Blogging: Four Ways I Increased Readership

Posted: September 22, 2011 at 7:15 am

It’s that time again. Time for more blogging talk – all things numbers, page views, and money. If you missed the first two chats, feel free to catch up:

Now comes the time to discuss what I actually feel least comfortable discussing: increasing blog readership. My stomach was actually in knots on this one. I feel so far from someone reputable enough to share this information, but you know me – ask and I will tell.

I hope I have made it very clear that I never view you all as page impressions or subscribers, but as genuine relationships of mutual support and encouragement. I know you add to my life and I hope I can add to yours even the smallest bit. However, with all that being said, I do keep track of blogging related numbers. These numbers help me:

  • know what works and what doesn’t in my blog’s layout
  • understand the content you all value the most
  • have accurate information to give companies who request the information
  • see what ventures outside of writing my own posts most effectively use my time

I love blogging and always approach my blogging habits in a way that fulfills me, but it still helps me to know the numbers behind the scenes. I put a lot of time and energy into blogging because I love it so much. However, I also want that time and energy to help develop my site as I keep in mind the goals I have for my blog as my passion and a way to work alongside the priority of my family.

My experiences over time have fortunately, God willing, brought some growth to this little space of mine. I have seen it grow from feeling thrilled to see a few hundred page views in a day to the incredibly humbling feeling of multiple thousands in a day. I am far far far far from an expert in blogging, but if you ask, I will tell. Or at least to the best of my abilities.

My Experience Growing Faith Fitness Fun

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Write Quality Content
Okay, I know this isn’t anything new and you have certainly heard it before…but it’s the honest to goodness truth and the BEST thing you can do. When your heart isn’t into your writing, it shows. You don’t have to fit into a blogging mold – write what YOU want to write. I also believe in sharing myself openly and everything that I desire to help reach as many as possible. Share what ignites your passions so the words will captivate readers. And keep in mind some ways to make your posts more appealing and easy to read.

PS – This section of the post has inspired a spin off on blog topics, keeping things interesting, and more. So, stay tuned!

Have A Welcoming Site
When people come to your blog, you want them to feel comfortable there, so they want to come back again. I constantly consider the way my site works and strive to make it as user friendly as possible. I truly believe some of the mechanical and behind-the-scenes work on my site has helped.

When I had my blog designed with a new header and layout, it helped my blog tremendously. When people visited FFF, it now had a more “legit” feel with it’s cleaner,  original look rather than the stock images and blocky design of my original header. Plus, it “matched” my site with my tagline prominently displayed. People could automatically know what I’m about.

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FFF header

I also took the time to update the navigation of my site and make it as user friendly as possible. Things like drop-down menus, popular post updates in the sidebar, social media buttons, comment–reply plug-ins, and easy to follow subscription options help make things quick, straight-forward, and simple for you to interact with FFF. So I can then more easily hear from and interact with you as well.

Be An Active Participant
So many people will tell you to comment on blogs to get your name out there. Well, I don’t really believe in commenting your days away. However, I do think it is vital to become a part of the community.

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The more relationships I naturally developed through blogging, the more I would naturally get “face time” in the blogging world. I would comment on blogs, allowing my face to be seen with my Gravatar (get one!). I would hang out on Twitter - because in all honesty if you hope to increase blog connections, you need to be there. I would link to blogging material I enjoyed from other bloggers, my blog buddies.

With time, people get to know you and recognize you. People begin to share your material, because you’re focusing on putting out quality material. The more you “pop up” places, the more people want to see what you’re all about. Have good content and a welcoming site and people checking you out from the community will want to stick around a bit. Then you make more connections with the new blog friends, and the cycle continues…growing bigger and wider in the process.

Seek New Audiences
I believe the key element in blogging is to keep people coming back for more. However, to get people coming back for more….I realized I had to get them to my blog in the first place. And I couldn’t just sit around waiting for my name to get out there solely based on others’ actions. Yes, the blogging community is awesome and we can greatly support each other, but I also recognized the need to take the bull by the horns sometimes in reaching new readers.

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I have done this in one main way – writing for other places. I love helping out other blog friends in need of guest posts. It gives a friend a break she needs and allows me the chance to make new connections. I will also contact various websites I have developed relationships with to work together. It goes back to what I mentioned in the last post – believe in your worth and be willing to take the occasional risk to broaden your horizons.

While there are other ways to increase readership – like SEO – I have found that these four focuses have had the biggest impact on me personally. It really all boils down to having diligence, caring about your “brand” (aka what you stand for as a blogger), and then trusting the process.

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Thanks for reading all my ramblings. If you made it through all that, you deserve a cookie! And after all that I have a big announcement!

Catch me today at 11:30 am EST on the Dr. Fitness & The Fat Guy radio show. Feel free to listen live! I’m super stoked…and nervous.

  • Any other reader requests out there? On anything! Doesn’t have to be blogging related. I’m here to please!
  • What keeps you coming back to a blog?

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69 Comments to “Blogging: Four Ways I Increased Readership”
  1. Love this post – mainly because I have almost the exact same one scheduled for tonight. Seriously, we are eerie.

  2. I loved this!

    What keeps me coming back to a particular blog is the blogger’s personality. Are they funny? Unique? Passionate? Qualities that set them apart from other bloggers is what interests me. Routine posts such as “I ate this again, did this workout again, and now I’ll do it again tomorrow!” is boring and isn’t enough to keep me coming back. However, when a blogger incorporates things such as “I was tired of cardio until I tried this workout and afterwards I ate this and it made me feel so much better!” will get my attention since it is a shake up from the routine.

    That being said–I love your blog and always look forward to your updates…plus your kiddies are ADORABLE.

  3. Khushboo says:

    One thing that makes me want to keep reading a specific blog is blogger interaction i.e .when bloggers take the time to reply to comments! Granted they can’t reply all but every so often, I appreciate when they make an effort. In fact I recently stopped reading/commenting on a certain blog because not once has the blogger replied to mine or anyone else’s comment! Also I agree about Twitter- I don’t know whether it’s just a coincidence but my readership increased after I joined!

    • Tina says:

      I don’t think it is a coincidence with Twitter. It really is a helpful social media tool for bloggers.

      And I will always reply to comments. Not every one on every post…but when someone has a question or sparks a reaction on something for me, I will reply! That’s what the community is for!!!

  4. Congrats on the radio show! SOunds so cool! I know you’ll be fab :)

  5. Lauren says:

    I love these tips. Ever since I changed my layout and went self hosted, I was so nervous to loose a large part of my readership, and while I definitely did a little, I still think it’s worth it in the long run.
    I totally agree on writing with passion though. It’s way too obvious when people just force posts. I feel as though I would rather not post at all if I have nothing interesting to say.

  6. These are such great tips! I think having content that is coming from your heart is the most important! Obvious perhaps, but I read particular blogs because of their amazing content and stuff that really gets me thinking

  7. Great post Tina! I applaud you for addressing topics that you aren’t completely comfortable with- and you did it in a way that was really informative and not at all conceited (not that you would ever be that way to begin with!). I definitely agree with you on the content- if I don’t like the content, I’m not going to keep reading. Sometimes I really wonder if my content is “good enough” or if I’m really expressing things clearly enough haha. I’ll get there eventually I hope! Also, now that I’m self-hosted I love the comment-reply plug-in :D . You’re fabulous Tina!

  8. Lee says:

    I don’t understand why it’s sort of a faux pas to say that you (you in general, not you specifically) care about pageviews. That’s kind of the point of having a blog – so other people read it. I check my pageviews several times a day and it’s not because of the money. I make very little money from my blog, but I like to see if people are reading it nonetheless. I feel like if we didn’t care about that, we’d just have private journals.

  9. Thank you for being so honest and sharing your knowledge with newer bloggers (like me!). Good luck on the radio show, that’s so cool! :)

  10. To me, content is what keeps me coming back. And it’s not necessarily “good” or “bad” content — just what I can relate to. There are some fantastic bloggers who have very large followings, and while I can agree that they are great at what they do, I just can’t relate to what they write about.

  11. I find that what makes me really love a blog (and get excited when I see its updates in my Google Reader) is how well I can relate to the blogger. If they are someone I can see myself being friends with in real life, I’m interested in almost everything they post because I find THEM interesting.

    That said, even if someone is my BFF, I don’t really care what they eat three meals a day. I don’t mind the food info paired with interesting/life content, but when bloggers are busy and just post their food, I get bored pretty quickly.

  12. Haha…I remember seeing your gravatar on other blogs and thinking, Who IS that girl with the banging body?!? :-)

  13. Great post – very informative and helpful! I would say all of the things you mentioned keep me coming back for more… professionalism, quality work, genuinity, user friendly. Thanks for being such a great inspiration and encouragement to us “newbie” bloggers! ;)

  14. I love this series Tina — I totally agree about having a welcoming site, having good content and “being” in the community — all of those are things that make me want to check out a blog. I don’t really go through “big” bloggers’ comments looking for new blogs, but if I happen to see a comment that gets some discussion, I am more than likely to check out their blog. What I’m trying to say is, I like when bloggers leave comments more than “looks yummy” — so yes it is good to comment on other blogs, but make it worthwhile!

  15. Amy Lauren says:

    Honestly, I think first impressions mean a lot. I don’t notice your header anymore or the drop-down navs or anything like that, unless you blog about them, I’ve been here long enough that I just come and read most every post… because I like the posts! You write well and put your heart into it and that’s really why you have so many readers.

    And I totally agree on the header thing. It gets me when I see people who use the generic WordPress templates ones, especially when they’re so easy to make and change! The pics of you on it are great too!

  16. This was such a great post. I would love to know where you had your header done. I am still a fairly new blogger but am really getting into it at this point and would love to increase my readership and look of my blog.

    • Tina says:

      Peter helps with a lot of the coding of things. The logo and background and things were done by Ahoy Graphics. I’m also actually in line for another redesign for perhaps early next year form The Blog Fairy. ;)

  17. Jess says:

    Awesome advice Tina. Once again, you always keep it real and you always give us quality – which to me, is the MOST important in blogging. Blogging for real, from the heart with good content. Trumps all. I have to say, the more I’m reading about your approach to blogging, it is making me feel like it is HIGH TIME I bought my URL and hosted my blog. Enough is enough. Time to MOVE! :)

  18. cindy says:

    I would love love a mobile site. I have no idea how difficult it is. But I don’t comment as much because my (lazy, impatient) self thinks it takes too long to load the full site on my phone. (Because you are on the edge of your seat waiting for my comments.) :)

  19. I love your blog talks!! I really love the advice you give, good luck in the radio that’s awesome!!

  20. Haley Hoover says:

    This is so awesome! You are just so sweet to share this with people! I’m glad your blog has done so well for you, I always love reading your articles! :)

    Also, would you like to guest-blog for my site sometime? It is a Christian Dating-advice site for girls. Here is my URL: http://divinedatingforgirls.blogspot.com/ check it out and let me know!

    Have a great day! :)

  21. Tina- I love this blogging series! The gravatar thing confuses me…What’s the difference between a favicon & a gravatar? Any idea?

    • Tina says:

      Never heard of a favicon so not a clue. LOL I just know a gravatar is a universal icon, so favicon may be the same thing just generated by a different site/brand.

  22. I’m just using this as a test for the gravatar…hope you don’t mind!

  23. This is such a great post! No matter how long you’ve been blogging, it’s always good to take new advice, seek out new opportunities and really just get involved! Very well written, and bookmarked ;)

  24. I think that blog interaction is important. I know that I have read a few blogs where there would be comments but the blog owner never answered any questions or responded in the comments and I stopped reading those blogs. It may take some extra time to reply to your comments but I do think it is important.

    Great post!!

    • Tina says:

      It is definitely important to me and I agree that response is crucial. It’s all part of the community which is a large part of what blogging is about.

  25. Sana says:

    I am super nosy, so I like reading blogs to see what people are eating, sleeping and wearing ;) Oh and cute babies never hurt!

  26. Great ideas! I keep coming back to certain blogs because I feel like I can really get to “know them” through their blog/blog writing. I enjoy getting a glimpse into their everyday lives. :)

  27. I am so thankful you have shared these tips with us. I have gained a lot more readers just from commenting on other people’s blogs and connecting with them on Twitter. In fact, people have found my blog that way and their shoutouts on their own blogs have helped me see huge jumps in numbers. And I truly believe in quality content – I can tell when I don’t write something very inspired because I will have very few comments and my numbers will drop. Content is so important, and ican’t wait to hear your tips on that too!

  28. Great post and awesome advice! I agree with the comments above saying that answering questions in the comments section is important…I think interaction between bloggers/readers is so important. I keep coming back to a blog where I feel valued as a reader, in a sense that I feel they appreciate me coming back to their blog by interacting with me, I think that’s so important. Not every comment is necessary, but I think it’s at least important to answer readers/bloggers questions. And this is just personal preference, but I do like those that have a picture of the blogger on the very front and an About page so I know who’s behind the blog so it feels relatable :)

  29. Great tips Tina! I keep coming back to blog (like yours) not just for the great content but because I like the personality of the bloggers that genuinely shines through. This is very inspiring and I hope to grow my readership as well!

  30. Love this post!

    It’s always great to hear from someone who has experience on this subject. I really appreciate the lessons!

    Are you interested in doing more freelance writing too? I’m interested in pursuing that, but have no idea how to get started.

    • Tina says:

      I am, but I’m not. I am open to opportunities I stumble across and will step out when an idea strikes me or I come across a site I feel comfortable reaching out to with an idea, but it’s not my focus. Blogging and then the personal training will more likely be my focus.

  31. Thank you so much for sharing your words of wisdom – I think everything you say is so valuable and inspirational! <3 Best of luck for your radio interview…how exciting! :-D xyx

  32. Sydney says:

    Hey Tina!
    Great post :) Especially since I am new to blogging and any piece of advice from a blogger as wonderful as you is greatly appreciated!
    What keeps me coming back to a blog is definitely if I feel like I get to know the writer, if they are real and open and honest. I hope to one day convey that honesty to my readers, as few as they are right now :)

  33. Rachel says:

    i love reading your blog so much! you just seem like such a kind, motivated, and inspirational person!! i keep coming back because i know that i’m working to improve myself, you constantly are sending out messages that i need to hear and make a bigger part of my life! plus, you’re just a genuinely kind person and one of the first to welcome me into the blog world!

  34. Again – LOVE the perspective you took here, Tina!!
    I was completely nodding with the building relationships part. It’s crazy how developing friendships and relationships will ultimately increase readership…but the increased readership is just the added bonus! :)

  35. Lisa says:

    This is a good post. And I like the current header a lot.

    I think the biggest thing for me is feeling a connection with the blogger. If they never respond to comments, questions, or on Twitter than I feel snubbed and lose interest. I feel like the point of having a blog is to create community and discussion. If it’s one sided it’s not fun. :)

  36. love this, Tina! and I agree.. love the header and the tagline addition! those are vital for me. ;)

  37. I love getting advice for bloggers I respect and look up to. And to many of us starting out… You are an expert! I think my next step is Twitter.

  38. Thanks for sharing this Tina… You can tell that you put alot of time into blogging and your passion for blogging shows through your writing!! I love your blog design — it feels very welcoming =) I can’t wait to get some type of design!!

  39. Posts like this one keep me coming back!!! (And all your other ones, of course!)

    Thank you SO MUCH for the tips that can only come from experience. I am currently working on a “legit” header and creating recipe pages. I tremendously value your honesty and your expertise (yes, I said it, you are an expert blogger).

    THANK YOU THANK YOU!

  40. Thanks for the honest insight. And I actually think we both deserve cookies. :)

  41. As a new(ish) blogger, I can’t thank you enough for the tips! It’s fun for me to look around at other bloggers I enjoy and pick up on how they organize, write, and design their blog, and then adding my own flavor to it. Today’s blog helped me out and gave me some new ideas to try. Thanks for being so willing to share!

  42. Ela says:

    Thanks for sharing all this–and wow that you’re going to be on the radio!!

    I feel like there is so much more to it than good writing–I know I can write well. The visual presentation side of it is really hard for me because I’m not a visual person myself, but getting a camera and starting to include pics definitely made a good difference. I appreciate you bringing up the user-friendliness issue too, it’s a good way to show you care.

  43. Katie says:

    Great post – i agree with everything you said. For me to come back to a blog, it has to be visually appealing (yours definitely is!) – good pictures, nice layout, etc. So, I makes sure mine has all the things I look for in other good blogs!

  44. [...] my food and cropping pictures.  I know that blogging is so much more than that, but one thing that Tina hit on today in her tips for blogging really hit home with [...]

  45. These are really great tips, and I love your honesty. Blogging is a wonderful way to make friends, and connect with others who have similar interests, but goals can sometimes make it fun too (also discouraging at times!) Thank you for this post :-)

  46. Great post, Tina and I am totally with you on all of your points. Especially quality content!

  47. I love your points about the writing content – I often stress myself out when it comes to my blog, since I sort of teeter between two realms (baking and running). But lately, I’ve said to heck with it, this is me, and I want to share both. Thanks, Tina :)

  48. Nikki says:

    Thank you for this! I am fairly new to the blog world, and I will definitely take this advice and run with it!

  49. Brittney says:

    Great post! For me personally, I like to come back to a blog that conveys the author’s personality in their posts. Boring, lifeless pieces of work honestly make me bored. I like a post that can evoke something in me, even if it is just a simple smile. Those are the ones that I keep coming back to.

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