How to get more views on your blog

A little bit different from my usual posts this one. I usually stick to topics relating to reading or writing fiction, but a Twitter pal requested recently that I do a post offering what advice I can on how to build and grow the numbers of people who view your blog – so here it is.

Song of the Sea God visualIf you are passing by, please take a moment to check out my book Song of the Sea God. You can look inside to read the first few pages free and download a free Kindle sample for UK readers here. And for readers in the USA here.

Ok, so I’ve been doing my blog for around 18 months now and I suppose I’ve learned a few things in that time which might be of use to those just starting out, or who want to grow their blog traffic. The advice I offer here is just what I’ve picked up over time through trial and error and through listening to other bloggers – it’s what has worked for me – so I hope you find it useful.

120px-Nuvola_apps_date_svgStay Regular

The first thing I’d suggest is that you adopt a regular pattern of posting on the same day each week. If you have the stamina to post twice a week, or even more often, then great – pick your days and update on each day like clockwork.

What this does is let people learn when you will be posting a new update so they can look out for it. I post on Saturday morning every week and consequently, Saturday is by far my biggest day on the blog for views – double or even triple my other days.

528px-Punishment_sisyphPersevere

If you are interested in building a following for your blog the other very basic tip I would give you is to keep on keeping on. For the first few months I did mine, maybe even the first six, my figures were fairly stable and fairly low – looked at on a monthly basis they were always pretty much the same – disappointing. And I admit I did start to wonder if there would ever be a breakthrough. Then suddenly, around month seven, a lot more people started taking a look at my blog – and this rise continued over the next couple of months. I found I had shot up to three times my viewing figures in a matter of weeks – and maintained this new much improved position.

I will be honest and say I don’t know how I did it. I didn’t change the nature of what I was writing. I don’t think there was one big magic wand I waved. But over time I adopted some of the strategies I outline in this post. I think the main lesson is just to persevere and keep at it. It takes time for people to find you and to cotton on to what you are doing.

flowersBe Inviting

When I first started I didn’t think it mattered what my blog looked like – I kept it all white and basic. I didn‘t think about pictures too much either. A blogging pal asked me why I didn’t make my offering more attractive like hers was? I took a look at hers and at mine, and she was right. I know mine’s not a rainbow of fruit flavours now but I have made an effort to make it at least easy on the eye.

Equally, be inviting in what you write – have an eye to entertaining a little as well as informing. I always think: I’m taking up five minutes of someone’s time which they’ve been kind enough to give to me – I should repay that by giving them something they can use or something to make them smile, preferably both.

TalkEncourage conversation

It’s great when people comment on your blog and I’ve found the posts which encourage people to do that most successfully are the ones which discuss issues and ideas. People will comment if there’s something to comment on – if you have raised issues they feel they have an opinion on. So a ‘think piece’ which raises questions your readers can answer for you, or starts a debate they can take part in, is a good idea.

Personal column

I’m just throwing this out there – and it is very much a ‘do as I say not as I do’ kind of tip. But I’ve noticed some of the most successful blogs are ones in which people discuss their lives very openly in all sorts of ways. People follow people I guess and if you are up for making your life an open book it’s one route to blogging success. It’s not for me though, I do try to put a little of myself into what I write on the blog but you won’t find any ‘dear diary’ entries on there. I always take the view that other people are a lot more interesting than me – and I prefer to write about them, in my fiction and in my blog.

Guest posts

I do like to have visitors on my blog – I find other writers fascinating and like to give them a platform to talk about themselves and their work. This also helps bring their readers to my blog – and perhaps once they’ve found me, they will even come back another time to look at some of my other posts.

News You Can Use

Some of my most successful blog posts in terms of numbers of visitors, are the ones which offer advice and information which people can use. I would predict that this post, for example, will be popular for that reason. Some of my post popular posts so far have included:

Tips on how to get followers on Twitter

Advice on how to find a publisher for your book

An interview with my publisher about what they are looking for in a book they take on.

These are posts which are not only popular in the week they appear, but keep getting regular hits over the weeks and months which follow.

Take requests

I think it pays to learn to give people what they want. If you have had a particularly successful post then look at doing something else in the same vein. Also, if friends on social media suggest a topic you might like to have a go at then do your best to accommodate them. As I said at the top, this particular post was in response to a request and I’m finding that happens more often as my blog has become better established.

Emil_Mayer_067Help them find you

Search Engine Optimisation is something of a specialist area and I’m certainly not claiming any particular expertise but I would offer a few tips.

Firstly – pop into the help and advice section of your blog platform and put in place the optimisation tips you are offered there. I followed the bits and pieces of advice offered by WordPress, it took me about half an hour and didn’t stretch my limited technical ability. Has it made a difference? Hard to tell, but it’s done now and I’m sure it can’t hurt.

While we’re on the subject – it’s also a good idea to include relevant tags when you put up a new post. Again, it’s something I never bothered with to start off with but always do now, it doesn’t take two minutes to add some tags and it can help search engines find you by topic and theme.

Social Media

This is a bigger deal for SEO I think. Google loves Facebook and it loves Twitter. If you have decent followings on these two social media mega-sites then link to your blog on there regularly (without being too spammy obviously).

I get more referrals from Twitter than anywhere else, followed by Facebook.

Not surprisingly Google also loves Google+, even though the rest of us make it feel about as welcome as a red-headed step-child. I’m not suggesting you use it like Facebook but just open an account and stick your blog links on there for the SEO benefit – job done.

And …

Stumble Upon

They have a link shortening tool called su.pr which is worth using in preference to tiny.url or similar because, as well as making your links short it also gives you access to the Stumble Upon community and gets you extra blog traffic that way. Worth doing!

* UPDATE SEPT 2013: su.pr now appears to have been closed down as a service by Stumble Upon as part of an update, which is a shame as it was useful. It is still worth adding your pages to Stumble Upon as this does encourage some extra traffic to your blog – you can still add pages etc, it’s only the link shortener which is no longer in service.

Final tip – Have Fun!

How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

Fish.

When you are writing a blog it never hurts to chuck in a few jokes.

Any tips you would like to add – or corrections to mine? You know the comment drill!

Advertisements

36 thoughts on “How to get more views on your blog

  1. You and I always post within a few hours of each other, so we know when to expect a post! And we comment on each other’s blogs. The other thing we both do is have a variety of themes: I have the political ones, the Grumpy Old Sods ones and the Guest Posts. Blogs that just specialiaze in writing tips get boring.And I soo agree about an attractive blog. Shame you don’t have a PINK 2CV, huh!!!

  2. Outstanding Chris. Thank you very much. Very helpful, both in terms of the blog’s actual content and how we can use social media to help our blogs to grow. Personally, I like to keep my pieces short – between, say, 500-800 words – and mix the words up with pictures. People read differently online, I think, than they might do if they were reading a book or a paper. I think it’s good to keep things quite sharp and focused. Guest writers a great idea as well.
    Thanks again and all the best,
    John.

  3. Great post, Chris. I’ve been blogging for years and I never really bothered about how many views I had, but I’ve started finding the stats quite interesting! And I suppose it helps to boost one’s public profile. I don’t do much of what you advise, but I do think you are right especially if you are using your blog for a purpose. Mine is erratic, irregular, unthemed (unless you discount the boaty stuff) and chaotic. I like yours for all the reasons you’ve given above! I look forward to it every Saturday – just like Carol’s. All the same, I seem to get quite a few views and I put that down to Twitter and FB. I’ve also been doing it a long time, so some of my very old posts are still getting views, but I’m guessing that’s just luck.

    • I think maybe one reason the number of views you get on your blog goes up over time is because some of the the posts you have already written are still getting hits on top of the new ones, so they act as a kind of legacy. It’s very true that not everyone cares how many views they get, same as they don’t care how many friends on Twitter etc – and why should they? The only reason is if you have something you are trying to promote a little through these chanels – as we both are with our books.

  4. Carmel has beat me to it as I was going to say visit as many blogs as you can and do leave a comment and if someone visits your blog return the favour it’s what makes the blog world go round. Great tips Chris.

  5. Great post, Chris. I actually came for the flowers I saw on FB, but stayed for the good info:>)
    Carmen makes the point I was going to make. Now, I have only been doing this blogging thing for about 4 months, but barely anything happens until I start visiting other blogs. So far, it is the number one way to grow my little community. Our attention spans are short (and busy!) and we forget the great blogs we loved unless we are reminded by a visit.

      • I do make it a point to do my blog visiting directly before or after a new post. It works for me:>) And I agree that the other 2 are important also.

  6. Thank you again Chris, I keep finding your posts really helpful. This one in particular as I’ve only just opened up my own WordPress Blog, and after a really good start with over 1,000 hits in the first 5 days, it’s now dropped dramatically. I hadn’t thought about using the other forms of social network as platforms!

    I’ve signed up for your blog now rather than trying to find your posts in the Twitter feed. :0) so here’s to more happy and informative reading.
    Gx

  7. Very interesting. Thanks Chris. Incidentally, I found this link through Twitter. One thing I’d add to the SEO part – I started a feature on my blog called Inheritance Books, a sort of Desert Island Discs for books. Which meant that each week I link to at least two other sites. I found my visibility on Google suddenly went up (so did the spammy emails from people offering to do ‘good and high quality’ guest posts). I do precious little in the way of SEO, so I can only assume that the better linked your blog is, the more Google likes you. Maybe.
    (PS: If you fancy doing your Inheritance Books, just drop me a line).

  8. Pingback: How to get 5000 followers on Twitter – without paying a penny! | songoftheseagod

  9. You and I talked about not having many comments on our blogs and I find it interesting that this one got quite a few! I have found that the posts I’ve done about writing have the most comments so i do agree that when you are giving advice, it seems to get people talking. I’ve been thinking a lot about my blog and what works and you’ve hit it right on the head, as it were. Thanks for this post Chris, it has me going in a different direction!

    • Mhm – maybe advice or maybe just issues where people have an opinion and want to be involved in a discussion. Like you though Lisa I try to vary what I write about so hopefully there’s something for everyone – well, everyone interested in fiction and writing anyway.

  10. Thanks for putting this out there! Really reassuring to read someone being genuine and honest. My blog goodtasty.co.uk is currently in its 2nd month and the views are very very slowly increasing. Thanks again for a great post!

  11. Thanks for all the great tips. My blog will be a year old in February and has grown tremendously. It’s not where I want it yet – but its getting there! I started out to promote my newly published book because that is what everything I read said to do. Now I find that I love it for other reasons as well. I use it as an outlet for overflowing subjects that clutter my mind while I am trying to finish the sequel to Crossing The Line.

    • Thanks Elle! Like you I’ve found I’ve grown fond of blogging for its own sake though I did start it to promote my book. Ditto social media – though I do also find these things take up time when I should more constructively be writing! On the other hand, before I was blogging, tweeting and Facebooking I used to find myriad other ways to waste my time so I don’t suppose it really makes that much difference.

  12. Pingback: How to get 5,000 followers on Twitter, for free, part two | songoftheseagod

  13. This was tremendously helpful, Chris! I’ve been blogging for a year and 1/2 and it’s been rewarding in so many ways. Even as I finish an update to Santa Fe on Foot and plan my novel Hand of Ganesha, the extra time it takes to publish my Monday Blog is well spent. My following grows and hopefully my books will sell more as a result (not sure how to measure that). In addition to writing about adoption issues, I usually follow themes that occur to me in the middle of the night or while I’m out hiking…or any time of night or day. Your friend is right: visuals are important. My photography skills are improving as a result. Thanks from me and all of us lucky to discover your blog.

  14. Pingback: How to get more views on your blog | AnitaJayDawes

  15. Chris, this is a very helpful post and I see that you have a lot of replies. Thanks for the advice: regular posts;adding pictures and being open and honest. Still have not gotten into the stats part, but only been at it for a short while. Thanks!

  16. Thanks for these tips Chris, they are extremely helpful. As was your post about building a Twitter following. I am a beginner to Blogging and am trying to build up a public profile as a writer. I shall certainly be acting on some of your advice!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s