This post will help you achieve more success with your blog: More hits, more comments, hopefully. This post will describe what it takes to get about 2,500 hits a month. Follow less of the steps and/or make less posts, you’ll get less hits. Follow more of the steps and/or be more active about both the steps and making more posts, and you could hit several hundred hits a day.
This post had been split into two parts, because it turned out to be very massive, and quite comprehensive. The next part will appear in about 13 hours, and will deal with how to get your blog the attention, once it’s there.
I’ll begin with the age-old adage, “If you will build it, they will come.” That’s almost correct, I’d append it to say, “If you keep on building it, and keep telling people that you are building it, they will probably come.”
I want to make one last thing clear: I don’t do things just to get more hits. Almost everything I do is how I do normal blogging, I just tweak it slightly to increase the amount of hits I receive. My advice will help you get more hits, but hopefully you won’t do these things just for the hits.
The Basics: Posting.
This is the most basic thing, and a blog that does not have posts, and new posts, is not a blog worth following. In other words, you need to write blog posts; I know it sounds elementary, but it should be hammered in, time and time again. The more blog posts that you will write, the more that people will come, but more important than number is the regularity and spacing.
If you can write 12 posts a month, I suggest having 3 every week, rather than posting all twelve in one week. Sure, that one week would have a really high number of hits, but when you post a new entry, you’re also reducing the number of hits older entries receive. And you’re hamstringing yourself when it comes to getting people into the habit of checking your blog on a regular basis. In the end, repeat visitors, especially the kind that leaves comments is what you’re here for. In the long run, both for number of hits, and for the fuel necessary to keep blogging.
I am not sure whoit was that said how he writes a post every day, even though he has 60 or so in queue. In case you’re feeling in the mood to write, and write much, then do so, just publish one entry now, and save the rest as drafts. If you’re using WordPress, you can tell the entry when you want it to be published, and can tell it to automatically publish the entry on a specific date and time.
This also ties to the next topic. Writing a blog entry every day is very hard to keep up for long. We all start with many ideas, but keeping the ideas flowing is not that easy at times. It’s better to have 3 entries per week which will last for a five weeks’ time, than 5 entries a week that won’t last even a month. Pace yourself, and make sure you can keep posting at a steady pace.
Finding a “Niche”:
I put the word ‘Niche’ in square-quotes because what you need to find is not really a niche, but a specialty. Something that puts you apart from other bloggers. Be it your hilarious captions to screenshots, your unflagging attention to detail as you review material, or whatever. Be it tone of voice or content, you need to find what makes you worth reading.
If you post something everyone can post, and everyone does post, like anime news, then either those who read you come for the discussions on your blog (which means, your personality), or they might stop coming. There’s no need for endless news-blogs which just tell you of things. Just for one. The best one who will get you the news fastest or the most comprehensive. Or two, one for each of these things.
Find something that makes you worth reading. If there’s nothing of the sort, then why should we read you? Why are you blogging instead of writing to your notebook?
Note, if the reason to follow you is good enough, once people find you, you won’t really need to do most of the things I post about later; you will not need to comment on others’ blogs, you could have a site as ugly as sin, you could post for a week every several months. But if you’re in such a high position, you’re also not in need of reading this entry.
This is the second part of “Posting”. Be committed to making regular posts. You are entering a sort of agreement between you and your readers. You do have an obligation to them, once you make a promise. I suggest telling people (in your “About” page, for instance), how often they should expect posts, and then deliver these. If you tell them which day it’ll happen, that’s a commitment that’ll help as well.
Once people know you will update once a week on Friday, they’ll come to your blog on Friday/Saturday to see the new post. If they know you’ll update every two days, they’ll come on a regular basis. If they don’t know whether they’ll see a new entry for another two-three weeks, then they might forget to check your blog after two weeks pass, and who knows when they’ll come back.
Try to be upfront on how often you will post, and when you fail, let your readers know. Your repeat readers form a personal relationship with you, and when you address them as a person, they’ll appreciate it. This promise to them will also help motivate you; you’ll see it’s Friday, and you’ll realize you just have to write the Figure Friday post, so you will.
If people comment on your blog, be polite and if you plan to reply to their comments, try to do so within a couple of days. I am sometimes really bad about it, especially on my other blog/with emails, but try. If you engage with them, they’ll keep engaging with you. When they feel they are engaging with you, they’re more likely to keep coming back.
You are the blogger, the post writer, but they also come here to talk to you. As a person.
Appearance and Useability:
Your blog needs to look like something people wouldn’t shy away from. Your blog needs to help people navigate it and make use of it.
If possible, have at the sidebar the “Last entries” and “Last comments”. This way people will have an easy time telling when a blog entry receives new activity, and could find some more blog entries quickly.
Have a Categories Widget on the Sidebar. On WordPress.com, categories from posts’ pages lead to WordPress’s Tag-pool page, and only from the sidebar will categories and tags lead to the relevant entries on your blog.
This brings us to another point, if your blog has longer entries, it might be helpful to use a “More” tag after a couple of paragraphs. This way people who scan your front page will be able to quickly see several posts, and hopefully will find something that attracts their eyes. Longer posts on main-page may result on them not scrolling down to the entry that would have interested them. If you blog in a semi-academic manner, and all your entries are long, and this is what you want the readers to expect from you, you could leave it like that.
Though then you’ll have a harder time knowing which blog entries visitors read, or at least visited.
An example to a wordpress theme that does this, but only for self-hosted blogs is BigFeature, which can be seen on Aka’s blog (OMGWorld), for instance. Pictures, and short descriptions. Pictures also tend to attract attention. Having a picture at the top of every post doesn’t fit every blog, but it’s not a bad tactic.
RSS feeds are a way people can keep up with your blog. Reading it, knowing when you’ve updated… If possible, add an RSS Feed widget at the sidebar of your blog, way up at the top. Internet Explorer 8 can automatically find feeds, but it pays to help people.
Try not to go for a too dark blog. Dark backgrounds work, but not bright text on dark backgrounds, please.
A banner/header is a good thing, if the theme you like allows for it. I have a banner, but I’m waiting for a style that I like and will allow for one. Most themes have one-two features that are missing or superfluous for me, but that’s life. The real purpose of a banner is to make your site distinct; when people land on your blog, they will know it is this blog and no other, within an instant.
Feel free to continue to the second part now. How to get the visitors to come to your blog.