Followers 2: Observations

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!

Currently, I’m in the middle of a thirty-day blogging challenge that I’ve set for myself. I wake up every day at 4:30am, shower, get dressed, and start writing. Because I’m always writing before work, you can rest assured that I am writing to you in a shirt and tie. Knowing that makes our time together feel more professional, doesn’t it? I kid, of course.

Part of my goal in taking up this challenge is to better learn how to write and manage a blog. I’ve written online in some form for 14 years, whether on forums, BBS’s, or my own various websites I’ve owned and managed over the years. It was never something I took particularly seriously, though I wanted to. Alcoholism and video game addiction kept me from any serious study until quite recently. Now, when I read the blogs of you wonderful people, I notice things. I pick up nuances and see the tags you use. I see the images, where they’re placed, how they’re composed, whether you made them yourself or found them on Google Image Search. I notice these things and track them. Is that creepy?

Metrics

My 2019 metrics so far

While it may be a faux-pas, here are my metric for the year. The explosion of views and visitors I’ve had in the last couple of weeks indicates that my method is beginning to bear fruit. Yesterday’s views (the tiny pink block at the end) alone top the majority of the rest of the year. As an individual day, it was far from my best but it puts this week on track to be my biggest yet.

I’ve decided to periodically, once a week I think, go over my findings and practices so that it may benefit those of you who so graciously read my blog at this early stage. Some of you already know all of this stuff and you’re likely the ones I’m learning it all from. Feel free to skip these posts unless you find them intriguing or inspirational.

How the Heck I Grow Followers

Connect, connect, connect! I can’t stress this enough as the main method for building a following on any medium, not just WordPress. This has been known from the day mankind formed its first tribe. If you want to gain recognition and a following, you need to communicate with other people and give them something that benefits them!

Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie knew a thing or two about connecting with people

For me, that was originally (and continues to mainly be) my knowledge of sobriety. I do occasionally diverge from that topic because writing and reading about alcoholism every day can get taxing, and I honestly have a lot more to my character than being sober. I’m also a budding photographer, visual artist, musician, fiction writer, runner, avid reader, and so on!

Whatever you decide to write about, make sure you’re connecting with people who care about that subject. That’s what tags are for! Tags can either be a scummy marketing ploy or a useful way to categorize your posts to ensure they are getting to the right people. As I write this post, I fully realize that any post having to do with growing your blog instantly qualifies for higher views. While that is a benefit, it isn’t my sole intention for writing this; I genuinely want to use my knowledge to help people.

Tags aren’t the only tool you need to use to connect, though. You also need to be actively searching for other writers, following them, and commenting on what they write. And for God’s sake, be genuine! I read every post that I like and I try my hardest to make sure my comments are relevant and advance the conversation somehow.

Make your content interesting. A wall of text, I’ve found, is rather boring and makes your post look like it will be a daunting read. Lengthy posts broken up by images, quotes, or other non-written content appear more digestible.

Looking back on my own blog, I failed at this miserably! There’s still a lot of work to do on both the design of my site overall and my individual posts, but I feel like I have the knowledge to improve, finally. Two things I’d like to incorporate are background images and frames. I know that the vast majority of my readers are reading my blog through the WordPress site (as I don’t have a domain linked to this account and likely never will) so I don’t need to build a whole front page, but my overall site design could use some TLC.

Guest posts are also a great way to expand your reach. Many bloggers, such as myself, are proactive in searching for opportunities and you may have already been asked to write something for somebody’s blog. My advice is to take every opportunity you can, even if the blog in question is new and doesn’t have much of a following yet. Remember where you came from… we all needed help in the beginning.

person holding white paper and typewriter

There’s also tons of clipart available on this very site!

When writing a guest post you should tailor it to the type of content the host provides while incorporating your own background. For example, if I were contributing to a business blog, I might write about how addiction affects the workplace or your performance as a business owner. For a relationship blog, I could talk about my own experiences in relationships under the influence of addiction or how my dating life (or lack thereof!) has changed in sobriety. You want to give their readers something they’re familiar with that they’re interested in, but put your own stamp on it.

Those are the top three things I’ve learned so far and just utilizing these, I’ve already seen a lot of growth. Never take it for granted, either. I appreciate everybody who reads, comments on, and follows my writing here! Like I said: make sure you’re always being genuine. My biggest fear is that my comments appear as though I’m just trying to get somebody to follow me back or read one of my posts… that’s a bonus if they like what I say, but it’s never my sole intention.

What are some of the things you’ve found that generate views and follows for you? Does your blog continue to grow or have you reached a plateau? And finally, would you like to feature me as a guest author… or would you like to be featured as a guest author here? Drop me a line at brian.grubba@gmail.com! I’m always open to either!