Attention: We interrupt your usual Oh Mah Gah Monday edition for this very important message(Okay it's not really important, it's just that I was having too much fun to remember to snap a picture of that girl with her ass hanging out of her skirt this Saturday night. SORRY!)
Disclaimer: There's a possibility I may say some things in this post you're not going to like so please don't hate me, as I'm only a humble messenger. And for the love of all that is holy, do not unfollow me.
Disclaimer # 2: This post is intended for those who actually want more traffic on their blog and people to follow them and read their posts. Maybe you're even chasing famosity like me. If you don't fall under any of these categories you're welcome to skip this. I still think it's awesome. And free. Awesome + Free = Free Awesome.
HOW TO GAIN FOLLOWERS - A GUIDE
So you started a blog. You wrote down all your ideas on paper for your first few posts, unsure of your expectations as to where it would take you or what feedback you'd receive, putting it all out on the line for your love of writing, or maybe for your narcissistic tendencies, or for your deep desire for famosity, or the need to tell the world what a fashionista you are or how Betty Crocker has nothing on you in the kitchen. We all blog for different reasons, but there's one thing that binds us together and that, is the desire for people to read our stuff.
Below are some rules I've learned along the way on how to gain followers and a few tricks on how to achieve this not-so-simple task. Let's get this show on the road, shall we?
NUMERO UNO - NO MUSIC
Please don't hate me for saying this, but if you want readers, if you really want readers, you gotta turn the music off. There's nothing more annoying than trying to read a blog post and having the Backstreet Boys squealing about the meaning of being lonely in the background. If you insist on having a playlist because you have the best musical taste in the world and people have to listen to your shit, then keep it silent. Let your readers choose if they want to hear your favorite songs by Celine Dion or Luciano Pavarotti or Justin Bieber (I love him too).
It's a blog, not a MySpace page.
Don't write incredibly long paragraphs that look like this.
No one in their right mind will read something that looks like this. For some off reason I've noticed that when it comes to the internet, people err on the impatient side and have little tolerance for huge paragraphs or continuous rambling. Your blog is not a book. No one is cozying up to it and a glass of wine on a Saturday afternoon under a shaded tree (maybe they are, but highly unlikely).
Pictures and drawings help immensely. When writing your posts, imagine all your readers to be sex deprived men. Men need visuals (and so do readers). I could be wrong, but I just don't feel people are prone to read a post that is just words, especially if they're visiting your page for the first time. I know I like pictures (especially of food and cupcakes I'm not even going to lie) and will read posts that have lots of them.
Yup, you heard right. The key to the whoring of the self though is a bit tricky, since you have to do so with class and in a way where you mask your whoreness to seem natural and deceive people into thinking you're actually doing them a favor by putting your blog out there. Just read on for whoring tips.
First and foremost my darlings, whoever tells you to just write and the followers and readers will come in due time is a damn liar. Besides, you don't have time to be wasting as you conjure up some of your best stuff and it just sits there going unread. Heck no! You have to get out there and find your readers. The internet is not going to do it for you.
It is you, who has to come out with guns blazing and show the internet who's the blog boss.There's no point in writing if no one is reading, so start with the obvious victims and work your way up the ladder. Obvious victims = family and friends.
It's a fact that the very first people you'll work your blog prostitution skills on are your friends and family (that is considering you actually want them reading your blog, of course). When I first started mine, I begged all my friends to please read and subscribe to it. I texted, MySpaced, Facebooked, wrote letters and sent them with the horse mailman (just kidding about that one but you get my point).
One by one my friends started following and eventually encouraged me to keep writing. Did all of them read my stuff? Probably not. But you gotta start somewhere, guys.
Please, don't fall prey to the notion that a follower equates a reader because I've learned the hard way that it most certainly does not.
Back to the whoring part. Other ways to get readers is by joining forums and chat rooms. I happen to think that http://www.20sb.net/ is a great site for interacting with fellow bloggers if you're in your twenties, there are a gazillion other sites out there like that. Interact with people by reading their blogs and leaving comments.
Speaking of comments, I'm dead set that this is one of the best ways to expose your blog to others. Leaving comments on someone's blog posts will prompt other people (including the person you left the comment for) to come to your blog and possibly a) read your stuff and b) follow you.
VERY IMPORTANT! You have to actually read their post and leave a comment that makes sense. If someone writes a post about how much they love tacos because they're delicious and spicy, you can't leave a comment about you loving diamonds because they're sparkly and shiny. Come on, guys. In order to garner readership you have to give people the same common courtesy you're expecting and read their stuff. It's only fair to share in the blog lovin'. I strictly only leave comments on posts I have fully read. Anything other than that is cheating, and we all know no one likes a cheater (that's right, Tiger Woods).
NUMERO CUATRO - SOCIAL NETWORK NINJA STYLE
Take advantage of all the free and fabulous services the social network gods have provided for you. Put those fingers to work and tell people without shame that yes, you have a blog and yes, they should read it because it's AWESOME, dude.
MySpace, Facebook, Hi5, Twitter... I could be here all day reciting sites. There are so many platforms to start the blog prostitution it's not even funny. Consider yourself a high class escort of blogs and say things like, "New post!" while including the link to what you've just written.
These tools work, guys. You just have to put in the time and effort, is all.
NUMERO CINCO - FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON'T DO THIS
I'd be lying if I said I didn't fall prey to the whole "Follow me and I'll follow you!" phenomenon when I started blogging. Some dude with a blog about office life asked me to do this and I finally succumbed but then realized I wasn't reading his blog and eventually just unfollowed. I read a lot of blogs but let's face it, I can't follow them all (and neither can you). If I'm following, I'm reading.
Pressuring someone you don't know to follow your blog is just bad etiquette and if you think you're helping yourself out you're most certainly not.
Now, forcing friends and family to follow your blog or you'll run over their cat, that's fair game. Do it!
NUMERO SEIS - JUST DON'T
Pretty please with a vodka covered cherry on top, do not write like this:
I like goin' 2 tha store b4 is mornin time and gettin chocolate kisses 4 u 2 eat.
We all have our misspelling and grammatical errors and it's only natural that you stumble upon one on a blog. But with this said, writing like a two year old crackhead isn't going to make you famous.
So don't do it. Hmmkay?
I'm no expert at this whatsoever. I started blogging about four months ago so you're welcome to simply look at this advice and say, "What the fuck do you know?" And you may be right, its probable I don't know shit, but I'm giving y'all my humble opinion anyway.
Just say the words penis, testicles or curse tons, and tada! You're on your way to decreasing follower numbers. See? I just said that and I lost one. Damn.
Update: I was looking at my followers meanwhile writing this and I spotted a duck face. Was this done on purpose? And Justin Bieber is totally following me.
It's official. I'm famous.
Update Part II: I forgot to touch base on the frequency of posts and just wanted to write on it really quickly. Although I feel the amount of times a blogger should post weekly may vary depending on your blog content, I don't necessarily think posting daily is a must in order to have a successful blog. Don't let yourself be pressured into the false "you have to post every day or people will forget about you" mantra. It's like the saying goes, "If you don't have anything nice to say, then shut your trap" (or something like that).
Well, same goes for blogs. If you don't have anything interesting or semi-awesome to share with your readers, then wait until you actually do and get jiggy with it. At the end of the day, it's a blog, not a daily journal.