susans_avatarI’m going to cheat a little and post something that I originally wrote as a response to a question on a favourite message board. The discussion was about how to build a reader base for one’s website or blog. Now I’m not into this kind of things for myself – goodness, I don’t even have a (and have a reason for doing so) but as part of my website development business I have learned these things. So here we go!

“Dear ____

Now on to building your blog/site. Bear in mind that as part of my work I know these things but I do NOT do them. I build websites but I don’t do any of this stuff because I don’t need/want to. But, it works!

Sadly, the important thing is content distribution- not even quality of writing. Sad but true. You need to build a commenting base and a readership.How to do this?

  • Comments! It’s the best way. You have to visit other blogs and leave comments. This lets other readers see you and follow back to your blog but so will the blog owner. I notice you don’t allow comments- matey, this is blog suicide! You need to build readership- you need to build relationships.
  • Link to other sites. Yep, I know it sounds contrary to send people away from your site but it works. Also link back to your own writings. refer to your previous posts but don’t expect everyone to know the history so fill in the blanks when doing this. Also link to your previous posts- keeps people on your site plus builds a relationship with them. Blogging is all about developing relationships!Subscribe to this blog and read the good articles
  • I notice you don’t have a blogroll. Don’t underestimate the performance of a blogroll. It helps build readership and get you around the ‘net.
  • Submit your site to all the social networking sites. Build your reader base through RSS. This is SO important. People read blogs via RSS more so than visiting the site these days so, get your feedburner account up and running and get it looking swish. Make it VERY easy for people to subscribe to your blog.
  • Get your name out there more…actually I just searched for your name/sitename and your ‘previous’ blog came up first so you need to do some more work on your blog to push it up in the ranks. Get your keywords. Tag all posts. Get your mission statement or aim and put it in your blog. Work that blog girl! Hey, I know you’ve done that but it needs more!
  • You need a few pages – A visitor will only be on your blog for about 6 seconds if you’re lucky. You need to GRAB them. They need to see everything in one hit. Where is your About Me page? How do I contact you? Remember, make it easy for me, the reader. Why would I want to contact you? Are you available as a guest writer? A guest speaker? Sell yourself to me T__ ! Tell me why I need you! Tell me why I want to visit your site.
  • Freebies! Everyone loves something to download so get some freebies to give away. You’re a gifted writer and speaker. Make a few podcasts and offer them for free!
  • Learn to use typography to your advantage. It helps break up a post into bite sized pieces and makes skimming easier. And, like it or not, most people skim.
  • Get some useful plugins. Do others readers really care about the live feed? I know YOU do but do others need to see it? Nah, not really. But how about a Related Postsplugin? That kinda thing. Oh, related posts to your OWN posts, not others. See this post of mine I have two plugins (they both give good related posts). One is at the bottom of each post and the other is in the sidebar.
  • Personalise your site even more! Yes, it is possible without giving away all your personal details. eg: design your own logo or avatar so that it can follow you around the Internet. Sign up with Gravatar or OpenID so that everytime you comment on another blog it links back to your site and it includes YOUR avatar! It is important- builds familiarity-relationship. You can include your avatar or logo on your site in the sidebar or in the top of every post! Design a banner that you can give to other sites to display, that links back to your site.
  • Study how to build your site. Subscribe to blogs that primarily exist for this reason.I’ll list a few with good info, but bear in mind that they are not Christian.
to name a few…but this would get your started. ;)

  • Another way is to follow the example of others- look at Cindy Rushton and Robin Sampson! Now, there’s two Christian homeschool mums (moms) who are using the Internet to their full advantage to build a business. Study the things they do and see how you can incorporate some of those ideas into your writing site.

T____, pop over to my site. Now I know the colours aren’t everyone’s ideas of nice but they’re *mine*. I would tone it down a lot if it were a business site, but not everyone does, aka. Cindy Rushton. From the outset you can see my RSS feeds (posts AND comments) in the top right hand corner PLUS on every single blog post I remind the reader that they can subscribe.

I have an easy to use , and page and the navigation is fairly easy, I think. Also, you can see that I’ve put my footer to good use. It has the necessary stuff but also a link to another page in my site!

Does all this take time?

Yup! It’s a part time business but if you want to succeed to any degree you need a strong online presence. You have a presence- you need to build it and that takes work.

Of course if you’re really serious, you could also go with your own domain name and hosting which allows for heaps more individual customisation. Let me know if you need some help with that.

That’s it for starters…gee I should start a web development business eh? LOL ;)