For some bloggers, what matters most to them is not how many people comment on their blogs, but rather how many times their blogs are viewed. Those who care more about total viewers than they do total comments are not any worse or better bloggers, or people, than those who are the other way - they are simply people that just care about different aspects within their online blogging activities. Many 'power bloggers' (that is: those who blog a lot, for whatever their reasons) tend to usually fall into this category - but not always - because they realize that the shear amount of content they are pushing out is often times more about having people read their content, than it is having people take 30 seconds to post a comment. This blog is primary for those of you who are this way - but it is always going to contain some great tips for those who are moving into that direction with their blogging style.
Viewership is vital. So how do you get viewers? How do you get people to read your blogs? How do you get new followers? How do you get people to discover your blogs? These are the questions at the heart of this issue. What you are after is people! People finding your blogs, people reading your blogs! Many people think that this is mostly up to the magical sphere and will of the internet - which is true to some degree - but there are a number of key things you can do to help you increase your viewership. Some of it you can do with no effort on your part, and some of it might take a bit of effort on your part. How high your viewership raises is greatly dependent upon how much effort you are willing to put into gaining new viewers!
I know a lot of power bloggers who are downright scared of sociality. To me this makes very little sense. If you are a power blogger, your primary focus is typically on getting people to read and/or comment on your blogs, so why fear the social side of blogging? After all, it is real people out there viewing and commenting on your blogs - that is kineticism at its greatest!
Over the last five-plus years that I have owned ChristianBlog.Com I have received countless messages from folks that go something like this: "I have been blogging on my personal blog for a year and I hardly ever get anybody who reads my blogs, but after joining ChristianBlog.Com and posting just a couple of blogs, I have already gotten more views within my first few blogs than I have for the entire time I blogged from my own website!"
This happens because of three key factors:
(1) Because you are blogging at a social blogging website - a website where people of like-minds come together.
(2) Because the social website you are using (such as ChristianBlog.Com) uses social services to promote your published blogs (primarily twitter).
(3) Because the social website you are using (such as ChristianBlog.Com) uses advanced techniques to help you gain exposure on search engines (primarily google).
But there are a limited about of things that the website that you are using can do to help promote you. At some point, if you want to grow beyond the Blog Service (such as ChristianBlog.Com) that you are using you are going to have to take direct action to further promote yourself within other online social services.
At this time, there are two very huge services that you can use, a few large services you can use, and a whole lot of small services you can use, that may or may not be worth their time and effort.
The big two are twitter and facebook.
Twitter allows you the direct access to 200 million people. Through the use of posting your blog title and a link to your blog, anybody who is following you gets a notification (a tweet) about your new blog. Gain enough twitter followers and this can lead to some amazing amount of potential viewers to your blogs. The numbers can get downright crazy when you start getting followers who retweet (a term for other people sharing your tweet with their own followers) your blogs! Privacy on twitter is exceptional - very little information about you is shared.
Facebook allows you direct access to 500 million active users. Like twitter, facebook, and ChristianBlog.Com, are dependent upon getting followers. The more people you can 'friend' (have follow you) the more people you can reach with alerts about new blogs you have published. Like at twitter, each time you post a new blog at ChristianBlog.Com you can jump over to facebook and post the blog title and url to the blog and it will get shared with all of your friends/followers! Read: more viewers!
ChristianBlog.Com is not in competition with these two online websites. Each provides their own unique set of features and services. To look at it in one perspective, from say blogging features, it would go like this: Twitter is a micro-blogging website, facebook is a macro-blogging website, and ChristianBlog.Com is a mega-blogging website - in regards to the size of content allowed and the feature-set for content design.
The average blogger has around 3-4 seconds to get somebody who is viewing your blog title to decide if the title sounds interesting, or if they just want to move onto something else.
For experienced internet users it is even less time (somewhere less than 1 second, based on my own experience) because we have become accustomed to quickly reading titles/subjects and either moving our eyes down to the next one, or having our brain go "oh, that sounds interesting".
For those who are a bit less experienced with the internet, you might have upwards of five seconds for their eyes to read your entire blog title, and for their brain to process if it is of interest to them or not.
Regardless, you need to do your best to make the best possible blog title that you can that catches readers attention.
At the same time you have to be very certain that you do not deceive your readers. If a person clicks on a single blog you post, because their brain told them the title sounded interesting, and than it turns out your blog title has nothing at all to do with the content of your blog... you have probably lost that person from ever reading *any* your blogs again! People hate deceivers - and experienced internet users really really hate deceivers as they feel you have totally manipulated and wasted their time.
So what I am suggesting here is that you should consider putting as much effort into the process of what you name/title your blog, as you do the actual writing of content within your blog. Make it catchy, but not deceiving!
Content is King
This is something I said in a previous blog and it is just as important in the content of this blog. The quality of your blogs is vitally important to getting people to follow you, to be interested in you, and to return to view your blogs when you publish new ones!
This does not mean that one hundred percent of your blogs need to always be super spectacular blogs - in fact, many power bloggers have learned that a vital key to their growth in viewers is throwing in a blog every-now-and-again that is outside the norm of what they blog - sometimes something funny, sometimes something totally unrelated to what they usually blog about, and sometimes just something personal and from the heart.
I often see power bloggers who right great blogs with great content and get all kinds of viewers and followers - and they continue to publish great blogs with great content, and eventually their viewership decreases. This is proof that while content is king, sometimes the king needs to get out and play a game of volleyball with some friends or go to a comedy show and laugh for a few hours.
Remember also that great content involves engaging the reader. If you have the ability to link to other resources (reference websites, exobiblical websites, strong's concordance, etc) you can add another layer of depth to the readers delight.
People have come to expect that their newspaper is on their front porch every morning, or on their computers home page when they are drinking their morning coffee, or in the newspaper stand on the street. This is a lesson that power bloggers learn quickly. Consistent regular blogging results in a huge increase in daily readers - it creates loyalty and loyalty creates online and constant viewership. Even if you as a blogger are not getting comments, chances are if you are blogging on a regular basis, you have an increased amount of viewers than anybody else.
This also presents a negative. Some bloggers feel the need to publish multiple blogs a day - and this is typically a great way to increase viewership. However, from the numbers that I have been able to put together, there is a serious negative aspect to this behavior. Specifically, if you post two or more blogs at the same time, you are going to actually loose viewership, as people tend to not click on *either* of the blogs. Strange, but it is what seems to happen. Perhaps viewers are thinking you are simply spamming the website, or perhaps they read the blog title of the first blog, it does not interest them, so they look right over the second blog you have posted. I really have no idea - it is just an aspect of human physiology I believe. My suggestion, if you do intend to publish two blogs a day, publish one in the morning and one after you get off work. Here at ChristianBlog.Com there is a feature for Pledge Partners that allows them to set a specific date/time to have a blog published that could prove useful if you do not have the ability to log into the website multiple times in a day.
Befriend power bloggers
Ok, lets do a simple math calculation here... if you have one of your friends who only has 20 followers mention a blog you have written within one of their blogs, that might only lead to a dozen (probably fewer) of their friends reading your blogs. But lets say you have a friend who has 200 followers mention that same blog within one of their blogs... that might lead to dozens and dozens of new viewers to your blog! Simple math folks.
This of course, does not mean you should only befriend those people who have a lot of friends themselves. Time and time again I have seen that the most power group of communities that exist here at ChristianBlog.Com are those micro-communities that develop around new members who become friends of other new members. There is a form of bonding that takes place when new people of a website join together in friendship with each other - a bond that typically goes deeper than friendships they make with members who have been around a lot longer.
Both are of vital in your quest to gain new viewers!
Become a power commentor!
Oh this one is really going to bug a lot of power bloggers! I can just tell it will. This is one that's going to get under the skin of a lot of folks who really drive themselves to be bloggers. You see, there are those who feel that it is 'their job' to blog and to 'let others do the commenting'. I challenge anybody who does nothing but blogs to compare your average blogs view count to the average blog view count of somebody who might not blog as often, but takes the time to engage in other peoples blogs by posting comments! Go ahead, I double dare you! Whats wrong.. you scared... put me to the test. Sure, you might find one or two exceptions, but the real and true numbers are on the side of those who take the time to care about others = writing comments!
Don't care to take my challenge? Good idea. So let me put it another way: If you truly do care about your viewership, of getting new people reading your blogs, as I have already said, it involves using means beyond just blogging - social networking. What you need to do is to consider posting blog comments as another means of social networking! I cannot begin to fathom the number of bloggers profiles that I have viewed not because they posted a blog, but because they posted a comment in a blog I was reading, and they really impressed me, so I clicked through to their profile page - and from there, to their blogs!
Engage with those who comment
In my previous blog about blogging tips I wrote about 'When To ignore, when to respond, and when to just delete!' in the aspect of comments. The basic context of the blog was learning how to behave when people post comments to your blogs.
I think for some people it probably came off a bit... legalistic... and while I think that is good to some degree, it has its limitations for sure. When you engage people who comment on your blogs - by posting a reply to their comment - you are directly effecting their physiology of you. If you take the time to acknowledge people it usually helps you increase in their friendship towards you (unless of course what you reply is not friendly) and the more friends you can make, and the deeper you can make those friendship, the more it will result in your friends telling their friends to check out your blogs!
You might have a whole host of reasons on why you do not take the time to comment within other blogs - but in the end, they are all just lame excuses. If you truly do care about gaining new friends and getting new people reading your blogs, be a friend and show them you care about their blogs as well. Human nature dictates that friends are there for each other. Are you a friend, or just a user and abuser?
Make friends, make friends, make friends!
Nearly every social website, including ChristianBlog.Com, bases what content to display to you based on who you have listed as a friend/contact. This is at the very center, the heart, the essence, of websites these days. If you blog every day but only have two or three friends, there is a very good chance that you are probably only going to get two or three people viewing your blogs. But if you have a couple hundred friends, chances are that you are getting a whole lot more people reading your blogs than the person with only a couple of friends. Again, it is a math factor.
Social website depend upon social networking of the members who use the websites. If you are not networking (becoming friends with others) than you are not helping your cause one-bit - and are probably just self-defeating yourself. Perhaps more vital than anything else I have said, is getting as many friends/followers/contacts as you can. This advice is specifically for those who this entire blog is written for - bloggers looking to increase viewership! If you enjoy writing an occasional blog and do not care if the whole world sees your blog, this bit of advice is obviously not for you. But if you want the largest amount of possible views to your blog as possible, it is not so much being true friends with others (twitter is a prime example of this - where you might follow hundreds or thousands of other people, yet not actually know 99% of them) as it is about getting your published blogs in-front of those people who are following you!
John B. Abela
image credit: http://flic.kr/p/96AMw2