(Please note:- that this is not my formal response to the last challenge “Building Readership” but covers me until I do.)
As I am still contemplating the content of my final response to the last challenge in the current series of Kick Start Your Blog Challenge, (Yes, I know I am really late with it, but……. precious time!), I received this plea for help from an online colleague. A plea that is pertinent to the final challenge – Building Readership (Beginner) and Promote that Blog (Advanced)!
I have set up a blog with Word Press for Religious Education Co-ordinators in Melbourne and surrounds and emailed them the link. I set up a few posts myself and a few people replied to them, but I am feeling a bit dispirited about it as no-one else but me puts up posts and so few people (out of about 50 or 60 REC’s) have chosen to subscribe. I don’t know how to get more people interested. It was meant to be a way for us to share good ideas or ask questions of each other, but its not going to work if so few people look at it. Any ideas?
This is a quandary that so many of us face and despite being disheartened, hang in there and keep blogging away! Very few of us are successful overnight and it may take up to three years to become fully established, networked and to build a ‘good’ readership level. It takes networking, time and experience. However, here are some pointers and advice. Many of these members may be new to the online environment, so will need to be encouraged and taught how to use it.
Evidence of a great start!
- A ‘niche’ blog has been established
- An emailing list, with a specific interest, has been alerted to the existence of a blog
- An RSS feed has been set up. (It took me two years to work this out and another year to get subscribers)
- Several people have subscribed already. This shows that there is interest and some who understand this environment.
- Your blog has a purpose.
Further ideas to build readership:-
- Use your emailing list – add this same question tothe emailing list to get feedback, needs of the list and publicity. If questions are asked on the list, this makes the perfect time to write a post on that question.
- Add the same question to the discussions on a number of social networking sites that you belong to eg Classroom2.0 and Guide To Innovation. If you are happy I want to add this as a blog post to my blog and try and get feedback from others as well.
- Ensure appropriate categories and tags are added. There may be others around the globe interested in the searching for information and the search engines will pick these up.
- If images are added to a post as a ‘stand alone’, ensure there is text provided to explain why they are there, how they can be used and seeking advice from readers about alternatives and ways to use them. Interact with questions as much as possible, to tease out those important comments.
- Add links to appropriate resources and other similar blogs via blogroll to encourage repeat visits
- Ask members of the list to write a guest blog post. It can be typed up in a word processor, emailed it to you to post, with appropriate acknowledgements.
- Find one or two others who may be able to help. Make them administrators, set up a roster to contribute etc.
- Add some widgets eg a clustrmap, geovisite and/or a feedjit traffic feed. You may be surprised how many people visit the blog without leaving a footprint. This will keep you motivated.
- Add an email option for subscriptions to the blog.
- Write effective posts
- add an ‘about me‘ page, which quite clearly explains the purpose of the blog etc.
- Check out some of the wonderful Kick Start Your Blog Challenges and read some of the blog posts created in response.
- Add questions that are quick and easy to answer, to tease out those all important comments of readers.
You have a niche blog, your audience will be reasonably niche but it is global in aspect! If we can resolve the issue that you have posed, networking can be escalated, the use of blogs increased, online sharing empowered and the use of technology to its best advantage.
What would you advise? Do you work in a group blog? How do you encourage readership? If you have written a blog post on this please add a comment.