How To Attract Readers to Your Blog… What I Must Be Doing Wrong

I must be doing this all wrong, because the ‘footfall’ on this blog is not good.  In fact, it’s hopeless.  So, a few weeks ago, I Googled how+attract+readers+blog and I read all the standard advice which I sort of knew already.

1.  Thou shalt optimise your content for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

SEO means get your website to the top of the hit list on Google when someone makes a particular search.  (Honestly, no other search engine matters.)  On a normal website, you implement SEO by using a relevant headings Green Tickand repeatedly using keywords within your text.  I’ve done all this, Dear Reader, and also, using WordPress, chosen and used relevant categories and tags to flag up my content to search engines (well… Google).

2.  Thou shalt provide, on thy blog, buttons to other social media

Buttons To Prompt Readers to Share Your Content.

Like the one at the side.  The idea is to make it easier for readers to share your content in other social media.X

No, I’ve never done anything like that, although I’m sure it’s easy to set up and I do use the WordPress link to publicize on Facebook and Twitter.  But, if no one’s reading the blog in the first place, they’re not likely to refer it on to Pinterest (or something else), are they?

Thou shalt write an interesting heading for each post

Something to draw the reader in.   A familiar concept for all writers.

I’ve tried, DR, although some of my headings have not been particularly special.  Three Reviews and Other Sort OfThings for instance.)  Could do better!

Thou Shalt Invite Other Bloggers To Make Guest Appearances

XThe idea is to create more interest, and they say it works, but,if I’m reading one person’s blog, I want to hear from him/her, not someone else.  I haven’t attempted this.

6.  Thou shalt network with those with similar interests

the blogs of other bloggers writing about the same sort of stuff as you.  To a writer, this is the Green Tickobvious one:   have a lot to learn from other writers, not least getting to know what goes and what doesn’t.

 7.  Thou shalt create a sense of belonging

I should make my blog a sort of open clique, with its own language and jokes.  I can see the appeal of this but I’ve never seen it done.  I keep referring to Dear Reader in my posts, because I like it, and it’s so CharloXtte Bronte, but I wonder if readers actually find it annoying.

8.  Thou shalt use numbered lists

Well, it says in the Bible that every hair on your head is numbered, so why not five or this and three of that?  The idea is to make your content feel more manageable.  Your reader should think to himself/herself “Well, at least Sort Ofthere are only five ways to attract more readers to your blog.  This shouldn’t take me long to read and act upon.”   I have tried to do this occasionally, but without good results.  I wonder if this isn’t this a bit of an urban myth?

9.  Thou shalt stay on topic

This is supposed to be a writing blog but I have to confess that I have gone off topic, several times, largely on to Xpersonal issues.  Bad girl!

On the other hand, thou shalt not patronise your readers

This, believe it or not, comes from an otherwise useful article on promoting your blog:

Ah yes. A familiar beginner’s problem for any new blogger: No readers.

Another thing writers must not do is boast about their successes.  Naively I supposed I could use my blog to say things like, ‘Oh, I’ve had this accepted and that accepted’, but – guess what – those posts attracted fewest hits of all.  We writers are a jealous lot.

There are all sorts of other things thou shalt and shalt not do but the more I read the less I liked the the quick fixes.   However, two thoughts from two consecutive issues of a printed magazine, ‘Christian Writer’ (the journal of the Association of Christian Writers), struck home with me.

First of all, Philip Davies (Chair of the ACW), who is about to publish a YA Fantasy novel, writes in the editorial of the Spring 2015 edition:

‘It’s much easier to promote something that’s well written.  Great stories, powerful testimonies, entertaining and life-transforming books almost recommend themselves to each reader through word of mouth.’

Then in the Summer 2015 edition, the incoming editor of the magazine, James Prescott, writes:

‘I began to write simply to gain an audience.  I wrote what I thought would appeal to most people, using the right language, the most attractive title, and, in hindsight, wrote not out of passion but out of a desire to impress and  gain a following.

And I lost my taste for writing.’

James goes on to say that only when he ‘wrote from deep within’ that he regained the joy of writing and produced better work.

There are bloggers whose blogs are more of a personal diary and who are genuinely not bothered about ratings, but I don’t think James was going down that road.  Many writers have said, in so many words, that you can sell anything on any topic if you write with emotion and interest, and how can you do that if you don’t write from the heart?  It’s very difficult writing from the heart about writing, when you’re not doing any other writing, with the result, I feel, that this blog has lost direction.  I therefore must find my direction, through my heart.

Hope you find this ruminative, and painfully honest, post just a little bit interesting.  We’re off on hols tomorrow, to Iceland then Canada (via Wonderful Daughter in Sussex first).

My sources for all the ideas above are

5 Ways to Attract More Readers To Your Blog

How to attract readers to your blog and make them stay

You’ve Got a Blog. Now, Get Readers

21 Ways to Attract New Readers and Keep Them Coming Back

5 Inexpensive Tips to Attract Readers to your Blog

(Note that three of the six articles above use the numbered lists method!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Attract More Readers to Your Blog

 

 

 

 

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11 thoughts on “How To Attract Readers to Your Blog… What I Must Be Doing Wrong

    1. Thanks. The word of the week does seem quite popular and I enjoy finding out the meanings myself (even though I forget most of them!)

  1. Funnily enough, my next post also involves lack of traffic to my blog. Of course, like you say, at the top of my list is to write more content to ensure any visitors have something different to read. Some good tips here, though. Hope you have a fabulous holiday and come back refreshed and prepared for new challenges.

  2. Am writing this on tour bus in Reykjavik which (amazingly) has internet on board. We can’t go on like it! We’ve got to attract more readers. Suggest we work together on this!

    1. You’re such a jet-setter, and I think that sounds like a plan, although I have no idea, as yet, how to implement it. Was thinking of giving my site an overhaul in September, around its third anniversary, and introducing a variety of content. Not too much, though, that posting then becomes onerous. Have a think, and we could swap ideas via email, once you return. Thanks for the writing tips, by the way. Will study them, meticulously.

  3. This is very interesting to me because I am constantly thinking about how to increase traffic on my blog. I do think that connecting your social media and interacting on all platforms helps, but it’s a ton of work and sometimes I don’t think the payoff is worth it. Of all the platforms, however, I think the Twitter connection to WordPress is the most powerful and I regularly tweet links to my book reviews and the impact is noticable. When the low numbers start to bother me, though, I think about the terrific connections I’ve made with a good number of loyal followers who are consistently supportive!

    1. Thanks for your very thoughtful comment, Book Club Mom. I too have found that Twitter gets posts noticed and people have followed me on Twitter, even though I don’t do much else on there.

      Regarding social media connections being a lot of work, I just recheck the Refresh Facebook and Twitter connections on WordPress occasionally, but, having read your comments, I’m now wondering if there is something else I should be doing.

  4. I suppose we have to ask – why are we blogging? Is it for traffic or for ourselves? I was very happy to have any readers at all at first but then one Freshly Pressed gave me such a spike in readers that I have felt let down ever since! It set me off always having in mind that I’d like more ‘approval’ of the Freshly Pressed kind – which spoils the whole experience of writing. So, now, I try to take a deep breath, carry on, do what comes naturally and not expect too much – then I’m not so disappointed. Or am I? Well done for this self-examination Charlie – let us know how you get on – and please – tell me all about Iceland – that’s almost top of my must-visit-places list .

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