7 Tips for Getting People to Your Blog

I love having a blog. It’s less formal than an e-newsletter and lets me express a more “authentic” voice. I’m also not bound by a publishing schedule and can post when the mood strikes me.
Building a blog readership, however, is a little more difficult than building an e-newsletter subscriber base. This is because the e-newsletter subscription process is automatic — you hand over your email address and viola, an e-newsletter shows up in your email inbox.
A blog, however, requires the reader to set up the RSS feed in a feed reader
(i.e. Bloglines or Google Reader) — and sometimes those feeds don’t work — and then you as the reader have to make the time to go read all those blog posts. In short, even with a blog reader you still have to go to the blog whereas an e-newsletter comes to you. To get people to your blog you have to work a little harder. I’m using the following tips with my own blog and have seen pretty good results:
1. Write remarkable content — As Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah write in
their best-selling book, Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs (full disclosure: I edited this book), you want to write content that others will want to comment on and pass around.
This means you can’t write product pitches or publish press releases or talk
about your company or post any of that other corporate dreck that puts people to sleep.
Instead, you have to think of yourself as a journalist and write content that’s interesting, insightful, humorous, and maybe even off the beaten track. 2. Publish regularly — Notice I didn’t say “establish a regular publishing schedule.” The beauty of blogs is that you can post stuff all day long, the way Mashable does, or you can post twice a month.
The important thing is to develop content on a regular basis. If you can’t post
for a few weeks or even a month or so (i.e. you just had a baby), explain why so that your readers don’t think you’ve abandoned your blog.
When I was developing my new Website and did not have time to post, I explained why. I was pleasantly surprised when people left comments.
3. Include an email subscription option — I still don’t understand why people
would want to subscribe to a blog via email, but some people do. So include this option on your blog (you can easily add it via FeedBurner).
4. Include social media buttons — Make it easy for people to repost your blog content on the various social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Buzz, by prominently displaying the various icons or buttons to each platform.
Don’t forget to include the new Facebook “I Like” button, too. (If you use WordPress, you can download the “I Like” plugin.)
5. Market your content — Once you publish your content, you have to market it by publishing links to it via Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask a few of your favorite followers or your friends / colleagues to RT (retweet) or repost your content.
You can publicize your content via your e-newsletter, too.
6. Respond to comments — Once you start getting comments, always respond to them. This lets people know you’re reading comments and that you appreciate someone taking the time to leave a comment.
If you use WordPress, consider adding the “Get Recent Comments” plugin to your blog. The most recent comments will show up in your sidebar, which shows that your blog readership is active and paying attention.
7. Leave comments on others’ blogs — If you want people to read your blog and leave comments, then it pays to leave comments on other people’s blogs. I’ve made it a goal to try and read two or three blog posts a day and then leave a comment on at least one of them.
Once you start leaving comments, your fellow bloggers will be so happy they’ll start leaving comments on your blog — as will other readers who find your comments.
Bonus tip: Add a call-to-action — At the end of each blog post, ask people what they think about your post and to leave their comments / ideas / insights.
What strategies have you used to get people to your blog? Post your ideas / tips below — and thank you!

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