Summer of the Blog

“What do I write about?” is probably tied with, “How do I get readers?” for the most frequently asked question about blogging. Here are my top five ways to find readers for your blog in.

1) Comment – Probably the most common answer to, “How do I get readers?” is, “Comment on other blogs!” It’s true, but not in the way most people think of. If you’re leaving comments on other blogs simply in the hopes that the other blogger clicks through and checks out your blog, you’re doing it wrong. That’s very slow and pretty shallow. Comments should be about conversation and connection and that’s what makes them a great way to build a network of blogging friends. Blogging friends don’t translate directly to more traffic, but they can introduce you to their readers by including you in their sidebars, introduce you to new opportunities to connect to more people, and give you support when you’re having problems.

2) Be Active – Actively participate on social networking websites. You don’t have to spam links to your blog in your posts to get readers. If you consistently write useful, witty, entertaining, and/or compelling posts, people will click through your profile to your website to see more of what you have to say. Craft specific sites like Ravelry are the best, but even Twitter is a good place. G+ and Twitter chats like Craft Social (hash tag #craftsocial on Twitter) are great places to connect with other crafters. Don’t forget to link to your blog on your profile!

3) Community Projects – You can participate in community projects like Knit and Crochet Blog Week or even host your own. When you host an event, you’ll generally receive more traffic than when you are just participating, but it’s a lot of work. I don’t recommend hosting an event just to get traffic. Do it if you can think of something you’ll enjoy that others will also enjoy. When it comes to participating in a project, short is best in my opinion. The long term projects like theme days that don’t have a defined end can get forgotten or stale, and there is constantly new content so there’s no time for other participants to revisit your posts that they might have been too busy to read while working on their own.

4) Get Featured – There are a lot of websites out there that feature bloggers’ content, and they’re a great way to get your work seen by a new audience. The more reputable ones feature a picture, maybe a blurb, and a link to your blog. If they want to repost the whole post, run away. With reposts, there is less incentive for a reader to click through to your blog, and there is no compensation for your work (More on that below). Since websites that feature other crafters’ work rely mostly on pictures, this is where gorgeous photos are essential because, unfortunately, very few sites will feature good crafts with poor pictures. Many of them require you to submit so don’t sit around waiting for someone to request to feature your work. Be proactive! Craftgawker.com and Craftzine.com are two of my favorite websites that feature great work.

5) Get Published – This is probably the most difficult thing to do on this list, but it also might be the most effective. Get your work published on another website to reach a wider audience, and be sure to include your blog in your author blurb. Patterns and tutorials are the most obvious things to get published because there are a lot of online craft magazine’s that are open to those kinds of submissions. Articles are also a nice choice, but craft related articles are a bit harder to get published. Getting published by a webzine is one of the best options because they have such a large readership, and you’ll get compensated for your time, but guest posts are also a good option. Guest posts can be less intimidating, but don’t volunteer to guest post for just anyone. Unless you’re paid for a guest post, you’re basically giving away free content that you could have used on your own website so I would suggest only writing guest posts for your blogging friends or bloggers who will return the favor somehow.

Does anyone else have any tips or tricks to share?

10 Comments

  • I don’t strive for thousands of readers or anything, but it’s nice to see new people commenting on my blog. I tend to write about what I know and I can see from the search terms what people are looking for when they find my blog (for me, it’s stuff about homeschooling and the “kids eat free” list I made last year)

    I also get hits from the homeschooling forum I’m a part of and I tweet my posts.

  • Thanks a lot for the tips! I’m always so nervous about commenting on blog posts for some reason. I’ll try to get more confident and “converse” a bit more on all of the wonderful blogs I read. Hope you’re having a good week so far!

  • This is a great post! I think Twitter is where it’s at in terms of meeting other craft bloggers/readers. I also met some great people participating in a knit-a-long through Ravelry. I think connecting with others is my favorite part. I didn’t know anyone as dedicated/obsessed with knitting in real life before I started blogging.

  • I agree with Elise about leaving comments. They read like awkward answering machine messages sound:). But, I have so enjoyed “meeting” people with similar interests thru blogs, Flickr, and Ravelry that I try to give feedback when I have time.
    I started blogging for my own personal record of things I try, never thinking anyone would read it. I don’t have lots of followers, which is fine because it’s never been the goal, but im always surprised by what causes a reader spike. Like when I was doing a 365 project- of all things- I was intensely uncomfortable and felt like such a doofus thru most of the year of self portraits, so I couldn’t believe anyone would follow those posts from Flickr to my blog. These days it’s usually knitting posts that may draw readers. Just shows if you write about what interests you, you’re bound to find like minds out there.

  • Great post! I love it when new readers leave comments on my blog, I am so much more likely to click through to their blog and comment back. So be brave, all ye lurkers!

    Also, I don’t if I’ve ever told you this, but I get a good amount of traffic from your site! So thanks for including me on your sidebar 🙂

  • Commenting can also backfire, if you comments are insincere and obviously only done to attract attention (for example: comments unrelated to the blogpost or even simply sayin “Hey! Check out my blog”).

    Apart from getting new readers, keeping the ones you have is a challenge as well. I’m by far not and expert on this, I’d say it’s very important to devellop your own distinct voice, your own style, way of writing and have a clear subject to your writing, so people who check out your blog will have a motive to check back in and keep track of you. For example blogs about vintage and crafts, while Kate Davies or TinyOwlKnits each have their own distinct, recognizable ways of talking about their knitting designs and personal life.

    To wrap up: I like your series on blogging! Fun to read and usefull.

  • I would add a couple of other things to this list:

    1) Write interesting craft-related content.
    2) Learn how to take and edit good pictures.
    3) Make sure your blog is visibly pleasing or at least easy to read. Funky colors and busy fonts = BAD.
    4) Provide ways for people to subscribe to your blog, via twitter, facebook, enewsletter or RSS feed.

    • Those are great ways to keep people around once they find you, and that’s even more important than getting tons of people to your website, but people still have to get there first.

  • I fully agree with your tips. I didn’t understand why I didn’t have many visitors to my blog when I first started, but as I started feeling confident about connecting with other crafters, it all started happening. Now, I feel as if I’ve formed real connections with some of these crafters, and that is a reward in itself.

    I’m really enjoying this series, Andi!

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