I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blogging tips: tips for increasing your followers and/or subscribers (Part 2)

(Source)
If you haven't already, have a squiz at Part 1 of this post, my tips on following blogs and making sure you can be followed.

I'll be writing a post in the future which suggests ways to increase your blog following. One of those tips is to make following your blog as quick and as easy as possible. Many bloggers only have limited time, and will close out of your blog rather than hunting for a way to follow you or subscribe to your feeds. That's if they can find your blog to start with! (More on this below).

Below are some ways you can make following/subscribing easier:
  • ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have your blog linked up to your profile page. I've highlighted this because it's SO important! When you leave a comment, odds are that other bloggers will want to follow you back to your blog. Many, many bloggers out there don't have their blog listed on their profile page, and are losing out on dozens, if not hundreds, of followers!!! If you haven't done this, or aren't sure what I mean, check out my earlier post here. It includes a step-by-step instruction (including screen-shots) on how to do it. Actually, this is so important, you should check to make sure you've correctly linked up even if you think you've already done it!
  • if you have more than one blog, make sure it's obvious in your profile which is your writing blog. Most bloggers won't have the time or the inclination to click on two or three or seven different links in the search for the elusive blog related to your writing!
  • include a Followers Gadget on your blog if at all possible. This is a great way to build up your blog’s following. Place the gadget high up on your blog and in an obvious place, so bloggers don’t have to hunt for it
  • for WordPress users who can’t include a Followers Gadget, add the Networked Blogs widget to your blog
  • always include an RSS button, particularly if you have a WordPress blog. Make sure it’s at the top of your blog, or in a place that’s readily identifiable. Many bloggers will not spend the time hunting for a button if it’s difficult to find, nor do they want to scroll right down to the bottom of your blog to find it. Some blogs have tiny RSS buttons that are hidden amongst dozens of other widgets/gadgets - I'd hate to think about how many bloggers have exited without subscribing
  • label your RSS button. Consider including the word “free” in the title. To many beginner bloggers, “subscription” implies something you pay for, so they're reluctant to click it. Here's how I've labelled mine:
Note that a problem often arises when bloggers don't add RSS subscription buttons, and instead rely on “Subscribe by email” applications. Many bloggers don’t like to have their inbox cluttered by emails of this nature, and will close out of your blog without subscribing. And some bloggers forget to include any of these subscription links/gadgets/buttons at all, which makes them impossible to follow unless you know how to “Add a Subscription” in Google Reader (or some other nifty trick).
  • check that your RSS button is correctly linked (by clicking on it). When I changed my blog URL (a whole ‘nother post in itself!), I had heaps of Feedburner issues, and didn’t realize my RSS button didn’t work until someone told me about it months later
  • as I said above, don’t force people to subscribe by email! Most bloggers will simply close out of your blog without subscribing, and you’ll lose out. Include the Followers Gadget (or Networked Blogs widget) or an RSS button at a minimum. 

How about you: do you have any other tips for increasing your followers or subscribers by making following/subscribing easier?

46 comments:

li said...

I would suggest including contact info. I've always been leery about privacy issues, but a literary agent mentioned on a blog how frustrated she was when she wanted to contact a blogger as a potential client and couldn't find their email anywhere! Of course I added mine immediately, KNOWING that it was me she was looking for. ;) (As if) Those other tips are great! Off to check my RSS feed. Thanks!

Kay L. Davies said...

I'm the other one that literary agent was looking for. LOL
I've always had my gmail e-mail address on my blog, and my profile page is linked to my blog, so I'm easy to find and so is it.
HOWever, my "follow" button was too far down, so I just moved it up to the top. Can't hurt, might help.
Thanks for the tips.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Lisa Nowak said...

One thing that drives me absolutely nuts about Blogger blogs is that there are so many different convoluted ways to post a comment. Sometimes they ask for the word verification up front. Sometimes you have to click the "post" button before it shows up. Some blogs don't include it at all, and I prefer that. With Wordpress we have Askimet to filter the spam, and it works great. Why does Blogger need that word verification, anyway? If just makes it more annoying and time consuming to comment.

Another thing about Blogger that drives crazy is that I can't use my Wordpress ID to comment, I have to use "name/URL" because if I do it the other way Blogger says my Wordpress ID contains illegal characters every single time.

I know this last thing is totally out of the individual's control, so I'm not blaming anyone for that, I'm just venting. You'd think Google could figure these things out and fix them.

For those of you with Blogger blogs, please consider setting things up so the word verification comes up right away and people don't have to click two buttons to post a comment. The simpler it is to leave a comment, the more likely I am to do so.

Martinelli Gold said...

This is very helpful, especially for those of us who still can't figure out what RSS is...I'm off to do some research on your earlier entries.

Lynda R Young said...

Great tips. Very helpful -- even for seasoned bloggers.

Ann said...

I moved my follower button/gadget up a bit. When I checked it a few days ago, I discovered it was indeed to far down. Thanks for that tip too!

Theresa Milstein said...

Great tips. When I first began blogging, I named my blog "Substitute Teacher's Saga" because that's what I planned to mostly write about. Of course, writing crept in there too.

Then I read it was good to have first pages and a query blog in case an agent or editor stumbled upon your blog. So I set that up and named it "Earnest Writer's Excerpts". Of course, that sounds like a writing blog. Oh well!

I like to comment back to people who comment on my first blog. It's a shame when they don't have their e-mail linked to their blogger file because I can't.

Pk Hrezo said...

So, so important! I'm so glad you mentioned this. I think you should repost it in a few days. I've not been able to follow many bloggers back for this reason. Ironically, just the other day, realized my own blog wasn't showing under the settings of my profile. If someone clicked on the My Webpage link, they'd get there, but my settings had to be changed. DUH! I felt so silly. Everyone should make it a point to check their profile from someone else's blog just to see what comes up.

JEFritz said...

Great tips. I'll get on the RSS thing right away. The only thing I can think to add is links to your Facebook/Twitter pages so people can follow you there, too.

Tracy said...

RSS has always blown my mind. Every time I think I have that sucker figured out it proves me wrong. *sigh*

I agree about the WordPress. I RARELY subscribe via email. But now, I just copy and paste their web address into google reader and go.

J.L. Campbell said...

This helps lots. I've had to subscribe to some blogs by email, but then as you pointed out, my in box now gets cluttered with random posts, but I wanted to return the favour of the follow, so...

Jessica Tate said...

Thanks for putting this checklist up! I went through and made sure I have everything you suggested! :)

Mary Vaughn said...

These posts came at the right time as I'm forced to update. I guess RSS is the next thing to conquer.

Witless Exposition said...

Moved my follower button closer to the top. I didn't even think about it being halfway down the page. It might not help a whole lot, but why make it harder for people to follow right?

I think in a future post, you might want to show people how to turn off the word verification. All the bloggers I know hate it, but it's so common that I can't help thinking people don't know how to do it.

Thanks for all the great tips!

thegracefuldoe said...

Thanks for the great tips, Rach!

Lois D. Brown said...

I may be booed for this comment, but sometimes blogs can get so cluttered with all sorts of blog awards and stuff like that, that my eyes go crazy when I click on it. That is just me though. Others might like the variety.

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't have a clue what RSS is - but I think I have a link for it on my blog. I wonder if it works.... Thanks for the tips!

Brooke R. Busse said...

I agree with Witless Exposition up there. I've noticed that some blogs have the word verification and some don't. I've been wondering how to do that.

Lacey Devlin said...

Great post Rach! I'm off to get myself an RSS button :-)

Danette said...

Great post! The only problem is (not with your post!) that you can't get blogger to link blogs that aren't directly connected- I have two blogs with blogger but I can't get them on my profile because I use two different emails, I guess. Argh! And I can't just type them in. Plus my blogs in Wordpress and Tumblr aren't listed either. So I solve the problem on my blog with a personal blog "other blogs where you'll find me"- not perfect but, hey it works. At least my profile has my main writing blog to get people started. I also keep my email address on my page if all else fails. On Tumblr, there is a nice "Ask me anything" link at the very top that allow visitors to submit any question without having to sign in to tumblr- really makes communication nice for visitors. If Tumblr had the Stats feature, I'd almost switch completely over-- Cheers!

Deborah Walker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deborah Walker said...

Deleted because of shoddy editing. Thanks for all the tips, Rachel.

Carol Riggs said...

Thanks so much! I didn't know where to add an RSS feed button, but I found it eventually (there are 2 similar ones to choose from when selecting to Add a Gadget). Now, a bit belatedly, I have an RSS feed button for posts and comments. :)

Kerri Cuev said...

Great advice! I just sent this to my friend who is a new blogger.

Does anyone happen to know if you can post comments in Google Reader?

Shari said...

Make it easy to leave comments. One way to do this on blogger is to get rid of the word verification.

E.C. Smith said...

Thanks goodness for you! I'm learning about blogging on the fly, so all your tips and tidbits make all the difference. Keep'em coming! (:

melissa said...

Thanks for the tips! I'm one of those guilty of not having an RSS button. I always thought having a followers widget was enough.

I agree with some of the other commenters. Make it easy to leave a comment. I have limited time when I'm browsing blogs and I hate having to click submit lots of times because of the word verification.

Another thing - don't cut your feed short in an RSS. I hate having to click through. It feels like a dirty trick just to get a hit count from me.

L'Aussie said...

Nowadays with many bloggers posting 3, 4 times a week or every day, time is of the essence when you're following a gazillion blogs. I've been reading tips left, right and centre of making it easier/quicker to pop in and out.

One thing you haven't mentioned Rach and you don't have it yourself, is to expedite leaving comments is to have a pop-up comment box. With the one you used currently you have to scroll right to the bottom then go back to Home if you want to go back to the blog (not everyone has a Home button at the top - sometimes you have to scroll back AGAIN to hit Home at the bottom of the comments!)

When you go to leave a comment and have to add your name, email and web address I just want to say forget it Wordpress, I've got better things to do!

I'm leaving the whole RSS thing alone. Don't like it.

Another pet hate I'm always screaming about is Word Verification (especially when it comes up after you've posted and you have to do it again!) I don't have it and have never had a spam. Google has spam protectors!!

My rant for the day. We just have to do it smarter. Move it all to the top.

Denise<3

L'Aussie said...

Clarissa Draper at Listening to the Voices has put up some great helpers along these lines.

Denise<3

Grandpa said...

Hi Rach! My, see the response you are getting here! That shows how useful your post is, and the varied feelings bloggers have about Blogger, Wordpress, etc. Well-done Rach!

Unbeknown to you (have always wanted to use that word!) I have been quietly following your series of tips. I have been doing some housekeeping and tinkering with my blog since - very gently though, as I'm nervous in case "poof!" and everything is wrecked, or worse, disappears.

I took your advice on putting the RSS and Profile in prominent places. The reason why they were way below was because every time I added a new element it was placed on the top, pushing the rest down! Then I discovered how easy it was to change places! Silly me...

So if you pop over to my blog now you'll see the latest format.

**Hugs**

Fiona said...

Thanks for writing the blogging tips! It helps with new bloggers like myself.

http://infionaswords.blogspot.com/

Madeleine said...

I agree wholeheartedly, especially with the blogiste link on profile page. Great tips :O)

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Great information here! I'm always frustrated when I pull up a new follower's profile and their blog isn't linked. That's something every blogger should verify on their own profile.

The RSS Feed was a mystery to me. When I clicked mine, it looked like gobbledygook. But when I set up my Amazon author page, I was able to use it to feed my blog posts into that page. Aw, who am I kidding? I still don't fully understand RSS!

Great post!

Jeigh said...

Thanks for all this great information. I just came across your blog for the first time and I'm pretty sure I know where a good chunk of my time today is going :)

India Drummond said...

This tip is for non-blogger users. It's tough for us when we get to a blogger blog that doesn't allow anonymous comments, because it also means that you can't leave your web address. If your blog isn't on blogger, it feels like a waste of time.

BUT! Don't forget you can leave a link in HTML. I have a txt file I saved on my desktop, and keep it open when I do my blog rounds. It allows me to cut and paste the html code needed to insert a quick signature link like this:

India Drummond

I don't have to do that on this blog, but I do on about 25-30% of all the blogger blogs I visit.

obi said...

Yup, you're right on all counts great tips ;)

Donea Lee said...

These are great tips! You definitely want to make it easy to follow. Never hurts to hunt for blogs to follow, yourself. Comment! Be thoughtful, witty, supportive, and complimentary. Mean every word of it, of course! This is a great community to take full advantage of ~ :)

Susan Kane said...

You have been such a help in my fledgling blogging. I think it was you...who mentioned the Dropbox as a way to back up computer work? Anyway, I was worrying about that very subject when I read it somewhere. And your suggestions on many levels...Thanks.

Cally Jackson said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Google Reader - and it was thanks to the instructions you posted in a recent blog that I figured out how to use this. I'm a Wordpress user, off to see whether I can add the Networked Blogs Widget. I'll let you know how I go.

Cally Jackson said...

Okay, I've now added the Networked Blogs Widget... and look really lame because the only person following is me!! Please follow me so I don't look quite so tragic!

Arlee Bird said...

Great advice in the post and the comments on an oft covered topic that always bears repeating.

I think its so important to try to respond to comments that you receive and to reciprocate with comments on that visitor's post as well.

We should be building relationships and not just form the opinion that what we have to say is so important and unique that we don't have to acknowledge others. If a blogger ignores my comments and never stops to see what I'm doing I will stop following and visiting their blog since I don't feel any obligation of relationship exists. I rarely have done this, but still there are many blogs that I've stopped visiting because of this. Blog roll cleaning time will be coming soon.

Lee
Tossing It Out

District12Girl said...

Wow! Great advice! My blog, 74thannualhungergames.blogspot.com, has 9 followers but I'm dying for more! Thanks for helping me out! :)

Adina West said...

Very good point about not forcing people to subscribe via email (or including alternative options at least). I know I like to keep all my subscriptions in one place, neatly organised...so thanks for your earlier tip on how to add a subscription to Google Reader which has allowed me to do this even with blogs which provide no other option than to subscribe via email!

A. S. Andrews said...

Hi Rachael, Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for the advice!! RSS and WordPress are not the most intuitive for me, but I'll try some of your tips. Best, Anna

Lija Rasa said...

I just started my own blog, and have found your tips very useful.
I have linked Blogger to my Google+ Account, and so my profile shown is now my Google+ profile. I have included a link to my blog there, but I am not sure if it's so obvious.

Maybe choosing a comment option as Name/URL is more expedient for someone finding my blog?

Rachael Harrie said...

Thanks Lija. Yes, I would think using your blogging name and linking to your blogging url would be best.

Hugs,

Rach

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