Thursday, August 14, 2014

Top ten ways to get blog viewers

The key question asked by all new bloggers is how to get visitors to their blog. It is the perennial question everybody asks. Everybody wants the magic fairy dust. Everybody wants the magic bullet. This both does and does not exist - a paradox. So, grab onto your popcorn and tooth-rotting fizzy drink and I'll explain.

Magic bullets don't exist - there's nothing that's going to make anybody read your blog. There's nothing you can shoot people with that will make them do your bidding. Sure - people have tried it with GHB and Ambien but that just makes them limp, forgetful and rather useless. It doesn't make them read your blog and remember how brilliant it was.

Fairy dust does exist and can be bought in the magical aisle in Walmart. "The Magical Aisle?" I hear you say. "Where's that?". It's kinda between the coffins and the fairy wings section. You'll see it - you just have to look.

For those that can't find the Fairy Dust or even it's cheaper and slightly inferior counterpart, "politician's promises", here's a list of ten ways to get readers to your blog:
  1. Promote. Join forums and post your blog in your signature. If you join a blog on omelettes then subtly mention your post on omelette. Those that are interested will look.
  2. Quality. Write high quality content. This cannot be stressed enough - just because you like the subject does not mean that somebody else is willing to read badly-misspelled, badly punctuated, poorly composed gibberish. People don't have the time nor patience to work out what you're talking about.
  3. Quantity. Try to post at least once a day. Nobody is going to view a blog that only has half a dozen posts - there's nothing to bring them back. You might be at this for six months or a year before you get real readers. There's nothing wrong with writing a bunch of posts and back-dating them either.
  4. Subject. Write about a subject that hasn't been beaten to death. Nobody wants to read about Bill Clinton romping with Monica Lewinsky - it's old news. Move on!
  5. Subject 2 Write about something more people will be interested in. The sex life of the left-pawed Chihuahua might be absolutely fascinating but nobody much is going to be interested.
  6. Proper paragraph formation. Make the first sentence of each paragraph dynamic and important as well as interesting. That gets people into the paragraph.
  7. Humor. People like to laugh. Try to start each entry with something amusing to get them in the mood for reading the entry. It doesn't have to make sense - it just has to lead them into the article.
  8. A good search description. I generally use an interesting paragraph from my article as the description. You cannot use the first paragraph - that is often included in search listings so having it twice is not just confusing but wasteful - you could be using those words to attract readers.
  9. The first paragraph - vitally important - this should describe what the article is about and where you're going with it. It should have the introduction and conclusion wrapped up so people can skim easily and see if they want to read the article.
  10. Pictures - people love pictures. It doesn't matter what the picture is of - they love to see pictures. You don't have to put a photo with every blog entry but they like to see them occasionally - particularly important for retaining readers.
Above all, stop and think before you post. What you publish is likely to be there - forever - mistakes included. If you start out looking like an idiot, nobody will want to read your blog. If you post something idiotic you will be judged by it.  If you change your mind about something later - change your viewpoint and decide that the moon really isn't green and made of cheese then it's OK to announce a change in belief and policy. This is natural and part of human development.

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