Thursday, July 14, 2011

ON BLOGGING ~ Appointment Reading...

Image courtesy LittleMissPip via Flickr

A lot of bloggers, new and experienced, wonder how they could draw in more traffic or attention to their blog and capture that readership via comments. Well, aside from the standard good advice of spending time visiting other blogs to build relationships and providing quality posts for folks to read or view when they visit you, there is one suggestion I can make.

Create a recurring reason for people to stop by. Become appointment reading. Host an event, feature or meme that happens on a regular basis. This doesn't have to be something really formal like a challenge or something requiring Mr. Linky. It can just be a simple theme that you like to cover on a regular basis. Here are a few examples for you from some of my favorite bloggers.

Stacy @ Stacy's Books hosts a round of quizzes throughout the year. She comes up with mostly bookish but also movie related quizzes each week for people to stop by and leave their responses. Then at the end of each quarterly round she gives away some prizes to the overall score and a random drawing. The quizzes are in hiatus right now as she prepares for the next round but it is terrific fun put your thinking cap on and test yourself against other bloggers. I am sure Stacy would tell you that her quizzes provide a constant stream of visitors to her blog each week and have probably converted a few game players into people who come back to see what else she posts about.

Kaye @ The Road Goes Ever On is participating in a year-long read-along of Tolstoy's War & Peace. Although she is not the host of the read-along, she has turned her participatory posts into a recurring feature she calls Thursdays With Tolstoy. In addition to summarizing the plot from the week's reading, she also shares the historical tidbits of interest that she has researched, wonderful illustrations and clips bringing the story more to life while providing her opinion on the book. I am sure that many people who are not participating in the read-along make a point to stop by and read her updates each week because they are enjoyable, entertaining and educational. I know I do.

Candace @ Beth Fish Reads hosts a series called Weekend Cooking that encourages bloggers to link up each weekend to posts they have written about food - such as recipes, foodie books, cookbook reviews, photos, movies or even just food quotes. She puts up her food related post of the weekend and lets bloggers connect through this meme of sorts by sharing their links on her site so it is easy to view and visit like-minded foodies. This feature is very popular and I bet Candace will tell you that the broad range of bloggers drawn in to her through this is a big plus. I'm sure a lot of them stick around to see what she has to say about the world of books when she's not talking food.

Perhaps you have something that is of interest to you and you find yourself wanting to cover it more formally on a regular basis. Go ahead and start your own feature. It doesn't have to be anything that requires readers to join in or play along. It can just be something that you like to share, teach, vent or display. You'd be surprised how a recurring item can make you stick in readers' minds and keep them stopping by more often. It doesn't need to be a permanent fixture - just something you want to do for a few months or a year before moving on to something else. Or you can start small and build it into a more interactive idea, inviting your readers to provide their own contributions through your blog.

Rather than joining all of the wonderful challenges, memes and other events out there in the blogosphere, use your space to highlight your own set of ideas on a recurring basis. Serialize a story, give a virtual photo tour of your favorite places, lay out a collection of family recipes, review favorite movies from the past or share tips on your favorite hobby. Whatever you choose, it should be something that excites you, makes you look forward to writing about each time and injects some fun back into your blogging process. Enthusiasm is contagious. And that's a sure way to draw interest to your thoughts and your blog.


Kristi said...

I agree that recurring topics like the ones that you mentioned are a great draw - they give me something to anticipate when visiting other sites.

I've recently tried out something similar on my own blog and have found that I look forward to posting about it each week. The positive feedback that I've received is fun too!

Claudya Martinez said...

Solid advice.

vanita said...

awesome, awesome idea! i've got to really think on this one. thanks for sharing

kayerj said...

thanks for the shout out--that is one thing I really like about your blog, the regular features (and the intelligent way you write)

Nicole said...

Recurring events are a useful way to build readership, I agree. I considered hosting one or two of my own in the past but they never really took off. I've found more results by joining and participating in events hosted by other bloggers. It gets me to enjoy blogging more and look forward to posting new blog entries. They also feel like a community experience where like-minded individuals discuss similar topics, which is always a plus.

Maybe, I'll try and host one around the anniversary of my blog to test out where it takes me, my blog and its readers.

The Madlab Post

Anonymous said...

Aw, thanks so much for the shout out, Molly! I'm so glad that I've found a loyal group of participants for my quizzes. I'm hoping everyone will come back after my month off! Without the pressure I've actually come up with a few new ones that I think will be fun.
Great advice. I love my Tuesday Quiz traffic, but even more surprising is my Sundays with Gage traffic. It's connected to FB, but the blog gets great numbers on its own. I've already started to think about how I'll transition it when Gage turns 1, my self-imposed cut-off. Since so many people read and comment I can't let it go so I just need to find a way to move it in a similar but new direction.

Jenny Girl said...

Excellent ideas indeed. I never really thought about the traffic to my blog, becuase when I have in the past, I always wondered why. I dis start a Reading Resolutions thing but then life got in the way, I got busy, and never followed up.

I have often thought of doing something similiar, a bi-weekly, or weekly event, but I am not sure I can commit. I guess in the end, I visit as many blogs as I can and enjoy the commenters that I have :)