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Quick Tip: Five a Day

Most of us start blogs both because we want to write and we want to connect to others — if you…

Most of us start blogs both because we want to write and we want to connect to others — if you weren’t interested in the connection piece, you’d just keep a private diary. But unlike other online communities like Facebook, where we go to connect to friends and family, most of us hope our blogs will reach beyond those immediate circles to the wider world.

While I like to cultivate the secret fantasy that the sheer force of my genius will propel my blog to viral fame, a three-book deal, and a recurring correspondent role on The Daily Show, my realistic blogger self knows that it takes time and effort to build an engaged readership. (Some genius doesn’t hurt.) (Also: Jon Stewart, call me. I’m totally available.)

lego village

Your community probably won’t look so medieval, nor will it be made of Lego. (Photo by Derringdos)

The most effective way is to engage with others; being part of the blogosphere is being part of a community, which means you need to do more than just publish in your little blogular corner. If the scope of the blogosphere is a little overwhelming, break it down into manageable chunks: Five a Day.

Five whats a day? Five comments. Whenever you sit down at the computer to bang out a post or spend 15 minutes futzing on Twitter, commit to leaving five substantive comments on five different blogs. You can find them in a number of ways:

  • Spend a few minutes serendipitously surfing the Reader, clicking on whatever looks interesting, or take a look at some offbeat topics.
  • Click through the blogrolls or visit the commenters of bloggers you already enjoy, or of Freshly Pressed bloggers you admire.
  • Encourage your readers to leave links to their favorites in your comments, so you can broaden your horizons.

Once you find a post that sucks you in from beginning to end, leave the blogger a real comment. Toss out a “Thanks!” or “Great post!” if you’d like, but be sure to take it further. Be specific about what you enjoyed, ask a question, offer a counterpoint, or share a related experience — anything that moves the conversation along.

The beauty of the blogosphere is that others are doing the same thing, and they’ll see and click on your interesting/witty/erudite comment, ultimately bringing you more traffic and more readers. If five a day feels like too much, then try four a day, or two a day. Heck, even one a day spreads your searing insights across seven new blogs a week.

The Five a Day method is not a path to overnight success; only an Oprah endorsement can do that. But it is the best way to build a community of engaged and loyal readers, commenters, and ultimately, friends.

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  1. Great read. I totally agree. It’s taking me lots of time and effort to even get more than 10 views per post. It’ll take more consistent engagement for my views to increase. I always try to give my feedback on posts I read. It’s nice to discuss topics with people I don’t know yet!

    1. I feel the same way about mine–gets discouraging sometimes. But we plug on, because there are still thoughts I want to share. And, as I learned from author Jane Porter, one never knows who one will touch by putting something out there. :)

  2. To follow your advice…

    I like this ideas as it will give me an objective for each day. I particularly liked the idea of asking my readers to leave links in their comments as I sometimes get frustrated at the relatively few people who leave a comment compared to the number of people who are reading.

  3. the five day method is a good idea! I try to do this as much as possible too, I believe it’s important and I now I have amazing blogger friends with whom I enjoy sharing my new projects!

  4. Yay! For once I feel a little ahead of the curve here as I already do this to a degree. I comment on three or four different ‘regulars’ each day, but I also try to reach out and comment on at least two new people each day.

  5. Definitely, it’s give and take. Blogging (writing) itself can take up a lot of time, but it’s a bit unrealistic to expect people to visit your blog if you don’t reciprocate. Visiting other blogs every day is great if you can. I try to read someone else’s blog every day, or even a couple.

    If for some reason though, I just can’t for a few days, then when I have some time, I’ll sit back with a cup of tea and just go around visiting other blogs and reading. Then I leave feedback. If I’ve fallen behind with my feedback, then I’ll skip writing a post if necessary in order to catch up with other bloggers. Everyone likes feedback.

    Plus, a little extra which I like to do for my fellow bloggers – I use that widget feature which shows the posts that I have recently “liked” on other blogs. I think that’s a nice little way of helping to promote other blogs that I find interesting, and sharing that with my own readers! Great widget, WordPress! :-)

  6. as a newcomer in the blogosphere I found your post very enlightening and will try to adopt the “5 a day” concept! Have been doing some following/posting and commenting already – I found the strategy of do so rather intuitively. I also found that, since I like photography, the Weekly Challenge of iPhonography is a great way to spread the “word” and get in contact.

    You really “sucked me in from beginning to end” :) Thank you for sharing and hope to see you at my corner of the sphere!

  7. Thank you for very clever tip, very helpful too. I would like to browse through blogs of all my followers, but it is impossible, and I started to worry a bit. Thanks for your advice :)

  8. Thanks for the tips, I get a lot of likes on my post but not a lot of comments so I hope this helps.

  9. I like the “5 a day approach”. It really does make it manageable, and it does help to build connections between bloggers, and by extension, their blogs.

    I look at posts that share the same tags that I just posted about, and it really expands my thinking to see other’s perspective or thoughts, or completely different posts on the same “tagged” word.

  10. Like the 5-a-day mantra for eating our fruits and veggies, this sounds like the “building blocks” (sorry, it was the Lego pic) to great health for blogging. Thanks. And I mean that.

  11. I couldn’t agree more, but I’d add this: If the only reason you’re reading blogs is to get followers then you’re missing the boat. Read to learn, because there’s a lot to be learned out there. And know, the more you read, the better writer/bogged you’ll become. That’s the best way to keep readers once your attention has attracted them.

    1. I agree. I’ve been constantly researching blogs similar to mine. I don’t have a niche but I have a general idea of where I want to take this. Reading other blogs and books (a new thing for me) is definitely where ideas are planted in my head.

  12. I’m just starting out and its always really exciting to get visits from foreign countries, outside of North America (at least for me). I’ve only been at it for less than a week but it is really really addicting. I’m posting everyday! Aiming for quality, not just quantity.

    I just have one issue with my blog. Can someone offer some advice? My blogs appearance isn’t bad, but it’s not what I am looking for in the long term. Should I purchase a domain name now or should I continue to build a network and community first before I start investing money (something that is trickling down due to school).

    But great post! Definitely starting this right now!

    1. Hi Benny,
      I purchased a domain name because for me it was a mental and financial commitment to the story I’ve been wanting to tell for years. I tend to begin and then not keep up with thing, but this time I’m feeling the momentum because I am no longer afraid of judgement and I know my story needs to be told for a whole host of reasons. If you are feeling committed, I would recommend it. If you are feeling strapped for cash, I believe it is an option later on. I agree about the look of the blog… unfortunately I did purchase a custom look, but I’m sure I just need a techie friend to help maximize what I get from it. Good luck to you!

    2. Adding your own domain name is something you can do at any point, so if you’re feeling cash-strapped, there’s no harm in waiting. You can build a community just fine without a custom domain name, and you may find that the perfect name reveals itself once your blog has had a little time to develop.

      (That being said, if you know what domain you want, there’s also no harm in buying it now.)

      1. Thanks for the reply guys!

        The domain name is definitely something I’m trying to figure out. But I’m sure, like you said, it’ll sneak it’s way to the surface soon enough. Especially with my most recent post. It doesn’t really match my theme, but I had a hell of a time writing it!

  13. Thanks for this – it’s so true. People I know are reading my blog, but I would like to read a larger audience (and get signed for a three book deal also!) so, I will take your advice:) Truth is, as much as I am now enjoying writing, I love to read other people’s stories – inspiration to push my story out.

  14. This is actually a really helpful post. I’m new (or maybe born again) to the blogging world (and wordpress).. so I’m still trying to figure out how all of this works. Thanks for the tip :)

  15. Glad y’all are finding this tip helpful! I know that when I first started blogging, I was totally overwhelmed until I started giving myself little assignments like this.

  16. I noticed a big spike in traffic after I started doing more than just clicking “like” on blog posts. Plus, I know I feel giddy when someone takes the time to write on my posts. I like to think other people get all happy seeing someone has done it for them, too. And it’s nice to have a little community of blogfriends out there. I’ve got a handful now of people in the outdoors community, and it’s great.

    1. Ok now that makes sense. You are right it does feel good when someone leaves a comment. From that perspective it isn’t as scary.

      1. I always try to think about what I like and do the same for others. When someone posts on my blog because they have really read what I’ve written or looked closely at my photos (both of which I will have spent sweat, tears and smiles over) it makes the whole thing so worth while. So I try to spend time reading a number of posts every day…obviously those I chose to follow come first, but I try to make room for something new everyday :-)

  17. I really enjoy reading this article for several reasons. It’s a fantastic way to get noticed in the comments while sharing ideas & thoughts. I would also suggest finding out other blogs who share similar interest as yours. And also engaging users there as well.

  18. Substantive commenting is a great tip. I think part of this is commenting because you were genuinely stirred/interested, etc by someone’s content and not as a means to gain followers. Otherwise the meaningful communication and connection aspect of blogging becomes an empty search for followers to broadcast at, rather than commune with!

  19. Great read. Very engaging. I couldn’t agree more with your advice.
    Oh and don’t forget to respond to people comments and communications as well.
    Cheers to friendships, reading, writing and life.
    Continued success.
    Jennifer

  20. Excellent advice. And here’s my second comment of the day, so at least I’m on my way. I have to remember that in my need and desire to connect and be heard, there are so many out here craving the same thing. And, you reap what you sow.

  21. Very interesting prescription. I recently started writing “better” comments. I was doing the ol’ one to two word line drops, but that felt like I was cheating – I only comment on or click “like” on those I feel a connection to or reaction for.

    Dropping a few more words doesn’t hurt and sometimes… it’s okay to go a little long. Just not too long. I have to work on that. A comment between 2 words and 300 is my problem.

    Thanks!

    1. If I find myself leaving a really lengthy comment, I’ll sometimes write a post on my own site and let the original blogger know. Usually, I wouldn’t recommend leaving a link to your site in a comment — after all, your name is a link anyway — but if you’ve specifically written something in response, it’s fine to point it out.

  22. “Five-A-Day sounds totally manageable. I, too, have noticed that when I take the time to make a thoughtful comment, I get more traffic back and more comments in return. Also, sometimes the pics or the written piece is so engaging, so stunning, that a simple “Like” just doesn’t do it justice.

  23. Thanks michelle for the sage advice! You’ve given me a target for my ongoing use of the reader to connect to others and grow my blogging web. Some days I would attempt to comment to all I visited and could if I had the time spend hours searching out new and interesting blogs to follow. Now I have a more manageable goal that I am more likely to reach on a consistent basis. :)

  24. I`m new to the blogosphere too and yes, I am also finding it highly addictive. There`s so much many inspiring posts on a wealth of topics on wordpress. But I`m making a point of commenting only if I see something really worthwhile. I`d rather have honest feedback myself and would prefer people to be honest in their comments about my posts too.

    That said, your post on here has great tips. I particularly love the five a day tip. And it`s well written too.

    Now, any tips on how to cure me from being a blogoholic?

  25. Great advice. I will try it. I vacillate between reaching out and focusing just on writing. Ahhhh, balance.

  26. Thanks for this reminder to meaningfully and thoughtfully check out new blogs. Like I imagine many of us do, I have a select few bloggers that I follow and I read pretty much every post they write. But I have been lax recently when it comes to looking at undiscovered (by me) blogs. And I know how irritating it can be (speaking as a hypocrite, because I’m guilty of occasionally doing it!) when someone flies by your blog and likes a post but doesn’t stop by and comment. I want my readers to tell me why they liked that post!

  27. People have interesting thoughts. I found myself being inspired by reading other blogs too so this is definitely a nice idea.

    1. Blogging challenges are a great way to meet/interact with other bloggers, but I think there’s a lot of value in unstructured wandering through the blogosphere to see what jumps out at you.

  28. I never thought to break it down as this piece instructed. This is a process I must use myself. Thanks for the idea.

  29. Yes, this is a great tip. I am new to blogging, facebook, twitter, all social media really. I have discovered very interesting blogs and I like to comment on them and learn. The photography has especially appealed to me and it amazes me how the pictures add a dimension to the writing.

  30. But I like my comfortable lurker zone. It makes sense what you are saying, but commenting on others blogs seems a little risky. I could look like a bigger idiot than I am. See?

  31. I’ve just started blogging and I’m really grateful for tips like this, thanks. I’m finding blogs are great reading material with my coffee.

  32. This was a fantastic read, and one that I really needed to hear! Thanks so much for posting this. All too often I sit there looking at my stats when I could be INTERACTING with my followers, the people I follow, and new people with new ideas!

    Beautifully put!

  33. Interesting. I recently wrote a post on this exact subject and surprisingly, used many identical sentences. Wow. I guess we must think alike, huh. Funny about that. Maybe I’ll repost it. We can compare :-)