Newbie Blogger Initiative 2016 – Promoting Your Blog
People blog for all manner of reasons but there is one thing that’s common to us all. Let us dispense with the false modesty and be candid about this. We may well write for ourselves but the fact that we post our thoughts publicly on the internet is a fairly big clue that we want others to read them. If we didn't then we'd make our blogs private or simply keep a traditional diary or journal, would we not? Now that we've got that out of the way let me add that there's nothing wrong with this. A desire to communicate is not a bad thing. If you have aspirations beyond that and seek fame, prestige and the esteem of your peers then that's a different matter altogether. However whatever your personal motivation if you want people to read your blog then you have to promote it.
As a blogger it is natural to want to find an audience. You may well be content with a readership that grows organically, or you may wish to pursue a more concerted plan to increase your audience. Blog rolls, twitter and other social media are invaluable tools for bringing your work to a wider audience. However to get the most out of such facilities you do need to be diligent in your use of them. Catchy titles and interesting headlines are essential for attracting passing traffic. Be mindful that the work to result ratio when using social media may not be as equitable as you think. For example my current twitter following is a matter of public record. Yet the most hits I've ever had from a tweet promoting a post in a single day is one hundred and seventeen. As my American colleagues say "Do the math".
Whether you actively strive to attract more readers or not, be prepared to invest a great deal of time before you see any tangible change in your site statistics. If you're hoping that you can start a new blog and achieve over a hundred thousand hits a day within the first three months, then you're on a hiding to nothing. The internet is a very big, noisy place and it's filled with people like yourself. I don't say that to discourage you but to merely provide a reality check. Blogging is driven by a degree of ego which you may need to temper occasionally. If you really want to pro-actively develop your blog audience then you have to treat it like a job, which is exactly what those folk who are trying to monetise their sites are doing. If you want to make a living from your writing, it's a completely different ball game and you have to throw yourself into it 24/7.
One of the best aspects of the Newbie Blogger Initiative is the sense of community that it fosters. This can also be an invaluable source of promotion and support. Riffing off each other’s posts, linking to an article you found interesting or posting a stern rebuttal of something you disagree with can bring a lot of new readers to your site. Pingbacks and comments again feed into this flow of traffic between blogs. As long as it doesn’t violate any TOS why not post links to your work on fan forums or subreddits? If you’re feeling especially bold then why not just send an email to a writer you admire or respects and see if they respond in kind?
I've been blogging since 2008 and I've elected to post daily or as near as damn it. My work and domestic situation allows for this, plus I relish the opportunity to regularly gather my thoughts and place them in some semblance of order. As a result Contains Moderate Peril has a back catalogue of posts. Some of that content is time specific, such as writing about the launch of an MMO expansion or some specific ongoing drama. However the material regarding movies or perennial gaming subjects do not have a shelf life. As a result approximately half of my daily traffic is through random Google searches that have linked back to my site.
Simply put the more you write, the greater your body of work. The greater the body of work, the more chance there is that it will be found. Feel free to indulge in old adages about throwing excrement at vertical brick structures. So whether you’re looking for a cosy fireside audience or hell-bent on global domination with a volcano lair, the fact remains that blogging is a long term enterprise. As one of my colleagues succinctly said, "Be prepared to fail for a long time". In the meantime feel free to woo your readership in whatever fashion you see fit, just don't expect overnight miracles. There are no real substitutes for just hard work and determination.