Now that we’ve covered the requisite immature joke, welcome to my six-month blogiversary!
As I mentioned in yesterday’s SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT, I’m thrilled not only to make it through my first six months of blogging with minimal therapy, but also to be chosen as one of five debut authors blogging for the 2011 Debutante Ball.
To celebrate, I’m devoting the entire week to the subject of blogging.
Let me start with the caveat that I don’t claim to be an expert, and I know there are hundreds of authors with much better blogs and much bigger followings.
But I am pleased with how much this blog has grown in six months, and I want to share some of what I’ve learned so far.
In the beginning, my only readers were my mom, my agent, and a handful of kind souls who arrived by accident after googling “pet me.”
Things have changed a bit.
Last month, I had nearly 6,000 total page views, 4,300 actual visits, and about 1,800 unique visitors. On a typical day, 150-200 people stopped by. On good days, there were 300-400 unique visitors. The posts averaged 20-25 reader comments, with some prompting 50+.
Those numbers make me giddy, grateful, and a little incontinent.
But mostly, they make me ponder what brings readers here. I’ve had several people email me recently seeking advice on how to draw and keep blog readers.
Here’s what I’ve told them:
Give it to me, baby. We don’t like to admit it, but we’re selfish creatures. We want blog posts that GIVE us something. Maybe it’s a writing tip or a link to another good site. Before I click “publish” on any post, I ask myself, what am I giving readers?
I write romantic comedy, so cheap laughs is my first answer, but I don’t want it to be the only one. What else can I give? Advice? Inspiration? Discussion? Gonorrhea? If I’m not giving you two things every day, you have my permission to stomp away grumbling that I’m not putting out.
You may not write comedy, but consider what you do have to offer. Is there a subject you know well? An amusing story you can share? A list of tips for identifying toenail fungus? Give people something they want, and you’ve given them a reason to keep coming back.
Stick to a schedule. From the start, I knew I wanted to blog every weekday. Not all writers have time for this, and to be honest, it’s not necessary. What’s important is that you keep some schedule. Kristina Martin has a delightful blog she posts to twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. I always know when to pop by for a new post and a chuckle about one-armed strippers.
If you’re committed to doing it daily,
Consider how often you want to blog, and then commit to keeping that schedule. Consistency is key!
Give a little, get a little. I know there are writers who can dash off a clever blog post and kick back with a cigar to watch the readers stampede. I’m not one of them. Unless your name is preceded by the words, “New York Times Bestseller," you may have to work a bit harder to let potential readers know you exist.
Interact with people on Twitter. Find blogs similar to yours and leave comments that show you’re engaged. (Note: commenting, “ur blog is cool, want a fake Rolex?” does not show you’re engaged). Branch out and explore blogs that are nothing like yours. You might be surprised at the readers you draw if you step outside your comfort zone. Perhaps there’s a network of gay Jewish lion tamers just dying to read your post on choosing an antiperspirant.
Tell me about your blog habits. If you’re a blogger, how do you draw readers? If you’re a reader, what keeps you returning to your favorite blogs? Please share in the comments.
And please come back tomorrow to discuss the fine art of picking blog topics.
Oh, and one last thing. The Debutante Ball? I’m taking it very seriously. Very seriously indeed.
|Me in my debutante ball tiara. Technically, the tiara belongs to Pythagoras. No, I'm not kidding. I'm really not.|