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Blog Tip 11 - Finding Readers (Part A)

5 November, 2003 10:50 PM

I suspect I could cop some flack for this post - but a number of new bloggers have recently asked me how to get hits on their blog. Let me say up front that 'getting hits' isn't everything. I guess it comes down to priorities.

Having said that - most bloggers deep down must have some desire to have people read what they write - if not why not just keep a private diary on your computer?

So, hits are not everything, but having people read your blog is part of the deal - so how do you get them there....

This post has been moved to Pro Blogger - Finding Readers Part A



Darren, these are all good tips, but I'd add at least one more, and it's an important one, especially if you want to attract the readership of other bloggers: be sure to ping services like weblogs.com whenever you post to your blog.

Many blogrolls are set up to indicate when the listed blogs are updated, and many even move the recently updated blogs to the top of the list. Those are the sites that are likely to attract the attention of others.

I also get a lot of referrals from the Movable Type website. Because I "donated" some money to MT in exchange for their software, my blog pings the MT site when I post an update, and there's a running list of recently updated MT blogs on that site.

Again, pinging sites like this lets people know that your blog is alive...if not well (that's a call for your readers to make!)

As a postscript, I know of some very popular bloggers who have begun to drop from their blogrolls any site that does NOT ping weblogs.com. Their argument is that they're too busy to go and look to see if a blog has been updated, and if the blog owner won't let them know that they've posted, there's no sense in taking up space on their blogroll with what looks to be an inactive site.

Eric » 5 November, 2003 11:33 PM

Here's an extrapolation of your advice about content. Detach yourself from yourself and write something that you would want to read regularly if you were not you. Of course you're gonna be interested in what you have to say (because, well, humans are vain), but think about if other's will be equally interested in what you have to say. If they aren't, you won't get return visits. Simple as that. Oh yes, and writing in a fun, accessible style never hurts.

As far as web pings, I think Eric over-rates their importance. A-list bloggers were A-list long before pinging. I get plenty of hits to satisfy me and I've never web-pinged. Most visitors will check in on a regular schedule (be it once a day or once a week) and in the blog is updated, great - if not, then they'll check back next time. The key is to merit checking in on. And the key to meriting this is worthwhile content. If readers enjoy your posts, they'll put up with sometimes finding your site unupdated.

I suspect that web pinging may have some use but that it is largely for those sites that have not yet been established as having enjoyable/worthwhile content. These would be younger sites - sites without reputation.

The Dane » 6 November, 2003 2:36 AM

Great advice. I really like how you try to help us fellow bloggers out especially in the past, like blogs you think are good but noone ever knows they exsist, etc. Keep up the good work!

Beth Sargent » 6 November, 2003 3:31 AM

I suspect that web pinging may have some use but that it is largely for those sites that have not yet been established as having enjoyable/worthwhile content. These would be younger sites - sites without reputation.

Which is precisely the audience at which this post is aimed.

Eric » 6 November, 2003 7:53 AM

good advice people - I've already written part B and C of this mini series and have a section on pinging etc...

I hadnt thought of donations etc from MT....good tip.

great extrapolation The Dane!

Thanks for your encouragement Beth - I really enjoy helping out fellow bloggers...

Darren Rowse » 6 November, 2003 7:54 AM

True enough Eric :-) I do still wonder at the importance of pinging though. I still don't see it as anything more than an additional tip that may or may not help. If I were to come up with my own list of ten things to do to draw readers, webpings would defintely be eighth or lower. I just don't see it being super valuable at this stage in the evolution of blogdom. Who knows, maybe it'll mean more in the future (and the future for blogging seems to change every two months, so who knows...)

The Dane » 6 November, 2003 8:24 AM


I'm with The Dane on this one.
Pinging isn't a major traffic draw, I'd put it down on the list to 10 or below.
It is to a tech type....:^)
If bloggers don't want to link because there in no web ping, tough. That's like de-linking.
People need to start getting realistic about the "A" list and 'top' bloggers.
Will it be a more important tool in a few months? Don't know. It's already been around for awhile, and I don't think it needs to be high on the 'to do' list for a new blogger.

Good series Darren, you've got a terrific blog and an even more terrific attitude. Keep up the great work and blog on!

Bene Diction » 6 November, 2003 9:33 AM

Something interesting about "A" list bloggers. I don't know anyone who reads them. They obviously have their fans. And good for them for having 'em. But I cannot honestly understand the attraction. I would certainly be curious if someone could distill their brand of virtual pheremone and pinpoint exactly what it is that makes them popular. My guess is longevity. They were the originals (although I don't think Instapundit was) and so no blogs have the legendary status that theirs command. And perhaps its that status that draws readers constantly.

The Dane » 6 November, 2003 10:45 AM

The Dane:

Oh no. We are agreeing twice in one day!
I'll comment and go take a chill pill.
Eric didn't tell us who the 'top' bloggers were.
And the 'A' list?
Hey, there are stars, and that's nice. But an "A" list to whom?
The USA?
That's nice.
Instapundit has no more status in my Canuck mind than anyone else would.
Is he "A" list for Australia?
A big deal in the UK?
Sending Europe's bloggers into a flap?
That's why I suggest we 're-think' A list talk.
Longevity, hits, big media attention, cross-over medium, blogdex, daypop, technorati all contribute.
It's dreary to go to blogdex every day and see all USA almost all the time.
It isn't real world measurement.
From where I sit, the "A" list is very over-rated, but what do Canucks know.:^)
Ok, I'll have my chill pill with orange juice please. Blog on!

Bene Diction » 6 November, 2003 12:43 PM

you know, it really hasn't hurt me -- from a daily hits perspective -- that my domain is pure link bait.

that said, I wouldn't wish some of the referrals on agent smith.

ok, having seen matrix revolutions tonight, I'd probably wish them on him ...

there is a critical factor, I think, in earning regular hits. I suspect the factor eludes me when I stop writing for weeks (has it really been months since I updated my own site regularly?) at a time.

but the big deal is having a trust relationship with your readers. if you want them to come back, you have to have something to say that they actually want to read about, and want to come back to read some more.

if I could only figure out what that it is...

Macker » 6 November, 2003 2:06 PM

hello everypeoples! I just wanted to comment on all the cool guys in the world! you guys are the coolest guys ever!

sooper-man » 6 December, 2003 3:29 PM


Thanks for the advice. Nice to see someone out in blogworld remembers there are always new blogs & bloggers cropping up.

As far as pinging blogrolls is concerned - I personally agree with Eric, that there's absolutely nothing wrong with advertising. If folks don't like what they read, they'll just click away. But you have to get them there first.
And anyway, the blogrolls are a great way to find something new to read. I'm always looking for new voices and ideas - how boring to only read the same ones all the time.

nancy » 1 January, 2004 7:46 PM

I have always looked for a possibility to find information as quick as I can. Now there is the internet. And I really appreciate people like you who take their chance in such an excellent way to give an impression on certain topics. Thanks for having me here.

Jonathan Ballard

Jonathan Ballard » 23 April, 2004 7:26 AM

the man behind the blog makes the difference too - personality. every day a little step is better than all at one day. :)

Joerg: einfach-persoenlich » 8 November, 2004 2:01 AM

G'day Darren,

I just stumbled across your blogging tips, and thought it made for a pretty interesting read.

One of the things that's occurred to me is the kneejerk reaction I get when I read about features that the larger blogging sites offer, because I think I could integrate that kind of thing into the scripts I've written for my site (e.g. pinging blog list sites)... In the end I abandon half of those ideas though, because realistically my blog's mainly for my personal benefit, my friends religiously check it when they're goofing off at work because they know I'll have posted at least once a week, and really if I wanted my site to be the same as everyone else's I guess I'd have just signed up for a pre-rolled service (e.g. LJ, MT, etc) instead of wrestling with my own system.

But yeah anyway, top work on the tips series !

Jason =)

Jason B Standing » 14 November, 2004 8:13 AM

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