How to Promote Your Blog, by Teri Smieja (Guest Blogger)

Teri wrote this fantastic post about promoting your blog based on her own personal experience with her blog. I told her to make it into an article, and I’d post it on my blog as a guest blogger, and here it is! This is great information based on what’s worked for her, so if you’re trying to promote your blog, I hope this will help you! Thanks for sharing, Teri!

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How to Promote Your Blog, by Teri Smieja

Since I started to look beyond my family and close friends as the main readers of my blog, I’ve learned a few things about successful blogging that are worth sharing.

On average I get between 50-100 visits a day – some days its a little lower and some days it’s higher. That may not seem like a lot, but my blog is fairly new in the scheme of things.  I’ve only been truly, actively working on increasing traffic to it for the past few months. My readership has been increasing little by little and continues to do so.

There is no ‘Easy Button’ here. Writing, maintaining and growing a blog takes time, energy and effort.

One of the most important things I can recommend to increase traffic to your blog is daily postings.  Someone may accidentally stumble upon your blog. They may like it. They may check back the next day to see if there’s anything new to read. They may do it the next day too, if you’re lucky. Sadly, people can be a fickle bunch and eventually they’ll forget about you if there’s never anything new to read. They’ll move onto the next blog.  Try to make a habit of frequent blog postings. They don’t all have to be epic entries; shorter posts can be fine too.  I have some friends that do ‘Wordless Wednesday’ posts – no words, just pictures. The sky is the limit.

November is NoBloPoMo – National Blog Posting Month (the idea being to post a new blog entry every single day) – why not join in and at least try? It’s a great motivator to help you get you in the habit of frequent postings.

Another big tip – if you want to keep people coming back to your blog, be quick to respond to the people who leave you comments. I think that’s huge, as I myself, have been turned off by bloggers who don’t take the time to answer questions that I’ve left for them on their blog entries. I tend to be more forgiving of not getting a response from a bigger blog, but on those smaller blogs that aren’t as well known, I find a non-response to be kind of rude. Responding to people who leave you comments is really good incentive for other people to leave comments too and for them to keep coming back for more. It’s a great way to establish regulars.

This next suggestion may seem self-defeating, but it’s not. Get to know other bloggers – leave comments for them, friend them on Facebook if you can. Add them to your blogroll. Mention their blog on your blog – sounds crazy, right?  Why would you want to send traffic away from your blog to another? Because, if you have a good blog (which I’m assuming you do!) then you aren’t sending traffic away – they’ll still read your blog, and they’ll read a new one too. The benefit of doing this – those bloggers that you promote on your site, will do the same for you on their blog – reaching a whole lot more people. You scratch their back and they’ll scratch yours.

Social Networking: If you aren’t on Facebook already, definitely get on it – go to NetworkedBlogs and sign up. Find the code and put the ‘Follow my Blog on Facebook’ badge on your blog. Send out invites to people on your friends list through NetworkedBlogs to get followers. Every time you update your blog (which should be often!) NetworkedBlogs will post it to the News Feed of all the people on your friends list. Oftentimes they get bored of throwing virtual sheep and click on it. If your title and first paragraph are catchy, then all the better. NetworkedBlogs shows the first 45 words or so of your post. If it’s interesting then people will want to read the rest of it. On a side note, if it has perceived conflict of some sort, even more people will click on it!

Try to take a little time each day – even if just 1/2 an hour – to look through the Status Updates, links or pictures that your friends have posted.  Leave comments – even for those you don’t know that well yet – what this does is keeps you in their memory in a subtle way. They’ll see your response, click on your name, and they will see your latest blog posting on your wall. They click, they read. It’s not as blatant as posting a status update that says “READ MY BLOG.” but it has the same effect, maybe even better.

I use WordPress, I’m not sure about the others, but I make liberal use of the ‘tags’ feature. Tags are just words that someone would type in a search engine looking for information. If you use your tags right, this will allow your blog to show up when people are searching for whatever it is your writing about. The more frequent your blog comes up in a search engine, the higher up your page rank goes.

Comment, comment, comment on other blogs – think outside of your genre too – this really opens doors – and don’t forget (as some have on my blog) to leave your website info along with your name on the comments section when leaving comments on other blogs. Every single time I’ve gotten a comment or question from a new person, I’ve clicked their name to check out their blog. I read, I leave comments – they see I’ve done that, they go back to my site again, and voila! You’ve found another regular reader.

All of this commenting on others blogs and getting comments back has an added bonus of creating new friendships. I’ve become friends with almost all of the people that have reached out to me through my blog. I’ve never ignored a single person. I think that’s partly why they come back – besides that I’m also giving them solid information, and a view inside my life – they feel like they know me, and it gives them a vested interest in what I have to say and what I’m going through.

Last but not least, write a good blog. The cream tends to rise to the top, after all.

Happy blogging!

~~~Teri Smieja is a wife, mother and BRCA1 mutant. The scientific crystal ball that is genetic testing has given her the ability to take steps to save herself from hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. She had a prophylactic oopherectomy and hysterectomy in October 2009. In January 2010 she’ll have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction. She has been blogging (http://myblip.wordpress.com) and writing a book about the difficult decisions she’s making along the way.