Blogging without readers is about as much fun as throwing a party and having no one show up. Whether you’re blogging professionally or casually, it’s nice to get a comment and know that you’ve connected with others.
When building a loyal readership, it’s important to keep in mind that not all your readers are bloggers. In fact, readers who aren’t bloggers themselves are very valuable. Non-blogging readers aren’t busy tending to their own blogs and thus will have more time to visit and comment on yours. But how do you attract non-blogging readers? Where do you find them and how do you keep them? Here are 15 tips for building your non-blogging readership.
15 Tips for Attracting Non-blogging Readers to Your Blog
- Make sure your blog is non-blogger friendly. Some non-bloggers are not technically inclined. Is the layout easy to follow for them? To test this, ask your grandmother or another older relative to visit your blog and give her opinion. You might be surprised by some very good suggestions for making your blog or website easier to navigate.
- Don’t make commenting a challenge. Make sure that when people leave a comment, the only information they need to fill out is their name and possibly E-mail address. (URL should be optional not mandatory.) Also re-consider using captchas. A lot of people find them very frustrating.
- Make it easy for them to return. Can they subscribe by E-mail and RSS? Do you have a distinct favicon so you’re easy to identify?
- Don’t underestimate word of mouth. Do you include your blog link in the signature of your E-mails? Is it on your business card? How about in your yearly Christmas letter? Don’t forget to share your blog URL with your parents, siblings, relatives, friends, co-workers, and neighbors so that they can pass it on to their friends. Some of my most loyal readers were friends of my sister, and I didn’t even know it until I met them and they told me they loved my blog.
- You gotta give some to get some. Leave meaningful comments on blogs that are similar in content to yours. You’ll attract the blog owner and their readers. (It isn’t stealing – it’s widening the community.) Guest blogging is another great option. Invite someone to guest post on your blog, and consider accepting the offer if someone asks you to guest post on their blog.
- Leave a trail. Do you have a Facebook page? Twitter profile? Photos on Flickr? YouTube videos? Sell stuff on Etsy or Ebay? Review books on Amazon.com?… Make sure your URL is somewhere on all of your user pages around the internet.
- Ride the buzz. Once in awhile, write about something that is a “hot topic” in the headlines or in the blogosphere. Of course, don’t do it unless it’s something of interest to you and your readers. If it doesn’t fit your regular content, then the readers you attract won’t stick around.
- Write about something obscure. Is there something you’re an expert on that few people are informed about? Is there something you really love but you’ve noticed it’s hard to find information about it? When you search online for it, are there almost no results? Write about that and then when others go searching, you’ll be at the top of the results. (Again make sure it fits your content.)
- Go find them. Non-bloggers hang out in forums, message boards, social networks and chat rooms. Join a conversation on a message board that is relevant to your blog, and make sure your URL is in your signature.
- Study SEO and apply the knowledge. Knowing a little about search engine optimization will help you blog effectively so that you’re easy to find through internet searches. There are a lot of free tutorials online. You don’t have to get into anything complicated. Even applying a few basic SEO principles will help you.
- Make yourself approachable. Your E-mail address should be easy to find on your blog in case someone wants to contact you privately. Also, try your best to respond to each and every comment left on your blog, whether they’ve asked you a question, shared something about themselves, given you a compliment or even disagreed with you.
- Be compatible with social news websites. Consider adding buttons to your blog posts so they can easily be submitted to social news and sharing websites like Stumbleupon, Digg, Reddit, etc. (But make sure you don’t add so many buttons that it looks cluttered.)
- Have a Giveaway. Honestly, most of the people that are attracted by giveaways are coming for the free stuff and they won’t be back, but you might grab a reader here and there. Besides, giveaways are fun. Everyone likes to play Santa Claus once in awhile, don’t they?
- Watch your statistics. Some blog platforms come with built in “stats” that you can check, or you can use a third party stat counting website to track how people are finding you, where they’re coming from, and where they hang out on your blog. Keep an eye on this information so you know what’s working and what’s not. This will determine what you spend more time doing, and what you stop wasting your time on.
- “Content is King”. It’s been said again and again, but maybe it can’t be said too often. The biggest rule to remember is that you need to make consistently good content and be dependable with how frequently you update your blog.
Happy blogging, and I wish you many comments!