Not long ago I wrote a post about a different approach to blogging. I was delighted to find that this post got a much better reception than anticipated and I got a lot of great feedback. In particular, I had mentioned discussing tricks for getting a bit of exposure for your blog and you guys were very interested in knowing more.
Let me preface this with a disclaimer. First, I haven’t personally tried all these tips, so I really cannot vouch for their effectiveness. I’m a bit too lazy to aggressively promote my blog. Second, views don’t always bring about engagement. These are only suggestions for attracting more eyeballs, they won’t necessarily translate to likes, follows or comments. However, you may still find something useful in the cornucopia of random advice I’ve collected.
Yup it’s annoying, yup there’s a chance that it will backfire, but clickbait is so prevalent because it works. Salacious or scandalous titles are much more likely to get clicks. One of my readers endlessly suggests adding the words “nude”, “naked” or “boobs” to post titles and watching those view counts rise.
Like I said, this method does come with certain risks. Abusing this with every post is likely to make regular readers weary and you may actually end up losing followers because of it. Moreover, if the title really has nothing at all to do with the post, you’ll likely incur some wrath from some poor internet dweller that had really gotten their hopes up.
This said, used in moderation or with some degree of self-awareness, it is a very powerful tool to generate interest in your posts.
Tag yo pics
I actually read this in one of Arthifis’ SEO optimization posts. Basically, you should always make sure that the pictures you use in your posts have at least a relevant name, a description helps as well. If you don’t know how to do this, the post I linked will give you detailed instructions.
This is one I have personally tried, and it’s worked quite well for me. I started doing this as soon as I read about it and the amount of traffic, I get from google image searches has visibly increased. Although, I will assume that most of these people are only curious to see if any other similar images are on the page and aren’t like to read the post at all, let alone interact with it, there’s still a chance that 1 in 1000 will actually discover my blog through this.
Follow for Follow is a very well-known way to get more followers quickly. The more you like, read and comment other bloggers’ posts, the more likely you are to get some reciprocity out of it. And other bloggers are usually more likely to comment or like as well.
Easy peasy! This said, I can’t see this being sustainable in the long run. Let’s not mince words, this reciprocity is often self-serving. As such, if that other blogger loses interest in their own blog (which happens pretty frequently), they also tend to stop interacting with everyone else’s. Moreover, trying to keep up with thousands of blogs is pretty much impossible.
Of course, there are tons of better reasons to keep up with the community, so I would take this more as a beneficial side effect rather than the main reason to follow blogs.
Cross platform reference.
Most of us already auto post on other platforms such as twitter and facebook. Of course, you can take it further. Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit and Tumblr are all great ways to reach people outside of the wordpress community. However, even in this there are ways to refine it.
I have a pluggin called revive old posts that can be configured to tweet out your…old posts.. Since reposting breaks your links and can get messy if you don’t plan it out well, it’s a decent way to have your new followers find out about your older content. I wouldn’t say it has done wonders, but I will occasionally get a comment on a year-old post thanks to it and that’s nice. Some of my early stuff got entirely ignored and it’s a shame because I do think I had a few good pieces.
Moreover, having your posts reproduced on different sites (such as tumblr, blogger or MAL) won’t necessarily bring readers to your wordpress blog as they will be content to read your stuff on the platform they are already familiar with, and having to maintain an active presence across multiple sites is tiresome and divides your audience. Whenever possible, it’s better to post excerpts.
Also, organically referring to your content in context works much better than simply blindly reporting on a platform. What I mean is that having a link to a relevant post in a twitter conversation or reddit thread is much more likely to get views than simply tweeting out your latest post.
Finally, the best cross promotion is third party cross promotion. People aren’t all that interested in bloggers that constantly promote their own content. Obviously you’re going to be biased when you say that your own post was great! It’s still worth mentioning, especially if it’s relevant to the conversation, but when somebody else mentions it, it’s even better.
Some time ago a random reader (who isn’t even following my blog) dropped a link to one of my posts in a tiny reddit thread. This thing had like 6 replies. And yet, I got over a hundred views from it. Since I’m almost completely inactive on reddit, I was really surprised to see it as my top referrer one day and found out what happened.
This sort of thing is out of your control of course, unless you can afford a PR team. (or kidnap some orphans…you didn’t hear it from me)…
It’s no secret that most people prefer watching to reading. Even a modest video on a tiny youtube channel is likely to get more views that a successful post. That’s why a few bloggers have opted to turn their blog posts into scripts. Basically, they will create videos for their reviews, essays or top 5 lists and use their blogs to post transcripts. Others will still post good ol’ posts and occasionally promote new videos through their blogs as well.
I’m not too sure on the effectiveness of this. From outside observation, it seems that people who have success on their youtube channel will often abandon their blogs altogether pretty quickly. So, it may not be the best for “blog” growth. You also have to keep in mind that a youtube video is considerably more work to put together than a post. If you find yourself short on time and energy already, this is probably not an option for you.
Tags, roundups and collabs
Having you blog mentioned on someone else’s will expose you to their audience. Duh.. This is wonderful, especially when you’re starting out. It actually works both ways in fact. Mentioning other blogs in your posts almost guarantees that those bloggers at the very least will see your post and will likely drive a bit of their audience to you. Round up posts and tags are often some of the most viewed content on wordpress, regardless of the quality of these posts.
And it is a nice way to form bonds between different members of the community as well!
This said, since I started this blog, I’ve often had posts featured on other blogs and it hasn’t always had an impact on my views. (By the way, the referrer and click stats on wordpress are not to be trusted)
Blog compilation site and feeds.
There are a few of these like blogloving. You need to submit your blog for consideration and people who use the service can now find you through it. For me, the most successful has been http://www.animenano.com/ as it is specialized for anime centric blogs.
At the end of the day, there’s a tendency for views to be driven by quantity over quality. If each of your posts gets 100 views and you post 5 times a day, you will get more traffic than someone who nets 1000 views for their weekly post. Every new post you publish is a new chance to get discovered by a reader so short but frequent posts are more likely to give a wider reach than longer ones that take more time to put together.
This becomes particularly interesting when you have multiple contributors who post regular content on a single blog, allowing for several substantial posts to be published every day. There’s a reason all professional blogs follow that format.
So here are the most common tips I have for you guys, if you want to share any of your own, please let us know. Also, don’t hesitate to ask if you want more details on any of those. I may not have all (or any of) the answers, but I’ll try!