Help me lern 2 blog?
February 12, 2011 6:11 PM   Subscribe

How do I let people know that I even have a blog, once I get it started?

I've looked at a previous question regarding blogging that helped me figure out what service to go through. I've decided on Wordpress, I think, but I'll hold off on getting my own domain name until people are actually reading it (why spend money on a domain name if I'm not sure it'll take off). Which brings me to my point...

I literally have no idea where to start with this. I mostly just want to write about my experiences with Subject X or Subject Y and have a smallish crowd of semi-loyal readers to share the experience with. (If by some weird twist of fate I end up being wildly popular, well that's cool too.)

I know, roughly, how to WRITE a blog. Post stuff, put some links in, babble a while, show a couple pictures. So how do I get people to actually read the thing, and thus build up a base of readers? How do people actually find out about this whole 'blog' thing, when it's just getting started and I'm basically a nobody in the internet world? (The subject of the blogs could be one of three very wildly different subjects.)
posted by Heretical to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
How about commenting on the blogs of other people who write about the same topics? Comment forms usually have a field for you to include your website URL, and interested people will click through and find your blog. Getting regular readers sometimes requires getting involved in the blogging community for that topic - they have to get to know you, and being a presence on other people's blogs helps for that.

(I mean commenting in legitimate reply to their blog posts, though, and not just spammy announcement comments like "I have a new blog and here is the URL!")
posted by cadge at 6:19 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Meh. if it's good people will find it.

If you have a link to it on every profile page where ever you are on the internet and are talking- people will find it and link to it. If you want to speed it up, go to forums where the topic is related to the topic of your blog and participate often.

trust the content.
posted by Blisterlips at 6:28 PM on February 12, 2011

Definitely comment on other blogs! I have an art blog, and that's the number one way for me to get new readers. I think you should:

- Put out great content on your own blog. Once you get readers, you want them to stay and then share your blog.

- Comment on other my case I try not to just say the standard "hey, nice art" when I comment on another artist's blog. Everyone says that. Try to say something substantial (and funny). I think it also helps to have an interesting profile pic--but maybe that's just because my blogging community is more visually oriented.

- Become friendly enough with others to have them link your blog. You go up in search results with every additional link.

It's definitely a "putting yourself out there"/exposure thing.
posted by sprezzy at 6:36 PM on February 12, 2011

Response by poster: Would a .sig on a forum be acceptable, or should I stick to linkage in the profile?

(Oh god, I just showed my age with the '.sig' thing.)
posted by Heretical at 7:04 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Post it to Projects.

(On preview, I think a discreet self-link in your sig is fine on forums that have sigs.)
posted by domnit at 7:09 PM on February 12, 2011

1. Start a Twitter account. Make sure there's a link to your blog in your profile.

2. Follow people on Twitter who might be interested in your topic.

3. Post on Twitter regularly, and respond to others' posts.

4. When you put up a blog post, link to it on Twitter (use a short-link service for the link itself!), preferably with an interesting lead-in.

5. If your blog's topic is something you can share with friends/family, use a Facebook app to automatically cross-post your Twitter posts to Facebook.

6. Start commenting on other blogs that post about your chosen topic, making sure to include your blog URL whenever a commenting form asks for it.
posted by limeonaire at 8:08 PM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Commenting is definitely the best method, especially since it will direct those viewers whom you actually want, more so than search engines.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 8:22 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

A couple of years ago, I had the same questions. A few things that have helped me - I have a few loyal readers and many others that visit occasionally.

1. Do a lot of soul searching and come up with the real reason why you want to blog - is it because you are passionate about some subjects, have a lot of thoughts/opinions to share or just simply want to increase your professional visibility? In any case, be very truthful to yourself [I'll tell you the reason shortly]

2. Read everything you can on the subject of blogging (, are fantastic resources)

3. Read what you can on social media - having a decent blog theme, sharing buttons on every post, outposts on major social networks like linkedin, facebook, twitter [whatever platforms work for you]. Chris Brogan has a great set of beginner's articles too.

4. Find out who are the best as well as good bloggers in the subjects you are writing about. Read their posts, comment intelligently without any self-promotion, follow them on twitter. If you do this sincerely, especially for those people who don't have a large following, you are bound to interest some people. A-list bloggers have so many people following and commenting on their posts that your comment may get lot in the noise unless it is really outstanding

5. Have a posting calendar - write up post outlines and assign to dates. Keep writing at the frequency that you decide. Remember, posting frequently is the second best thing you can do AND it is possibly the only motivating factor when your stats show no changes month after month

6. Post great content - all the SEO in the world will not get people to read your blog more than once, unless you have great content. No, don't compromise quality for frequency, but don't aim for great posts always - good posts that leave the reader with a new learning, a new line of thought or forces the reader to react in some way are enough. Engage them when they leave comments, politely and respectfully.

7. Use your outposts to spread your blog, but use them in different ways. Use twitter, for example, to ask a question to your readers and then put your URL at the end. Don't spam your twitter following by pumping out URLs to your posts. Linkedin on the other hand is more automatic - use the Wordpress plugin.

8. Be patient. It took me more than 6 months of weekly twice posting to get me my first comment. This is the reason you have to be truthful (bullet 1)

All the best.
posted by theobserver at 8:29 PM on February 12, 2011 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh man. You're gonna end up making me write a follow-up question about Twitter now -- I have NEVER really understood it. (If someone wants to memail me about it so I don't threadjack my own question, that would be really awesome.)

I also don't do a lot of linking various social mediae together -- example: my Facebook and Youtube accounts are completely separate, always have been, always will be. I'd rather make a separate FB post linking to the article than a post on one thing post to fifteen OTHER things as well. I prefer having more control of who sees what, and when. I suppose I'll have to do some digging around to find examples of other blogs regarding this and see what I can do to put the word out initially besides just saying something on Facebook to my friends and family (the former might well care; the latter, not so much).

The reason I'd like to start a blog is to genuinely talk about stuff I like to do, and air the thoughts in my head about these things. I used to have a Livejournal, before OtherHeretical got bitchy about it and I stopped; lately I miss having a place to just TALK about things and have people (hopefully) comment on it, and now I don't need to worry about someone else in my house getting upset by a post I made. My writing tends toward the slightly more amusing, I'd like to think, so while I'm not specifically aiming at causing great laughs with my posts it's a nice side effect. Also, I like to talk. >.>

I'd already decided to set regular posting dates. I suppose if I end up with more content than I thought I'd write, it's easier to increase the posting frequency. Is it common to have posts already written, waiting for the 'usual' post date? That seems like a better thing for me, as sometimes I have more desire to write than others.

tl;dr: WTF is twitter, and do people pre-write blogposts?
posted by Heretical at 8:44 PM on February 12, 2011


I also don't cross-post my blog posts to Facebook, but I do on Linkedin, since my blog is a professional one and I am ok with my professional contacts to see that. It is up to you to decide which platforms reflect your blogs.

Yes, for people who have committed to a regular frequency, it is best to pre-write posts. Twitter is a whole new game. Will send an mefimail to you tomorrow on this...
posted by theobserver at 9:11 PM on February 12, 2011

You have to understand two things:

1. It builds slow. You're riding the low part of an exponential curve.

2. Most people are below average and will remain there.

The real key here isn't so much getting people to visit for the first time. The real key is to get them to come back, to make them regular visitors. Repeat busines is the true foundation of blogging success.

And to get that, the single most important thing you can do is to produce good material, regularly. Daily, if at all possible. If you post good stuff every day, in a couple of years you'll have a rather large regular readership. (And yes, it really does take that long, and there isn't any shortcut.)

Of course, it's a lot of work. And you have to have something to talk about, and have something interesting to say. If not, you won't get a regular readership worth talking about.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:35 PM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

1. Regular content. Attention spans are short these days, and you'll need to update on a regular basis with good, new content. Many blogs these days have several contributors for just that reason.

2. Link to blogs that are like yours. Like you, those blogs all have hit counters, and if they see you in their referrals, they'll look you up soon enough. If they like you, you will get a link back, which will move you up in the search engines.

3. Make sure your meta tags are in good order. Google doesn't do content keywords as far as I can figure, but they do use content descriptions. Make sure that's punchy.
posted by Gilbert at 10:15 PM on February 12, 2011

I had a reasonably successful, if very niche, blog for a while. I made a piece of art that became the number one google image result for a certain word, and a lot of my traffic came from that. I'm not sure how one would set about doing that on purpose, but I did notice a lot of my traffic coming from google image searches, for that image and various other ones I made. And my blog had pretty much nothing to do with art (it was a math blog.)
posted by ZeroDivides at 10:28 PM on February 12, 2011

OP, twitter is like the matrix; no one can explain it, you just have to experience it for yourself.

Make an account, and search for writers/bloggers you like. I'm into sports, so I have a bunch of sports bloggers that I follow there. Watch how they interact and promote their work. You'll soon be able to tell which ones use the medium effectively, and which ones don't.

You can start on twitter passively, just following others and not contributing yourself (I've been on it for months, and I don't tweet at all). Then start trying to join the conversation one you get a feel for it.
posted by auto-correct at 12:27 AM on February 13, 2011

What kind of amount of hits per day are you aiming at? For me it has been sufficient to post only edited and polished stuff (high-end babble, in your terms; I use really few pictures and links) and to use my tags and categories well. I have between 200 and 300 hits per week on my fun blog and 600-700 on my professional blog, most of the latter are the result of dedicated keyword searches either from Google or via Wordpress tags/categories. No idea if that's good or not. Maybe, if you're thinking some sort of social media jam or what, you're aiming at hundreds of hits a day instead, no idea how to get there.
posted by Namlit at 4:17 AM on February 13, 2011

Response by poster: I think I'd be very very happy if I ended up hitting 200 per week. I suppose in the more immediate, I'd aim for maybe a dozen per entry, outside of my friends who would probably read it.

(I'm thinking of posting weekly for sure, occasionally more than that if I have more going on that I want to write about.)
posted by Heretical at 10:37 AM on February 13, 2011

Okay, a few things that worked for me:
-In the beginning I'd try to post more often than weekly, just in order to get some good stats at wordpress ("most active blogs").

-You can monitor your chosen tags and categories: what do others write using a certain tag/category? If you don't like the crowd there, refine, re-tag etc., until you've found your favorite spots to hang out, so to speak.

-Tags with a lot of turnover normally don't generate much of a feedback, because new contributions roll off the page too quickly (like this: make a new post tagged "cooking", click on the tag a second after the deed to look what's new: your post will likely already be halfway down. A quarter of an hour later, it's gone from the first page). On the other hand, tags that are static for months - well, nobody will look at them either...

-As someone above wrote: if you do this search, you'll find other blogs that please you and are close to your interests. Comment on those, but with a light touch.

-Go occasionally back to older posts and edit. There's always something to improve.

-And finally: use the fold as a mild cliff-hanger device. People don't like to read big blobs of text at a time (ladies and gents, I'm close to the end of my presentation). So a judicious use of the "read the rest of this entry" feature is crucial. It works however only if you actively invite people in, so your last sentence must be a teaser of some sort. Naturally, depending on topic and content, YMMV a lot here.
posted by Namlit at 1:50 PM on February 13, 2011

Depending on your blogs topic I have seen a few threads on Reddit where people openly say 'here is my blog on $subreddittopic. Check it out' without causing a controversy.

Obviously you need to gauge how the sub-reddit people will react to it (some subreddits will be more friendly than others), but it might be a good way some people reading quickly.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 7:31 AM on February 14, 2011

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