to each of them individually. I believe that growth comes for some and not for others. I do not believe that just any blog can be popular, but I do believe any blog can build a following; and the two are vastly different. With that said here are 5 tips I focus on to build a thriving blog:
- You must interact. Unless you are incredibly SEO savvy, you are going to have to spend the majority of your time building your blog with grass-roots tactics. The way I achieved this was by using tag searches and then going through that feed and reading new pages. I also spent time reading the pages of those people who decided to follow my page. I then comment and like as I see fit and try to interact on a real level. I avoided commenting just to show up in notifications as I think this is a bit fake. I only comment if I feel compelled to comment. If not I will always leave a LIKE to show my support of said blogger.
- Build a community. When I started seeing my numbers grow it was because I began focusing on building a network of blog friends who cared about the same types of things of which I cared. They didn’t have to think like me, but they definitely had to share some common bond with me. To date that bond has been twofold: multiple sclerosis/chronic pain suffers and/or inquisitive people who enjoy getting inspired. One of my most popular posts day in and day out is the Let Me Ask You a Question post. When you surround yourself with people who believe what it is that you believe, now you are building a community. After all, why should anyone care? When you tap in to getting people to care, half the battle is over. Next all you have to do is give the a reason to want to return. Make sense?
- Publish content that people want to read and produce it on a regular basis. Sometimes people don’t engage with a page because the blogger produces crap content. This is not easy for some people to hear, but in some cases it is the tough truth. And next of course you must produce regularly scheduled content. Publishing posts once ever 2 weeks is simply not enough unless the blogger has incredible SEO skills and is driving hundreds of thousands of views via search engines. I don’t know a lot of top bloggers who don’t produce content on a daily/weekly basis. And the content MUST add value to people’s lives. Why should they visit your page? There are tons of blogs on the internet. If you are not producing relevant, value-adding content then maybe you need to adjust your focus?
- Connect with bloggers that have what it is that you want. What you want depends on you and your goals. If you want a blog that gets tons of interaction, then email a blogger you know who gets a lot of comments and build a relationship. Watch what they do and use their example as a way for you to develop your own plan. Ask them if it is okay if you email questions so you can learn, but be careful not to overstep your welcome. I have learned that it might take you emailing quite a few bloggers so don’t get discouraged if the first few don’t respond. When I first began blogging, Jason over at Harsh Reality took me under his wing so-to-speak and allowed me to email on a regular basis. He taught me some of the finer points of networking, producing content, SEO, Alexa tips, etc. We talked about a lot of stuff and I took copious notes every time he opened his mouth. What I wanted was to have a huge following and at that time he had 50,000 followers and I had a few hundred. Because of Jason’s help and a lot of hard work I am now over halfway to my goal of reaching 100,000 followers. But you will have to determine what you want for your page and then befriend someone who has what it is that you want; which might have nothing to do with the size of the blog. That is the beautiful thing about a blog…you can make it whatever you want it to be!
- Stay active, stay consistent. This is the toughest tip of all. Why? Because this requires a blogger to blog every single day. Blogging for me is not a part-time interest. Since I started my page in November 2014 I have never taken a day off. I’ve had days of lower activity, but never a day when I ignored my page. Also, blogging is not writing as some might think. Blogging is a verb which includes producing content, reading other pages, commenting on friend’s posts, liking posts, finding new pages that interest you, etc. Blogging is a verb which means it is so much more than writing. I believe writing and blogging are completely different things which is why so many authors struggle when it comes to blogging; you don’t have the luxury of publishing a post and then watching the masses flock to your page. As a blogger you must be present on a consistent basis. Think of your blog as a store front in a mall. If people are in the mall and your shutters are pulled shut, then people will walk past. But if the doors are open, people will more likely step in and say hi. You must be present and you must participate every single day.
If you interact, work to build community, publish content that people enjoy, connect with successful bloggers and participate in blogging every day, then I believe you are on your way to building a blog that will thrive. All you need to do is define what you expect from the word “thrive” and you will be off and running.
One last bit of advice. Be patient. Blogs are not built overnight. It takes time to reach blogging goals so keep at it and stick to your plan. You’ll get there, but it’s not magic; it will take time. Have a wonderful Saturday!