5 Ways To Increase Your Blog Following

Crowd of peopleMany more small businesses are waking up to the idea of blogging. This makes us at Design Theory pretty happy because we preach about the importance of a blog for our clients and partners. Though not all blogs are created equal, there are different platforms, designs, and purposes. Still each blog’s purpose is to capture an audience and keep them coming back for more week after week, post after post.

Idea 1: Make Your Blog Easy to Leave Comments

This one should be a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many blogs are out there that have great content, yet lack the ability for readers to post comments. There are so many plugins and applications that allow users to use many different social and popular mediums to easily submit a comment. A free and commonly used one is Gravatar. Receiving a comment on your post is one of the most gratifying moments of blogging. Good or bad, it’s still people taking time to speak out about your work. Be sure to promptly approve your comments and reply. Unapproved comments is a sure-fire way to show a reader you don’t care about what they have to say.

Idea 2: Make Your Blog Easy to Be Shared

It’s safe to say most blogs out there are using open sourced platforms like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. So utilize the plugins available to allow your readers to quickly share. Most are pretty easy to install and configure. Since a lot of blog article titles get shared through social media be sure to choose some of the more popular ones in your settings. Some examples are TweetMeme, Shareaholic, Google+1, and the Facebook Like Button.

Idea 3: Write More Help Topics

A common misconception with business blogs is to use this as an advertising stream. That’s actually not a good way to use it. In fact you’ll want to write more posts that actually help your readers and less about your own services and products. More successful blogs out there are blogs that constantly offer quick tips on fixing, making, creating, and developing things. And if you can condense a long dissertation to some cliff notes and still offer a productive outcome, you’ll create a nice following.

Idea 4: Get The Word Out

If no one knows about your blog, then no one reads your blog. An easy way to start promoting your blog is with your friends and family. Get them to read it to find errors and offer suggestions. For them that may be enough to get them to read it to try to tell you all you’re doing wrong. Its better coming from them than strangers. Then use social media like Twitter and a Facebook Fan page to further spread your great articles. Install some SEO plugins to help optimize your content for Google too. Include tags in your posts to help with indexing. Lastly, sign up with directory sites like Digg and StumbleUpon and submit your articles to them.

Idea 5: End With A Call To Action

Sometimes finishing your post is harder than starting. How to leave or Segway from your final points without sounding redundant. Try ending off with asking your readers to perform an action. Encourage them to comment their own points, a controversial rebuttal, a quick assignment that they can perform on their own for their own gains or improvement. This is also a great place to plug your service to help wrap up all that you talked about while offering your reader a time-saving deal or money-saving opportunity.


Where to find the best real world advice

People and a mouseWe’re all familiar with some industry blogs. There are blogs upon blogs for just about every topic you can think of. For us in particular, designers have many interesting blogs like:

Everyday these blogs and more put out pretty good content on various topics that are relevant to us all. However, most of that content is from a true professional experience. Another words, the person writing the post usually has some level of authority on the subject and has been involved in the industry for many years. The key is to focus on the comments from real users like you.

The rich content I’m talking about, the real world advice is in the comments. I’m not negating the post itself, but you’ll hear some real honesty in the comments. Think of this; your favorite design blogger posts about some new piece of software from Adobe. They talk about their first experience using it, how much it costs them (probably nothing), and how they like or dislike using it. All of those opinions are based on their feelings for that software apart from the many other programs they have access to. The average designer, especially those just starting out, don’t have the money to just keep buying software until they find one they really gel will.

Now reading the responses in the comments area is where the real gems are. This is where you’ll hear arguments from many people on their “real world” experiences. From the amateurs talking about the learning curve on using an application, to seasoned users explaining why an open sourced program has better features and costs nothing to own. You’ll also have the opportunity to find and communicate with other people who seem to be in the same level as you are in your career, or connect with experts that may be more than willing to be a mentor you.

Point is, next time you really need advice on a topic, program, or tactic, read a few blogs that have the topic you’re looking for and read through the comments. Don’t be afraid to engage by replying to comments. Sign up to get emails whenever new comments are posted and save ones really informative so that you can use them at a later time for reference. If you’re looking to crowd source, this is also a great avenue for little effort and great returns.