The Golden Rule is established. (If it’s not, read this.) Now what? You socialize of course. Shocking, I know; who would have thunk it, socializing with social media and networking on social networks. Seriously though, when it comes to how to get more visitors to your blog, networking is essential.
Hopefully, [one of] your blog’s main objectives is the ability to connect with other people: from those down the street to those on the other side of the world. And if that is the main purpose of your blog, networking will likely be the easiest way to get more visitors. It may seem an obvious next step but more often than not it’s the step most bloggers skip, choose to ignore or don’t know about.
Before you network, answer these questions:
- Why do I want to network? If you answer “to get more people to read my blog,” then you’re coming from a place of “take,” and the Universe will send you one-time visitors with whom you’ll form no bond. Build relationships, share knowledge, generate interest in a particular topic, support independent artists, etc. illustrates “give” answers.
- With whom do I want to network? This relates to your audience and the type of blog you maintain. For example, if you blog writing tips, writers are the obvious choice. But don’t be scared to narrow your focus.
- Where does / would my audience hang out? It’s important to pinpoint your target audience or else you’ll receive bunches of generalized visitors, which could mean a high bounce rate. Again, don’t be afraid to network within your niche and nowhere else, at least in the beginning. Solid connections are your goal as they will develop into lasting relationships.
- How do I want to connect? Your answer correlates to what you answered above. What if your audience is predominately on Twitter, but you can’t bring yourself to tweet or hadn’t planned on setting up a Twitter account? Then you may want to compromise. Know where you audience is and be there with them. Don’t let your lack of technology know-how stop you. There are literally millions of blogs and sites with easy-to-follow instructions.
- What will I share while networking? Are you going to reveal details about your personal life? Or will you keep interactions “on the surface” and only related to your blog’s theme?
Quick tips for quality networking:
- Make it easy for readers to connect. Position your RSS link in a prominent location so readers can subscribe to your blog. The same goes for any e-mail subscription options. And don’t forget to share links to your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube profiles.
- Share, share and share some more. Utilize plugins like ShareThis or AddThis to automate your networking. Also, get in the habit of, when you read a blog post you like, click the “Share” or “Like” button and add a personal message to let others know why they should check it out.
- Include your blog link everywhere. Make sure your e-mail signature, forum signature and profiles all contain the URL of your blog. That way whenever you post a comment or tweet, visitors will be able to click the link to read more from you.
- Leave comments on the blogs you visit. Many visitors will discover your blog just by seeing your name in the Comments section of their favorite blog. People are curious and like to click links, which is why #3 (your blog link) is crucial to have in place before you start commenting on others’ blogs.
- Submit your blog to directories. There are gazillions of these nowadays; Technorati and Alltop are my faves. Click here for more.
Five networking habits to avoid:
- Don’t ever – and I mean ever(!) – spam readers.
- Don’t expect readers to share your posts or leave comments if you (1) don’t make it easy for them and/or (2) don’t ask them. “Comment with your thoughts below” or “click ‘Share’ if you liked this article” is all it takes, usually.
- Don’t include your blog link within the body of your message. One link in the signature or comment form is enough. The point is, give more than you take.
- Don’t hijack a “conversation” with useless comments. Take the time to read the previous comments and join in only if you have something to add. Sometimes “I loved your post” or similar comments are acceptable, but take the time to let the author know why; this shows her you really read it and cared enough to elaborate.
- Don’t “follow” every single blog you come across. Be selective and relationship-building will be that much easier. Quality over quantity is key.
Quality networking and valuable content are built on The Golden Rule. Remember that, and you’ll start off with a solid foundation to get more visitors to your blog.
Author’s Note: I was inspired to write this series of posts because I’m sick of seeing what I love about blogs (and other social media) being exploited; therefore, I wanted to remind people (those who care about keepin’ it real) that you don’t have to be “an expert” or tech genius to get your blog in front of its intended audience. Hopefully, these posts will help bloggers connect with that audience.
Photo credit: Thomas Picard