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.

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