There’s lots of advice out there on how to have a successful blog, but most of it seems aimed at bloggers who sell a product. Here are a few things that I’ve done that might be useful for other writers, as well as people with different types of blogs:
• Use some kind of statistics to analyze your traffic. WordPress has a basic statistics page built in, and you can see which posts people click on most often as well as the search terms that brought them to your blog. Knowing what people are interested can help you write related posts.
• Have a theme of some sort for your blog. You don’t have to stick to it all the time, but if the majority of the posts relate to a certain topic you’ll be more likely to attract a regular audience of people interested in that subject.
• Customize your blog header. Add a log line indicating what your blog’s theme is, and if possible include a picture that sets your blog apart from others using the same template. You don’t want it to be mixed up with anyone else’s blog. Make yours memorable.
• Keep most of your posts short. In your longer posts, keep the paragraphs short as the empty space in between them makes the posts easier to read. Visitors seem more attracted to posts that are quickly and easily read.
• Use lists. For your key points, use numbered lists or bullets for emphasis, especially if you’re discussing something technical. This makes the content easier to read and remember.
• Respond to everyone who takes time to comment on your posts. It’s courteous and also seems to encourage people to return.
• Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get many comments. I’ve been getting over 100 visitors a day, and only a few of them leave comments. If I didn’t have a visitor counter on this blog, I’d think I was talking to myself most of the time.
• Leave comments on other blogs. If you include your blog link when you fill out the comment form, other bloggers may click on it to see what type of blog you have. (However, if you’re signed in on WordPress and visit another WordPress blog, you aren’t asked for identifying information. The blog link will only be generated with your name if you’ve put the URL to your blog in the “website” line in your account profile. That’s something I learned today, after 8 months of not having my link listed.)
• Use key words. Repeat important words several times in the body of your post, and also put words related to the content in the title. Search engines look for those words and are more likely to refer people to those posts.
• Include links to earlier posts. If you add the link to an earlier post when you’re writing about a related topic, people often click on it. This lets you cover subjects in greater depth with several short posts rather than one huge one.
Edit Februay 17, 2010: I ran across a helpful post by Suzannah at Write it Sideways, dealing with reasons a post might flop. Check it out.
February 24, 2012: Agent Amanda Luedeke has some great suggestions for bloggers in her series, 5 Rules of Blogging Well, 7 Ways to Grow Your Blog Readership, and Blogging as a Fiction Author.
Jane Friedman also has some good tips, 5 Keys to Writing for an Online Audience.
What are some ways you make your blog stand out from others? Do you have any suggestions for people wanting to attract more readers to their blog?
Read Full Post »