Baby Steps to Blogging—Part 5—How Can I Get People to Read My Blog?

“How do I get people to read my blog?” Every blogger has asked this question.

In Baby Steps to Blogging—Part 1, we talked about choosing the subjects of our posts to fit the interests and needs of our audience. To do that, we have to know our audience. This can be confusing. Just how do you figure out who your audience is? What type of person is interested in the things you write about?

You have chosen to build your blog around the thing that interests you. Let’s say you like to cook. You like trying new recipes. You frequently make up your own recipes. You are often called upon to contribute to a church social or family get together. In fact, your friends often request that you bring ‘the special casserole’ that you are known for, or maybe it’s a dessert. (If my mom were to show up at a family event without a couple of pecan pies, disappointment would overshadow the entire event.)

If you write about cooking and frequently share recipes, what groups or types of people would be most interested in your expertise?

People who have just moved out on their own or gotten married often have little experience with cooking, but want to learn, will hound the internet for how-tos and recipes. An experienced cook may be looking for a new way to prepare an old dish. Or maybe a man who was recently widowed and doesn’t know the first thing about cooking for himself will search the internet for instructions.

Think about these people—your audience. What might these types of people search for? Group your answers into categories. Below are just a few that might work. I’m sure you can think of others. Three is a good number of categories to have. You may need a need to add a few more, but keep them down to what is absolutely essential.

One Dish Meals

Dinners for Two

Desserts

After you have chosen your categories, write posts that will fit one of them. List them in the appropriate category so search engines can find your post when someone types those words into google or whatever search bar they use.

As you write the post that fits the category, use key words or tags that will help the searcher land on your blog. Key ingredients in your recipes would be a good choice for tags. The method of cooking your recipe utilizes would be another—bake, fry, steam, grill, etc. Be consistent with tagging.

You can check the stats for your blog and see which tags or categories get the most attention. You might want to add more soups if that seems to be what gets the most views. If you find that recipes with chicken get a lot of attention, try to post those regularly.

I have used cooking as an example, but you can used the same principles with your own interests to decide what categories and tags to use for your posts. If you decide the categories you have chosen don’t work for you, you can always change them. It is your blog. It’s better to change to something that works than to continue down the wrong road.

Your Baby Steps assignment for this week is to read over your posts. Chose labels, tags or key words you have used in the post that someone might type into the search bar. Edit your posts to include these tags.

You need to do this so search engines will know what your post is about and lead people to it. It may take a while to learn which words are important enough to include in your tags. Before long, though, you will begin to see what is important and what is not.

For instance, salt may be important for your recipe, but is probably not a word that most people will search for unless they are looking for recipes without salt. If ‘no salt’ is your focus, certainly use no salt as a key word or tag.

You are making great progress! Please post any questions you have in the comment section. I will do my best to answer them. Have a great week, and remember to take one Baby Step at a time.

Baby Steps to Blogging Part 3 — Keep on Writing!

Blogging IS NOT like riding a bicycle. If / when you fall, it does hurt! It isn’t easy to get back on and try again–at least it wasn’t for me. I had made up my mind that I could do this blog thing. I had the perfect subject–meaning I thought it was a great idea and clever, of course. I wrote the post and found a photo–it wasn’t perfect, but it would do.

IMG_0038After several hours of editing and tweaking, I hit the publish button. It was so exciting to be published!

I read that post over several times, then proceeded over to Learn WordPress.com to read the instructions for adding an About Me page to my blog. It wasn’t long until my About Me page was published. Not only had I started a blog, but with two pages, it was well on the road to becoming a website.

A few days later, I wrote another post. It was easy with my new found confidence. My 2nd post was finished, edited and ready to submit. Only… when I hit the publish button, my post disappeared. Refresh did not return it, neither did go back, or escape, nor messaging the wordpress help site. My brilliant work was gone forever! Hours of work were lost. Discouragement set in. I had fallen off. It hurt. I gave up.

Several times I went back to look at my abandoned blog. It was still there. One little post. One About Me page. No visitors. Not even graffiti–you know, ‘loser’, ‘quitter’…

It took three months for me to muster the courage to try again. During that time I learned some things:

1. Write your post on your computer’s word processing program. Save your work often. If you have deleted or changed something by mistake and try to close the program it will ask if you want to save changes. This is a warning that you may be about to delete something important. If you don’t remember changing making changes since you last saved your work, take the time to read the document over before closing. Don’t forget to save it when you are finished!

2. When you’re satisfied you are ready to publish the post to your blog, copy and paste it onto a ‘new blog’ on your site rather than writing it directly on the site. You are less likely to make mistakes this way.

3. If you highlight (make all the words have a blue background) something you have written / typed, do not hit backspace, enter, delete, or tab–accidentally or on purpose–unless you want to delete it. Yes, really! I finally realized this was how I lost my second post. The mistake that discouraged me from posting to my new blog for three entire months!

Three months of feeling like a loser, however, was not a total loss. It was during those three months I learned the importance of learning in baby steps. No two people are at the exact same level of knowledge. Some have been blogging for years. Others are just beginning. I am somewhere in between. I don’t pretend to know everything, but I want to share what I have learned with those who may need it. I share my struggles while they are still fresh in my mind.

There is no such thing as instant success. Don’t be discouraged. Rather, get up, brush off the dirt, and purpose to succeed.  Blog with confidence–one baby step at a time. Keep up the good work, you are doing great!

This post is part of a series titled Baby Steps to Blogging. I hope it will help you on your blogging journey. I encourage you to share your thoughts and questions in the comments section of this post. You are invited to come back next Thursday for Part 4 of Baby Steps to Blogging.

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