The Art Of Promoting A Blog (4/10)

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Welcome to my new “How To Blog” series! In this series, I’ll try to put my knowledge to good use and shed some light on the basic of blogging. You will learn how to set up a self-hosted blog, what are the must-have plugins, how to attract readers, how to monetize your blog etc. I’ll publish a new “How To Blog” post every Saturday.

So now you have chosen between the two main blogging system, now that you have nicely set up your blog, you’re still missing something. Oh yeah. Readers.

Indeed, what most people (including me when I first started) don’t realize, is no matter how great your blog is, chances are that if you don’t promote it, people won’t find it. There are apparently over 50-60 millions blogs worldwide and your blog could be lost in a dark corner of the internet forever if you don’t “hunt” for readers.

There are basically three steps that you can take to make sure you give your blog a chance to be seen:

  • SEO your blog
  • Get the word out
  • Connect to the blogosphere

Do you remember the time when Google was just a convenient tool to find the latest movie reviews or restaurants nearby? Well, now that you are actually part of internet, chances are you will develop a hate/ love relationship with most search engines! Indeed, the first thing you need to do after you create a blog is have it referenced. And it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Some people even turned that into a science, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), where they compete for the best spot on search results and try to be seen everywhere. I’m not a SEO expert, but I can at least give you these few tips:

  • Help Google find you: if you’re not on Google, you don’t exist. Google your blog’s name and check that right away! If you don’t see your website, you can submit it for inclusion in Google’s index. Do the same with other major search engines. Google also has a very interesting page with tools for webmasters worth checking out (Google Webmaster Central). And if you’re using WordPress, check out the Google Sitemap Generator plugin.
  • Submit you blog to a few directories: blog directories will also help people find you. Watch out: there are thousands of directories because apparently, a while ago, people thought they would be easy money. Stay away from directories which don’t look professional, have a low page-rank (or none) and ask you to pay big bucks to be listed. You don’t need that! But bigger and free directory are worth it: BlogCatalog, Blogorama, Superblogdirectory etc.
  • Take any help you can: I personally use the All In One SEO WordPress plugin, because as I mentioned before, SEO isn’t my strength. You can also use some free online tools to check your SEO, like the SEO Tool Score, or LinkVendor.

Once this is done, stop talking to the machines and talk to humans. You know, people, behind the computer. Yep. You now need to get the word out.

  • Participate in forums: an easy way to get the word out is to participate in forum. Most of them will allow you to put a link to your blog as a signature, and if you ask interesting questions or help others, chances are that you will get noticed. The two bigger webmasters/ blog forums that I know are Digital Point and Bloggeries. Both are also very useful for their tips on blogging and SEO. Don’t forget there might be forums in your niche as well (expats, travel, stay at home moms etc.)
  • Be part of a blog network: In my opinion, blog communities are a double-edged sword. On one hand, they are a great way to discover new blogs and networks in your niche. On the other hand, being truly active in a blog community is pretty time-consuming… and your blog should be your main focus! Anyway, some communities are fun and are worth being checked out: MyBlogLog (and their popular widget), BlogCatalog, SpicyPage… just to name a few.
  • Visit and comment on blogs: That definitely should be your main focus. Blogging is a two way thing and people who don’t exchange ideas or communicate well don’t usually last long. Find blogs in your niche or on a subject you’re interested in and comment if you can. It won’t be long before the curious blog owner will visit you blog! Think of checking out blogrolls as well.

And finally, once you start getting visitors, it’s important for you to connect to the blogosphere, otherwise your readership won’t increase. So don’t forget to:

  • Be active in the blogosphere: Although it’s impossible to participate every meme that you get tagged for (and you will, trust me!), doing one once in a while can’t hurt. Pick one that you are interested in (can never go wrong with the “things about me…“) and complete it, with some link back to the blogger who tagged you. Don’t forget to tag others as well! Photography hunt are another great way to connect blog. I personally participate in Graham’s monthly photo hunt and usually get a nice visitors boost to my blog. Plus, it’s fun!
  • Get Stumbled Upon and Stumble/ Digg etc.: Stumble Upon is an awesome tool to browse websites, tag the ones you like and discover the best of the web. And if by chance your blog get Stumbled, you will likely experience a big traffic boost! It’s quite amazing, trust me. So while you can’t Stumble your own blog, don’t forget to Stumble the articles or posts that you really liked and chances are you will receive a nice Stumble once in a while too. Same thing with Digg that I haven’t personally tested.
  • Host a contest or participate in one: Once great way to connect with other bloggers is to host a contest. I organized two contests so far (to win three free ad spots on my blog) and I experienced quite a boost in my traffic. You don’t have to give away expensive prices to have fun: ad spots, reviews, links etc. can be great rewards as well. Participating in a contest is usually rewarding as well, especially most contest hosts link to all participants.

So, I hope you are now “hunting” for readers! See you next week for another chapter in the “How To Blog” series.

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

29 Comments

  1. Very good. I would agree with everything you said. Especially about commenting. 🙂

    diesels last great read…Caption Contest: Prince Caspian

  2. Great post Zhu! Speaking of blogs…a friend of mine is giving away a SEO blog that is hosted with lots of extras. She could use some traffic and hopefuly some entries. Hope you don’t mind but I’m adding the link. If it’s not okay, I understand;)

    Loris last great read…Fantastic Friday!

  3. I visit other people’s blogs/comics
    and actively comment. It’s brought
    traffic to my site. The problem with
    doing this from a marketing perspective
    is it’s time-consuming. You can only
    visit a finite number of people daily.
    It’s a *great* way to make friends,
    but it’s limited as a marketing tool.

    Seraphines last great read…Thought Control vrs. The Runaway Mind

  4. I like your advice for visiting blogs. We couldn’t get it if we weren’t visiting yours could we? 😀
    Of course I’m teasing you but I think it’s my duty to do so, first because you’re a frog and second because you do the same to me lol

    Froggywoogies last great read…Take that ride

  5. This is the most readable summery of how to act in Blogsphere Zue – all in a nutshell – I’ve nothing to add.

    To me, the most important thing is sharing and making friends as I believe in sharing to build down cultural, religious and other barriers among blogger. Visiting and commenting is then of course and important part – thanks for yours – it enriches the subjects.

    Btw: Congrats Canada for the silver medal in hockey!

    RennyBAs last great read…17th of May Parade in Norway

  6. Commenting on other blogs is the best tip of all. It just worked for you, and I have a feeling will just work for me 🙂

    Saskboys last great read…“What Did He Do?”

  7. Hi Zhu,

    Firstly, sorry about the loss to Russia of your adopted country’s Hockey Team.

    It’s really difficult to attract readers, and I agree that reciprocity plays an important part. I agree with all that you’ve said and would like to add the following:

    1) Comments such as “nice blog” or “way to go” and other related 2 to 3 cliche’ phrases followed by “Can we exchange links” are a waste of time. :-)Avoid these people and Don’t do this.

    2) Be nice and constructive even when you disagree with the site’s post; be nice too when you respond to comments that are disparaging or use very harsh language. Maintain civility.

    3) Don’t clog your site with too many advertisements, it would look like the classified ads of a cheap publication. 🙂

    4) If you join paid review sites, minimize those paid reviews or intersperse these with original content, otherwise the blogs credibility will greatly diminish. Better yet, put up another site for such activities.:-)

    5) If you join Entrecard, make sure your Entrecard widget is easily accessible or Reward Rebel will get angry. 🙂 LOL!

    And one final thing, respect your readers by providing something worthwhile to read or learn from. 🙂 –Durano, done!

    durano lawayans last great read…Grief for a Gone Generation

  8. Great introduction to learning to promote a new blog, though, no mention of Technorati!

    Also, I know you don’t use Entrecard.com but I do think it’s well worth a mention, especially so, for new blogs and bloggers.

    It can help in a number of ways, by introducing the new blogger to interacting with other bloggers in the Entrecard community itself, as well as being an effective connector to blog directories like BlogCatalog and MyBlogLog. It can help familiarise the new blogger with what’s popular and what’s not. 😎

  9. Wierd, but I am having problems putting a comment on some WordPress sites today!

    Wanted to say: This is a good post, one that should be useful to many users. As for me, I no longer work to promote my blog, because it is too time-consuming. The only thing I do is visit blogs I like to read.

    Shantanus last great read…The Archipelago & Wine Tasting

  10. @diesel – No one can comment on every post for sure, but it helps saying “hi” once in a while.

    @Lori – No problem, I’ll check this out.

    @Seraphine – I don’t comment on every post myself, since 1) I don’t have the time 2) I don’t always have something smart to say! However, in the long run, it helps when you say “hi” once in a while.

    @kyh – Good job! It does help your blog.

    @Froggywoogie – It’s okay, you have teasing right, we share the same pond as frogs 😉

    @RennyBA – Thank you! I’m glad you found it clear, it’s not always easy to give blogging advices! To me, the most important is to interact with readers. That doesn’t mean commenting all the time but being there and being interested!

    @Saskboy – I’m sure it will! That what worked best for me anyway.

    @Celine – I’m glad it helped! To be honest, it took me months to implement all that, I went through a long learning period!

    @durano lawayan – Canadians did cry a bit but since we’re still watching the Stanley Cup here, as long as there’s hockey, we’re fine!

    You gave some great tips here. I agree with you on the ads and the pay per post: it used to annoy me a lot. Now I just avoid these kind of blogs because I always find very little “true” content.

    @Layne | Reward Rebel – One of the next posts in the series will be specifically about blog ranking tools such as Technorati, PR etc. so I figured I’ll keep it for later! As for Entrecard, I’ll mention it but not from first hand experience as you know. 😉

    @Aiglee – It’s okay, I’m glad you have an English version for me! 😉

    @Layne | Reward Rebel – He is always right on, isn’t he! 😆

  11. Salut Zhu!

    Another great tip!
    I still remember when I first began blogging (last year): I used to participate in Google groups (like everyday) and that is how I met a few of my readers. Blogrolls was another way of meeting new blogging-fellows; reading comments and checking the author’s blog out was another useful tool. I met so many great people!
    One thing I agree with you: being active in any community is time-consuming!

    Indexing my blog was one of the first things I did when I started this adventure…the rookie wanted to see her blog on Google LOL…

    Darling, this series is a blogging success :happy: !

    Cheers

    Max Coutinhos last great read…The Kiss

  12. Great post Zhu! We’d love to meet everyone in the forum so don’t be hesitant to register. Thanks for the mention and hope you are doing well Zhuli!

    Rob

    Bloggeries Forums last great read…Selling 125X125 Banners with Bonus!

  13. Ursula Banteux on

    Great tips. I came upon your blog on SUExchange, so it seems you’re dong a good job of promoting yourself! I’m am going to have to follow suit. I just need more time…!

  14. I’m a big fan of blog directories. You mentioned BlogCatalog as one of your favorites. BlogCatalog is the biggest blog directory on the planet and very social too. So definitely join in with BlogCatalog.

    I’m a huge fan of StumbleUpon as a user, I find the most interesting, funny and useful things on Stumble. Plus, a couple of my posts have been stumbled which really boosted my traffic significantly.

    Great info!

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