When it comes to reeling in followers, you really need to consider what it is to be on their side of the fence.
I wanted to discuss the things I consider when finding new blogs to determine whether I want to hit that Follow button or not.
I may be new, I may not be an expert, but I did gain 20 follows in the span of a single week, so I must be doing something right, right?
First, I need to find you.
I stumble across new blogs in one of three ways. I am guaranteed to check out blogs who follow me or who like and comment on my posts. Almost like a quid-pro-quo. I may also stumble actoss you if:
A. You are linked on another blog(post) that I follow/read – this depends on context of course, whether you have the appearance / implication of writing on topics I’m interested in. Or,
B. Your post shows up under one of my favoured tags in my Reader. In my case, these are things relating to writing and books. #writer’s advice, #paranormal mystery, etc.
Consider these things when you have a lul in traffic to your blog. Understand that in gaining exposure, networking is key. You must follow others and read their things to encourage reciprocation – and to get on their radar in the first place. For a wider reach, I cannot stress enough that TAGS ARE VITAL. If you want to get read, you need to be sure you’re showing up for the people who actually want to read you.
So, I’ve found your blog. How do you keep me coming back? How do you convince me to hit the follow button?
The most obvious answer is content. If I like what you’re putting out, chances are I’ll hit the button.
But, consider, what makes the difference when I find you and it’s late at night, I’m tired and about to sign off? When I’m short on time and need to decide whether I like you without first scrolling through a bunch of your posts?
I’ll be honest, these influence how I decide most of the time who I do or don’t follow. So long as your blog content appears to follow my topics of choice, I’m unlikely to read or scroll through a bunch of your posts. I look for other, quickly established things:
The first thing I’m going to do is open your blog beyond the Reader. I’m going to visit your site, and first impressions are everything.
Theme not mobile-friendly? In a bad mood, you will be instantly dismissed.
Site confusing or messy to navigate? I’m not going to bother trying.
Yes, this is judging a book by its cover. Is it wrong and sometimes inaccurate? Yes. Do I care? Not likely. If I’m tired or in a rush, first impressions are EVERYTHING.
My point then, is that you need to put time and effort into your blog. No, not everyone is going to make decisions this way, but you need to care about the ones who do. Keep your site tidy, easy to navigate, and nice to look at. I dont want a mess of links or ugly colour schemes to be the first thing I see – it’s not what you want me to see either. Put some work in, show me you care.
Finally, I can’t say who – if anyone – else takes this approach, but what I do without fail, every blog I visit, I go straight to the About page.
Thats right, I’m giving you a look, mr-hasnt-filled-out-the-about-page. If you dont have one, it’s not generally an immediate dismissal (not if I’m interested enough via however-I-found-you). But a huge factor, for me, is how you’re portrayed on your about page.
If it’s more than 1, 000 words long or gives me your life’s story, I probably wont read all of it. This means, I might miss the important details that would make up my mind, so be weary of rambling on.
If it doesn’t tell me anything about you as a person, I’m bored and it’s game over. Interest is lost, there’s no engagement, and no desire to know more about your life / opinions. I probably won’t hit that Follow button.
If I haven’t made it clear yet, the important take away here is that I’m basing my decision on whether I want to engage with YOU, whether I feel I can relate to you and have and an interest in following your journey / story.
Again, I can’t speak for others, but that’s the big secret. This is the biggest determinant in my decision making process of whether or not I want to hit that Follow button. I can forgive an ugly blog, and hell, sometimes even a messy blog, but I need to think I’ll like you.
What do YOU look for in a blog? Let me know the things you consider in the comments.
Do you purely seek their content? Do you read a single post and decide based on writing style? Do you check their layout / display / look on the Web?
Consider your own ideals, and apply them to yourself. If you stumbled upon a blog like your own – in appearance and content – written by someone else, would you be inclined to follow them?
Always keep your reader in mind – and remember their ideals may very well be different to yours.