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Saturday, January 22, 2011

How to draw people to your blog

One of the things every blogger years is to draw in a crowd of readers to his or her blog. Actually, if your goal is to make money off your blog, you don't even care how long they stay, because every click is a penny. Yet for most of us, the goal is to have people read your content.

My blog isn't the most well read blog on the web, yet I have managed to draw in an average of 500 clicks per day. In fact, just yesterday I managed to draw in 800 total clicks on pages of my blogs. Mind you each time someone looks at a different page on a blog it's considered a click, so 800 clicks might be 100 people, or even less.

There was one blogger who wrote a post, "How to attract people to your blog," and he said he made $1,000 per day by ads on his blog. So, by that, he managed to obtain 40,000 plus click on his blog every single day. If I obtained that goal I'd be in Heaven. Yet his blog had a popular topic: "How to improve your blog." Mine is less popular, as my audience is mainly chronically ill patients and respiratory therapists.

While his blog was about blogs, he said it's important you specialize your content to a particular audience, and in his case it was those who wanted to improve their blogs. In my case, it's respiratory therapy.

Yet he also wrote that you need to be honest. You can't just write to tell people what they want to hear, or what they can read on another blog. You have to be true to yourself, honest, and unique. And, on that same note, so long as you have good content, people will go to your blog even if they don't necessarily agree with your viewpoint on a subject.

To prove his point, he said that he believes in global warming and that the government needs to do whatever it can to save the planet, even if that means higher taxes and regulations. And I'm going to say I disagree with that. Yet, as I wrote before, if you want to learn about respiratory therapy, or if you want to learn what another RT thinks about this field, you'll read my blog. If you want to learn about asthma you'll go to Asthma Mom's blog, even though she quite often places her political opinions on her blog.

Yet I think it was asthma mom who wrote a post once about how one of her readers was upset by her viewpoint, and she responded by saying, "It's my blog. Of course my opinion is going to come across at some point." I paraphrased her there, but that's basically what I think she was saying. This is a blog. If people get that upset by hearing an opposing view then they shouldn't be reading random blogs anyway. If you have a particular interest, and you're an open minded person, then you'll want to hear the random thoughts of many people.

Yet most of your clicks don't come from regular readers anyway. Most clicks come from people doing Google searches and just so happen to land on your blog. Some will become regular readers, yet most will not.

So, that in mind, how do you attract people to your blog?
  1. You have to write good content.
  2. Make your blog entries pithy (short and sweet)
  3. Be an expert
  4. Be timeless. Write posts that will be readable for years to come
  5. Share your experiences so others can learn from you and depend on you
  6. Have a special topic for each day of the week so people know when you will be covering that topic and will search for your blog. I usually write about asthma Mondays, answer asthma questions Tuesdays, write RT Wisdom on Wednesdays, COPD and other disease wisdom on Thursdays, and answer your RT queries on Fridays, Saturdays are open, and Sundays are for any topic of my choosing.
  7. Don't be afraid to write about off topics, such as I recently wrote a post my advice for Major League Baseball.
  8. You should base your blog on a specialty, as mine is based on respiratory therapy
  9. Write an occasional how to post. My two post well read posts are "EKG interpretation made easy," and "ABG interpretation made easy."
  10. Write about new and unique viewpoints. Another one of my most viewed posts are the ones I wrote regarding my belief that the hypoxic drive theory is a hoax.
  11. Be true to yourself in your posts. For example, you won't see my writing a post about how you should not give a patient the oxygen he needs because of the hypoxic drive theory. People can read about rehashed theories in any book or can hear it from any doctor.
  12. Creat lists. For one thing, they are pithy and easy to read.
  13. Enter your blog in google alerts
  14. Write about the latest wisdom. These posts will be picked up by google searches and be sent to people in Google Alerts.
  15. Announce news, but don't make your blog a bulleton board of news. I think it's best to announce news with your humble opinion and perhaps some other related facts.
  16. Don't make a habit of writing about personal things unless they are relevant to your blog and rare. For example, my asthma blog where I tend to write more about myself is much less read than my RT Cave blog where I stick to the tips on this list. Don't write about your kids, your horses, or the blister on your toe.
  17. That said, occasionally you should write about personal things as it helps to define you as a person. Just don't over do it (see #16 above)
  18. Create an about page so new people can see who you are and what you're about
  19. Make it easy to bookmark and share your blog entries on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  20. Create a unique header to spotlight your blog, but don't make it too big or too fancy as this tents to cause people to get lost in it.
  21. Create a search icon so people can easily find things on your blog
  22. Or create a table of contents where you list most relevent posts on a certain topic. I do this under the tags at the top of my page.
  23. Make it easy for people to contact you. You can click my contact button.
  24. Answer your email in a timely manner
  25. Encourage your readers to subscribe to your RSS feed
  26. Have relevant ads, and don't have too many ads
  27. Make it easy to leave comments. If people can't leave comments they will probably just ignore your blog
  28. Make your blog sticky. For example, create links to other posts you've written, like related links like this. This way people can become lost in your blog, especially if your content is useful and interesting.
  29. Read other people's blogs and occasionally write a post about something another blogger wrote that is interesting
  30. Create links to other bloggers
  31. Leave relevant comments on other blogger's blog posts
  32. Update your blog from time to time
  33. Make sure your old links are still available. Otherwise, people will think your blog is old and lose interest
  34. Update old articles you wrote when new wisdom becomes available and make your readers aware you did this. For example, my ABG interpretation made easy has been updated.
  35. Edit what you write. Occasional grammar errors are fine, but too many and you'll start to lose readers.
  36. Make your paragraphs short and pithy. I usually leave mine 1-3 sentences. Each sentence should have an independent thought. If you read newspapers, you'll see that sentences are short. This makes reading easy.
  37. In your posts, make your point in the first few lines.
  38. Make your headlines match what one might do a Google search for. For example, ABG interpretation made easy or EKGs interpretation made easy and my post about the hypoxic drive hoax will come up whenever someone searches for those topics.
  39. Don't expect instant rewards. It will take a while to create an audience, maybe even years. Although if you stick to it, you should be rewarded with a good # of readers.
  40. Yet don't be greedy. Don't expect to be one of those rare Bloggers who draw in 40,0000 a day. I'm happy with 400. Heck, I'm happy with zero.
  41. Write every day, or nearly every day.
    Don't go on a long blogging hiatus
  42. When you make a mistake, own up to it and apologize in a timely manner and sincerely.
  43. If you got an idea from another person, give credit and link to that person like I'm doing here. I got some ideas for this blog post from this blogger.
  44. Provide facts and link to your sources. This will give you credibility.
  45. Give away things for free (I've been told this is the best way to create an audience, yet I can't think of relevant things to give away on an RT blog).
  46. Don't blog more than once a day
  47. Write relevant guest posts for other bloggers or online magazines. I did this here and here.
  48. Read how to get people to your blog posts like this. In fact, it was from this blogger I borrowed the pie chart.
  49. Realize that most people don't care about you, they want content based on facts

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