How to Promote Your Blog

Monday, July 7, 2008

The question has been asked more times then I care to count: “How do I promote my blog?”

My answer: “One post at a time…”

It’s not sexy, it’s not a quick fix, it’s not a secret URL that you submit to and the rest is done for you. I’m sorry - I have no secrets for you - I wish that I did. The only way that I know how to make your blog a success is “one post at a time”. I will say that I think there’s more to this answer than meets the eye. The answer actually consists of two parts – that’s what we’ll look at in this article.

Part 1. - Content Is King, Really?

When the “How do I promote my blog” question is asked in forums it usually doesn’t take long for someone to reply with, “Content is king.” Really? Is content king? All websites have content - even the dancing hamsters is content. I would submit to you that giving people what they want is truly king. If that be content, then have relevant content. If it’s driving directions, then give good directions. If it’s discount prices on jewelry, then have quality jewelry at low prices. If it’s nude pictures of Jennifer Love Hewitt then she best not be wearing clothes. And if people want to see dancing hamsters, then give it to them - give the people what they want.

There’s a reason your visitors came to your site. Are you fulfilling their expectations? If people visit your blog one day and you’re talking about PHP coding techniques but the next time they visit your blog you are reviewing the movie you saw over the weekend, you may find yourself having a hard time building a steady core of followers. 

It’s not that you can’t do that with your blog; you can. That’s exactly what I do with my personal blog. I blog about anything I feel like blogging about: movies, music, Jennifer Love Hewitt, whatever. The problem is that blogs like that have no niche to fill. With no niche you have no target audience. That’s ok, if you don’t want expansive audience.

Give people what they want and do it consistently. Being a one-hit-wonder in a band or in blogging is not a good thing. I take that back, being a one-hit-wonder in a band can still make you millions these days, but in blogging it’s no good. Try and have quality content on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be daily, just on a regular basis. You may decide to post once a week or twice a week, whatever, just be consistent. If you post three times a week for a month then that’s what your audience will come to expect.

I would encourage you to post quality over quantity. Don’t post just for the sake of posting. If everybody else has covered the unveiling of Apple’s iPhone then you may want to let it go. Ask yourself, “What can I bring to the table?” If you can take an angle that you feel hasn’t been covered then by all means, continue, but if you are just going to post a “me too” post, skip it. 

Give people what they want and do it consistently. You do that and people will visit you – and – continue to visit you.

Part 2. – One Post at a Time…

“One post at a time…” I never said that the post had to be on your own blog! Get out there and visit other people’s blogs. Be friendly and comment. I visit about half a dozen blogs a day, I usually comment about four times a day. Again, don’t just post for the sake of posting, have something to say. 

If you’re just going to post something like, “Hello, nice blog, please visit my blog”, then skip it. Try and contribute something to the conversation at hand. If you can’t do that, then maybe you should not be in the business of blogging.

Also, commenting on other blogs is a great way to sharpen your blogging tongue. I often find myself returning to my own blog spurred on by something I read on another blog. I will often comment and then expand upon my comment back in a new post on my own blog. 

It also needs to be said that if you are going to comment for the sole purpose of trying to appease the search engines, you can skip it. Most blogs add the no-follow tag to links there by neutralizing the value of the link to the search engines. So once again, bring something to the table.

There’s no quick fix for promoting your blog. It takes work, good old fashioned blue-collar work. If you like your blog’s topic enough then there’s a good chance you won’t mind putting in the time and it won’t feel like work at all. Making a successful blog starts with one post at a time.