A few new bloggers have approached me lately asking how to find an audience. There are many articles written on the subject, but I thought I’d just tell you what has worked for me.
I currently have 4,500+ followers, and I usually get a handful of new ones every day. While it’s not a life-changing, internet-famous, income-generating, quit-your-job kind of number, it still makes me very happy to know that people are enjoying my blog enough to want to come back. I love the little community of regulars who have gathered around me, and they really have become my inspiration. I do the best job I can to keep them coming back, and I’m lucky enough to be able to call some of them real friends! (You know who you are.)
I have been thinking about how I got followers my first year, and with the exception of a few generous re-blogs and voluntary awards listings (Liebsters, etc.), nearly every one of those people found me because I found them first. Here’s how.
Be a Reader. I read somewhere that the best way to grow a blog following was to be an avid reader of and participant in other people’s blogs. That’s what worked for me in my first year. It is truly time consuming, and I couldn’t manage it every day, but I put in as much time as I could actively seeking out like-minded bloggers. I don’t follow or otherwise encourage any blogger whose posts I find offensive or with whom I don’t agree, and I only like and comment on posts I actually enjoy. However, you do have to be somewhat generous with your attention if you want people to feel inspired to check out your site.
Be responsive. Speaking of attention, whenever someone comments on my blog, they get a response from me. Every. Single. Time. If you engage your readers, they’ll feel more welcome and will want to come back.
Be the welcoming committee. Another great way to build your following is to do a daily search for new bloggers and wish them luck. You’re making someone who may be insecure feel like they’re being heard, and you know how great that is. Also, if they’re new to blogging, they’re much more likely to not only follow but also read and comment on your blog. Someone did that for me early on, and they became something of a mentor for me in my early days when I didn’t know how stuff worked. That mentor has since left WordPress, but I learned a lot from her, and now I get to offer advice to bloggers with questions (like you!).
Be visible. Another trick for getting people to read your blog is to make use of auto posts on social media. Every day at 7 AM when I publish, my post also goes out on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Tumblr. And if I don’t feel like it’s getting enough love, I’ll go on Facebook and repost it later in the day with a more personalized message about why I think my friends should see it. I wish WordPress didn’t require people to create an account in order to like or comment on posts, but even if people just feel moved to share your posts on their own social media, you’ll get some new readers. I usually get about 5 new followers a day. That’s good enough for me!
Be reliable. I really recommend developing – and sticking to – a posting schedule. I schedule my posts to publish at the same time every day. That way, people know just what to expect and when. Because my posting schedule is predictable, it is easier for my readers to add my blog to their routine. I know some of my readers make it part of their morning ritual to check my blog when they’re having their coffee. I have heard that a few in other time zones make it a habit to read my daily posts after their dinner or during their commute. Because they know they can count on my new content being there at a certain time, they check in on a more regular basis.
Be social. And finally, one of the easiest ways to get new followers and also discover new blogs is to join “meet and greet” posts. Click here to find the current ones. You may also feel free to use this post as your first meet and greet. Just comment below with your URL and a quick description of your blog. Then visit and follow the sites of the other bloggers who comment, and they will visit and follow you. Like magic!
I wish you all good luck with your new blogs. I hope they bring you as much joy as mine brings me!
P.S. In case you’re interested in how I manage my blogging time, here’s an article wherein I gave up all my post-a-day secrets!