I’ve been a total failure when it comes to this Summer Says discussion series, but here’s my attempt at reviving it once more anyway. Today let’s talk about some ways that can help one gain more blog traffic. And, yes, I am fully aware that this contradicts my entire “numbers aren’t important” spiel from the very first Summer Says post, but it would be a lie to say that it doesn’t cross my mind at all anymore, because it does-especially when a post does or, lately, doesn’t do particularly well.
But before I share anything, I should probably include why I’m qualified to give “advice” about this topic. Well, first, actually it’s debatable if I am, in the position to that is. (Which is why I put advice in quotations earlier.) Because I don’t really consider my blog to be that popular, but I can confidently say that I am happy with the amount of response I get towards my posts even if it is less compared to the more huge, interactive blogs out there. In addition, I have been blogging for about 2.5 years, which I guess can be deemed as a long time to some. But take this list with a grain of salt. View them as friendly suggestions that you can feel free to adopt or reject instead of reputable advice.
Also, with this post you’ll realize that I’ll be perhaps too truthful and kind of savage about some things (like how I actually don’t feel ashamed about unfollowing blogs). But I hope that this doesn’t make you view me differently as a person. Like with all my Summer Says posts, being honest with you guys is the utmost important thing to me.
Oh and one last thing, you guys already know that I struggle at keeping things pithy. So by no means do I expect you to read this entire monster of a post. You’ll be able to get the gist of things from the headers alone but I’ve even bolded the main parts of each section for emphasis to make it easier for you.
1. UTILIZE AN APPROPRIATE BLOG DESIGN AND THEME
Before one assesses what content you produce they’re going to need to be drawn in first. Therefore, how your blog looks is important.
A lot of people are mistaken that they need to pay to have a pretty site, but really one can create a nice, functional design for free as long as they know how to use the available features to their advantage. Therefore before resorting to going self hosted or buying theme packages, see if you’ve already reached the limit of what the free stuff can offer. Don’t be afraid to look things up if you don’t understand, such as some simple HTML coding. It’s also mighty important to choose a layout that presents your information appropriately. For example, if you’re a blogger that is text heavy with your posts, like if you often write book reviews, I would not recommend a photo gallery type of format (those are best for photography blogs). Also, restrain yourself from cluttering your site. Choose widgets that provide function or help your followers navigate better. But aside from those main tips personalize your blog as much as you want; no one’s stopping you.
2. THINK QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
It’s a given that people prefer quality content over getting their newsfeed or email bombarded with lower grade posts. Therefore you don’t have to force yourself to post everyday to get recognized by others. Instead strive to create when you feel inspired or motivated to, even if that means it’s only twice or once a week, or even less.
Also, be able to identify when you’re starting to feel burned out or getting slumpy. In those situations, it’s just best to remind yourself that it’s okay to take hiatuses to recharge.
[Side note: Also, I don’t know about you guys, but blogging is kind of similar experience to writing papers for school (but more fun) for me. I word it that way because I know the difference between when I’ve produced something that is worthy to proud of versus something I halfheartedly turned in for the sake of a grade. The take away point from this analogy is that you’ll have a more fulfilling blogging experience if you put effort into your posts. Plus, the readers of your blog can tell when you’ve worked hard on something and they’ll appreciate that sincerity.]
3. ATTEMPT TO BE CONSISTENT
It goes without saying that blogs that have schedules (like posting reviews certain days and bookish memes on others) will have more traffic for their consistency. Because then readers will know when to anticipate for the content they’re interested in. (For example, I normally don’t blog hop on Tuesdays because I’m no longer participating or interested in Top Ten Tuesday posts, which is the majority that is published on those days by book bloggers.)
And being consistent kind of moves into iffy territory because, in a way, this almost negates the entire “it’s okay to take blogging hiatuses” bit from the earlier point.
[Side note: Personally, when I find that a blogger becomes inactive for long period of time and I didn’t even notice that they were gone (as harsh as that sounds), it shows that my intersecting interests with that blogger or what I originally followed them for has changed, so in those circumstances I do default to unfollowing. But you’ll (maybe gasp and) still ask, “Why, Summer? It’s not like they’re cluttering your newsfeed with their inactivity.” That’s true, but my answer is that I follow blogs to keep up with them, and I can only keep up with them if they actually publish content. I digress,,.]
I’m not at all suggesting that hiatuses are negative. They’re healthy and should be taken when a blogger feels like they need them. If you can predict you’re going to be gone because of work, academic, personal, or emergency situations let you readers/viewers know. (You have no obligations to explain why if you don’t feel comfortable, of course.) But it’s good to announce these things so that your followers don’t think you’re ignoring their comments or messages when they try to contact you. And it’s also an indicator to let followers know you are coming back and not disappearing for good.
4. FOLLOW OTHER BLOGS
This is another no brainer, but with this I wanted to say to keep in mind that you should follow blogs without the “follow for follow” or “follow back” mentality. I suggest only clicking the follow button if you genuinely like the content the blogger curates. The idea of following or subscribing is so that it’ll make one of the tips I’ll later talk about (reading and commenting on blogs) easier. Also, be selective with which blogs you choose to follow. Pick those that have similar interests to you. Besides, it’s easier to keep up with 15 blogs than, say, 100.
5. COMMENT ON OTHER BLOGS
You’ve probably have already heard that interaction is key, and it’s true. Commenting on other blogs is an easy way to selectively interact with bloggers without the same commitment as following them.
Quality over quantity also applies to the strategy of commenting. Leave thoughtful comments. Avoid only typing “Great post!”or generic comments where the blogger cannot tell if you read their post are not. Simply put, they’re not going to feel compelled to check out your blog when they see that you seemingly put little to no effort while visiting theirs. But, in contrast, you don’t have to leave what I call Summer bombs (aka long, essay-like comments), but do comment with sincerity.
As for what type of blogs to comment on… This has already been a common theme in today’s list, but, again, choose blogs that release similar content to your own. That way it gives them a reason to check out your site. Consider commenting on new blogs. Welcome them, give them an idea of how awesome and supportive this community is. Plus, chances are they’re eager to make new friends as you are. And don’t hesitate to comment on established, well-known blogs. Mainly because you can learn a lot from them since they must doing something right to gain that much attention. Also, if a lot of users frequent those sites it’s likely those same visitors might stumble upon your comment and check out your blog as well.
And I guess I should really amend this heading, because don’t limit yourself to just blog posts! Comment on relevant Bookstagram photos, booktube videos, and/or posts on other accounts (ex. Goodreads reviews).
6. ACKNOWLEDGE COMMENTS ON YOUR OWN BLOG
Everyone knows I’m not the best example of someone that replies to comments in a timely fashion, but I do eventually get around to answering all of them. Because I strongly believe in the importance of acknowledging comments that are made on your own blog. The people that comment took the time to, whether it be seconds or minutes, so in my opinion the least that you can do is acknowledge that you saw it. If you cannot get around to replying (which I’m super guilty of most of the time), a simple upvote, like, or even commenting back on that person’s blog will do. Anything that makes that person feel like their comment wasn’t purposely disregarded or ignored.
In addition, if you do have the chance to reply, I also suggest responding with equal sincerity to commenter’s comment. There’s no right or wrong way to answer, but writing on the internet can easily be misinterpreted. So a generic “thank you” answer to an essay long comment might appear like a halfhearted reply, and you don’t want that. But also, vice versa, I wouldn’t spend too much time on the generic “Great post!” comments.
7. MAKE SURE THE LINKS RELATED TO YOUR BLOG ACTUALLY WORK
With certainty that you have all of the other stuff down, the next step is to check if all the links that are associated with your blog are actually working and can refer back to your blog. There have been numerous of times where I’ve wanted to blog hop onto a user’s blog by clicking on his/her’s hyperlinked name/image, but then the link doesn’t work. And you can bet on eleven unicorns that I wasn’t curious enough to go search for that user’s blog on google. It’s your responsibility to make sure these things work. (I didn’t realize this was so important until I looked at my “referrer” section under my blog stats. Many people have found Xingsings through other blogs apparently.) Also, don’t be lazy. If you’re going to talk about something you previously published in a post, link it! Make things convenient and accessible for readers/visitors of your blog.
8. ADOPT SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS FOR FUTHER PUBLICITY
Personally, I don’t use my social media accounts to their full potentials but I know that becoming available on additional platforms have worked for a lot of bloggers. The more options or places people can find you or get notified of when you post something new, the better.
9. NETWORK AND BUILD FRIENDSHIPS
Obviously, this tactic is more of a long-term one compared to just commenting. Making friends isn’t only for the good company but they can become a group of your constant supporters. You can rely on them for advice if you’re uncertain about something. Plus, this gives you the opportunity to collaborate and get your voice out there on other blogs (via things like guest posting). So if you’re interested in making friends through the blogosphere, join events that involve other bloggers with the same interest as you. If you’re a book blogger, consider signing up for blog tours, readathons, challenges, buddy reads, bookish events and author signings.
10. MAKE YOURSELF AND YOUR BLOG STAND OUT
As you know, there are a gazillion of blogs out there. So it helps if you know your strengths and use them in a way that helps make your blog unique. Create unique features that can only be found on your blog; or publish posts that people can immediately attribute to only you. For example, people can recognize your content by the way you format your posts, use pictures to supplement your posts, or acquire a particular writing “voice.” To be honest, this entire concept is still a work in progress for me.
[BONUS] HAKUNA MATATA! JUST HAVE FUN
With all that having been shared though… Again, at the end of the day, what makes you a successful blogger doesn’t have to equate to something that is measurable. A successful blogger can simply be a fulfilled one. You should feel entitled to be proud of yourself, regardless of however many followers, visitors, or views you have. Ultimately, just enjoy yourself and have fun with blogging.
Lol, so I’m starting to second guess why I’m publishing this post now (it was saved as a draft for the longest time) since my traffic has been quite sparse as of late (thanks to my hiatus because of school). But, I guess I also thought it was now or never. 😀
- What suggestions do you guys have that I may have missed or didn’t cover enough?
- Any other thoughts related to this topic?