This is my 500th post here on the Green-Walled Tower so hopefully I’ve learned a thing or two about blogging.
Like any blogger, I’m always trying to grow my readership and I’ve been analyzing how to do that. Here is what I’ve concluded, based on my own stats.
5. Do collaborate.
The best thing about blogging is that there is likely a market for whatever you writing: readers with blogs of their own. If you can join a group (as in my case, Friday Fictioneers or Sunday Photo Fiction) and participate actively, it gives you a built-in audience of like-minded individuals.
4. Do give useful information.
My fifth-highest post, in terms of hits, is called How to Eat a Triangle Kimbap, and is about just that. In fact, a lot of my posts about Korea got consistently more hits than others, since it’s something that people can use in their lives. Granted, I don’t do this much, since I usually can’t resist making up fake information for laughs, like my Rejected Apple Devices article. But useful information is a good idea, is what I’m saying.
3. Do write about things that at least sound naughty.
My third most viewed post is called Getting Naked With Strangers (in Korea). It is all about the experience of going to a Korean sauna. I posted it just like any other informative article about Korea but then noticed in the following weeks and months that it was getting a lot of hits through search results like naked korea, and korean men naked. It’s even had one today, from the search terms naked korean men. This tip is a little sneaky, since it will get you page hits, but probably not readers. I guarantee that at least 95% of the people who have clicked on that blog post did not go away satisfied because my article was quite G-rated. But it looks good on your blog stats.
2. Don’t write serial stories.
This one pains me a little, since I like to longer stories. Longer stories let you explore themes and characters and the only way to avoid posting a 5,000-word post that will be TL;DR’d by everyone who comes across it is to break it into segments.
Now it is possible to write a really great serial story that goes on for a long time and only gets better. Dysfunctional Literacy’s The Literary Girlfriend is an excellent example of this. However, in my experience with serial stories, hits decline sharply as the series goes on. New readers don’t have time to go back and read the previous installments and if they miss a week, it’s hard to catch up.
From what I have found, if you are going to write serial stories, make sure that each installment can stand on its own as an independent story. This is very hard to do, especially once a series gets going. I have also found that when I do post a story with several parts, it’s best to post them only a few days apart, so that people don’t forget what is happening in the story.
1. Don’t write fiction.
This one really kills me, since I run a fiction blog. Out of my 500 posts, 389 have been stories (fiction) but out of my top ten most viewed posts, only 2 of them are fiction and only 10 of my top 25 are fiction. Obviously, I’m not saying not to write fiction or that I’m going to give it up, but if you want a lot more readers, fiction is a difficult way to do it. There are a couple possible reasons for this: people don’t search for fiction online like they search for information and news; fiction is harder to skim when you don’t have much time, etc.In conclusion, there are lots of ways to get more readers but the best way is to produce high quality, creative content. As my sister once told me, “whatever you write, make it really, really good.” This may seem obvious but it’s easy to let things slip after hundreds of posts and just post for the sake of posting. But I’m going to keep trying to think of new, fresh ideas for stories and posts for another 500 posts and beyond. That’s the plan, at least.