Trying to build, and then grow, a solid base of followers may make you suspect that popular bloggers have some kind of secret formula. It does take time and effort to form a flock of faithful followers, but there are helpful tools and reliable techniques, so apply some virtual elbow grease toward getting more followers and you’ll enjoy greater success. Bottom line, it’s all about reciprocity, networking and social media.
Make Your Blog Interactive
Invite real life and online friends to read your blog. If your blog centers around a specific topic such as food, pets, home, books or politics, invite friends who will buzz about your chosen topic. Or, if your blog is about a specific demographic -- such as Generation Y, GenXers or Baby Boomers -- invite friends from that demographic. Some services advertise that they’ll get a large number of followers for your blog, but this service comes with a price tag. And, they do not target followers by specific interests.
Include a comment function on your blog and write insightful replies to comments. Sometimes, it’s acceptable to write a simple “Thanks for reading,” but it’s always more helpful to be personal. Did the commenter connect your blog post to something in her life? Respond directly to the comment. Commenting is a two-way conversation.
Provide good content and don’t expect overnight results. Layla Morgan Wilde is a Westchester County, NY-based writer/photographer and life coach/cat behavior guru who has has two blogs, “Cat Wisdom 101” and “The Boomer Muse.” She knows what it takes to blog twice daily, do yoga, run an efficient house and garden, and then socialize with her filmmaker husband. Wilde’s advice for getting more followers is to “provide unique, interesting content, above all. Be engaged, follow others and leave comments at other blogs regularly,” she says. ''It takes time.”
Create a consortium of like-minded blogs, where consortium members take turns posting. This way, members do not have to blog daily but they benefit from a larger following. The consortium could be about pets, food or travel blogs, for instance. Start by visiting similar blogs and developing relationships with their creators. Create a catchy consortium name such as the “The Cat’s Pajamas,’’ “Foodie Fantasies,” or “Planet Travel.” Each member should follow each other member on a blogroll.
Social Networking Tools
“Network, network, network.” Join Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook, post links to your blog and discuss your blog in comments. Or, create a Facebook event about your blog. Authors with books are popular guest bloggers, and you can give away copies of the author’s book to a few commenters. Join Twitter. In 140-character tweets, tell your Twitter followers what you’re up to. Interact with your followers and those you follow. Consider that the time you spend interacting on social media is equivalent to attending real-life networking events.
Join sites such as Google Plus, Tumblr, StumbleUpon and Digg. The professional networking site, LinkedIn, can also be helpful. Never spam your contacts on any site. Don’t invite someone to be your Facebook friend and then first off ask her to follow your blog, without interacting with her. Successful bloggers know that readers are those they have already established a relationship with.
Use social bookmarking tools. Approximately 30 social bookmarking sites exist that can bring readers to your blog. Tools such as those on Online Marketing Blog enable you to install social bookmarking buttons directly on your blog. Blogger and Wordpress offer gadgets such as a visitor counter, a follower gadget, a search function gadget and blog stats, among others. Google also provides forums for Blogger that explain how to use Blogger to get more followers. Enable your readers to read your blog via RSS feed.
Describe your blog in the keyword section. Don’t pepper your blog with keywords, though; “keyword stuffing” does not increase your chance of a better search engine ranking. It can make your blog clunky to read, which turns away readers. Using Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools, index your blog with the search engines. Post frequently, with fresh content. Realize, too, that it can take months before the search engines have fully indexed your blog.