Monday, September 6, 2010

Joint Blogging Series - Followers

I am joining Elana Johnson and Jennifer Daiker at Unedited this week for a series on blogging. Please visit their sites as well for some expert advice. As for me, I’ll just offer my humble beginnings and advice.

I began blogging last November and started by following a few science fiction sites and authors. It was slow going at first as I figured out my topics and posting schedule. By the end of March, I’d amassed a whole thirty followers. Yes, rather pathetic!

The turning point was the A-Z Challenge, hosted by Lee at Tossing it Out - blog a letter of the alphabet every day in April with Sundays off for good behavior. Not only did I find my blogging rhythm, I gained sixty new followers that month. Lee followed up the challenge with a music blogfest in May, and I hosted The Movie Dirty Dozen in June. During this time, I continued to find new blogs, and my following grew to 200 by July.

It took a great deal more than just the blogfests to gain followers, though. Gaining and maintaining quality followers is a multi-faceted endeavor. Here are some of the actions that increased my followers and my recommendation for those who want to increase blog followers:

Be willing to follow others, and not just for the sake of enticing them to follow you. Follow because you are genuinely interested in their blogs.

Create posts of interest, especially those that foster a discussion. Define your topics and create a posting schedule. How often should you post? Between three times a week and daily is ideal.

Comment on other blogs – often! Most bloggers appreciate even a short comment as long as it’s relevant to the post. Some of us even like snarking.

Praise and reward other bloggers. Reference someone’s great post, announce another’s achievement, or pass along an award. Invite others to provide a guest post for your blog.

Place your favorite blogs in your blogroll.

Actively seek out new bloggers. Investigate blogs suggested by others and explore blogrolls.

Be true to yourself. Be genuine in your posts and comments and focus on your strengths.


If you adopt these suggestions and become involved in the blogging community, an amazing thing happens – others will reciprocate. They will place your blog in their blogrolls. They mention you in their posts. They invite you to provide guest posts for their blog. And they spread the word that you are an awesome blogger to follow!

We tend to measure success in terms of numbers, but it’s quality, not quantity, that really matters. My followers are an awesome bunch of people and I am grateful for their patronage. (I’m also humbled so many find me interesting.) In return, I promise to fulfill my end of the bargain so they keep coming back! Otherwise, it'd be really dull around here...

88 comments:

Jeffrey Beesler said...

Great suggestions, Alex, particularly the one on being true to yourself. You can't really have your own authorial voice if you let that one slide.

Jules said...

I've said it before but again thank you for reaching out when I was just a wee lass in blogville.

I'll be following along for all your insightful suggestions. :)
http://fragilemouse.blogspot.com/

Simon Kewin said...

Hey,

Great advice. Just made it over to your blog in the aftermath of the weekend party. Thanks for the follow - I'm looking forward to following yours ...

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Great advice Alex.

I love how you say to be true to yourself and genuine in your posts. I always feel the blog is an extention of the person. When I follow someone I like to feel I'm getting the real them. :)

Can't wait to read the rest of the weeks posts :)

DEZMOND said...

yep, there's no blogging without the support of the fellow bloggers!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thanks for the tips Alex, with me also the turning point was the A TO Z challenge and I too found many new followers, many have not bothered since but a few have I'm pleased to say.The ones I follow most have wonderful interesting blogs that of course includes yours.

Yvonne.

Piedmont Writer said...

And I appreciate that a sci-fi writer drops by so often to a romance writer's blog.

Kittie Howard said...

Great suggestions, Alex, especially the part about being true to yourself. I've been on blogs where I felt the blogger wrote more to please an audience than articulate anything. A complete turn-off!

Jamie Gibbs said...

Sound advice, Alex. Your rise to bloggin glory is nothing short of epic, and you should be proud :) Plus now that you've openly encouraged snarking, I predict your numbers will double overnight with all the snarkers wanting a piece of the action, hehe.

Jen said...

Blogging A-Z was the most fun I think I ever had, and with such an awesome challenge! I also gained a ton of followers at that time and don't regret taking it on!!!

Great tips!!! Following on the way to new finding new peeps!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

I would follow you even if you never commented on my blog, because your content is awesome.
But the fact that you are an awesome commentator is the cherry on top.

And so true, not just in bloggdom but also in life - follow because you are genuinely intrested not to gain followers.

Mason Canyon said...

Enjoy your post as they are always entertaining, insightful and informative. I just realized this morning that I wasn't a follower (am now). I thought I had clicked on the link but hadn't. Glad to be considered among your many followers. Happy Labor Day.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Ted Cross said...

I agree with the quality vs quantity, even if I was a touch saddened to lose a follower today. Only a little, since I know the person must simply have not liked what I post.

Gail said...

Great suggestions. I wish I had these tips when I began.

I have changed since the beginning and so have some of my followers.

It has been an interesting journey, one I hope to continue for a long while.

Will Burke said...

True Dat -- if you're not engaging the community, nothing will come of it! It can be so gratifying with this awsome bunch of people. Chin up; you're one of them!

Milo James Fowler said...

Great post: give and ye shall receive! I'd rather have 10 quality followers who comment on my posts regularly than 500 little faces who do nothing but grin at me from the sidebar...

Journaling Woman said...

Great suggestions. Being true to who you are is very important, I agree.

I return here because you have something to say.

T

Old Kitty said...

Good advice all round - personally for me it's a fun thing for me to do, it's a great and fulfilling distraction, it's not obligatory and it's not a popularity contest. It's a great way for me to find and meet new and amazing people all over the world!

Take care
x

The Old Silly said...

Excellent Bloggy-pointers ... I agree with all of them.

Talli Roland said...

Great tips, Alex. I've just read Elana and Jen's tip, too - you three rock! Thanks for banding together to do this!

Ellie said...

Great suggestions, Alex. I particularly agree with the last part on quality not quantity.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Excellent advice. My follower count has stalled for a while, but I know that's my own fault for not being more active. (Even though I'm dealing with family issues right now.) Then again, those who keep coming back are bloggers who really matter to me.

Candyland said...

I love this whole week-long series. It's fantastic! It really boils down to how you interact in life. If you want friends, you have to *be* a friend. Great advice here.

Kelly Dexter said...

Alex, this is valuable blogging wisdom! I really appreciate the posts you, Jen, and Elana are doing this week. Thanks!

LTM said...

I'm following you to steal all your followers and Kate Beckinsdale looks like a hamster.

What? You said you liked snark... ;p

j/k good stuff here; all true~

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Piedmont, I stop by because I enjoy reading your posts!

Jamie, bring on the snarkers!

Jen, the A-Z was the best challenge ever.

Aw, thanks Rayna!

Mason, you always visited regardless, and I appreciate that.

Ted, don't worry about it.

Thanks everyone. And I've always tried to be true to me - I'm just Alex, so that's the only angle I can portray.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great advice Alex - if we're not true to ourselves, our blogs aren't going to work. Who could keep up with pretending to be someone else???

Claire Dawn said...

Exactly! Up to a week ago I had 60 odd followers (gained about 30 in my week of contests). And even though 60 followers in nothing to many bloggers, a lot of them are active and commenting and it's like a happy family.

I don't know that I'd want 1100 followers with 1000 who never actually READ my blog.

Mary said...

Great tips. You managed to answer questions I've had for a while now. Thanks.
Mary

Karen Lange said...

Good stuff! I think successful blogging goes along the same lines as the principle of sowing and reaping. I am continually amazed at the support and friendships gained through my blog. And like you, rather humbled that people actually keep coming around.
Happy Labor Day,
Karen

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

If I'd been asked to write my thoughts on blogging and followers, I think I'd have come up with exactly what you say here. Best of luck with the series! I'll check out Elana and Jen's blogs, too.

Happy Labor Day!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

LTM, but Kate is a cute hamster!

Claire, I share your sentiments.

Thanks, Nicole - guess I did something right!

Helen Ginger said...

It seems to me that once you start blogging and continue to blog, even though you may not have many followers, you begin to hit your stride and it becomes easier. Then when you venture out and visit others, you start making friends and it becomes fun.

Charles Gramlich said...

You've done it just right. Great material for folks to read and good responses. I see you're getting a lot of comments. Well done.

Clarissa Draper said...

I agree with everything you said. I've seen it happen on my blog.

CD

Witless Exposition said...

Stopped by from the BBQ.

Thanks for these great tips. I started back in March and have 43 followers right now.

I think sometimes I focus too much on the numbers, and it's good to be reminded about writing what I want.

Thanks again for reminding me why I started!

Summer Ross said...

I agree with blogging almost daily- I know from my own experience that if I blog daily I receive a variety- but then those few whom I really enjoy their content only blog once a week and I will search out their blog just for the content. Good post!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Great suggestions!

Elana Johnson said...

Dude, you guys focused on personal stuff, and I focused on technicalities. Le sigh. I suppose it's all good, right?

And I LOVE (like, LOVE) how different our three posts are, even though we have the same topic. *wink*

Great post, Alex!

Lola Sharp said...

I love your blog and this post for the series.
We have such a delightful community of writers here in blogland...isn't it awesome?

What I think I love most about you and your blog, Alex, is...well several things. One, your blog is unique. It is very 'you' and unlike any other blog. You mix it up and your passion for technology, movies (and Kate) really shines through.
Also, you leave great, often funny (in your dry humor way) comments. You're very consistent...bless your heart. (don't know how you do it.)

Anyway, you have the quality and quantity both down to a science (fiction?). Thanks for being you. :)

arlee bird said...

AS always, thanks for the mention of my blog and the kind reference to the A to Z Challenge. You pretty well covered the important points and if bloggers follow your good advice they will gain followers and readers as well. I stand by the numbers game aspect of the followers. Getting followers just to have followers isn't the greatest, but having a large number of followers that might be potential readers is a good plan. A blog looks pretty impressive and important when there are a greater number of followers on the sidebar. And if you have a goodly number of comments to match, all the better. But it won't just happen--you, the blogger, have to work at it.

Lee
Tossing It Out

C.E. said...

Found you through Elana and Jens blogs this Monday and am so glad I did!
Love your blog and advice.

BStearns said...

Brilliant advice Alex! I always love coming and checking out your blog, you definitely do follow all your tips to the letter.

Hannah Kincade said...

Great points!! If you're not being true to yourself, then really, what's the point of blogging? If you are just creating a false persona for everyone and just trying to gain followers, what's the point? We're here to encourage each other and create relationships.

RaShelle said...

Hey Alex - Great post and excellent information. See, you really are good at this.

Cold As Heaven said...

Good post, great advice. I'm doing some of the things you suggest already, and have got some new hints ... except i don't want to have the stress of having a regular blogging schedule

Cold As Heaven

Holly Ruggiero, Southpaw said...

I think blogger is mad at me today. It won't let me comment. :(

...Great tips!

ali said...

Hey Alex! Great tips ~ can't wait to see what you guys come up with in your next posts this week.

Now I'm off to check out what your TV thingie is all about at the top of the blog ...

Jessica Carmen Bell said...

Great post, Alex. I've already been off to check out the other two :o) My blog started to soar too during the A-Z challenge. I was really lucky to get involved in that because I had only started blogging in March, so it was perfect timing! :o) I think you're doing great. I mean, hey, I'm not into science fiction books much, but you go way beyind keeping my interest here :o)

Franklin Beaumont said...

Finally, someone opens the doors to snark - and I find myself utterly snarkless. Oh well. Great post Alex, I'm glad I found your blog.

Laura Eno said...

I wish I had a snark for you...
Great advice!

Vicki Rocho said...

Loving this Blogging Trifecta! Lots of good advice! Looking forward to the next installment!

By the way, I only just noticed your Rush cover in the sidebar. Hubs is a rabid fan and has seen them THREE times this year. I've seen them.....once a couple years ago. LOL

Carol Kilgore said...

As much as I love blogging, it can be lots of hard work at times. Good tips here. I'm off for Elana's!

Dominique said...

Thanks for the tips. :)

Lynda Young said...

Yep, excellent tips from a master blogger :)
Lyn
W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

And Helen, I am having fun!

Witless, that's great, and thanks for stopping by!

Thanks, Elana! I worried because mine was so much longer than either of yours. But I think between three of us, we covered it all!

Aw, Lola - thanks! I know I don't post typical writer stuff. I just talk about what excites me. (Including Kate!)

Lee, your challenged kick-started it all for me!

Cold, do what works for you. Every other day works perfect for me.

Jessica, thank you! I'll try to stay interesting.

Franklin, there will be more opportunity to snark, I promise.

Vicki, he's seen more than me this year. How many overall? I've seen Rush 21 times total.

Thanks, everyone!

Simon C. Larter said...

You know what else increases follower count? Giveaways. Give stuff like books and ARCs and such away and people will flock to follow your blog like tweens to Twilight. That's the quick and dirty and cynical way to blog fame, anyway.

Personally, I can't be arsed with that route. Too much work. It's easier just to snark.

So, um...SNARK!

I hope your Labor Day was filled with grilled food and good beer, like all good days off work should be.

Cheers!

Liza said...

This is a wise post Alex. Thanks for the tip and dose of reality. Quality is key as they say, not quantity.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Simon, I expect nothing less than snarking from you!

Cheeseboy said...

Commenting is the number one way I attracted and retain followers. It's a lot of work sometimes, but worth it.

aspiring_x said...

i love the first one! only follow blogs you genuinely want to read! sometimes i wish there were more time, because there are way more blogs that i genuinely want to read, than time i actually have to read them! :)

aspiring_x said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ishta Mercurio said...

Great suggestions! Some I do, but not enough. Others I hadn't even thought of... Thanks for tips!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Excellent advice all around, Alex! I have a feeling that your following will keep climbing.

Stephen Tremp said...

You've got a great blog Alex. I'm really looking forward to the Top 10 TV shows. Should be a real hoot.

Stephen Tremp

Alison Stevens said...

Excellent advice, Alex. You, Elana, and Jen all offered some great advice on this.

I wish I had more time to spend reading and commenting on blogs. It feels like a guilty pleasure for me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cheeseboy, you're so right.

Aspiring, I think I've finally hit that point!

Cruella Collett said...

Great advice, Alex. I think you are dead wrong on one thing only: that you are not also an expert. I do believe Elana and Jennifer are in good company :)

Matthew Rush said...

I missed out on A-Z, having just started at the time, but that was how I found you, and I've loved your blog ever since!

Kelly said...

Great advice, Alex. I'm looking forward to participating in your next blogfest!!

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Love the part about focusing on your own strengths. I used to worry about the kind of posts my brain cooked up, but then I just sorta stopped worrying about it. I just put it out there, because...hell, what else am I gonna do?? Me = Z all day long. :D Love this series.

Sangu said...

Great post, Alex! I hate the idea of following somebody because you want them to follow you back: I follow the blogs I love, whether or not they follow me back. You've got some really great points here, thanks for this!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thank you, Cruella! I'll correct that to 'accidental expert.'

Thanks, Matthew - same here!

Zoe, it became fun when I started just being me.

lbdiamond said...

For sure, without the quality, you can't get the quantity! :D

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Your comments are perceptive. Isn't is a truism : to have a friend, be a friend.

That simple. That hard.

I think that a blog that shines is a cozy home where friends feel welcome, feel appreciated, where they find laughter and help.

When we visit blogs, we should be good guests, polite, bring a nice gift (a supportive, humorous comment), and always sing the praises of a nice visit to others.

Have a great week, Alex. This is a great series. Thanks, Roland

Ellie said...

Great advice!

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

to you the scifi writer... IT's proof that you go to many blogs..as i enjoy your comments.. on my very girly women, mother site... but hey what is snarking??? I might learn a new term today..

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

to you the scifi writer... IT's proof that you go to many blogs..as i enjoy your comments.. on my very girly women, mother site... but hey what is snarking??? I might learn a new term today..

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thank you, Roland.

Wasabi, snarking is like sarcasm. Nice sarcasm! And your site offers food - a man's gotta eat you know!

Serena said...

hey there alex, i came along to your blog through posts by jen and elana. Just wanted to say hello.... so hello there.. and that i enjoyed reading your post, and your posts in the past, so much so that ill be following in the future.
Congratulations on your great reviews!

feel free to take a peek at i see you see.

hope your having a good week so far

serena

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm a new follower, and you definitely hit it with the why's and how's of blogging. My only problem is making sure I don't enjoy it TOO much! :0

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks, Serena. And wow - you're my 300th follower!

AlexOngNYC said...

Great advice. I'm totally into building this community thing that all this social networking has to offer!

Alex
Breakfast Every Hour

cassandrajade said...

Excellent advice Alex. Thanks for sharing such a great blog with us all.

Hart Johnson said...

Great advice, and you TOTALLY ROCK at the generous commenting thing, and generous pointing out others... creates all sorts of good will.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Alex, glad to have you here!

Rock and snark, Hart? Thanks!!

Glynis said...

A friendly face and good manners always draw me to a blogger. :)

N. R. Williams said...

I've been following this on the other blog. Great discussion.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, fantasy author