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.
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.
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…