This afternoon, I’d like to continue some thoughts I have on blogging. As a reminder, I’m taking the time out to do this series for two reasons: 1) because this month marks my two years spent as a blogger and 2) because I get a fair amount of readers and bloggers emailing me with blogging-related questions. I have about 4-5 more posts up my sleeves, but I’m listening to you and will add more if I perceive a need.
One of the questions I get the most is: “how do I grow my blog?”
I would like to answer this question in two posts. The first one, today, is probably not the answer you’re expecting. But I hope you’ll bear with me.
Why you should care about other blogs
Let me clue you in on a secret.
Perhaps one of the biggest sources of your future traffic depends on other bloggers. I’m not joking. I bet if I asked, many of you found me through Thrifty NW Mom, Hip2Save, or Money Saving Mom. You need other bloggers, particularly ones in your niche that are more established than you.
I can tell you that since making a concerted effort last year to get to know the bloggers in my neighborhood, my traffic has more than doubled. Coincidence? I think not.
The worst thing you can do
Do not SPAM these bloggers. What exactly do I mean by that? For starters, don’t leave a comment on one of their posts encouraging their readers to come visit you, just ‘cuz. Trust me when I say this will NOT make a favorable impression on that blogger. In fact, some bloggers will delete your comment entirely if it feels you’re only promoting your site. Same goes for Facebook. Respect the space they’ve created. Many bloggers, myself included, offer advertising opportunities. If a link or button up is what you’re after, inquire about rates.
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself: “is this comment/post keeping the conversation on topic? Or is it just about a way to drive traffic to my site?”
Making a favorable impression
So what can you do to get to know other bloggers? Promote them and/or help them in some way. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but I’d love to give you some real-life examples.
:: A blogger retweets one of my tweets. I want to know who this blogger is! I’m pretty likely to not only “follow” them on Twitter, but click through to their blog. I had this happen just last week. If they’re in my niche, I’m also likely to subscribe to their feed.
:: A blogger shares one of my posts on Facebook and tags me. I am likely to click on to their Facebook page, and “like” them back. Now I’m getting all of their updates in my news feed. This is one of the main ways I follow bloggers and makes it more likely I’ll see one of their deals and link back.
:: A blogger takes the time to send me an email introduction. Awhile ago, I had a blogger offer to write a guest post. It’s so great getting an email that says, “can I help you today?” That blogger did such a fabulous job, I still sometimes still link back to her post.
:: A blogger joins the conversation. I’m gonna call someone out right now that has done a fabulous job of this – Maegen from Sounds Fun Mom. If you read regularly, you’ve probably noticed her very helpful comments! They are meaty comments, upbeat, and they enhance what I have to share. Maegen caught my attention several months ago, and also ended up writing a guest post and appearing with me in a live webcast. She did an excellent job of “getting on my radar” in a very friendly, professional way!
Finally, remember that what goes around, comes around. Be generous with your links and promoting others, and you make it easy for others to want to help you, too.
Tomorrow, I’d like to share some non-SPAM ways you can promote your site. Stay tuned.
Have you worked to promote other bloggers? Other tips you’d like to share?
Other posts in this series: