If bloggers all share one common conceit, it’s that we’re hungry for followers. We like the idea that people are reading what we post on the Internet, and we’re always looking for ways to make sure that plenty of people discover our work and that they keep coming back. And while there’s no correlation between the number of followers and book sales (I wish there was, though), having followers can lead to some book sales on occasion.
Here are some tips I’ve found useful at one time or another for gaining followers on my own personal blog. Now, there’s no guarantee that any of these tips will be helpful for your blog. At best, a combination of these might be helpful, but that’s for you to find out. Like any technique in this business we try to increase sales and readers, it’s all trial, error, and learning from the past so we can learn from the future.
DO NOT ask for people to follow you! I know some people really want followers, but asking for other bloggers to follow you, especially in a comment on a blog post, sounds a little desperate, which can be a major turn off to some bloggers. There’s a better solution to get a blogger to check out your blog, especially if it’s a blogger you really would like to follow you.
Converse. If you read a post by a blogger or really like their blog and you would like them to follow you as well, then talk to them. Have a lengthy comment conversation where you go over issues or points made in the blog post. Engage them, and let the comments you leave speak for themselves. I’ve been drawn to certain loggers just by a single conversation we’ve had over comments on their or my blogs, and vice versa (I think. Maybe once or twice). If your comments really resonate with a blogger, then they may be drawn to look over your blog (if they’re not already reading your blog at the moment) and maybe then they’ll click the Follow button.
Blog often. I think a lot of us at first only blog when we feel we have something important to say. But that only increases the pressure to have something relevant to say, and may contribute to us blogging less, which may lead to readers not finding us because we have a small body of work. So instead try blogging more often. It doesn’t have to be big or groundbreaking or important. It can be a small revelation you had about a character, or how a day with your kids inspired you to write a story, or even the frustrations you have with your old computer and how you can’t wait to get a new one. I have a couple of friends who blog once a day every day, and they have a lot of followers, blogging on things going on in their lives, sharing excerpts from their WIPs, and the latest in STEM accomplishments and science fiction, to name but a few. You don’t have to write a post every day if you don’t want to, but writing often, even on the little things, can help people find you.
Blogging often also makes us better bloggers. We get a feel for it, like how we get a feel for fiction writing by reading and writing a lot. We learn how to write a compelling blog post from blogging often and from reading other blogs. And that brings me to my next point.
Always be on the lookout for an interesting blog. I love Freshly Pressed on WordPress, because I’ve read really interesting articles and bloggers through it (I actually discovered this blog through Freshly Pressed, by the way). One should always be on the lookout for an interesting blog or blog post, not just on Freshly Pressed but anywhere else you may run into them. And if a post really catches your attention, don’t just Like it, comment on it. Likes are nice, but comments really engage.
Tags! Tags help readers find your blog articles just as much as keywords do. So make sure you have a tag for most or all of the points covered in your blog post and maybe it’ll help people find your blog, or even get Freshly Pressed (in which case, I might become jealous of you).
Stay consistent to the main theme of your blog. Most of our blogs revolve around our writing careers, so we should keep our posts revolving around writing, our respective genres, the latest updates of our books, etc. Sure, it’s okay to maybe talk about something interesting in your life or maybe a political issue you feel passionate about, but don’t do it so much that you deviate from the main theme of your blog more often than you actually write about it. Otherwise you might lose followers who signed up to hear about you and your writing, rather than twenty posts about your job or church and then maybe one about your book, over and over again.
Use pictures. A WordPress administrator actually wrote a post a few years back and published it on Freshly Pressed. One of the tips he or she (I can’t remember which) gave was that one should try to use pictures, as they can spice up some blog posts, especially ones where it might seem to the reader as just one long list of text without end and they might lose focus.
Maybe I should use a picture in this article…
Remember your grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Just like readers hate horrible grammatical errors, typos, and things of that nature in the books they read, they get really annoyed with that in blog posts. So try and keep grammatical rules in mind, make sure you’re spelling that word correctly, and don’t use a semi-colon when a period or comma would do just fine.
Have fun with it. The main thing with blogging is that you have to enjoy it somewhat. If you treat it as a chore, it’ll come off that way in your blog posts and people might not want to read your work. But if you like it and get into it, that feeling might reveal itself in your blog posts.
Like I said, these techniques don’t always work for everyone. These are just ones I’ve felt have helped me. But in our line of work, where we experiment as we write and publish and market, you never know. These tips, as well as those from other writers, could prove extremely helpful in building your audience.
What sort of tips can you give other authors on building audiences and gaining followers?
Hi, good post, very interesting. I only started a few months ago and so have a young blog. The best thing that has worked for me is interaction with other bloggers. I like to read a lot of other blogs and comment a lot. I also make time to look at the blogs I am following.
Congratulations on your new blog. The important thing is not to get discouraged. It took me over a year to get the sort of audience where I get views at least once a day. Keep at it, keep reading and writing, and keep doing what you’re doing. You might just grow a really huge audience and make some good friends too.
Thx will take your advice and follow you 🙂
Thank you! I look forward to having conversations with you in the future.
Hi, I have nominated you for the Inspirational Blogger award. Check out my latest post 🙂
I might just have to. Thanks!
I always check out sites from people who post a comment on mine. I think that as long as you blog regularly, it doesn’t have to be daily, especially if you participate on other bloggers’ sites. Also, I consider posts with the most comments to be much more successful than ones with the most likes.
Probably. The ones with comments show readers resonated enough to put their two cents in.
Very good tips! 🙂
Thanks! I was hoping people would like them. I worried people would think they were too obvious.
We all need to remember the basics … and that gem applies to so many things in life. Like “write often” is something I only realized recently. I used to post 7 days a week. Now that I post only once or twice a week, I can see a drastic change. Like I said, we need to remind ourselves of the basics. Even if it is obvious! 🙂
Well, happy to be a useful reminder. Good luck with the writing.
This is really easy, practical advice.
Glad I could be of service by giving said advice. Thanks for reading.
Especially the part about sticking to a theme. A lot of bloggers post things on their blogs that would be better suited for Facebook.
I’ve seen that before. Sticking to the theme and remembering it usually draws in more readers than complaining about your hairdresser or pictures from vacation or whatever.
I agree with making comments on blogs. I always read an entire post before I like it, but I know that many readers just hit like in their feed and don’t actually read the entire post. When a reader leaves a comment, at least I know they read all of the post.
I think I struggle most with theme, but the easiest fix I can make is to use more pictures. Thanks, Rami.
No problem, Christine. Happy to help. And don’t worry, we all struggle with something. Good luck in the future.
Many wise words there and I agree with the first poster although if everyone you follow posts every day that can get tricky. As a blog reader, my favourite blogs are the ones which post once or twice a week because that way I don’t have to skip any posts. Lack of time is a big factor in my life. Therefore, I tend to blog once or twice a week about whatever takes my fancy: writing related posts, things that make me write, things that make writing difficult, whatever piece of Real Life is getting in the way, light hearted stuff about my son and news about my books. Many of my readers like the unpredictable nature of my stuff and while I try to keep it very tenuously writing related I also try not to talk shop. It has reached the point when readers have cited the randomness of my posts as part of the appeal. Perhaps the overarching theme is the way I see the world.
My own experience has also shown that it’s the interaction, and that above all else, that brings in more followers. It’s certainly the only thing with tangible results.
So there we go, those are the things that are working for me.
I’m glad things are working out for you. Good luck with your writing and your busy life.
On this new website we want to create a platform for self publishing authors in various countries. We are not selling, not chasing for fees, we don’t want to give advice: we just ask you to publish your title information on our site and place a link to our site in all your communications in return. That way we can reach thousands of readers, who are now busy surfing from one website to the other and maybe never find you! Look around on the pages under construction, to get an idea of our simple, basic but effective promotion method. And join us, free of charge in this introduction period! All we ask is a description of your book, max 100 words, a description of the author, same length and a working link to a sales- or download address. Of course you choose a category and mention if it concerns, print of e-book. We will be happy to hear from you and publish your information.
Jos Thomasse, http://www.freebiblioclub.com
I’m not sure this was the best place to post about your website, but thanks for telling us. I’m sure plenty of authors will find it extremely helpful in getting people interested in their work.
These are great tips if you’re a savvy blogger. But if you’re like me and usually have more questions (technical, that is) than answers, it’s sometimes hard to get them answered so that I can have a great-looking and interesting blog.
What sort of questions do you have? Anything I can help with?
Reblogged this on Write of Passage and commented:
I wanted to share these simple tips with my fellow bloggers. Please check out this blog.
Thanks, if I could PM you about it.
I’m sorry, “PM”? What does that mean?
If you ask the question(s) here, we can do the most good to help you and others. Usually when one person has a question, others are wondering the same thing. I bet you’re not alone. 🙂
Ruth Ann Nordin (one of administrators of this blog)
Ruth has a point. A lot of people usually have the same sort of questions. Ask away, I’m sure people would like to hear the answers.
I’ll figure it out but thanks just the same.
You’re welcome. And if there’s anything else we can do to help, please let us know.
I usually don’t hand out my email address. Are you sure I can’t answer it here?
Great tips! Liked what you said about sticking to the theme.
I’m glad I could be of service. Thanks for commenting.
Awesome tips. I think most people “like” because they don’t feel they have anything worth adding to the conversation, but to get the most out of it, I agree that commenting is best. People gloss over the “likes” but they are more likely to remember people who comment. And commenting opens up the possibilities to establishing relationships that can go many places.
I also agree about posting on a regular basis. I don’t do a good job of it on this blog, though. 🙂
You do it when you have the chance and the inspiration. I try to do it when I’m on breaks between parts of a novel or between short stories.
Hi there, I found your blog via my sister’s blog because she reblogged you. This was a helpful article, though I feel like I’m doing these things already. One thing I might add is that it takes time to build a following, something of which I’m coming to terms with.
Again, great blog. I look forward to reading more of your posts:)
Thanks, glad you liked the post. Always happy for feedback.