Thursday, July 9, 2009...1:00 pm

The five pillars of blog longevity, part 4

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Part 1;   Part 2;   Part 3;   Part 4;   Part 5
The fourth part of this week’s series on keeping your blog going is about readership.
4) Build an audience
A big problem for the new blogger is writing into a void. Without a readership or feedback, generating posts can feel pretty pointless.
The solution at first is simply to pretend you have one. Imagine a range of interested or curious readers who might stumble across your blog and write for them. Try out different tones of voice, different rhythms and different topics. The fact that you probably don’t have an audience at first should encourage you to relax into your writing and become more confident.
But that only lasts so long. Pretty soon, it will get lonely typing into your WordPress or Blogger window and you’ll need some companionship to encourage you to keep going.
Market your blog
That’s why it’s important to learn how to market your blog as well as to create its content.

  • Comment on other blogs. Spend time visiting other blogs in related fields and take part in the discussion. Pick ones with a big audience and add your comments
  • Add your blog address to your email signature. You’d be surprised how many people will take a quick look. If your blog is at all interesting you will pick up some readers.
  • Join other social networking sites. People find their way to Freelance Unbound from my Twitter page and vice versa. And since I started to get quite a bit of traffic via Facebook when I blogged about the graduate show of UCA journalism students, I’ve updated my Facebook profile with the FreelanceUnbound web address too.
  • Add relevant blogs to your blogroll. Mention other relevant blogs and add a link to your homepage. This will probably be reciprocated by at least some bloggers.
  • Get listed. Submit your blog to as many blog listings as you can. For journos, the blog listing is one place to start. You’ll need to register and log in before you can add your URL to the listing. Try out sites such as Technorati and BlogCatalog as well – it can’t hurt.

Getting in contact with other bloggers has other benefits too, but we’ll talk about that more tomorrow.
Create compelling content
Creating good, relevant content is also key to building up an audience.
Web search is very important to draw in passing trade. A recent post on ProBlogger suggested 8 First Step SEO Tips for Bloggers. Top of the list was compelling content [HT: Bristol Editor].
But some content is more compelling than others. The usual roster includes best-of lists, tips and advice to do something specific and topical comment. A very good post on blog content is here.
Finally: The last entry is all about making friends online and having a nice chat.
Part 1;   Part 2;   Part 3;   Part 4;   Part 5

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