The number one question I receive regarding blogging is ‘how do I get more followers?’
It’s not surprising, either. It seems everyone’s looking for the secret behind gaining followers. There are more articles about it than you can count, and even more bloggers searching for them every day. The problem is, the posts we find aren’t all that reliable. Like, do we have the time and money for starting a social media account, advertising, and hosting time-consuming giveaways?? haha NO.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I’ve struggled with gaining followers too. It’s a process; building an audience requires patience and dedication. But. That doesn’t mean you can’t encourage your follower count to get a bit higher. There are a few ways to realistically draw new people to your content — and you can start doing them right now.
Get some paper and a pen, and let’s get started growing, shall we?
10 – read successful blogs
First, we need to do a little research. Go find 3 blogs in your niche or genre that you admire with at least 500 more followers than you. Ask some friends, search the internet, browse through blog buttons… there are lots of resources to find a blog up your ally.
Take a look at the three blogs you’ve picked. A reeeeally good look. What makes them so attractive? Make sure to look deeper than just the design. Are they all using a similar platform (WordPress, Blogger, or Bloglovin’ are a few)? How does their writing style stand out? What kind of things do they post about? Take a look around for a few minutes, then ask yourself this question: how can I mirror these in my blog? Write that down.
^^ That right there is your launchpad. You know why? This is the finish line, the point-B. This is what you will be working toward today, tomorrow, and until you surpass that finish line.* But, right now, you’re at point A. Your job is to figure out how those blogs made it to where they are now and find ways to replicate their successes.
That might seem like a big job, but I got you, fam. We’re gonna work through this, step by step.
9 – talk to experienced bloggers
You just wrote down three blogs that you admire, right? I’m going to trust that you have and give you a bold task. Now, don’t freak out, but…
I dare you to email those three bloggers. Right now.
“WOAH ABBY BUT THEY HAVE LIKE A BAJILLION FOLLOWERS THEY’RE PROBABLY BUSY TALKING TO EVERYONE ELSE IM NOT DOING THAT!!”
Okay, okay, calm down! I can’t tell you a blogger isn’t busy, but I promise it’s not because they have six hours of fan mail to answer. It is intimidating to reach out to somebody with such a big audience when you feel as though you have a tiny one. It’s like going to meet a superstar. You feel so… normal and uncool and disappointed. Are you just not good enough to stand in the presence of this God-sent from Heaven? just forget it you’re not worthy dont even try.
You gotta remember, everybody starts out small. These big-time bloggers? Once upon a time, they didn’t have ANYBODY reading their stuff. We all started out the same, whether we have huge audiences now or not.
Why am I asking you to email them? So it puts you on their radar and they’ll visit your blog?? Not really
although i mean that would be nice. It’s so you can have an actual conversation with people you admire most. Think about it for a sec. Bloggers put out what they want the world to see. Everyone on planet earth can read what we’re writing — everyone on earth can read the comments we use! But one-on-one conversation opens up doors that just don’t exist otherwise. You can be much more personal in a private setting.
I did everything on this list, and the email was NO EXCEPTION. I contacted (1. a blogger I’ve known for a year and have talked to quite a lot, (2. a blogger i’ve never talked to but read forever, and (3. a blogger I just started reading. And I actually got some really nice responses back!
Don’t be afraid to approach someone, even if all you can manage to say is incomprehensive blabber (trust me, all three were just me hardcore fangirling like the professional little nindroid I am 😛). You’re making connections. You’re standing out. And you’re being a friend. As our next section is about…
8 – make internet friends
You might be reading this and thinking you’ve already sent some emails and, therefore, already made friends. But I’m going to be a realist today and let you know: three people, no matter how many followers they have, don’t help you much. It’s only a start. There are an insane amount of bloggers out there and if you aren’t willing to make connections? You’re basically a lost cause and you’re never going to succeed in any online endevors. *shrugs helplessly*
The internet is all about community, but especially the blogosphere. Nobody just blogs and receives thousands of followers on their greatness alone; you have to put yourself out there. Read! Comment! Participate! And, most of all, be a friend.
No matter how much campaigning you try, friends are gonna take you so much further than you could on your own. Your most loyal readers are going to be and come from the people you’re most loyal to. So start reading other people’s posts. Strike up a conversation. You can email them, follow them on a different platform, stalk them… it doesn’t matter.
Be a friend, yall. It pays off in the end. also you’re my friend so don’t even worry about that 😊
7 – set up a nice site
Fact: humans like pretty things.
You may have heard that it said that a person takes 4 seconds to decide if they want to stay on a website or not. I can 100000% guarantee that is true, not only because it’s been proven by schools around the country but because I’ve done it before. A lot. #sorrynotsorry.
Here’s the cold, hard truth. If I see a click on a website and it looks like the blogger doesn’t care enough about their work to make their blog presentable, why should I stay for the content? I’ve already concluded that the blogger doesn’t care. And if the blogger doesn’t care, I don’t either. In fact, I’m already gone.
But just because you need a nice site doesn’t mean you have to hire someone to make it nice. WordPress especially has great DIY tools for creating beautiful websites. A quick Pinterest search can give you plenty of examples and ideas, and a YouTube tutorial can save you tons of money on making your site pretty and user-friendly!
some simple ways to make your blog more user-friendly:
- clean up your sidebar
- create a simple way to navigate the site
- post top-notch-quality pictures
- use a simple color palette with 3-5 colors
6 – set up a survey
Making friends and reaching out to new readers might be something you’re really good at! But we also have to keep in mind who we’re trying to reach, and that can be really hard to figure out… that is, if you don’t have the right resources. Thankfully, we live in 2018 and have this nifty little app called ‘Google Forms.’
Surveys are my absolute favorite way to connect with other bloggers. Not only do you get to have a bunch of pie charts and analytics to look over later, but you get a bird’s eye view on who your audience is and what they want. That way, you can campaign more efficiently and start producing the right content! We’ll talk more about how to use those survey results in a little bit, but for now, know that knowing who your audience is can get you more followers.
5 – button swap
Another great way to meet new bloggers and accumulate new followers is to start a button swap on your blog. A button swap is a page where you start displaying buttons other bloggers make.
As an example, let’s say you want to swap buttons with me (which you can if you ask, wink wink). You would comment on my button swap page and ask if I would like to swap. I would see your comment, check out your blog, and (possibly 😏 ) follow it. Then, I’d take your button, display it on my page, and comment back. Finally, you display mine on your blog. So, now, both blogs have a new button, and idk you might have a new superfan. aka me. aka i love your blogs guys pls trade with me
Button swaps are SUPER easy to do. Not to mention, it’s a blast to create a button that matches your theme (which you can do using Canva.com). You can start a page and begin to swap in not even five minutes, so if you’re new to the blogosphere and need a boost? This is the way to go, man!
4 – collaborate
Like button swaps, this one requires talking to people. Ahh, now you see why we were talking about friends so much earlier in the post! Collabs are absolutely without a doubt the FUNNEST way to get new followers. friends + writing + a lot more interaction = THE DEFINITION OF BLOGGING GOALS.*
There’s no way to express how important this is: blogging is all about community. A part of interacting is collaborating with other bloggers to create content for two audiences to enjoy together. And when an audience finds you’re posting in association with their favorite blogger? hello new readers woo.
At this point, you’ll want to think about your audience. Yes, this is one place the survey comes in. When you’re thinking about collaborating, be conscious about who you choose to contact. What bloggers are your readers familiar with? Which bloggers can your audience relate to? Obviously, you’re not going to want to collaborate with carbon copies of yourself, but you still want to stick to someone associated with your niche.
Study your readers, study yourself, study other bloggers. It might all sound like a giant social experiment at this point, but being street smart will give you so many advantages. And after you find the perfect collaborator, you can go crazy and have the BEST TIME EVER!
*email me with collab ideas??? i can’t do too many but i would really love to do them more often in the new year! firstname.lastname@example.org ☀
3 – tell friends & family
What are friends and family for besides not-so-gently forcing them to follow you on all social media platforms??
In all seriousness, there have been a few surprises in my blogging career where people I knew in real life? They actually are huge fans of my writing. Like??? I have fans who don’t live a thousand miles away??? thank you specifically to gracie and annie who have been the best cheerleaders ever ily! Those followers are absolutely legitimate, plus they’re more likely to share your work with their friends.
Something I’ve found useful in letting friends and family know about my work is social media. I finally signed up for an Instagram account this week (SHAMELESS SELF PROMO, FOLLOW ME HERE FOR BOOKISH AESTHETICS) and my friends are seeing for the first time that my blog isn’t just Ninjago fangirling… well, most of the time, anyway. It’s a serious thing I love. Sort of serious, at least.
Not really. Uh, let’s keep going then.
2 – improve your commenting skills
I’m sure just about everyone has heard of this tactic before. Commenting on others’ blogs is one type of connecting with other bloggers. But an extra upside to commenting is that other people see your comment and can find your blog from there. I know this because I’m one of those weirdos that stalks comments wondering what I’m going to say, then immediately says the worst thing I could have possibly thought of. Whoops.
While everyone tells you to comment to get more followers, you might not get the response you’re promised. But maybe it’s not about how little or much you’re commenting, but HOW you’re commenting.
There’s a truth you have to know right now to keep blogging, and it’s that people like to talk about themselves. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, and it’s human nature. Sometimes in interacting with people, we put the focus on ourselves — ESPECIALLY in a setting like blogging where you’re writing about your own experiences 24/7. And other people might just get bored. *waves sheepishly*
What would happen if you kept the spotlight focused on your readers instead of you? You’d probably get a lot more interaction, right? And interaction → relationships, and… you see where this is going… eventually, more followers! Not to mention, it’s just plain courteous. Comment, me amigos!
1 – focus on your posts’ quality
This is a really long, really in-depth post. There’s a reason for that.
A few months ago, I was in an endless cycle of gaining and losing followers. I wondered for so. long. why I wasn’t getting a steady increase like I used to. I reread old posts, studied other blogs, and did all the research.
I did all that… but there was actually a simple solution. My posts had been just-okay for too long. To bring the wind to my sail again, I had to up my game. So I began to take each post and put in all the effort I could.
And then a little more next week.
And even more the week after.
If we aren’t trying to improve, are we going to influence new people to read our stuff? No!! Not if they’re going to get the same old thing every time. It’s like visiting a theme park — what’s even the point if they don’t try to make their entertainment better. Sure, there will be some missteps, some failures, and some true flops. Ultimately, though improvement is all you can do with your content to rope in curious readers and make them fans.
Getting more followers is simple. I said simple, not easy. It’s not a piece of cake to spend a whole week on a single post, or a few months to make friends with a shy blogger. If you start today, though, you’re already on your way to a few new faces in your follower count.
Your question has been answered, lovely! There are ten realistic ways to grow your audience that you can begin right now (like, right now right now)! Thank you to everyone who’s been so supportive and suggested this post! I honestly didn’t think I was the person to ask, but you were so adamant about the topic that I HAD TO. I hope you’ve gotten some great ideas!
Chat with me, friends! What do you do to grow your follower count? What’s your next big follower milestone? I’m trying to reach 250 within the next month so yaayy… *wipes sweat* What’s your favorite tactic to use to grab some new readers? And don’t forget to follow my insta — because who doesn’t love bookish pictures?? 📚