I’ve noticed that some blogs magically grow followers, and others do not. Today I wanted to give some tips and tricks on how to gain followers.
I have gained quite a lot of followers over the past year (I’m still a bit baffled by how many of you are following me) and I think I might be able to help out those who are struggling.
Take notice, this is not a guide on how to make blogger friends or how to be famous or anything like that. This is just on how to gain followers and increase engagement. For me, engagement (commenting, liking, reading, sharing, etc) is still much of a mystery, so I’ll be mainly talking about followers.
1. A nice design
Having a good-looking design on your blog is more important than you’d think. A design is the first thing a person sees when they go to your blog, so you have to make sure it looks presentable. It does not have to look like it is super professional or anything, as long as it represents your style.
Some pointers for having a nice design:
- Have a consistent color scheme (mine is purple and yellow)
- Have a header
- Use featured images for your posts (some people make special ones for each post, I do not)
- Use dividers in your post (you know, like my swirly yellow thing. This cuts long pieces of text into small bite-sized pieces.)
2. Ease of use & navigation
Naturally, your blog has to be easy to use and navigate, but it is not always the case. Quite a few blogs do not have a search bar (THIS IS SO IMPORTANT GUYS) or have no menus or don’t enable you to go to a category of posts. Make use of a main menu to make it easy to find the posts someone might be looking for. Divide your posts into categories and use those categories to make it easy to find a post.
3. Make it easy to follow
Another thing that is surprisingly often not done: add a follow button to your sidebar or menu bar or anywhere, so that you can immediately follow the blog.
4. Don’t focus solely on reviews
This might seem counter-intuitive, because book blogging is about reviews, right? Well, no. Book blogging is much more than just reading books and reviewing them. I am not saying that if you do only write reviews, your blog is bad, but most likely, it will not gain followers as much as you’d like. Many followers are there for other things than reviews, and want to know you as a blogger (which is hard to do if you only write reviews). In fact, if I come across a blog with only reviews, I am very unlikely to follow them, unless I really like the blogger.
5. Create original content (features, memes, tags)
Creating original content does a lot for your following, I believe. Back in November, I created my own weekly meme, and many bloggers are now partaking in it, and I think that is also where a lot of my followers came from. Other things you can do are creating your own features (weekly/biweekly/monthly returning things for on your own blog), writing discussions and lists and creating your own tag (such as I did in… December? And just the other week with the Book Mashup Tag).
6. Take part in link-ups
Some bloggers organize link-ups in which everybody creates a post on a certain topic or does a certain meme and you can link your own post to theirs. And if all of the people taking part do this, you can go through other’s blog posts and comment and follow. This can really help you get new followers. I cannot say I’ve participated in these often, but they are fun. I believe you can do a link-up for Top 10 Tuesday, which is definitely something you can consider taking part in!
The Social Stuff
7. Applaud commenting
Having commenters is wonderful, it makes people more engaged in your content and above all, is much fun! However, getting people to comment can sometimes be tricky. If you want people to interact with the content on your blog, first of all, make it easy to do so. You can use questions at the end of posts that people can answer, especially for long posts about a lot of things, this can be very helpful because it gives some guidance on what to comment. Another thing is to reply to comments, always try to reply to comments because that’s not only how you get to know people but also will make them return to your blog.
8. Link your social media
I have multiple social media and linking them is very helpful. Overall, it is relatively easy to gain twitter followers and sharing your content on twitter is a really good idea! I found a lot of my now-favourite bloggers via twitter and it is really easy to connect. I also have my blog linked on my goodreads and instagram (and also tumblr but who uses tumblr?? I don’t.). You can automate social media sharing in wordpress and then you don’t even have to press a single button!
9. Shameless self-promo
Don’t be embarrassed about sharing your blog links or social media, especially online, it is really okay. Just please do not ask people directly to follow you, that is just rude and can make it really uncomfortable. If you’re taking part in a twitter chat or are talking to people online, sharing your url is overall really appreciated!
And then what’s left
Consistency in your posting schedule will not only help you gain followers, but also will help yourself with maintaining your blog and not giving up. I have given myself a schedule, telling me when I post which type of post and how many posts I will have to write. This might make it seem like it’s becoming a must instead of a fun activity, but for me it’s completely not. It makes me aware of everything I have to do or want to do in a week and I can plan ahead. It also helps me massively to stay motivated. But, be aware, your schedule is not set in stone, you do not have to post if you don’t feel like posting. It’s a guidance, not a rule to follow your schedule.
11. Have fun
Blogging is about having fun so don’t care too much about following numbers (I know a bit strange coming from someone who just wrote 900 words on how to gain followers). What is most important is that you are having fun with what you do and that will show in your posts. Therefore it will make people more likely to follow. Blogging should not be a chore but a hobby. So don’t be hard on yourself.
If you’ve ever read a success story, you might have thought: why? Why is it that they succeeded and other’s didn’t? Because for every success story there are a dozen stories of failure that are never told. Well, the thing is, with hard work, dedication and originality, you might get far, but what you really need is luck. Don’t be discouraged if your stats are low, sometimes it’s just random, but sometimes there are reasons. Try to find out what’s going wrong, and don’t worry too much about it if it seems to be random.
What do you do to gain followers? Do you do any of these steps? Do you struggle with gaining followers? Why do you think this is? Did you find my post helpful?
[this is what I meant by adding questions at the end of your post]