The First 5 (Simple) Steps for Growing Readership on Your Blog

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One of my posts last month, The Benefits of Blogging, received a number of valuable comments.
For anyone wondering about the value of blogging, this is a must-read
for the variety of perspectives.

The next question that naturally arises—after you decide to blog—is
how to gain readership. Before I mention specific tactics, 3 things to
remember:

  1. It takes time; this is a journey. Be patient. Results don't come overnight.
  2. The
    more focused your blog is (the more it is driven by a specific
    purpose), the easier you will draw a readership. Sometimes it can take
    you 6-12 months to figure out what your blog is about. Read the Brazen Careerist for more on this important point.
  3. You have to be consistent in when you post, even if you don't think you have enough readers for it to matter.

That
said, here are a few easy ways you can begin growing your reach. These
are meant to be simple, straightforward, and meaningfully accomplished
by anyone in the first months of blogging.

1. Comment on other blogs—blogs that you actively read and/or truly enjoy.
But don't just comment, "Great post! Go read my blog." Instead, make a
comment of substance that adds a resource, tip, or encouragement. Or
offer an opposing point of view. Make it a discussion, not a promotion
of yourself.

2. Be the No. 1 commenter on your own blog. Show your readers that you care and will take the time to respond and interact with them.

3. In your own blog posts, reference and link to other blogs/sites. Comment
on what other people are writing about, or summarize many viewpoints on
an issue. These other bloggers will discover you and might comment or
link to you.

4. If you're on Twitter, then Tweet your blog posts. (You can use TwitterFeed
to do this automatically if you like.) If you're not on Twitter,
consider that some sites/blogs see 30-50% (or more) of their traffic
coming from Twitter.

5. If you're on Facebook, then use the NetworkedBlogs application
from within Facebook so that your Wall automatically updates and links
to your latest blog post. Your readers/fans can also use the
NetworkedBlogs app to follow your blog.

For more resources on growing your blog readership, try these helpful posts by experts Chris Brogan & Guy Kawasaki:

23 Elements of Sharable Blog Posts (Chris Brogan)

The 120 Day Wonder: How to Evangelize a Blog
(Guy Kawasaki)

Bloggers: What have you found to be most important or influential in growing your readership? Did you experience a tipping point?

Photo credit: Humanoide