Before getting into the substance of this post, I’d like to offer two caveats, as I’ve done in the past.
- I am not a professional blogger. All of my advice is based upon my experience and research as an individual. Obviously, I wouldn’t be offering these tips if I did not think that they’re correct, but I’ve been wrong before.
- My tips are intended for bloggers who are invested (for better or worse) in increasing their subscribership and readership numbers. There are plenty of bloggers who are rightfully content to not give a damn about attracting more eyeballs to their posts; and some of them produce the most amazing content – precisely because they’re not trying to sell themselves to you.
Playing the long game
Readership stats at The Skeptic’s Kaddish
I have been actively blogging for nearly two years now.
As I was getting my feet wet in the seas of WordPress, I was very excited to note that my views were rising on a monthly basis, with the exception of a dip in Feb. ’21. This held true until August, and then my number of monthly views dropped dramatically in September and continued dropping until last month:
When my readership number first dropped in September, I felt disappointed, but that did not affect my commitment to my blog; I was getting a lot out of writing and interacting with fellow writers.
In fact, something I noted at the time was that even though my readership numbers had dropped, I was receiving more comments than ever before on every one of my blog posts; and I had formed solid friendships with other bloggers who were regularly interacting with me on our respective blogs. Given this, I came to the conclusion that readership numbers were clearly not the only metric that I should pay attention to.
Even so, I decided to work towards bringing my monthly readership numbers back to where they’d been during Summer ’21.
This blog post is not about the specific strategies that I’ve employed over the past several months, but I will mention them here:
- Limit my posting schedule to no more than two (usually) or three (sometimes) blog posts every 24 hours (because posting too often turns off a lot of potential readers);
- Become active on Twitter in addition to WordPress to increase my reach;
- Invite others to share their poetry at The Skeptic’s Kaddish;
- Respond to more writing prompts than I had been doing.
For the purposes of this particular ‘blogging tip’, I would like to underscore the following – while I began employing some of these strategies several months ago, my monthly readership numbers only began to rise again this month, after a four month decline.
The lesson is simple: bloggers need to play the long game. Patience is critical because the fruits of our efforts may not become evident immediately. Also, bloggers need time to determine which strategies are working for precisely this reason. In my case, for example, it’s entirely possible that my numbers could drop again next month, after having turned around in January; and that’s okay – because I’m in this for the long haul. Over time, I’m sure to figure it out.
There is one particular piece of advice that I’d like to share, which I’ve come to believe is critical for blogging success. And that is – choose a specific focus for your blog. I’ve seen cooking, poetry, movie review, parenting, and news blogs, etc., etc. It doesn’t matter what your blog’s identity is, but it does matter that you stick with it.
This is not to say that you can only blog about one thing; but it does mean that the majority of your posts should fall into the same category, be it poetry, cooking, etc.
Personally, I came to this conclusion naturally and not for strategic reasons. From the very beginning, I naturally gravitated towards writing poetry at The Skeptic’s Kaddish, and, over the months, that has become my bread and butter.
The reality, I believe, is that potential readers want to know what to to expect from our blogs. If every blog post of yours is written on a different subject, very few new readers will gravitate towards you. Perhaps celebrities can get away with this because people are already following them on social media due to their existing fame and name recognition, but that’s not a successful strategy for the rest of us.
Determining your blog’s identity is helpful in at least two ways:
- As noted, it lets potential readers know what they can expect from your blog, should they decide to subscribe to it;
- It allows you to better network with other blogs in your chosen niche, which, in turn, is likely to provide you with opportunities to share your content in other likeminded forums.
On a personal note, I was very recently looking at somebody’s blog on WordPress (this individual comes across as very friendly and supportive to me). However, looking through their blog posts over the past few months, I couldn’t tell what the blog was about… And, honestly, that’s why I decided not to subscribe to them… I like to know what to expect before signing up to read somebody’s content, and I’m surely not alone in this.
Agree? Disagree? Other thoughts?
As always, I’d love to get your perspectives on all of the above. I never (well, at least… very rarely) claim to be 100% confident in my views. This and all of the other blogging tips I’ve shared with you are open to your feedback. So, have your blogging experiences led you to similar conclusions? Or – have you found that a different approach to blogging is more effective?