Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blogging Myth #1: If You Blog It, They Will Come

Welcome to the first post in my new series for bloggers, Blogging Myths. Over the next few weeks, we're going to take a look at some of the common misconceptions that bloggers (and readers!) have about blogging. If you're interesting in growing your blog, I hope you'll stick around!
Let's start off, shall we?

Myth #1: If You Blog It, They Will Come

I started my blog in early 2008. It was an inconsistent smattering of posts written in an effort to regain some of the brain function I lost during the day while caring for a newborn and a two year old. As I became more interested in blogging, I would gaze at the little Followers box on my sidebar and wonder if anyone would ever want to read my posts.

I mistakenly assumed that readers would eventually stumble upon this little corner of the web and instantly become enthralled with my ramblings and want to devote hours of their day to chuckling over my musings.

Content is king, but it can't sustain a blog on its own.
Blogging Myths Series at Serenity Now


Unless you have a preexisting blog for built-in promotion of the new one, or a relative who blogs and wants to promote you, automatic audiences are hard to come by. I don't know of any blog that exists solely on fabulous content. We all need ways to boost traffic beyond really good blog posts, right?

How do you go from a blog with solid, consistent content and no readers to a blog with solid, consistent content and regular readers?
  • First and foremost, remember that most blogs take months and sometimes a few years to establish themselves. 
Being patient is important when you start a blog. Sure, there are some bloggers whose sites seem to take off within a matter of weeks. Remember that they are the exception, not the rule.

Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick recently reminded her readers not to get distracted by The Numbers. It is very easy for bloggers (rookies and seasoned pros) to get caught up in playing the comparison game. There will always be someone out there who is more talented, clever, and creative. Once you make peace with that knowledge, you're on your way!
  • Networking is Key
We just wrapped up an entire blog tip series on the importance of Commenting. If you want people to know your blog is there, you have to go out and make some friends. Find a new blog, read a few posts, and start surfing through people's Blog Rolls (usually on a blog's sidebar--it's a list of blogs that person enjoys reading). Comment on posts you enjoy.

Utilize link parties, but in moderation. Crafterminds.com hosted a Tweetchat the other day that would be highly informative for anyone who regularly links to blog parties.

The basic gist of link parties? Remember your manners: read through the hostesses' post to make sure you understand the guidelines, link back, visit some of the other links, thank the hostess (blog parties are a lot of work to put on!), and don't overexpose your blog by linking the same post to 23 parties. Participating by visiting around and leaving comments is what will ultimately bring loyal readers.
  • Social Media is Your Friend
When used correctly (don't let it become a time suck!), social media can bring a lot of traffic to those posts you are so proud of. The two biggies?

Facebook: Start out with a Facebook fan page for your blog and "suggest" it to your friends. If you engage with your fans and link to your posts each day, you'll find some new visitors!

Twitter: Twitter is also a great way to quickly link to your post for friends and fans. Other bloggers are quick to "Retweet" your links to their own Followers, which opens up more possibilities. I also love the fun, quick interaction between bloggers on Twitter.
  • Submissions to larger blogs
If you have some solid content under your belt, consider submitting a link or two to some larger blogs who accept applications for guest posts and/or features. Be sure you have enough on your site to keep visitors interested and clicking around.

Many of you know that I team up with Kate over at Centsational Girl every other week to feature the "Best of the Blogosphere." We review submissions via email, and I thought I'd share a few quick tips for submitting your work to another blogger:

1. Include a quick message with your submission. Nothing is a bigger turnoff than opening an email and all you see is a link. Is it spam? Is it a shop? Is it a blog? Help the blogger out by quickly introducing yourself, explaining a little bit about the link you are submitting, and thanking her for her time.

2. Don't go overboard with the links. Choose one or two projects that are complete, have good photos, and are well written.


The truth is, you can have excellent content, beautiful projects, well written posts, and a hot profile picture--but if your blog is just sitting there all by its lonesome, it's going to be a long road to growing a readership.

By building a network of blogging buddies, promoting your work through social media, and looking for opportunities to share your projects on other sites, you can encourage traffic for your site and be on your way to growing a loyal group of readers!

Hope you'll join me next week to check out Myth #2! (You can click here to see all of the links for this series)

{How do you encourage visits to your blog?}

58 comments:

Ali said...

I just read through your commenting series this weekend Amanda. It has really made me think about leaving quality comments - not quantity comments. :)

I am really looking forward to this new series as well. I'm so glad I followed a link to discover your blog. The information is fantastic.

I've been blogging off and on since 2004 - It just goes to show you that there is a lot to learn. I cringe to think of some of the mistakes I've made, but reading through these series has really helped. Thank you!

Jennifer Dawn said...

These are some great tips. Thanks.

MyBluePeacock said...

More great tips, thank you...can't wait for the rest of the series!

Terry said...

These series that you do are so fabulous. Very helpful for a newbie blogger, but lots of golden nuggets of wisdom for more established bloggers too. Thanks for sharing your insights.

Kelly @ View along the way said...

I am a huge fan of your blogging series(es?). (Whatever the plural is for "series.") :)

Thanks for the great tips. My goal is to build a facebook page this week!

Richella said...

Amanda, you are doing a great job with these blogging series. You are kind and encouraging--but you really tell it like it is. You're right--there are SO many myths about blogging. It breaks my heart to think of so many people jumping on the blogging bandwagon and then getting terribly discouraged. Overnight success seems to happen for a few bloggers. . . but it happens to VERY few bloggers. For most of us, patience goes a long way!

Donna said...

I have been blogging for a few years and I have two readers that I met by leaving a comment on their blog. A simple note and now I have built a sweet friendship with them both outside of blogging. That is priceless. Thanks for another great blog tip post! I was able to add a popular post section on my side bar since reading your last tip set. :)

the cape on the corner said...

very helpful tips...i definitely need help with the whole social networking thing. i can't even get the facebook link to be on the blog correctly. boo.

a tip i have about commenting, particulary commenting from a link up, is visit the blog. don't just respond with a thanks email. i visited and commented on your link, and there's no reason a small/new blog can't visit back. am i the only one who feels this way?

Misty said...

I really enjoy your Blogging series since I am new to blogging myself. Thanks for helping us newbies start off on the right foot.

Shelly @ Life on the Wild Side said...

What great advice, Amanda. It challenges me to submit a guest post this week! Looking forward to reading more (your last series on blogging was also fantastic)!

The Mommy Therapy said...

Great post. This is something that completely baffled me when I first started blogging. I didn't understand how to get anyone to want to read it, other than my personal FB friends.

I currently utilize a lot of the tips you suggested, I also have started submitting to newspapers for publication, where they always mention my blog when I'm published. I've gotten a lot of new readers from that.

Thanks for the post and I look forward to reading the rest of this series!

Mary @ Redo 101 said...

You won't believe what just happened! I just read someone's comment and it was so warm and caring, I clicked straight to her blog, read her post, left her a message and told her where I found her, and "followed" her blog. I'm serious. As I was writing the message I realized I was doing exactly what you said - loving a nice comment and going to visit the blogger! So keep up the good advice, Amanda - it's so helpful!

staci @ lizard n ladybug said...

These are all great tips!! I'm loving this series.

I try to comment on posts that I really like.
I'm also a big fan of Facebook..and the way it lets me connect to all my fave blogs in one spot. I'm still trying to figure out Twitter :)

Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) said...

Great tips. Thank you! I can't believe I never knew about the "best of the blogosphere" roundups. Thanks for the heads-up.

Moddy Bee said...

i agree with ali!!! leave quality comments not quantity comments. i have only been reallly blogging sense march. my sister and i blog together. i have just started forming blogger friends and i love it!! i feel like i have penpals!!
check us out!
www.moddybee.blogspt.com

btw..im a new follower ;)

Mommy of Monkeyshines said...

I really appreciate this. I am really wanting to move my blog to the "next level" and I am going to scroll through your comments and look around. This was great advice Amanda, and I really appreciate the time you are taking to help us other bloggers come along.

Jennifer said...

Great ideas! One of the reasons I took my recent blog-break was to decide how much time I wanted to spend building my blog. It's easy to look at the number of followers and get frustrated. While I was "on a break" I was surprised by the number of people who said they missed my blog. They were regular reader/stalkers :) Thanks for this new series, now that it's summer I will have more time to network thoughtfully!

Jessica @ Balancing the Dream said...

wow this is a great post!! I am a new blogger myself and currently working hard to get loyal followers!! Thanks for sharing....

Rhiannon {Hey Gorg} said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

I'm excited about your new series--I love stuff like this! It gets me thinking, and that's always a good thing. :)

Love your advice and agree with all of it. One thing I'd add is that when you write to another blogger, always be sure to sign your email with your name and blog address. You wouldn't believe how many emails I get where the person doesn't sign it or tell me where to find her blog, even when she says something like, "Please visit my decorating blog." It's kind of tough if I have no idea how to get to it. It doesn't hurt to provide your Twitter name and/or FB address, too. Small details, but important ones!

Rhiannon {Hey Gorg} said...

Fabulous post Amanda! I loved reading this especially after my own blog post today on feeling a little down. You are awesome girlfriend! Hope you know this! xo

Simply LKJ said...

Great tips Amanda! As somewhat of a newbie, I have found your series quite helpful.

Kassi @ Truly Lovely said...

Great tips Amanda! I really enjoyed the Crafterminds chat yesterday also! Right now I am really working on commenting on other people's blogs and trying to grow my bloggie friends!

Karen At Home said...

Great tips Amanda, I am really looking forward to you series! I really enjoyed your commenting posts, I am sure these will be just as informative!!!

Have a good day!

bonniegetchell said...

thanks for the advice! I'm a new blogger so I look forward to reading more of your posts!

bonniegetchell.blogspot.com

:)

{The Perfect Palette} said...

Thanks so much for sharing! xo, chrissy

Randi~Dukes and Duchesses said...

I'm looking forward to reading another great series. Your last one was so helpful.

I think there's a lot to be said for balance. Yesterday's Crafterminds discussion was interesting, especially the comment about joining linky parties but not too many. I often wonder about that with twitter and facebook as well ... do people really want to see links to every single post I write or will they start getting sick of me? It's a fine line.

Annie said...

Great post! Thanks for the tips! I struggle with this, because while I love it when other people besides my family and friends read, I find it pretty time consuming to network as much as I'd like to. And since I'm not making money off of my blog, I don't feel pressure to do that. But you're absolutely right. I have a friend who has a pretty big blog, and the times that I've gotten the most traffic were when she linked me.

Erin S. said...

Hi Amanda! I am so sorry I have been MIA for a while. I posted it on my blog, but I took a big break while we were moving. It was a good thing, and since I'm not a professional blogger, I can :). Anyway, I've missed your wisdom and wit. I need to take some of your advice into consideration--especially the part about promoting myself via social media. I am super shy/reluctant about promoting myself via Facebook for some reason, although I know it would be the best way to get my blog out there to people who know me and might actually care LOL. Your article might just be the shove I needed :). Take care!

Sallie said...

Great advice, as usual. I read each of your blogging posts and took notes.
I have been looking at my stats to see which link parties bring me the most traffic. This will help me narrow my list of the plethora of link parties out there.

Becky@OrganizingMadeFun said...

Thank you for putting this series together. I know it's probably quite time-consuming to come up with everything and organize it. I appreciate all your hard work on your link parties each week also.

I submitted my blog to a couple of larger blogs and was surprised that they featured me. It was great and exciting! So, you're right about that!

I have had several blogs with similar content to mine start after me and grow "overnight" and instead of getting jealous or upset, I decided to become their blog friend and have made great blog friendships! I truly am happy for them and they have brought me a lot of traffic, and I've been able to guest post, too! So, you are right...

Becky B.
www.organizingmadefun.com
Organizing Made Fun

Yvonne@StyleBurb said...

Hi Amanda, I read this post earlier in the day, and I ended up driving my daughter to school late! (I've been very excited for your newest series.) So, I'm back to comment. Thank you for your words of bloggy wisdom. My mom used to say to me "patience is a virtue", and this is never more true than with blogging! Thanks again! ~Yvonne

Paula said...

This is the start of another great series! I'll bet if I took your advice about. Facebook, I'd get bunches of new readers. I'm already looking forward to myth #2 next week.

JennyLynn said...

This post is wonderful.

Comments have brought me some really wonderful friendships. I have been a blogger for some time. Now that I am branching out beyond my family blog. I can see how I need to net work more. Your post has been most helpful.

Comments are like adding sweet cream to my day.

Kirsty said...

Hooray for this series too! I'm loving it! So very very true. Who's going to find you if you don't market yourself.

FrouFrouBritches said...

I'm gonna love this series too, Amanda. Your blog seems to be the place to be on Tuesdays.

I not only made really good friends through YOUR parties, but I also found many new blogs that I enjoy on other blogs' Blog Rolls.

Holly said...

My downfall is social networking. I find that it all too easily is a big time suck. It's also just not my personality to be in constant live contact (like chatting on Twitter). I prefer email, but I'm afraid that's not the "in" thing now.

Bella Michelle said...

I have been so busy lately I haven't been able to do much blog reading...but Miz Amanda, I couldn't miss this series!

Amanda said...

LOVE this!! and all soooo true!! I too have been around since early 2008 and still Im chug-chug-chuging along with my little number of loyal followers. But I refuse to look at the numbers and remember why I blog in the 1st place---- to stay sane being a mother of 3!

Madigan at madiganmade said...

Love this!! It took time for me to realize these tips... It wasn't until I linked to a few parties and started commenting on other blogs that I started to notice any traffic on my blog. Social networking has helped a lot in the past 6 mo for me, too.

As important as networking and community is, I still think that is always key to bring solid content to your readers. I think some bloggers are quick to get out of the gate when they start a blog. They do tons of PR/media/etc to get their name out there...their blog grows quickly but then their content might start to fade.
Get yourself out there and 'mingle', but be careful not let your content slack, either.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Amanda!!!

Thank you so much fof your blogging series. I posted my first blog post yesterday so this series is RIGHT ON TIME for me. Thanks again, Elizabeth

Ashley | Domestic Fashionista said...

Great points Amanda! My first year of blogging, I spent all my free time in front of the dumputer. It was well worth the time investment now, where I am able to step away a bit. But I totally agree...making friends is key! I remember finding you because you were such a kind and faithful commenter...to only find a networking buddy I adore! I also love that you point out proper blogging ettiquete. You might find friends but to keep them around for the long run...you have to be genuine friends. Great series! Looking forward to reading more! :)

Kerry Rossow said...

I am a rookie blogger of 1 month!
This was just what I needed -Thank you!
That naughty "followers" box is taunting me! I even blew a big ole rasberry at it this morning!
Kerry at housetalkn.blogspot.com

Annie said...

P.S. Congrats on paying off your car!! In a lot of ways the car was more satisfying than paying off the house for me.

Annie said...

P.S. Congrats on paying off your car!! In a lot of ways the car was more satisfying than paying off the house for me.

Jen @ The Decor Scene said...

Amanda I love your blog posts. What a great series!!! Please keep them up. They are very very helpful. I have impliment some of your ideas on my blog already and it has picked up some. I love blogging, and I love making my blog better. Thank you as always for such wonderful posts. Have a great day Amanda and all your readers too! ;)

Leah said...

Great tips Amanda! Now to find the time to put some of them in place....{isn't that every mom's challenge?}

Bobbi said...

I just stumbled upon your blog from a link @ TheMommyTherapy, which I only started reading a few weeks ago after seeing her in the newspaper.

I found this post so helpful and informative as a new blogger. It's going to be hard to put off reading the rest of your blogging series until the morning!

Kelli said...

Thanks Amanda! These are great tips. I just started a blog back in December, and I can completely relate.

You mentioned social media, and I've found that Pinterest has generated more interest in my blog than Twitter or Facebook. I think it's because people can see the things you are interested in, which gives them an idea of what you blog about before they even visit your site.

Thanks for the tips!

Kelli
www.ahappyplacecalledhome.com

Desiree said...

I am thrilled I stumbled on to your blog today! I just started a blog at the beginning of this year, and I have been searching for information on building readership. This is the most straight-forward, common-sense article I have found. Thank you for sharing!

Simone said...

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful knowledge. I am just new myself to all this blogging, and it really is hard work! I can't wait to read the rest of the series, your help has been much appreciated.

Amyshka said...

Seriously great how you are sharing these tips. It's exactly what I needed! I'm quite new to blogging and really didn't know where to begin, so although your tips might sound straightforward to some, to me they are amazing. THank you so much.
Amy

Upcycled Charm said...

Amanda,
I'm just starting a new blog and haven't really begun trying to build followers yet simply because I'm still working on putting some good content on there first. I have a couple of posts but nothing real significant yet. I've joined Twitter and have set up a fb page, but for now I'm just getting the feel of how the blogging world runs and focusing on my content. I'm getting ready to renovate a home built in 1847 and this will probably be the bulk of my posts. So in time I feel my blog will contribute and compliment all those other wonderful and dedicated bloggers who have so often inspired me. :)

Christine

Simply Creative Home said...

Amanda, Great straightforward tips for the beginning blogger like me! I am not sure where I want my blog to lead, but I am enjoying for myself right now! Just to let you know I found you through Jen's blog!
Cheryl

Tara said...

Amanda, I just started following your blog and came across these tips. I recently started blogging, so these tips are super helpful. It was also really nice to receive a comment from you on my blog as well!

jennicampbell85 said...

Hi Amanda,
I found this post via crafterminds and as a very new blogger between this post and the great tips I read on crafterminds it's made me think about my content alot and how to promote traffic to it once there's more content up there.
Thank you :)

Marilyn Clark said...

Gave your post a shout out!

http://4you-withlove.blogspot.com/2012/06/blogging-tips-8.html

Your info is so great....it needed to be shared!

Marilyn

Sara Stone said...

I love the "If you blog it, they will come!" because that's exactly how I've been feeling. I just recently started a blog (like last week) and have been trying to not focus on the numbers and instead create quality and find friends!

Us SAHMama's gotta stick together! ;)

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