Last week I wrote a post on How to Start a Blog and said I would follow up with a post on how to grow your blog. Let me say when I began blogging it was with the sole purpose of keeping our respective grannies up to date with what was happening in the life of my little Hoods. I never intended to grow our blog, I did it inadvertently. We don’t have a huge blog but it is bigger than I ever expected. And I don’t make millions of dollars from our blog – that’s the next question folks ask!!! And I never intend to give up my day job for blogging!!! I am first-off a wife and a mom and I love that, blogging comes somewhere down the line after that. I am sure you are dying to know, and a superb writer would save their punchline to the end but here goes: The thing that seriously grew our blog was quite simply:
Once you have started a blog you will eventually, and this may take a few minutes or a couple of months, want more than your immediate family to read your blog. In fact I know that most of my family and real live friends don’t read our blog… but other folk do. An astonishing number of folk virtually wander through our kitchen on a daily basis. I know there are blogs dedicated to teaching you how to grow your blog, Problogger for example, is great. There are also all sorts of little tricks and fancy words and in depth studies that will show you how you can do it!!!. But I have found that growing a blog is all about making friends. In the virtual world the more friends you have the the bigger your blog will grow, because in the virtual world friendships are connections and the more connected you become the bigger your blog will grow.
- Comment Consistently: I bet you have a couple of blogs that you read and love already – take the time to comment, tell the blogger what you love… reaching out is the first step in any friendship and commenting is the first step in reaching out in the virtual world. I have made so many true and lasting friends just by commenting consistently. You can go one step further than commenting and link to the blogs you love, I always go and have a look at blogs that are linking to us and this works both ways… when I link to a blog I follow, generally the author comes over to say hi… every visitor is adding to your traffic. You never know they may even link back to you, in which case expect a traffic spike of note and even though you traffic will drop after a spike it never drops back to the level you began with.
- Comment Cautiously: Don’t comment on every blog you read – you will never have time to maintain your own blog if you do. This is an easy trap to fall into… spend an evening commenting on other folks blogs and then realize – oops you are too tired to post on your own site. I keep the blogs that I am most likely to comment on in a separate folder in my news reader… and I know if there are posts in that folder then I am probably going to be commenting.
- Comment intelligently: Make the effort when you comment to say something worthwhile, think of them as mini blog posts. If your comments are valuable they will get noticed. Before you know it you will be meeting other loyal readers of a blog who will pop over and visit to see what you have to say on your blog as well. Many times I have made a comment on a site only to be surprised by an increase in traffic to our blog for a few days following – that comment may well have “directed” the direction that the comments that followed takes. So really take the time to think about what you are saying and make sure that it is relevant.
- Comment Carefully: I know I am at fault here, but try and keep errors out of your comments!!! Bad spelling and so on are not very inviting. Mixed up words and grammar errors just don’t say: “Come over to my blog, come over and visit,” very well!!! Also, if you don’t fill in your return address or your blog information correctly then no-one can get back to your site anyway.
- Comment Timeously: If you are just socializing then comment anytime but if you are hoping to grow traffic from your comment then you need to comment as high up the comment list of the latest post on a blog as you can. Traffic from a really big blog can literally fly over to visit you if you comment in the first three to five comments… even the first fifteen comments is good!!! I know for myself that if I read a post and intend to comment then I will read the first couple of comments as well… often I will go and visit the site of an interesting comment.
- Use Your Comments: Often comments on our own blog are a place for readers to ask questions, either there or on our contact page. Questions are a fabulous way to get ideas to blog about, especially since you know your readers want to know more about that topic. If someone has made the effort to ask a question then I make sure that I address the question either right there in the comments or in a follow up post a week or two down the line. Nothing builds traffic to your blog quite like giving your readers what they want to read.
- Carnival Linking and Commenting: Carnivals are the ultimate in commenting… They are an open invitation from fellow bloggers to “comment” with a blog post. Carnivals are little weekly blog parties around the blogosphere where folks can link up posts they have written that week. I have a couple that I try and link to each week, if I have written something relevant. Carnivals like: Works for me Wednesday and Craft Schooling Sunday. Just as I pop around visiting other sites who have joined the link-up so they visit ours.
- Treat Your Commentators like the Guests they are: I am a blogger, which by definition means that I enjoy getting comments… they are like little gifts to unpack, I really appreciate them. Only a very small percentage of my readers are inspired enough by what we write here to actually comment… and I will always respond and say thank-you and wish them a great day!!! I want them to feel extra-welcome for their efforts.
The Se7en + 1th thing:
That’s it Se7en Strategic Commenting Tips to grow your blog… Next time I will share about how I blog and where I find the time!!! Meanwhile, Happy Blogging!!!