"If you are a new blogger, what is the best way to gain followers and keep them?" - From Anonymous
This is actually a great question, and one that I agonized over as a new blogger. I STILL wonder about this one: what am I doing right, what am I doing wrong? I don't have the perfect answer, but I WILL share a few tips I've noticed - some things that will help bring followers and more importantly, READERS to your blog! And I, personally, want the latter; a follower is someone who clicks that amazing GFC or RSS button but a READER is someone who will keep coming back, who will cheerlead for you and your blog, who will RT you on Twitter and become a friend.
So, what can you do to bring readers to your blog?
- Comment, comment, comment!
Let's be honest: there are some fabulous blogs in our community but it takes a bit of work to get YOURS noticed simply because there ARE so many. I never thought ANYONE would want to read what I had to say; turns out people did and DO, but sometimes they need some help getting here.
So the absolute BEST thing that you can do is start small; find 15 or so blogs that you really like and comment not just once or twice, but regularly on their blogs. Make your comments meaningful - while a "come visit my blog, and enter my giveaway!" comment might get you one visit, the comment where you share a story about what their review means to you will get you returning visitor!
Keep commenting! I spend probably about an hour a day checking my Google Reader (because I find it easier than going through Blogger's Dashboard) making the rounds, commenting on the blogs I normally check. Something else I do that I think works really well is, when someone comments on my blog, I go to THEIRS and comment on either their most recent post, or the most recent one that grabs my eye. That's MY way of saying "thank you" for them visiting my blog!
The more you comment, the more people will start seeing YOU and your blog, and the more they'll visit you. Just be careful not to overwhelm yourself - don't follow more blogs than you can keep up with, since that could do more harm than good.
- Network on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads
These three are sort of the "holy trinity" of social Networking. No one can deny that neither Twitter or Facebook are incredibly popular. I have a Facebook page for my blog but I don't use it often enough. Goodreads is a great way to get book recs from fellow book lovers, exchange messages, and even join blogging groups.
But Twitter is where it's at. Twitter allows you to click with and get to know fellow bloggers. Twitter lets you build a supportive foundation for your blog. You'd be surprised how much people DO notice it when you RT their review or author interview, and that in return, they'll try to visit your blog, or RT (re-tweet) a post of yours.
If I were to pick which social network is the MOST important and has also been the BEST for me and my blog, I'd say Twitter. I was addicted before I started blogging, but now I use Feedburner (*let me know if anyone wants me to do a post on what Feedburner is, how to set one up, etc*) to re-publish my blog post links, and I chat throughout the day with fellow bloggers and authors.
- Put yourself out there!
Okay so truth time: this is the scariest one. You have to make LASTING connections with your fellow bloggers and to do that you should a) ALWAYS be yourself, even if that means letting your geek show, and b) get personal. Now this doesn't mean to tell everyone your life story in every comment, but REACH OUT. It's okay to make the first move. Friend request other bloggers on Goodreads, add them on Twitter. TALK to them, and don't be afraid to talk about just life in general, too! If a post they wrote touched you...let them know! How else are they going to know?
You'll find that even those "famous" book bloggers have a lot in common with you and me: they're human, too. They laugh and cry and geek out over books just like we do. So don't be afraid to reach out! Guest post on someone else's blog, or have them do the same at yours. Take a risk and it might pay off!
Now giveaways are hit and miss. Some people view giveaways as "buying" followers. I think of them as an opportunity to bring followers to your blog that might not have found it otherwise. Some giveaways will bring you TONS of followers. Some of those followers will become loyal readers. Some will join your blog then never come back. So it's up to YOU to decide: do you want to run giveaways or not? If you do...just be sure that your blog content is always interesting and fresh and honest so that you can bring those new followers BACK to your blog.
Okay so what do y'all think? Was this post helpful? Want to see more like it? Let me know here!