I occasionally get asked for blogging advice, as I assume you all do, and I do my best to answer even though I’m still a rank amateur, albeit a veteran one. By far the most common question I get is how do you reach more people/get more followers? I’ve also noticed a trend in the comments. People pointing out how long and difficult it is to get even one new follower.

I don’t know about you guys,, but in my personal experience on my blog, it’s pretty much an eternal struggle. There are days I lose readers and end up with less at the end of the week. I know it doesn’t really mean anything. A long-absent person who may never have read my blog deactivated their WordPress account and boom… I’m a little bummed that day for no actual reason. I try to figure out if my latest post was that bad. Sometimes I have a follower dance, gain one lose one, back and forth all week. Usually, whenever I get excited about being close to a milestone, those last 5 followers take forever!

And to this day, getting someone new to want to follow my blog is exciting. I won’t deny that it gives me a little thrill.

But let me tell you, unfortunately, it doesn’t get any “easier”. At least not in my experience. I thought that there would be some type of feedback loop or something of the sort that would make it so that the bigger a blog got, the more it grew naturally without any effort on my part. Nope, very wrong. You get complacent, you stagnate.

kuroko drowning
took me forever to find the right pic

Now I’m not going to rehash all the things you can do to gain followers but I will tell you the things that have worked for me and why they don’t get easier.

– Side note, I really wish WordPress would make it easier to like and comment without a gravatar account. I understand that the follow mechanic puts your blog in the person’s reader app so there would be no point in anyone following without having the app installed but I do regularly get comments to my posts on Twitter because it’s easier for the reader, instead of my blog, and I miss them half the time. I think this is one aspect that cuts down engagement and ultimately follower count.

Back to what I was saying though. One of the most effective ways for me to get followers has been community engagement. Following other blogs, reading and commenting on their posts, chatting with bloggers. That sort of thing. As I’m sure you’ve heard though, that takes time. I have a full+ time job, a social life (I know, even I’m surprised), I write regularly, not to mention all the anime to watch and games to play. At some point, you just reach a point where following a new blog and interacting regularly with them isn’t really possible without leaving someone else behind. I know firsthand how depressing it is to lose a follower so I rarely stop following blogs but eventually you have to make tough choices.

Then again, when I started out I followed everyone who followed me, something a few bloggers were exploiting, and as such, I still follow a bunch of blogs on subjects I really have no interest in and who have obviously never been on my blog at all. I should probably trade them out for fellow Anime bloggers who at least have similar interests… This said I know I can’t follow unlimited blogs and as such that particular strategy for growth has its limits for any blogger. Now I follow blogs I like whenever I find a new one or from readers I interact with. I won’t just blindly follow everyone anymore because it gets out of hand.

The other strategy to gain followers is straight-up promotion. I’m bad at this. I do projects without insisting on credit or links back. I have been told that promoting other blogs diluted your readership but I have always enjoyed sharing other blogs with readers. And if I lose readers to those new blogs, I figure they probably would not have stuck around anyway.

nisemonogatari-03-kanbaru-waving-good_bye-bandages-smile
thanks for stopping by

On the other hand, I’ve never been great about making sure other sites end up linking back to my blog and I’m super lazy about promoting my posts on other platforms. This is my own fault. But I’m just busy with the games and anime and stuff…

If you have the energy and the hustle, you can enlist other bloggers to advertise for you. I personally don’t like when people use comment sections just to plug their own blogs, especially when it’s completely irrelevant to the post, so I never click on those myself but I bet that works as well. I don’t like it because I think you should at least ask a blogger before advertising your own blog on their platform. But that’s just me. And if your own post is relevant than that’s a different story.

This said, no matter how many followers you already have, getting more is always hard work. I can’t say my blog growth has changed in any way and the moment I stop putting in the effort, it slows down. Some people might get lucky with a viral post or something and get explosive growth but for most of us, it’s a slow (I cannot emphasize this enough, it takes time) hard climb. So if you feel like you’re at a standstill, don’t worry about it too much. We are all in the same boat. It’s hard for all of us and sometimes feels like a gargantuan task! You shouldn’t worry too much about those numbers anyways, eventually, people will find your blog.

*If you get tired of it you can always write for someone else’s blog and make the follower thing their problem..? cough cough…

anime coughing

26 thoughts

  1. I’ve been really happy with the wordpress blogging community so far . I didn’t think I would be following anime blogs too , but you watch a lot of the same shows I do and do great reviews ✨ I do wish I could stay on top of reading everyone I follow . I’m slowly going through a few of my friend’s blogs . But wow what a process when I’ve been offline lol .

  2. No-one has ever asked me for advice about blogging – which is probably a good thing! 🤣 I must admit that it’s nice to get a new follower (or even a new like) but I equally admit to not being too fussed about it, as I am aware that most people who “follow” my blog probably only look at it periodically (just as I only look at theirs every now and then beyond what comes up in the “reader” feed) because they have this thing, you know, called a life. So I assume they’re just busy and stuff (as I am) and don’t take it personally if they follow and like initially and then seemingly disappear. That said, there are a couple of blogs I follow and read regularly, but they are in the distinct minority. Whether they do likewise for me I have no idea.

    As for how to “grow” my blog – well, I wouldn’t have the first idea. I would probably just write my blog anyway even if no-one read it. It’s just my stuff, afterall, and while it’s nice to share and have others take an interest, I guess I’m just aware that when it comes to the things I am interested in and interested in writing about (anime, for example) I am in a distinct minority among the people I know. So my readership being in the single figures and my likes/follows being likewise is fine by me. 🙂

    I guess a nice thing, though, is when someone tells you at some point that they’ve been reading your stuff or regularly reading your stuff without necessarily “following” you as such, and that they really enjoy/appreciate it. That’s happened a couple of times and is good for that nice inner glow. 😊

    1. You have a wonderful attitude and I’m working towards that. Not completely there yet but I hope to get there

  3. I don’t get how you do it, Irina! But you are doing a very good job at acquiring followers. And you definitely have my respect because of how you constantly support new bloggers. It’s truly adorable.

    Honestly, I gave up on growing followers here on WP alltogether. It just seems too much for me.

    I absolutely love to read some blogs here and there but there is like TONS of e-mails in my gmail labeled as “WP” because I subscribed to too many blogs. I need to sort this out somehow.

    I even disabled likes because it was distracting me. I love comments, though.

    1. I disabled the emails as well. I’m just subscribed through the reader feed. I don’t know how people do it through email notifications

  4. I’ve learned, very quickly, that I need to cherish every follower I have. My work will never reach out to a wide viewership, as nice as that would be, but it also makes me feel I have an intimate partnership with my readers. I know people are here for my words, even if it is only a few.

    That I think helps with the days when a post you make doesn’t get that much attention. It’s hard, and god it must be fucking horrible if you run a blog as a source of income. That just sounds like a hellscape.

  5. “I have been told that promoting other blogs diluted your readership but I have always enjoyed sharing other blogs with readers.”

    That’s interesting — because it’s 180 degrees from my experience.

    I think that’s because of the community engagement you mentioned. Linking to other blogs (which I’m loosely interpreting as ‘promoting’) is also something Google rewards for SEO.

    I’d love to say I ignore follower count and web traffic, because I know I’ve staked out a niche (great moments) within a niche (anime). But I can say that I have similar experience to what you’ve described. I try to offset focusing on those metrics by trying to make sure I write as well as I can in a way that is as easy for a potential reader to find as possible. Then I reflect on what kinds of behavior these metrics are trying to drive!

    1. I think it depends how you go about it. A lot of pepople do round up posts from the community with pingbacks and such. That wroks really well. It’s a great way to get content for your own blog and you almost always get engagement from the poeple you mention which boosts your SEO and all that. It’s agreat strategy and can count as community engagement for those that don’t have time for the rest.
      Just general blind promotion of other blogs, sending people to their homepage where they may never even realize you were linking to them is maybe not as stratgic… At least that’s what I’ve been told but it could be wrong.

  6. Thankfully, I prepared myself fully for what I was getting into before I ever started the blog. I knew that growth is slow, and I know it takes time and dedication to get anywhere, so I wasn’t surprised. I always heard how hard it was to grow anything like that. So, I try not to sweat it too much and just keep at it. I also do the interact with the community approach. Not only can I myself find some decent blogs to read, it’s a good way to get people to read mine as well as just being present in the community which I try to do. And I genuinely hope that my interacting with other bloggers can give them the motivation to keep going. I’m thrilled with how things have been going for me. I feel like I’m very fortunate to have all the growth and how much I’ve learned in only 6 months, but I know that the amount of commitment blogging takes can wear on you. And sometimes I believe all you need to help is just someone to tell you you’re doing a good job or give you some kind of interaction. Something that validates your work in some way. That can really go far.

    You were the first person that followed my blog, which really motivated me a lot since this big blogger that (at the time) was pretty intimating to me gave me a chance. Thanks for that. So, I think interacting with the community isn’t only a good way to grow your own blog. I think it just spreads a lot of good around to people in general.

    1. Really??? Lucky me!

      Youhave a great attitude towards blogging. I have seen so many people get discourage if they don’t have thousands of follows or 100k views a month within a few weeks.

  7. I’m definitely someone that tends to blame myself when my follower counts either stagnate or start to drop, same thing for number of likes I get per post (roughly speaking). I’m super socially awkward and I never know if my replies come off sounding horrible tone-wise even if it’s not meant to be taken that way. Like, ascertaining moods and attitudes via text can be super challenging and easy to misinterpret. I also get frustrated because due to my Heath conditions I can’t post as frequently as I’d love to (at least once a day). The brief lapses I have every few days definitely impacts my numbers, which is rather disheartening. And I’m also crappy at self-promotion. So… growing my numbers has been a humongous frustrating thing. But I did learn to stop stressing about appeasing everyone and just trying to be more true to myself and how I normally talk and I don’t tone down the excitement and fanhumaning energy anymore. By doing that, even though things are still sluggish, I have increased followers. Now if I could just get more people to communicate or drop comments, I’d be a happy hooman.

    1. Ohhh that’s a great attitude! Which doesn’t surprise me from you. You are good at great attitudes

  8. It’s easy to blame ourselves when the number of followers drops but most of the time it probably has nothing to do with the blogger. Sometimes the content doesn’t pertain to the reader and they find that out later. One thing for sure, it’s impossible to please everyone without killing our own voice. So I tried not to let it bother me too much when someone decided to unfollow me, especially if you have strong opinions. The promoting part might be a big factor for blog growth which is something I should focus on myself.

    Nice of you to share your thoughts on this subject.

  9. I feel like it’s the same with every type of creative outlet. I was in a band for nearly twelve years and the last half of those years we were really doing a serious push both IRL with shows and now – I guess, IRL 2.0 with an online following and it was a long and seemingly fruitless task. For every two hundred more followers it felt like maybe gaining one new person that might come out to a show or interact with you regularly.

    Long story short – it sucked the fun out of everything. Instead of writing for fun and doing whatever wanted it was politics with other musicians, striking deals with bands and straight up pretty much pandering and kissing peoples ass you normally wouldn’t. 😂

    I think the following is rewarding with its little bump of dopamine in our heads with each like – and I know you work your ass off and run a quality blog and deserve it but it seems like the more people around the less fun and relaxed it can be.

    It seems like it’s a blessing and a curse. But you’re doing a great job and I hope whatever it might be, personal growth, a big following etc finds you and you feel accomplished because you should. ☺️

    1. aww man, a musician, you are immediately cooler than me and the fact you stuck at it makes it even more impressive. I just finished Beck so I’m particularly into the idea of garage bands at the moment.
      I bet promoting a band is even more challenging It takes so much work just to be a good musician, the fact that you have to do anything else on top just seems unfair!

      1. Nope, nope, nope. Definitely not cooler. You support all types of bloggers and as evidenced by the comments are respected and adored! You are much cooler because kindness is cool. I think your writing and site is more popular than you initially believe and it’s well deserved.

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