Midnight Blogging 101 is a sporadic feature where we share advice, tips and tricks for your blog.
Hey guys! So last time when I wrote a blog post about the pros and cons to co-blogging as well as some tips on searching for one, I placed a Google form at the end of the post and out of the responses, three of them were all along the lines of: how do you get more viewers? Alas, I do not have a simple answer, so I made a whole blog post about it.
Hi! How do you get more followers without doing memes? – Anonymous
How do you put your blog out there? (i.e. Get people to read it) – Katie @ Book Arrows
How do you establish a blog? Seems so hard! – Anonymous
A clean design and layout.
Having a clean and appealing design and layout is pretty important because that’s what viewers see first. Not your content, not how you are as a blogger, but your blog design. White text on a black background is probably not the best way to go as it hurts the eyes and will put readers off.
Also, it would be a good idea to cut back on how many things you have on your sidebar! When I just started my blog, I thought that the more information and images I put on my sidebars, the better – but that is NOT the case. Honestly speaking, the only essential things you really require on a sidebar is a search bar, social medias, a little passage about yourself and ways to follow your blog. Maybe a blog button if you have one. Things like putting all your favourite series banners in your sidebar (put on your ‘about me’ page instead!) will only make your blog load slower, which is certainly something you don’t want. Less clutter, the better!
You do not need to go out of your way and pay a lot of money to get a neat looking blog design. Sure, it is an option if (like me) you cannot deal with code but if you can play around with coding and are willing to take the lunge, whip up your own look!
Here’s some fabulous designers I recommend:
And of course, you do not need to code up a custom design or get someone to create one for you. There are so many template layouts on the internet for free or for less than $15 dollars on Etsy.com! Many of the layouts that are provided on WordPress and Blogger are also great choices. In all – it doesn’t matter where or how you got your design/layout but just remember: try to keep it clean by removing all the irrelevant information that you could place on other pages and simplistic is the key! Having too much going on in your design can be off putting at times.
An easy to navigate site.
It’s really important to have a blog that is easy to navigate around. Sometimes I’m looking for a certain review by a certain blog and I cannot even find it because there’s no search bar. Why? WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME? It’s seriously inconvenient. Also, while infinite scrolling is pretty great for online shopping, but for reading blogs? Not necessarily. Often, I feel like I’m losing control of the laptop when suddenly things are just loading without me doing anything, and it can be awfully distracting! Of course, this is just my personal preference and based on what I’ve heard from friends.
Unique content is key.
While a clean design and layout and an easy to cruise around blog is great and all, what is going to make your visitors come back again is your content. Content is what makes your blog worthwhile, and if you want to stand out, show off your personality in your posts, make them yours, make them unique. Having a variety of posts does help as well. Personally, I tend to follow blogs that have more than just book reviews because I want to know more about the person behind the blog and I love reading random and fun bookish related posts, discussions, tags and posts about the blogger’s life in general!
In simple words: be yourself and throw your personality out there and don’t be afraid to post things other than book related things! Us Midnightians do random posts too like recently when I posted my recap of my American trip or those several times Larissa wrote feminist posts. Of course, if you don’t want to and just like posting book reviews, that’s completely fine as well.
Know what your readers are liking and keep doing it.
Back when YA Midnight Reads got it’s revamp, I also sent out a survey asking what you guys liked, wanted to see more of, see less of and what you dislike. I will be posting the survey results soon, but in general, many of you wanted to see this feature and more random bookish posts. The fact that I know this has definitely helped because I can keep that in mind when stuck on what to post. While book blogging is a personal journey, it’s always funner to have readers as well, and if you do want more of them, identifying what your readers like about your blog already is a good way to go. Of course, you don’t need to make a survey to find out which posts are most popular – just checking out how many pageviews a certain post has gotten is already a good indicator.
Social media and networking goes a long way.
Twitter: Personally, I find twitter the most useful form of social media out there for blogging. It’s a great platform to publicise your new (and old) posts to the internet, and you can make a bunch of blogging friends who may even check out your posts as well!
Goodreads: I actually discovered quite a few bloggers through Goodreads. And, it is not only beneficial if you want more viewers on your blog, but it’s an excellent way to keep track of your reading progress. If you don’t use Goodreads already, you’re insane!
Blog commenting: This is probably one of the best ways you can meet fellow bloggers. If you visit and comment meaningfully on other blogger’s posts, some of them do return the favour. This is also a good way to gain comments on your posts.
Giveaways do actually help.
While it can be agreed that giveaways can give you a bunch of followers on Bloglovin’ or email or GFC etc that don’t actually ‘follow’ your blog frequently, I find that giveaways do make me find new blogs that I’ve never heard about before. So don’t be too quick to think that giveaways aren’t an option. And since everyone loves giveaways, it’s always nice to throw one in for your current readers.
In the end, it’s about the effort you put in.
Book blogging is a hobby, and one that does require a lot of passion. If you don’t have that passion for what you’re doing, it is always going to show. If you have passion, it’s going to show in your posts, and readers will be coming back to read more.
You get what you give!
There is no right or wrong when it comes to blogging. If you only want to post reviews for content, go for it! If you don’t feel comfortable using social media, that is okay! But, these are simply my words of advice if you want to gain readers. And don’t forget – don’t blog for just the sole reason of getting a big following. I hope you guys will find this post of use to you!
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