Past Blog Talk Tuesdays topics include:
- How to Start a Blog, Blog Focus, Self Hosting and More
- Blogger Safety
- Company Outreach: Receiving Free Products, Hosting Giveaways, Posting Product Reviews and More
- Connecting with Other Bloggers
- Rising Above Negativity
- Balancing Blogging and Real Life
Today’s topic addresses the most common questions I receive related to blogging. How do I get more readers? How do I grow my blog? Let’s dig in!
Blogging and Blog Readership
- What do you think is the most important factor in having a successful blog?
Without a doubt, quality content. But what does that mean? To me, quality content is content that is thoughtful, engaging and entertaining. It all goes back to my number one tip for bloggers: Create a blog you would want to read.
This is all about being yourself and writing content that you find exciting and fun.
I’ll be the first to admit that my blog doesn’t cover mind-blowing topics. My blog is light-hearted and my goal with my content is to make you smile, while creating a space where we can share ideas and experiences and simply have fun.
I want PBF to be a positive place on the internet and try to write content that reflects this. I love writing about the things I feature on this blog and figure that the people who read my blog likely have similar interests to me and might share similar experiences.
If readers don’t like my content, there are a billion other blogs out there with amazing content about anything and everything in the world, so they would probably be a fantastic reader for a different blog out there. You shouldn’t waste your time trying to write in a way that’s not true to yourself just as you shouldn’t waste your time reading a blog that makes you unhappy or irritates you – including my blog! I’ve spent too much time reading blogs that never made me feel good inside and I have no idea why.
I don’t want to change my blog or my writing because that would be inauthentic and readers can always tell when you’re not being true to yourself. Trying to write in a way that makes everyone happy and keeps everyone entertained is impossible.
I simply make sure I am writing a blog I think I would personally want to read if I were an objective blog reader.
- Why do some bloggers get all hot and bothered about sharing their readership statistics?
I used to never understand this either and then one day it hit me. Asking a blogger how many page views they have or how many people read their blog is almost like asking a person what their salary is, especially if the person makes a majority of their income off their blog.
I would never in a million years ask a friend of mine how much money they make and I think many bloggers feel that this question is a little inappropriate since you may be able to figure out how much money they make from these statistics and a person’s salary, whether they’re a blogger or not, is something that many people prefer to keep private.
As for me, I share this information with Ryan and my family and even discussed it openly with two of my roommates (Hi Tina and Courtney!) at the Healthy Living Summit. We were very candid and comfortable with each other and shared our personal statistics because sometimes it’s nice to know as a blogger where you stand for your personal growth and developmental goals since you can’t look up statistics related to blogging on the internet like you can with any other job out there.
- Do you think quality photographs are really important to have a successful blog?
I’m probably in the minority when I say I don’t think amazing photographs are imperative to have a successful blog, though I think this also depends on the genre of your blog. Beautiful pictures seem much more important if you have a blog dedicated solely to recipes and food. I think that gorgeous photos definitely help, but I read many blogs that have pixelated pictures or no pictures at all and I read them for the content.
Of course I think a blog looks more professional when the pictures are clear and vibrant. Quality pictures make a great first impression and make me take the blogger more seriously when I first visit.
My pictures are far from professional. I like to use pictures to help tell a story, but I use my words to really get the point across. Photography isn’t a genuine interest of mine, so while I appreciate pretty pictures, they aren’t what keep me coming back to a blog. I’m all about the content!
As long as photos are sharp and clear, I think that hours and hours of photo-editing are unnecessary for many blog genres out there… but that’s just my opinion!
- How do you increase blog readership?
Buckle up! This is a long one.
I believe every single blogger out there wants people to read their blog. It seems like so many bloggers feel like they can’t say, “Yeah, I want you to read my blog!” but clearly they do, otherwise why would they write a public blog when they could just have a private journal?
Do I want people to read my blog? Of course! But growing my blog and increasing my blog readership is not my main motivation when blogging. My main motivation is simply fulfilling my passion for writing. It’s what I love. It energizes and excites me and serves as a release. Blogging is my “me” time. But blog readers keep me going. You inspire me and give me ideas. You are the fuel that keeps PBF running.
I created this blog as an outlet to write about things I enjoy rather than pharmaceuticals like I did in my full-time job. I wanted a place where I could share food and fitness ideas with my family and friends. When other people started reading it, I was so excited and my blog began to shift into a space on the internet that felt more like an open place where I could connect with other people who shared my similar interests.
I then started to view my blog as a platform for other opportunities like freelance writing which was my main goal and dream job. It was then that I began to actively attempt to put my blog out there.
Don’t sit back and expect things to happen.
I am being 100 percent honest when I say that I didn’t just sit behind the computer and blog and cross my fingers, hoping that my blog would grow organically. I put a lot of time and effort into putting it out there.
When people say “Go comment on other blogs!” as their main advice for increasing blog readership, I find this a bit insincere. I want to comment on blogs that compel me to comment, not just as a means to get my name out there. Yes, commenting on other blogs is a great way to get people to click on your name in the comments section of a blog and visit your blog, but brainstorm other outlets that you can pursue that could expose your blog to more people.
Look into local media outlets.
For example, when I lived in Orlando, I reached out to a bunch of local papers, blogs and magazines and inquired about freelance opportunities while also sharing information about my blog. Starting locally was great because I naturally had something in common with the people I was reaching out to about PBF.
(No, Newsweek was never contacted. I know my audience. )
As a very new blogger, local outlets were surprisingly receptive to me and my blog. I was featured in Brink Magazine (page 14), a local Orlando publication, and on the Pulse of Central Florida blog within 13 months of starting my blog.
Utilize social media.
I’ve said it before, but hop on the Twitter and Facebook bandwagon. I didn’t join Twitter until I had been blogging for seven months… and now Twitter is the number one referrer of people to my blog. It’s legit. My friend Dru is a small business owner and told me I had to get on it. I felt totally awkward about tweeting and tweeting to other people at first, but like everything else, the more you use it the more natural it becomes.
Starting a Facebook page was also a good idea because I’ve found that while Twitter is utilized by many bloggers, nearly everyone is on Facebook, whether they’re a blogger or not.
Facebook is a great way to connect with readers in a more conversational way. I personally do not import my blog feed into my Facebook page because as a blog reader I visit the person’s blog already and subscribe and don’t need the feed thrown in my face on Facebook too, but I know some people swear by this as a means to attract more readers… and many readers like it, too! It’s just not my cup of tea. Do whatever works for you!
I also reached out to websites that I personally frequented to inform them about my blog. Since I visited their site often, I felt a personal connection to the site and felt much more comfortable approaching them about my blog. I didn’t send them a generic “check out my blog” email, but took care to write a personal email detailing why my blog might be of interest to their site and their readers.
Connect with other bloggers.
This is a big one that I never realized was all that important. (In case you missed it, I did a previous Blog Talk Tuesdays post about connecting with other bloggers.) When you reach out to other bloggers and make genuine connections to bloggers, they are likely to expose their readers to your blog. Guest posting on another blog is a great way to do this, though I never really had anyone ask me to guest post on their blog until I had been blogging for close to a year and a half.
As a blogger, know that success doesn’t come in a bottle and someone else’s blogging success doesn’t take away from your success. Link to other bloggers! Help them spread the word about their blog. Bloggers remember this. I started out reading one blog and slowly added more and more blogs to my daily reading list, but guess what? I still read the same blogs I did in the beginning and would only stop reading those if the quality of their content changed or they took their blog in a different direction that didn’t interest me.