“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?