Over the past year, Simply Stephanie Blog has had its fair share of growing pains. Like anything else, there has been some trial and error to learn what “works” and what doesn’t in the blogosphere. Some have recently noted that SSBlog has accumulated over 650 subscribers (and over 30,000 views) in approximately a seven month period. I have been asked one simple question, “how?” Although I have already touched on some of this in a previous post, here are my best answers:
- Keep things short and sweet. If people see too many words right off the bat, they won’t even bother reading your first paragraph.
- Break paragraphs up with pictures. Not only do pictures greatly increase the probability of people even reading your article to begin with, but it makes it more engaging and makes it appear as though there is less to read.
- Radio silence will lose people, fast. Think about it, if the radio (or TV) station that you are listening to has technical difficulties and isn’t working, what do you do? Change the channel. Same concept with readers. If you go radio silent for an extended period of time, unless they are your mom or a devoted fan, bid them farewell.
- Content always overrules consistency. Here is the one caveat to #3, radio silence will lose readers, but so will pointless ramblings. Consistently posting content-less posts will get you your very own WordPress diary read by you, and possibly your mom.
- Content DOs and DON’Ts. Do you have a political blog? No? Then don’t post about your views. This took me a while to learn this, the hard way. A) Nobody really cares if they agree with you and b) if they don’t agree with you, you just lost audience members on a random post not even associated to your blog theme. Same goes for overall content in general. What are you trying to say? Does your post have a point? Do your viewers care about said point, or is it just for you?
- Do unto others as you would have done to you. Want people to visit your blog and leave comments? Go to other like themed blogs, introduce yourself and leave a comment (kudos are nice as well). When people take the time to comment on your posts, take the time to respond. Also, take the time to be interested in what they are posting about as well. You will get what you give.
- Do your research. Wordpress has a wonderful variety of monitoring tools that help you to see which posts get the most hits, which don’t, which categories are popular, which aren’t, etc. If you’re looking to improve your blog and grow your audience, look at what is working and what isn’t. Learn from those trends and then move forward from that. Google is also a wonderful tool. I have learned how to used better tags, claim my blog on Google, tag my articles on Bing (from Google, I know) and more. It does take some extra time and effort, but it is worth it.
- Have fun. Most of us do this because we love it. If you stop loving it, then don’t do it. If you’re doing it though, have fun with it. I am not talking about the crazy background, multiple color/size font fun either. I’m talking about creative writing styles, trying new things fun. Always wanted to try a photo blog? Test out a few of your pictures. Think you’re a comedian? Write like it and see if you sink or swim. It never fails that the posts I have the most fun with (and don’t necessarily worry about writing like it is a college graded essay), are the posts the viewers like best.
- Share, Don’t Solicit. Sharing makes people think happy thoughts. Soliciting makes people think of the annoying door-to-door salesmen. Share your posts on several different platforms once, maybe twice per post. If people want to, they will come. If you flood a platform with the same thing over and over, people will either delete you or not want to read what you have to say.
- Don’t Pull a FaceBook. You know how every few months FaceBook likes to redesign their layout and change things around and people are openly distraught over it? It is human tendency to not openly welcome change. Unless your site just isn’t working or you want to try minor updates here or there, stop the theme changes with complete layout overhauls every other month. It is confusing, sometimes annoying, and makes one wonder if they are on the right site. If it ain’t broke…
I hope these help. There are books written on this topic so 10 bulletin points hardly encompass all there is to say, but it is a start.
Fellow bloggers, what would you say I missed?