Getting attention for a new blog.
August 4, 2004 3:39 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to attract a readership to your blog? Must you be a self-styled journalist, pundit, or the like? Is it worth it to take out textads? Does it help to post on other people's blogs? Do you have to talk about bloggers, blogging, and the blogosphere all the time on your blog for people to read it? How do you get that first reader?
posted by swift to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Get your real life friends to read it. Get them to tell their real life friends, if it's any good. Update every day, at least, but don't just put crap up. It takes more time than is worth it for almost everyone.

Then, run it for 5 years or so. You'll slowly increase in rankings from Google, and end up writing phrases that people search for. A small percentage of those people who accidentally get to your site will come back the next day.
posted by davebug at 3:42 PM on August 4, 2004

It helps if your blog is about something fairly specific. I have a blog that was, when I started it, just about the only blog on its topic (it covers issues local to my town), and over time it developed a loyal readership. Of course, it will never become popular outside of this town.

I also didn't want to pay for hosting when I started, so I used Diaryland at first. Since it wasn't about my personal life, it was different from most of the other sites there, so other Diaryland bloggers would link to me and kept reading it after I moved the site.

Also, get listed on Technorati.
posted by transona5 at 3:54 PM on August 4, 2004

i just read some of it, and it seems too personal to be of broad interest, if that's what you're going for. If you're doing it for you, that's fine, and it shouldn't matter who reads it. If you want lots of people to read it, start taking a stand on issues and things. Hot air seems to attract a lot of readers, and thoughtful ruminations too, but they usually are about bigger things than what you need to throw out or bootleg recordings. (i'll take some of the books tho) : >
posted by amberglow at 3:56 PM on August 4, 2004

a good first step is to post a question about it to Ask Metafilter
posted by jacobsee at 4:02 PM on August 4, 2004

I'm doing the same thing here, and will pimp my own lame attempt here! I'm basically googling the crap out of arts & crafts / craftsman / prairie / mission websites, inviting their owners (if they can write) to be contributors and giving them posting accounts (I'm using Typepad, with a "corporate" level account). And you just need to write a lot and hopefully some of it is good.
posted by luriete at 4:16 PM on August 4, 2004

If you're writing to get popular, it'll probably be obvious. If you're writing because you have something to say, it will resonate, and the traffic will take care of itself.
posted by jragon at 4:17 PM on August 4, 2004

It helps if your blog is about something fairly specific.
How it worked for me. It didn't start off that specific fell into my lap.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:17 PM on August 4, 2004

Response by poster: I understand that good writing is important, and I didn't pose this question to drive people to my own personal site. Certainly I don't want to discuss or critique it here, though I know just saying this is like asking people not to think of pink elephants.

What I'm looking for are any experiences with how readers are attracted to blogs. Is it purely reputation-based, do bloggers market their sites, is it accidental, what?
posted by swift at 4:24 PM on August 4, 2004

I clicked on luriete's TextAd just about 12 hours ago and looked at his site. I like MF textads.
posted by planetkyoto at 4:38 PM on August 4, 2004

A niche topic of interest worked (and continues to work) very well for me. Also, get the TextAd. I get a decent click-thru percentage and 10k impressions has lasted me about 6 months. Not bad for $10.

On preview: get higher-traffic blogs in your niche to link to a specific story. My real-life example: plush mp3 player discovery gets linked to by Gizmodo which leads to BoingBoing (and begging Cory to link to me and not just Gizmodo even though he has a crappy WiFi signal and has to hold his laptop over his head to stay connected).
posted by turbodog at 4:39 PM on August 4, 2004

I asked a similar question in January--How Do You Become an Internet Phenomenon?--and the responses were incredibly helpful. I think having a narrow topic is key.
posted by adrober at 4:41 PM on August 4, 2004

In the case of Typographica, I didn't have to market; it just sort of happened on its own. Like Jragon says, it resonated with people. But it wasn't my writing; I opened it up to about 50 people, and often the comments had more meat than the articles.
posted by luriete at 4:45 PM on August 4, 2004

Post thoughtful comments on other people's blogs, or expand/agree/disagree with other people's entries on your blog--making sure to link/trackback them--thus starting a conversation. Talk about stuff you know and love, whether it's mundane or crazy.

Alternately, if you're a non-left-winger on Metafilter, other people will link to your blog for you!

(on preview: ohmigawd, luriete, I'm drooling on my keyboard here. /me loves Stickley and Wright and Pasadena and all that yummy arts and crafts goodness)
posted by Asparagirl at 4:51 PM on August 4, 2004

"If you write them, they may come." Search specific words for your blog, locate those people who are blogging about it and invite them (nicely) to visit. If you have interesting content, they'll be back. Worked for us.
posted by azul at 5:51 PM on August 4, 2004

Find a niche. Find someone larger who will link to that niche. I found that a few blogs kept saying, "Man, someone's got to look into this" and started a blog devoted to the "this." Now I might have a book deal.
posted by inksyndicate at 6:05 PM on August 4, 2004

Response by poster: This is all very helpful. Thanks.
posted by swift at 6:26 PM on August 4, 2004

also, try spamming sites with a large readership. For example:
my blog.

See how easy that was?
posted by Grod at 9:03 PM on August 4, 2004

Hey, that's great news, inksyndicate. Am I correct in thinking this possible book deal might be regarding a certain well-connected Bad Guy (tm)? Hope it pans out...way to go.
posted by Vidiot at 11:15 PM on August 4, 2004

For the record, it was delmoi who linked to her blog in Asparagirl's original thread.

The metatalk thread she linked to was just me bitching about her thin-skinned response to him.

A subtle difference perhaps, but an important one (to my mind, at least).
posted by Irontom at 5:30 AM on August 5, 2004

The answer is not to worry about hits. The right number of people will eventually read your site. You will likely achieve homeostasis, as most of us do. It is possible that the right number of people is 50 or some seemingly small number. That's 49 more people than you would usually be talking to at any given time.

Your archives will continue to be useful indefinitely to Googlers.

Readership is too important to sully with double-entry bookkeeping, so do not worry about numbers. With unusual exceptions that Clay Shirky talks about in his power-law analysis, you're gonna be as popular as you deserve. Don't fight it.
posted by joeclark at 2:40 PM on August 5, 2004

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