Hey, look, I know things are a mess. I took a hiatus from blogging and decided to switch up my design before returning. Please be patient, because if you can wait out the mess it means REGULAR POSTING WILL RETURN SOON! :D


Wednesday, July 8

Blogging For Beginners - Getting Readers


Do you have a “baby blog"?” Are you thinking of starting one? If you’re aiming to write a blog for the masses (i.e. not a family blog for close friends and family) it can be intimidating at first. You’re probably reading blogs with readers in the hundreds or even thousands. And maybe you’re wondering how do they get so many readers? I feel that way all the time. But recently I was contacted by a blogger asking me how I get so many readers. As I wrote my reply I realized that maybe my little blog is intimidating to people just getting started and maybe I have some advice I can share that will be helpful. Here’s what I shared in my reply!

The most important thing is content. The second most important thing is content. The third most important...well, you get the idea. Keep your audience (or desired audience) in mind when you write. Write professionally (i.e. proper grammar and such) but with personality. I like to use a very conversational, casual style because it matches who I am. Good content is key, because no matter how many ways you find to increase your traffic you need to provide something worth coming back for. I highly recommend browsing ProBlogger for lots of really good articles on writing great content.

Now for getting more traffic...

My traffic has exploded since I joined SITS. My followers more than doubled in less than a month and I haven't even been the featured blog of the day yet. I also get traffic from participation in memes such as Muffin Tin Monday and the Body After Baby challenge. I try to keep memes to about one post a week because I think too many interfere with having good content. But anything relevant to your blog and life can be a fun way to get more visitors (and to find new blogs to read).

Design/presentation is only important if you A: have already worked on content and B: have serious aesthetic issues (in other words “if your current design is fugly”). You want a design that is nice, simple, and uncluttered. Some blogs are far too busy or have crappy graphics. And you might want to consider thinking of a catchy title that is easy to remember. But a title and the graphic design are hardly important compared to getting and keeping readers.

My last two valuable suggestions are:

1. Comment, comment, comment! Visit other blogs and leave comments. Make sure they are relevant and not "hey, come check my blog" type comments. A lot of bloggers (myself included) try to visit the blogs of their followers and commenters. Sometimes I find a new blog to read that way.

2. Read, read, read! Read blogs you admire, and try to figure out what they do that works and that you like. Obviously you don't want to copy people,* but gathering inspiration is A-OK! And read books, newspapers, magazines, etc. as well. The more you read the more you get a feel for good writing. You'll probably pick things up by "osmosis."

So, there are my two cents. Be sure to visit SITS and ProBlogger. They're priceless resources as far as I'm concerned. ProBlogger even has a 31 Days to a Better Blog program you can sign up for. You'll get (free) e-mails for a month that guide you through ways to make your blog better and ways to promote it. I'm currently on day 13 or so and have already gained a lot of great ideas and knowledge.

All that said, no blog is perfect (certainly not mine)! And we “Mommy bloggers” have added distractions that get in the way of timely, typo-free posts. Be prepared to make mistakes and be prepared to wait, wait, wait for your subscriber numbers to increase. If you think you need to be wonderful and successful right off the bat you’ll never get started because the pressure will be too great. So have fun! It’s taken me a long time to transition this blog from a family blog to “the real deal".” And it’s going to take longer still to grow my readership to a size I’m happy with. But in the meantime I’m still having a blast!

Best of luck to you! Was this post helpful? What blogging tips do you have? Share in the comments!


PS- For the love of all that is good in this world DO NOT PUT MUSIC ON YOUR BLOG. It’s totally acceptable for friend and family blogs, but NOT blogs you want to be professional. And it’s especially aggravating for readers who are mothers and may have a sleeping babe in their arms. Plus, while I’m sure you loooove such and such song not everybody has the same taste in music. So please, just don’t go there.

*That’s called plagiarism and it’s WRONG.

17 Stubborn Stains:

Chandy said...

Hello, thanks for the tips! I can certainly use some of those!

Laura said...

great references and ideas. I've only being doing this for about 5 months so any advice is great. I'll ditto you on the music thing...it's so annoying when you start hearing some random song!

Anonymous said...

Great post. Even after months of doing this, I feel like such an ameture. Not being able to spell helps that feeling along. I love the P.S, which is why I never have my sound on.
I also love your comment instructions. ;-)

Melissa said...

Very good tips. Completley agree with SITS (how we found each other). I'll have to go check out ProBlogger! And couldnt agree with you more about the music.

I remember when I was so excited to have 5 complete strangers as readers!

The Surette-Nelson Collective said...

GREAT advice Holly . . . but you already know I think so. ;)

My Sweet Side said...

That is fantastic advice. Thanks for sharing.

Kimberly said...

THANK YOU!!! I hate music on blogs and everyone gets mad at me for saying it! :)

Michelle Sybert said...

I 100% agreee with everything in this post.

good content = pure awesomeness

Especially the not adding music to your blog! The other night I woke my hubs up at 1am because I forgot to turn my sound off and there was music on a blog!!

I am going to include this on my Sunday links post!

thanks so much for mentioning Muffin Tin Monday!

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

Yay! Thanks Michelle! I love your Sunday link posts!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

Thanks for the tips, they sound like the real deal to me! I think it all takes time, but I agree that if you don't put yourself out there then you won't be "found!"

Christy said...

I just found you through Her Cup Overfloweth. Great tips. I'm following you now. (I love to write that in comments...it sounds so crazy.)

Michelle said...

Here here on the music - that is a huge distraction for me. Great tips! I'm off to check out some of those links!

Emma said...

Thanks so much for your tips and enthusiasm!

Rambling Rachel said...

This is an excellent topic to blog about.

And I totally agree about the music, especially since I surf the net while breastfeeding and while DD sleeps.

MochaTrina said...

It's me again from the Saturday Sharefest.
Those are some really great tips. Like everyone else I started blogging for myself. Blogging is a way in which I manage my emotions to keep from overeating. Managing emotions is a Weight Watchers tactic. Anyway I started blogging for myself and pretty soon I noticed a few followers reading and commenting on my blog. I'm not going to lie, it feels good to have a small following BUT I have to remind myself I am doing this for me. I like your layout. Who designed it?

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

Thanks MochaTrina. I did my layout and graphics myself, actually! :D http://www.domesticdork.com/2009/06/how-to-blog-makeover.html

Chanda said...

Thank you for the great tips! I'm really enjoying your blog!

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