When you first start out blogging, you might want to make money, or just share your thoughts with others. Whatever your goal, there are some basic “best practices” that will help you to get new readers and keep existing readers interested.
1) Write Regularly
Blogs live and die by their content. The more content you have, the more visitors you’ll get from search engines, and the more visitors you have the more readers you’ll get. Regularly updated content is great for keeping your existing readers interested, too. A reader won’t keep coming back to your blog if they see the same post every time. Readers want new content.
A lot of people suggest a daily posting schedule. That’s a lot of work! If you think you want to try writing a new blog post every day, I suggest you try doing it before you create your blog. Use your favorite word processor, and write a blog post every day for a week.
If you find yourself tired of writing at the end of the week, then consider writing a post only every few days. The most important thing isn’t so much how often you write, but that you keep to a regular schedule. If all you can manage is one post a week, but your readers know it will be available Wednesday night, then they’ll come look for it then.
2) Spread the (link) love!
A common approach with new bloggers is to try to keep readers on their own blog by not linking out to other blogs. The thinking is that if I link out, people will actually click on the link and leave my blog.
That’s true, some of your readers will follow your links. But if they find what you linked to useful, they’ll be back to read your next post. And linking out to other blogs is a great way to get the attention of the owner of the other blogs. They will probably come to see what you wrote about them, and they may stick around and become readers themselves. Or they may return the favor and link to you sometime.
Linking liberally is a good technique for both providing value for your readers and getting more readers.
3) Read (and comment on) related blogs
Whatever you write about in your blog, you can bet there’s someone else out there writing a blog on the same topic. Reading those other blogs helps keep your inspiration going. You will often find topic ideas on other blogs that you hadn’t considered, and you can put your own perspective on the topic and write about it yourself.
Commenting on other blogs is also a great idea. By commenting on another blog, you’re announcing to the owner of that blog that you liked what they wrote enough to take the time to comment. The chances are good that they’ll come over to your blog and read some of the posts, and maybe leave a comment.
When you leave a comment on another blog you’ll be asked for a URL. Be sure to put the web address of your blog in that field. That way, when someone visits the blog and sees your comment, they can click on your name to go to your blog.
Regularly leaving comments on other blogs is a great way to make friends and build up a readership.
4) Market in moderation
Many people these days get into blogging to try and make money.
You can make money blogging by putting ads on your blog pages, or by linking out to affiliate products in your blog posts. Some bloggers think that the more of this they do, the more money they’ll make.
In reality, if you use too much marketing in your blog, your readers will tune it out. The ones who can’t tune it out will probably become annoyed and stop reading. It’s far better to be moderate in your marketing efforts. Subtle marketing is more likely to make you money than having your blog be like a carnival barker.
5) Be authentic
When you’re trying to make money through a blog, it’s tempting to promote any product that could make you money. Remember, though, that you’re dealing with your reputation. If you promote a product that isn’t any good, your readers that bought the product won’t trust your recommendations in the future.
Similarly, if you write a blog post that isn’t honest, just to get people to click on ads, eventually your readers will stop trusting you.
Always be authentic and honest in your writing, and never put anything online that doesn’t reflect how you really feel.