This is Day 4 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers. You can read an overview here.
Today’s assignment is to look over the comments on your blog, find a commenter you don’t recognize, and send them an email. Taylor the email to their comment and include a link to your blog.
It’s an easy assignment. In fact, it’s so easy, that some of you may be tempted to blow it off and not do it. But this assignment points to a larger principle concerning blogs, one I think it’s important to address…
Blog Growth is Slow and Steady
Many of us bloggers have this dream… that we’ll start a blog and our posts will be so amazing that even though we start with a handful of readers, those readers will tell all their friends, who will all love our blog become regular readers and tell all their friends, who will all love our blog become regular readers and tell their friends, and so on, and within weeks we’ll have hundreds or even thousands of regular readers.
But the reality is growth for most blogs comes slow and steady. It comes one reader at a time.
On Day 3 we talked about promoting a blog post and how it’s important to reach out to people who have never heard of us or our blog and invite them to read a post. But it’s even more important to try to convert a one-time visitor into a regular reader. That conversion often comes by building relationships, and as we all know relationships can be hard work.
7 Little Things You Can Do to Build Relationships with Your Readers
Good relationships don’t happen overnight or with one big “event.” Relationships are developed over time with small things that demonstrate genuine interest. Here are 7 little things you can do. Some are taken from today’s lesson, others are things I do for my readers.
- Email a someone who has commented on your blog (today’s assignment)
- When someone comments on your blog, post a comment in reply.
- Go to commenter’s blogs and comment on their posts.
- Allow people who comment on your blog to include a link in their comments to their own blog. If your commenters find they are getting visitors from your blog, it’s one more incentive to become a regular reader and commenter.
- Remove the “nofollow” attribute from comment links. By default many blogging platforms add the “nofollow” attribute to links in comments. This attribute tells search engines not to “count” the link. Including the nofollow tag eliminates the incentive for spammers to post spammy comments to your blog, but it also takes away the search engine value of the links your legitimate commenters post. I think it’s worth it to remove the nofollow tag if your blogging platform allows you to do so.
- Periodically do things to thank your readers. Be creative. Give away a book or a CD. Do something for them.
- Thank people who retweet your posts on Twitter.
- What other little things can bloggers do to build relationships with their readers?
- What little things did you ACTUALLY do today?
- Did you see any immediate results? (You may not. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t)
The Extra Mile
A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further today…
- Reply & give other bloggers feedback on the little things they do.
- When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
- Check previous posts in the series for new comments.
- Tweet, share, & bookmark this post. (You could win a $25 gift card!)