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Great, you have followers. Now what?

You have what most bloggers hope for: regular readers. What happens now? Keep these four tips in mind to hang on to your readers and attract some new ones.

For most of us, the thrill of clicking “publish” on a blog post has a less-pleasant side effect: the dread that it will fall alone in the online forest, unread and unheard. Eventually, though, someone else will wander through your neck of the woods — probably a few someones. Followers!

Now what?

Keep up the good work.

When we realize we have an actual, not-just-our-best-friend audience, some of us freeze up a little. It’s one thing to publish a post, but another to know that people — strangers, even! — are actually paying attention. Many bloggers fall into one of two common traps that seem like smart decisions, but undermine your success.

  1. Pushing yourself to post more frequently. Your audience already likes your current pace, and making yourself blog more will only lead to burnout. If you’re inspired to create more, awesome! But there’s no need to force it for your audience.
  2. Trying to write for your new audience (or trying to appeal to as many new readers as possible). Your readers relate to your voice. They care about what you have to say, and how you say it. Whatever you’re doing is already appealing to them; trying to be who you think we want to see mutes your natural voice, and trying to be all things to all readers leaves you with a diluted, perspective-less blog.

It’s great to have readers. It’s great to want to have more readers. You’ll get them by staying true to yourself, your voice, and your blogging goals.

Pay attention to your stats.

Think this seems at odds with what I just said about staying true to yourself? I don’t! Using your stats helps you optimize posting times, or teaches you what topics your readers want to hear more about. You still have to decide on topics, create those posts, and make sure they’re in line with your blog and voice.

In the early days of a blog, stats are not much more than a momentary ego boost — if you only had three viewers last week, it’s hard to use that as data to grow your blog.

Once you have some regular readers, you can begin digging into that data to make the most of your posts. Are there days of the week that are consistently high-traffic for you? Publish your next big piece on that day. Are there topics that are more or less popular? Use that information to plan your next few posts. Do you have a lot of readers from a particular country? Think about why they might be drawn to your blog. You can use all this data to inform your publishing schedule and maximize your readership. (Ready to go deeper into your stats? Check out our five-part series.)

Consider a roundup feature or newsletter.

Your regulars might still miss out on a post here and here. A weekly or monthly roundup post is an easy way to highlight your best content and share other links you love. The internet can feel like a noisy place, with endless sites and stories completing for our attention. A roundup post curates some of that content for your readers, helping them focus on the can’t-miss.  It’s also an easy thing for them to share with their own networks, helping grow yours.

If a roundup doesn’t feel like something that works for your blog, email can also be an effective tool — check out our primer on email newsletters.

Don’t stop engaging.

Your readers are drawn to your personality and perspective, but chances are you nudged them toward you by reading and commenting on other blogs, participating in blogging communities, or reaching out on social networks.

It’s great to have readers. It’s great to want to have more readers. You’ll get them by staying true to yourself, your voice, and your blogging goals.

Don’t stop just because you’ve hit 100 followers (or 1,000, or 10,000). The blogging community is a living ecosystem that’s constantly growing and shifting. To keep your place in it and contribute to that growth, keep up the engagement that helped your readers find you in the first place. We’re all responsible for the care and feeding of our blogosphere.

Whether you’re using stats to your advantage, sending out your inaugural monthly newsletter, or planning a weekly feature to take advantage of high-traffic days, never forget why you started blogging and what you hope to get out of it. Keep that in your sights while you work on building up your readership, and you won’t go wrong.

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  1. I had to laugh when you talked about writing all things for all followers. I’ll never forget when I started noticing the pictures of some of my readers seemed young. “Why would they want to read me?” I kept wondering. Then some of them would say they were like 15 years old in the comments section. That did it! I consciously started throwing in a word or two just for that age. My bad” or “Adorbs!” It was the silliest thing because the post would be about hot flashes and then teen slang would creep in. It eventually led to a popular parody piece if mine “How to Talk Young Even if You’re Really Old!” Now I just write. Period. Although I must say, it’s a good thing blogging wasn’t around when I was 15. I might have called myself “Little Miss Menstruation!” Great article as always. Thank you.

    Liked by 19 people

    1. I think the fact that these young lads are in wordpress makes them the exception to that rule. We like to think of kids as innocent and clueless but even among the young there’s those who seem to be older than adults themselves.

      Liked by 6 people

  2. Great advice! A good counterbalance to the “more is better; be everywhere” messages that make us feel we’re never doing enough.

    There are two activities I prioritize: writing quality posts in my authentic voice (albeit with humor and embellishment) and – as importantly – becoming a consistent, meaningful commenter on blogs that appeal to me.

    Those give me the most intrinsic satisfaction.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Damn straight! In fact, I narrate the piece in my head while writing, after I am done writing and of course after publishing (with all the tone, expression) and not to forget in my authentic voice. Wow.

      Nice to know you Sammy.

      🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello everybody! I will apologies before hand if this is in an inappropriate place for this comment. I wish to ask how do I change the designation for replies to my post’s? I prefer the way it is done here. The theme I use is intergalactic and it places replies to posts in a separate page in descending order from newest to oldest. I would rather that my replies be collected like it is done on this site. If anyone can inform me on how I can make such changes I would really be very appreciative.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad to read this today. This week I hit a milestone–500 likes on my blog. Not a big deal to some but a pretty cool moment for me. I’ve struggled in some arenas outside of my blog with trying to “play to my audience,” and the results have been near disastrous. Here, I’ve tried to stay true to my own voice–whether people read and like it or not. Amazingly, after I posted on Facebook about my 500 likes, an acquaintance that I barely know commented that she thinks I get people following and liking my working because I’m so “real.” That meant the WORLD to me. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. The universe must be trying to tell me something, and this post is just emphasizing that something.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Excellent advice!!! If anyone in this thread wishes to check out my blog which is a mash up of my daily thoughts and loves feel free to do so. I’d love any feedback anyone has for me to increase my readership. It is definitely not for lack of material.

    Like

  6. For me it’s no problem. My blog is for myself. It’s nothing more than a journal of what I’m doing with my musical projects, that I choose to make publicly viewable. I’ve made a couple of concessions in case people who don’t know me might care to read it – the “about me” page, and the page on what equipment I use – but I really don’t care whether I ever have “followers” on WerdPruss …so long as I still have followers on Soundcloud 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great tips; after months of slow growth my traffic has really risen lately and hopefully this will help me to maintain the momentum. I’ve found its hard writing an expat blog for two sets of viewers: friends and family who want to know my story and people who have discovered my blog and like the posts but don’t want to know too much personal stuff. I think I’m getting there!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have been finding writing for followers difficult. I do seem to have a few regular readers, mostly from blogs in a similar style that I have followed. Most people seem to prefer short posts, but I prefer to read very long ones – so that’s what I write. Unfortunately the length either turns people off entirely or means that they will just read a post here or there.

    My shorter posts do get more hits, but they seem to pick up less of the regular readers and they don’t really feel like what I want to be writing.

    The idea of a blogging community seems fun, but I’m not sure how to really get involved.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I glanced at your blog and it does seem a tad overwhelming. Maybe try to break up the paragraphs to be a lil shorter so there is a happy medium of a lengthy post but at first look doesn’t look “too long.” Stay true to what you want to write. Being yourself is best.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cheers for taking a look. The most recent two posts in particular were monsters – I had been trying to improve things recently, but they ended up going overboard.

        I’ll definitely try to look at presentation or at splitting the posts up a bit more. I do enjoy longer posts, and wouldn’t like to stop them entirely, but I understand that it can be a bit much.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do like that you have categories so if you are searching for a post in particular, you will have better luck finding it. I have had my blog for about 3 weeks and have no idea how to do much as far as customizing my page. I am not sure if you can or would want to but the font of your page seems really light. Maybe trying a different font or tad larger would look more appealing. Just a thought.

        I know our blogs are completely different but I have found that my shorter blogs do get more hits as well and sometimes I will go back and reread before I publish to make sure there isn’t something I put in that wasn’t absolutely necessary and I will take it out to shorten it if I feel it didn’t add much and the audience could live without.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks. I’ll see what I can do about the font. I didn’t want to match the text any larger with the posts as long as they are.

        On your blog, the uncomplicated style looks good. I’m not sure you need much customization. Though some tags might be useful – just start adding them, you can always edit them later if it’s not perfect.

        Like

      4. Hi, while going through the comments, I thought If I could be any help to you in regard to the tags. For that, I would suggest you pickup the right words (that you would or your readers would use to find related content through the search engines). And to enter tags, while writing the post, you will see a little box of “Tags” to the right sidebar of the page. (scroll down a bit, you will see it).

        Tags really help in making your post visible to the search engines and them in crawling through your content & page.

        I hope that was helpful.

        🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Blogging U. challenges are great ways to get involved in a community, and we’ve got a longform-focused writing challenge coming in December that might be right up your alley.

      Like

    3. I like writing longer posts myself, as well as reading others’. I don’t think the one on Science and Islam was that long, I’ve certainly seen longer.

      What I would recommend is either breaking up longer posts in two – in the first one you maybe write generally about the subject and in the second one you develop it. Or you explore certain aspects in the first and others in the second. Post them in consecutive days, or maybe a week apart etc. whatever you might think more appropriate. You could also keep a post long but break it into pages so people don’t feel overwhelmed when they first see it. I’ve done all these things 😉

      The thing is, if you want to write long posts, write long posts! It’s your blog. My longest post had to be just as long as it is, I had to say all that 😉 It’s been pretty popular so far (considering it’s niche of niche) even though I was ruthlessly uncompromising. But it might be a good idea to mix it up and have shorter ones from time to time. I’ve some silly posts tossed off in 5min that have proven ridiculously popular (again, by my blog’s standards) and some regularly sized but “niche of niche” ones that became mysteriously popular. You never know. Don’t diss the posts that attract attention, use them (or their style) as lure to the ones that you really believe in. Experiment away!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Typically not unless I want to quote a large piece of it on my blog. But I’d rather feature the link with my own commentary than quote extensively, so it’s usually not an issue.

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  9. I’m a total contradiction to what you recommend in trap one and two. I write really varied posts, usually a daily post, my blog becomes a bit of a variety magazine, and it seems to work for me…as long as all the subjects are written in my “voice.” Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 2 people