A reader of my digital photography blog asked me how I find new blogs to subscribe to. At first I was surprised at the question, I add new blogs to my feed reader all the time. In fact I really ought to trim it down. It is an important issue after thinking about it.
Thinking about how you find blogs could get you more readers.
So what are the main ways people discover new blogs to read? Here are my methods ranked most common to least
- Other bloggers links – the obvious one. If you are reading a blog you can be pretty sure what they link to will also be of interest. The problem with this method is the old “echo chamber” effect. If everyone in your niche reads the same content where do new stories come from?
- Links in – if someone links my blog I will go take a look at theirs and subscribe if I like what I see
- Comments – similarly if someone leaves an interesting comment on one of my posts I will follow back to their own blog to see what else they have written
- Technorati/delicious/digg/etc – you would have thought this would be the main way I find new blogs but I rarely search with the intention of finding blogs. I do however have some searches set up in my feed reader. Perform a search then look for the little orange RSS/XML button.
- Directly emailed suggestions – I very rarely subscribe to a blog that has been “recommended” to me via email. The majority of these “suggestions” are spam or link requests. There is a right way and a wrong way to do these. I don’t even read obvious SEO-motivated and/or automated link requests, I hit the “junk” button on them.
If this is where you find blogs to subscribe to, what should we do to make sure we are found?
- Get linked, any way you can – The more blogs that link you the more bloggers will find you. Obvious point but overlooked.
- Link out, link well, link often – Key advise, much repeated but worth repeating. How you link will be as important as where and how often. Add your thoughts, extend an invitation to continue the conversation. In effect you are introducing yourself, give a good impression.
- Comment well – Same advice as above, comment intelligently and a lot. Again this is your introduction, first impressions count. If you were at a party how would you approach a group of people already deep in conversation? Probably not with “Nice. Now let’s talk about me”.
- Play tag – I need to tag more. There really is no excuse, Performancing/Scribefire makes it easy. If you tag your post it will be easier to find by Technorati and Delicious users. Many bloggers subscribe to certain tags, eg. “blogging”, “photography”, etc
- Email good stuff – you can get good results by emailing or IM’ing bloggers but be careful
- DON’T email bloggers with your blog URL.
- DON’T send link requests.
- DON’T mass-mail – make each email unique and personalised.
- DON’T assume – your email is a question and perhaps the start of a conversation, not a demand
- DON’T have an inflated view of your value – you might think it is the best blog ever, others have the right to disagree
- DON’T flog a dead horse – only email your best stuff and not too often. Move on if you don’t get results
- DO put yourself in the other bloggers shoes – What is in it for them?
- DO send a link to a post, one that is interesting to them and their readers
- DO be polite and humble – you are asking for a favour, they have the right to decline or ignore
- DO make your email appealing. Think about it, craft it
You will note that the above tactics are also good for getting links …
Do you see anything I have missed? Please add your suggestions in the comments.
Next time you add a blog to your feed reader consider how you found it. You might discover new tactics for attracting new subscribers to your own blog.