I can't believe it. I reached 1000 followers. How crazy is that?!
I remember when I first added the little follow widget and within a few days I had 8 followers. It blew my mind that there were people out there who were actually interested in what I had to say....you know, because it's not like my own family listens to me.
I never imagined that the blogosphere could be as wonderful as it is...I have caught myself many times talking to someone and saying, "My friend, Jen, wrote the funniest post today about her kids..." or "my friend, Missy, came up with this super fun craft to do with the kids..."
Yes, I referred to people I've never met in real life as friends. Because they truly seem like a friend, in every sense of the word, along with many other bloggers I follow.
Something about these friends feels safe, supportive, encouraging and inspiring. They do not sit in judgment or harshly criticize us. They have our backs and can be fiercely loyal when it's necessary.
For someone who doesn't blog, they simply have no concept or understanding of what this means. They might think it's a little strange, even.
In many instances, it begins as a friendly exchange of comments on one another's blog. Then, at some point, the blogger e-mails you personally or you e-mail her to further continue a conversation that started off in the comment section.
You both reveal a little more about your lives to one another and realize how much you both have in common. Before you know it, a genuine friendship has blossomed...she becomes someone you care about. You hurt when she hurts, you laugh when she laughs, you cry when she cries.
When she's going through something you have experienced first-hand, whether it be a difficult pregnancy, depression, losing a job or marital issues, you want to hold her hand and help her through it.
The best way to describe it is you have become invested in one another. If you lived closer, she's someone you could see yourself wanting to spend time with, sharing a cup of coffee and some giggles.
Of course, in this day and age, you have to be extremely cautious and observant because unfortunately there are predators and imposters lurking on the internet, just waiting to pounce on an innocent person who seems trusting and open to some kind of connection.
Fortunately, I have never experienced this but I know of others who have and it's heartbreaking that there are people out there who want nothing more than to exploit or take advantage of a well-intentioned person.
Okay, so enough of the seriously mushy stuff...I want to share a few blogging tips I've learned along the way, which I hope some of you might find helpful, especially if you're wanting to increase your readership and/or followers.
-- Sign up for google alerts. Google will send you a notice whenever your blog name, URL or your first/last name are used anywhere on the internet. If someone mentions my blog in a post or links to me, I'll usually leave them a comment, thanking them for the shout-out.
-- Make sure to have some kind of tracking system on your blog so you can see where your traffic is coming from. I personally like Statcounter because they give you every single detail you could want about who's visiting your blog. If there is a particular person or site which is sending many readers your way, be sure to visit their blog or site and show your appreciation.
-- In reference to keeping tabs on your traffic, don't worry so much about general blog hits. Pay more attention to your unique visitors and return visitors. What's the point of having 600 blog hits per day if no one ever returns?
To me, it's more important that people keep coming back to my blog...this is how you gain a loyal readership. It's all about content...if you notice lots of people are visiting but either don't stay for very long or they never return, it's probably time to breath new life into your blog content.
-- Refresh your blog on google reader at least once a day (if not twice), especially for those bloggers who post every other day. You always want your blog to be near the top of someone's google reader list instead of buried at the bottom. You need to subscribe to your own blog first, then click on the link and hit "refresh" at the top.
-- Use LinkWithin on your blog. Those are the little boxes at the bottom of your posts that show other topic-related posts on your blog. Once someone finds your blog, you want them to stay and make themselves at home.
The longer someone spends on your blog reading your content, the better the chance that they will be back again.
-- Comment on at least 2 new-to-you blogs per week, if time permits of course. As you maintain your regular readership, you also want to continue to grow.
-- How do you find those new-to-you blogs? Mostly, I find them by looking at the blogrolls of those bloggers I truly enjoy. I've also connected with some fabulous bloggers simply by noticing that they were commenting on many of the same blogs I comment on, so it was obvious we shared the same reading interests.
Definitely check out all the blogs on my blogroll...I promise you will not be disappointed.
There are multiple social networking sites you can join and find other bloggers who share your same interests. Some of my favorites are SITS, Multiples and More (for those people who have twins, triplets or more), and Mom Bloggers Club. Two new ones that I just discovered are Lady Bloggers Society and Comment Crack Whores Anonymous.
You can also request to be a "featured blogger" on many of those sites and that will most definitely draw in many new readers and followers to your blog.
-- Add a link to your blog in every signature, whether it be in your e-mail, on message boards, or social networking sites. It's like your own little personal ad, that screams "Read me, read me!"
-- Comment, comment, comment on other blogs! And I'm not talking about comments that simply read, "Great post" or "LOL". I'm talking about genuine comments that relate to what the blogger has written.
The point is to let that blogger know that you took the time to read his/her post and that you either enjoyed it and/or got something out of it. There's no better feeling than realizing something you've written has touched or entertained someone else.
-- Keep it real. Write from the heart...be willing to open up (to the level that you're comfortable with, of course). If you're having a bad day or you need to vent, go for it. No one's life is 100% glamorous and you want your readers to be able to relate to you, not envy you.
At the same time, don't always be a downer...find some positive things to share as well.
-- When someone new comments on your blog, be sure to visit their blog within a couple days and write a comment which relates to their most recent post. At the end of your comment, add a quick "Thanks for stopping by my blog". People want to be recognized and appreciated, they want to know that their comment matters to you, especially if you tend to get a large number of comments and they're #56 on the list.
-- Make sure your profile is linked to your blog....when someone clicks on your profile picture, you want them to be able to find your blog easily. There have been many people I'm unable to follow back for that very reason.
Same thing goes for the whole "no reply" blogger issue, which drives me nuts! You can take care of all this by going to "edit profile" on your dashboard and make sure you have "show my e-mail address", "share my profile" and "e-mail address" all checked off and filled in with your contact info.
Lastly, I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to those who read my blog, especially if you follow me. The fact that you take time out of your day to read my little ole' blog gives me warm fuzzies. It means the world to me and I appreciate it more than you know!
And for those of you who lurk but don't comment (come on, I can see you on Statcounter so I know you're there!), leave a comment sometime...I'd love to hear from you!
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