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Jun 25 / Caro

Burning Question

I learned a few tips at Britmums Live. Things that weren’t necessarily rocket science, but which hadn’t really occurred to me. But I have to admit that before I went, I had just one burning question about blogging. And now the weekend is over, the question, to a degree, still remains.

How do you get people to read your blog in the first place?

You see, all the tips about how to find your voice, be funny or take better photographs are meaningless if no one is looking at my posts anyway. And a quick glance at my stats tells me it isn’t that people are coming and not liking what they see, they’re simply not coming at all.

I’m a bit baffled by newly started blogs that seem to have reams of comments almost from day one, and I have to wonder what they do that I don’t. (I know comments aren’t everything, but they are the only clue I have to the number of visitors to blogs which aren’t my own.)

When I started my very first blog, back in 2005, it seemed easier. I blogged then in a smaller niche, and the market was less crowded anyway. I joined relevant blog carnivals, got listed in an aggregator for my niche and then simply left lots and lots of comments on other relevant blogs. At least 75% of those comments in which I left a link led to a visit back from that blogger and my relationships flourished. Even though that blog is long dead, lots of those relationships aren’t.

Some people would argue that leaving a comment purely for the backlink isn’t “ethical”, (so I’m at pains to point out that these were always actual comments on the topic of the post and not left only for the link) but perhaps this is why the same technique no longer seems to work. A few months ago I was leaving multiple comments each day on blogs that I liked, but just a handful of those links have ever given me any traffic. It confuses me too, because pure curiosity leads me to visit, at some point, the blog of every person who does leave a comment on mine. (But then, we know I’m nosy!)

I know that blogging has moved beyond simply the blog since I first began. Now social media is an important extension to any blog. So perhaps the key is being more confident on Twitter (I still feel like I’m in a crowded room with conversations being shouted through me, and find it enormously difficult to connect without “butting in”) understanding how Pinterest works (I still don’t!) and using Instagram (I’ve never really got around to it). I currently have such a small following on Twitter that even if I tweet my blog posts, I get at most one visit as a result.

I also know that there are some SEO tips that I don’t employ, including not titling my photos or adding the alt text (I guess I’m lazy), plus my tagging is sporadic at best. But ironically, that is exactly where my traffic does come from – Google searches and image searches.

I’d hoped, although I wasn’t that expectant, that Britmums might give me some pointers on how best to find and build my blogging community, but instead I very much felt there was an assumption that we were all already immersed in one since we were at the event.

The funny thing is, I don’t mind if people don’t like what they read on my blog, or don’t want to return, but I’d like them to look and see, and then make that decision. So my burning question is, how to get people here?

Of course, the fact that you aren’t here means you won’t be able to answer this question, but if you do happen to drop by, please leave me your tips and tell me what I’m doing wrong!

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7 Comments

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  1. Amanda / Jun 25 2013

    I think this is one of those questions most bloggers ask once in a while, and there is no real definitive answer.

    A lot of where your views come from can depend on the type of blog you have.

    Have you considered joining linkies, they can be an amazing source of readers, and in return a great place to find new blogs.

    There’s a great info-graphic on how to get your blog post ‘out there’ I’ll have look for it and send it to you, might be helpful!

    Was lovely to meet you at Britmums BTW!

    • Caro / Jun 25 2013

      Thank you Amanda. It was lovely to meet you too!

      I’ve joined a few linkies. Some have not brought much, if any, traffic. The others bring traffic to that post, but my bounce rate is at 100%. Obviously I’m not engaging people once they get here either!

      I know it’s difficult for readers. I have a core of about 25 blogs that are my “must reads” but whilst I’m always on the lookout for great new reads, I only have so much time. I’m sure it’s the same for others and they simply don’t have the space for new blogs! I guess Ineed to find novel ways to entice them as I would like a stronger sense of belonging to the community!

  2. Jennifer / Jun 26 2013

    Well you gained me as a reader by commenting on my blog! And it was lovely to meet you at BritMums too 🙂 I don’t do many linkies but when I do I prefer the smaller ones because then I can get round and comment on everyone and over a few months you get to know the same people taking part. It does take a long time to build up traffic though, and sometimes when you see a new blog the blogger has actually been around for a while and so already has a network of followers behind them, if you see what I mean.

    I find Twitter good for starting to build relationships, follow lots of people and look for questions that you can answer or advice that you can give. Tweet posts that you find interesting, along with the Twitter name of the blogger, and they will probably follow you back and come and visit. When you’ve chatted with someone once it’s easier to chat with them when you spot them online again.

    There are also some parent bloggers groups on Facebook which are a good way to meet and chat with other bloggers. I’m not sure if you’re in any or not, but if you’d like to be tweet me and I can let you know some groups @jenniferjain

    • Caro / Jun 26 2013

      Thank you Jennifer! Likewise it was lovely to meet you.

      I’m finding my feet more with Twitter now. I used it quite a lot a few years ago, but then gave up because I just couldn’t keep up and always struggled to actually have conversations with people. Having met some people face to face at the weekend has helped too!

      I’m quite cautious about Facebook stuff as I never know what can be seen by all my friends! I know it doesn’t help with getting my blog seen, but I do prefer to keep my blogging private from some family and friends (I know they could find me by accident, but I’d prefer not to make this site obvious to them!) I will look in to it though!

      Thanks again.

  3. Hannah / Jun 26 2013

    Hi Caroline

    Twitter is the answer – that’s where I get a lot of my traffic from – and I’m not talking about only tweeting links to posts, as people don’t like being bombarded… More join in conversations, add some fellow bloggers, retweet a few tweets with their posts in that you’ve enjoyed and then they’ll return the favour.

    Other than that – BritMums have “post of the week” which is pretty good where you can link up your favourite post of the week from your blog. Also join in with a few linkys? I really enjoy “Magic Moments” on Olivers Madhouse which is every Monday.

    Oh, and if you fancy featuring on “What’s in my Changing Bag?” one week you’re always welcome 😉 xxx

    • Caro / Jun 27 2013

      Thanks for the suggestions Hannah!

      I am definitely slowly getting the hang of Twitter, but I think it goes a bit against how my brain works, so will take a bit of time.

      I’ve seen the Britmums post of the week, and must make more of an effort to join it. I’ve joined Magic Moments a couple of times, but need to write a few more “magical” posts!

      I might take you up on the “What’s in your changing bag?” but one of my answers might have to be “crumbs” as all my bags seem to have a liberal quantity of these in them!

      Thanks for stopping by! xx

      • Hannah / Jul 14 2013

        Crumbs are more than welcome 😉 xx

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