The Art of Evangelizing a Blog
So, you've got a brand new shiny blog. You lovingly tend to
it, writing posts with the perfect mix of warmth, humor,
irony and insight.
You write, you post, and you wait. Crickets are chirping in
the silence as you start to wonder, "So now that I have a
blog, how do I actually get people to look at it?"
If your traffic report for your site is like a flat line on
a graph, don't fret.
Unless you're Guy Kawasaki or Seth Godin, it's not likely
that your blog will shoot to the tippy top of Technorati
overnight. For us non-famous folks, it takes consistent,
patient, strategic work in order to build up our blog
Building blog traffic is all about creating useful content
for your readers and making contacts within the blogging
It's kind of like when you move to a new city where you
don't know anyone. Little by little you build
relationships, you meet folks who introduce you to other
folks, you make connections, make a name for yourself, and
you become better known in the community.
It's the same with blogging, except it's a different type
of party and you make your connections in different ways.
Here are 7 techniques that savvy bloggers use to make those
oh-so-important connections and pump up blog traffic:
1. Focus on a targeted niche. Decide who you're writing
for, what you're going to write about, and then stick to
it. Don't be all over the place and have one post on
marketing, another on dog training, and then another that's
a review of the movie you saw last weekend. A blog with
multiple topics is disorienting, not just to readers that
stumble upon it, but to the search engines as well.
You see, the Google robots are easily confused. If they
visit your blog and see that it's a mish-mash of
information, they don't know what to make of it. But, if
they stop by your blog and see that the words "marketing"
and "small business" (or whatever) are sprinkled steadily
throughout, they think, "Aha! This blog is about small
business marketing. Whenever folks google the words "small
business marketing", we'll know to include this site higher
up in our results!"
Not only does having a very specific topic for your blog
make it search engine friendly and result in higher
rankings, but it also gives you the chance to become known
as an expert in your field and have readers coming to your
blog for their daily fix. The tighter you can make your
niche the better.
2. Post as frequently as you can. When you first start your
blog, it can feel a little overwhelming to have to write
posts all the time. That's normal--you just need to focus
on getting into a regular writing schedule. Trust me, after
a few weeks your mind will start to think in "blogging
mode", and you'll start to come up with ideas for blog
posts everywhere you turn.
I've noticed that most of the pro bloggers post almost
daily, and oftentimes several times a day, but don't feel
pressured to mimic the pro bloggers Herculean blog writing
That would be like trying to go from couch potato to
marathon runner overnight. Blogging is supposed to be fun,
so don't hurt yourself. And really, if it's not fun, you're
not going to stick with it, are you?
You can start off by setting a goal for yourself of writing
3 posts a week.
The posts don't have to be long essays. They can be short,
compact posts that relay tidbits of info (often linking
back to other people's blogs) that your readers find
interesting and are great conversation starters (which
causes folks to make lots of comments).
3. Link to other people's blogs. I try to link to other
folks' blogs as much as I can. This means that I see a
great post at so-and-so's blog, and then I write a post on
my own blog that has a link to their post.
When my readers click on the link to go to the other
person's blog, that blogger will notice that he's getting
traffic from my site, and he'll really appreciate it! I've
had a few bloggers contact me to say hello and leave
comments on my blog.
There are 50 million blogs out there (literally), but the
blogosphere can be an incredibly small world. When you show
a genuine interest in what another blogger is writing
about, then that peaks their interest in you. You've just
built another link in your community. Linking to other
blogs also helps with your search engine ranking.
4. Comment on other blogs. My goal is to post thoughtful
comments on at least 5 blogs a week. (If this sounds too
much to you, start out smaller. The important thing is to
get into the habit of commenting on other blogs.)
I look for interesting blogs in my genre (online business,
marketing, productivity). I keep up with what they're
writing about, and when one of their posts catches my eye,
I post a relevant comment. (You can research posts within
your genre at Technorati.)
While some people like to post anonymously by just leaving
their first name, I include my first and last name and a
link to the URL of my blog. I do this because I want to
build name recognition within these communities.
5. Use Trackbacks. A trackback is like leaving a remote
comment on a person's blog. When you reference a post on
another blog, you use the trackback address for that post
and enter it when you're creating your post. When you
create a trackback to someone's post, you'll see an excerpt
from your post with your URL appear under their post in the
Trackbacks are often the forgotten step-child in blogging,
but I've found them to be the most effective means of
making connections within the blogging community.
I've even had a journalist from a major newspaper contact
and interview me as a result of a trackback I left, which
led to another journalist finding me and interviewing me
for her article, which led to me being featured in articles
that were published in more than 20 different newspapers in
the United States! How's that for a big time payoff for one
6. Blogging customer appreciation. Whenever a new person
leaves a comment on my blog, I send her an email thank you
note to let her know how much I appreciate her input. And
if someone is sweet enough to talk about me on their blog
and link to me, I go to their blog and leave a comment
thanking them for giving me the attention. Also, when
people write about me on their blogs, I make a post on my
own blog ("Look who's talking about me. Go see what they're
saying..." sort of thing) to bring attention to it and
send traffic back to the other person's blog.
7. Beef up your blogroll. I look for interesting blogs that
cover similar topics to my blog, then enter their links on
to my blogroll. When my readers click on those links, the
folks on my blogroll can see that they're getting traffic
from me. It works the same as when you link to other blogs
within your posts. It's another way of letting the
community know you're there and that you're interested in
what they're saying. Some of the folks on your blogroll
might even reciprocate by putting you on their blogroll.
If the thought of implementing all 7 of these tips makes
your brain hurt, don't fret. Maintaining a blog is an
ongoing process, so start off by picking just a couple of
these tips to work on, then when you feel comfortable start
working on another.
Out of all of these tips, I would say that ones to start
with are 1, 2 and 3-- streamline your post topics to focus
on your targeted niche, post as frequently as you can, and
link to other blogs.
I've heard pro bloggers say that it can take 6-9 months
before seeing a noticeable increase in traffic, so don't
feel disappointed if you don't see immediate results.
Evangelizing your blog is really an exercise in patience,
with consistency and longevity being the keys. Thankfully,
it's a fun, creative exercise, and if you stick with it
you'll have a blog that's a source of joy for you, as well
as being an excellent marketing tool for your business.
About the Author:
Sharon Sarmiento is a Virtual Assistant who specializes in
helping folks with internet technology & web media
companies explode their businesses to the next level. She
organizes, oversees and manages the million tiny details
that go into the day-to-day operations of online
businesses. For free resources on how you can work less and
have more free time while still making more money, visit
Sharon's blog, eSoup, at:
=> www.eSoupBlog.com .