by Pat Bagano
Blogging will expose you to a lot of hurdles, among the greatest to overcome is gaining blogging readership. You probably faced the bitter truth in online publishing, “not because you write, everyone must read.”
When I talk about this I don’t mean to be rude, I only wish to be real. If you read all the techniques rolled out by every popular blogger you might find that they are not only confusing, often contradicting.
No wonder it is easy for new bloggers to feel discouraged that leads to eventually abandon their blogs. However, if you just cling a little bit longer, as gaining blogging readership is really very hard, you might find that time is among the aspects to consider. Successful blogs have been around for a while. They have an online credibility that new blogs just don’t.
1. Don’t focus on your blog’s comments
For some bloggers comments play an important role in gauging the success in blogging readership. While this is true, at the early stages of building a readership, you will receive zero or low comments, you might have tapped into a very silent crowd. I love reading blogs, from first to the last word.
In fact, that is what I do most of the time, but the truth is, I barely comment even if the piece is very inspiring. Unless I feel compelled to comment because I need to express an opinion that others missed, I remain as a silent fan. And there are a lot of silent fans like me.
You may be asking, “Why do they get tons of comments?” Backlinks, they have a good domain authority because they have been blogging for a while, now there are a lot of bloggers who love to comment on their blogs just for the sake of gaining a substantial number of backlinks coming from the comment.
Of course, for their comments to be approved by a popular author, it has to be something brilliant. As for new bloggers, commenting on your blog will not provide good backlinks because you don’t have much authority and credibility. Time will tell you otherwise as your blog age. Blog commenting is a way to drive traffic to another website and boost their credibility juice.
Don’t feel discouraged, it doesn’t mean your blog sucks, it is just that you need to wait until commenting on your blog can pose a gain for other people.
2. Don’t focus on statistics
Don’t spend so much time analyzing data. If your website is new, search engines are not going to drive traffic yet, well not that much. It is easy to get discouraged when it appears you have applied every SEO tactic around. Consider the age of your domain and blog content, these are great influencers in building a blogging readership.
Do you know that most popular bloggers do not register new domains but buy old domains in good standing? Because the search algorithm seems to weigh older domains much more than they would a new one.
In other words, it is normal that you will rank really low or be inexistent in search results. It might take a while before you really come up in Google for the keywords that matter to you, but that doesn’t mean you are not there. Keep creating content to keep the bots busy crawling your site.
3. Start building a tribe around your blog
A small group of loyal readers is worth investing your time in. You need to engage more with them because these are the people who finds your blog valuable. Provide more value to them.
When you noticed that there is a particular group who reacts more on your content than others, create more content appropriate and appealing for that particular group. These tribes are the ones who will even share your content even if you do not ask them to. That’s your tribe, look for more people like them.
You can draw so much inspiration when you engage more with people who are truly interested in you. Growing your tribe will also take time, but it can definitely rid the feeling of discouragement when you feel unappreciated.
To build a tribe you really need to focus on social media, it is because that is where you would most likely find them. Engaging with them is more than just providing them content, you need to connect through message, mentions or checking their content as well.
4. Your blog must serve your readers, not you!
Your blog, above all, must not serve search engines or yourself. Your blog needs to serve your readers. To really gain readership you need content that is of value to your readers and not just search engine bots.
If you continue to write for the sake of ranking, you are not going to gain readership, you may gain visitors but not readers who will truly engage with what you have to say.
Moreover, your blog must not be self-serving. Liberate yourself from your egotistical notion that it is about you. It is about the information you want to share, but it doesn’t mean that everything in your blog must be appealing to you.
It is easy to decipher a self-serving blog, and truth is, they don’t get much success. Serve your readers, it should answer, “What’s in it for me if I read your blog?”
Even if it is talking about your life, it needs to provide value for them. Even if you are bragging about something, what you are bragging about needs to appeal to your readership as to why they should engage with your brag.
To accomplish that, you need to deliver your information in a very conversational way. Conversational meaning you are not talking as someone with greater authority and not commanding. Like you are simply trying to ignite a conversation from information they can relate to.
5. Know your limits
You should know when to stop. It appears normal for new bloggers to feel burdened and obliged to create as much content as they can. In fact, that is the very flawed premise when starting a blog.
There are people who can create content faster because they have nothing more to do and took blogging as a full time career (Hi there!). But not everybody took on blogging as a full time career. While it can be a full time career, there are many who blog while keeping a full time job.
Know your limits and don’t feel the pressure of boosting content production to reach your goals. If you continue feeling that blogging is creating imbalance in your life, it may discourage you, then feel tired about blogging.
Best you keep a blogging calendar, the simplest possible. When you do, just devote the times of the day that you are free and can really focus on blogging.
This way there is no overlap between your obligations, your short term career goals and your long term goals.
A blog is a great way to be heard in this chaotic world. It is among the best tools to really deliver and exercise our freedom of expression and creativity. It is discouraging when you seem to have given it all but there are no takers.
Before you feel discouraged you need to consider the things mentioned above. There is no overnight success in building blogging readership. As always it is not because you write that you expect the whole world to stop and read what you have to say.
This isn’t about you, this is about the world if they find what you have to say relevant and valuable for them. The initial steps to finding your place in the world wide web is a painful road. Success is relative to each individual, might be best to always keep your goals in check and see if it is realistic.
Pat Bagano is a startup junkie and a geek in denial. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal fan. Always trying things in an unconventional way. Helping bloggers globally to reach their goals.
Founder of PatBagano.com