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Blogroll Update

September 26, 2010

I’m in the process of updating my blogroll and links.  There are a number of people I need to add.  I don’t want the list to be so long that no one can find anything, so I try to subtract occasionally.  If I remove your blog and you want me to add you back, let me know.  Mostly I remove blogs that seem inactive or slow.  (Not that things here have been breaking the sound barrier.)

I’ve been blogging for…what, two and a half years now?  I have far from the busiest blog in the world.  But I like my little corner of cyberspace and it’s nice when new people drop by.  And after having a similar discussion in comments with S.C. Wade (incidentally one of my new additions to the blogroll), I thought it might be worth while to discuss ways to get more people to visit a writer’s blog.  More importantly, some ways to get them to come back again.  Most of this is elementary, but worth a quick rehash.

Comment on blogs you frequent. Think about it, if you like blog XYZ.com then maybe people who like XYZ.com will like your blog.  It’s reasonable.  Fit yourself into the conversation.  Pick blogs that don’t get hundreds of comments per post so you don’t get lost in the deluge, but chat.  Make sure you enter your info so people reading that comment will be able to click and get back to your blog (or website or whatever).  I find such links most efficient when they’re within the same service (WordPress, livejournal, etc.), but it usually works across providers.

Link to blogs you frequent. If you link to my blog, I get a trackback hit.  I even get an email about it, so I know.  The first thing I do (not everyone is the same) is go check out your link.  I am in part making sure you aren’t asite that specializes in marsupial porn that’s spamming me, but I’m also checking you out to see who you are and if I might want to visit your blog.  Or maybe my visitors might.  A badass site will warrant an immediate add, but mostly I make a mental note and watch for your comments.  Eventually I’ll add the blogs I’ve visited a few times so that I can get to them quickly and so that others have the same option.

Talk about stuff people search for. Some of my most viewed posts cover things like Clarion/Clarion West responses (of course), semicolons (really?), movie reviews, and links to other authors.  This doesn’t count whatever posts are accessible at a given time on my homepage.  People are finding these posts through Google, IceRocket, Technocrati, Bing, or some other search protocols.  By the way, you are registering your site with the big search engine databases, aren’t you?  (I won’t go into it here.  You should google it.)  Whatever it is that you do that other people do too, that will bring them to your site…if you talk about it.

Use tags and categories. It is annoying when someone has more tags than they have words in their blog post, but they focus searches.  Those words ping harder than normal words on a search engine and tend to open backdoors to your site (like through WordPress’s tag listings).

Get Published. For most people reading this blog, that’s probably your goal.  (That or reading my stuff or learning more about me…yeah, you’re mostly writers.)  But selling something will get your name out there and inspire people (even a few is good) to look for you.  Of course, publishing isn’t 100% within your control, but submitting is.  No matter what your slae percentage is, the more attempts you make, the more you will sell.  Also, find a way to subtly slip your web address into bios for those sales.  I have it in WotF 26.  When those books start selling/being delivered/getting read, my traffic should pick up at least a little.  (I hear Amazon has started shipping preorders and the book should be currently available on Kindle and one or more other electronic readers.)

Put your web address in your signature line. Yes, it’s annoying and mildly pretentious, but no more so than quoting Tolkein or Frost or whoever at the end of an email or message board post.  And it’s largely invisible to people not looking for it.  As I blogged not long ago, I recently had an editor check out my blog based on a submission.  If you can make someone curious about you, it’s good to give them a way to follow up immediately.

Have some personality. I have never had anyone comment on how useful my market list is.  It’s mostly there for me, so I can hop to my favorite markets easily.  I don’t offer much profound wisdom.  I’m not much of a stepping stone to bettering a career (yet).  The only things anyone ever says about this blog relate directly to my blog-personality.  Either I’m conversational or not too arrogant or funny or real…that’s what I have to offer.  Don’t offend people; don’t tap dance and juggle; just be yourself and let people in a little.  The ones you want around will likely come back.  And screw the rest of them.  (Too much?)

Be productive. Everyone hates wasting time (even three seconds) clicking on a link just to see the exact same that was there the last time you tried it.  You don’t need an hourly post or even a daily post, but I see that my hits increase when I have a new post.  People drop your links if you’re blog is too stagnant.  People come back more often if doing so has rewards.

Reply to comments. More than a word or two.  If someone bothers to share something with you, let the know you appreciate by sharing a little more back.  The more personal their sharing, the more interested your reply should seem.  This lets that commenter and everyone else who reads it know that you give at least half a damn about the people who come to your blog.  Again, this brings people back.

Don’t prattle on endlessly. Long blog posts are never read.  Really, did you read this whole thing?  The more famous/familiar/brilliant/funny someone is, the more likely I am to read their observations about life, the universe, and everything.  But even then I tend to skim for words I care about.  And if every post is a multi-page meditation, I’m not likely to return often.  I can read anything as long as it’s short.  Cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, haikus, the first page of a Jehovah’s Witness flyer.  I can find meaning in most of those, too.  So short is good.  And as I’m violating that rule more with each keystroke, I’m going to sign off.  Happy blogging, and welcome to my new link-ees.  (Link-eds?  Link-olns?  You get the idea.)

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2010 12:59 am

    Thanks for this useful post about blog traffic. I started my writing blog in August and find tips from blog veterans to be more useful than generalized articles on blog traffic and far more entertaining to read.

    –Mark

  2. September 27, 2010 7:20 am

    Very good list, Scott! Recently, I’m actually commenting more on people’s blogs I read (like now!) instead of just being a silent observer (as I’ve been for a while) and replying to people’s comments to my own blog.

    Registering my site with search engines? Um…. Suuuuure, I am… lol. Isn’t that how you found me? *smiles big* Hahahah…. I’ll look into that.

    Productivity is a good one, because I spend a lot of time online checking out people’s blogs, and when I see that it hasn’t been updated for a week it’s a disappointment because I want to read what’s up. Then again, I can’t talk, because when I first started my blog I had larger gaps than that. 😛

    • Scott W. Baker permalink
      September 27, 2010 6:39 pm

      As a matter of fact, I probably need to update my search engine info. I don’t remember the site to register with that feeds all the search engines. I think the one I was thinking of was http://www.dmoz.org/, but you can add your url to most search engines to be sure it shows up. Most of the search engine work is done by “spider” programs, but you can nudge it in the right direction.

      I’m not sure how important all this is anymore, but it’s out there.

  3. September 27, 2010 8:46 am

    I always forget to update my damn blogroll, but I subscribe everyone’s blog who comments on Without Really Trying.

    I dunno. I’m under the impression that Facebook has killed writer blogs. I interact with far more writers there than at WRT.

    • Scott W. Baker permalink
      September 27, 2010 11:17 am

      For me, Facebook and my blog have different roles to play. This blog is my public face on the web. Facebook is more for social interaction or the equivalent of a press release. But I’m very slow with my Facebook, usually only checking it every other day or so. Things scroll by so fast, I have to go out of my way to see what people are up to.

      They really need some advanced filtering to get useful information. Maybe they have them and I don’t know. At least I no longer get announcements every time someone buys a pig.

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