friday's food for thought

I've been at this blogging thing for awhile (years, gulp) and I've learned a few things along the way. At one time my readership was pretty strong--in the hundreds, daily. (It was a lot of work.) Now I sit at a comfortable 150 hits per day. If you're trying to raise your readership, a valuable thing if you want to sell yourself or books, here's what works and what doesn't. Maybe you'll have something to contribute, as well.

Rule number one: visit and comment on other blogs. Regularly. Even if it's just to say hi. That draws in readership like nothing else. Read someone who you don't always agree with. Read people who stretch you. Read people who are smarter than you, and do your best to comment, even if it's just to say interesting post. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT read people who make you mad. Ignore them. They'll make you do something you regret, and life is too short.

Take the opportunity every couple of weeks to go blog-hopping. There's a "next blog" link at the top of most Blogger blogs. Yes, most of what you'll find is sales stuff or teenaged angsty crap, but there are gems out there.

Share your pitfalls as well as your good news.

In most circumstances, werrrd vriiffiicatun is simply annoying. How much spam are you really getting, really? And is it just me, or are the word-verifications getting longer?

Ditto, blog administration approval on comments. We commenters like instant gratification. We want our name in lights; our precious words in print--right now. Unless you're being stalked, and it does happen, I don't understand the point of approval. Consider that few famous people I read (authors, agents, etc) don't use approval. If they don't need it, why do you?

If you want a g-rated blog, then using *** in your swearwords ain't cutting it. It's simply bastardizing one of the finest forms of communication! If you don't swear, then don't. Putting stars in it makes you look like an idiot. But if you do indulge, have at it! There really is nothing like a good FUCK, in all its forms and usages.

Ditto, G*d. This I truly don't understand.

Before you were famous, you tried harder, didn't you? Wrote about interesting stuff, like your life and opinions and struggles with writing. You didn't just tell us your work schedule. That's what that link called "scheduled appearances" over on the sidebar is for.

They're reading you but have nothing to say. Now what?

The single greatest thing you can do to encourage comments is to start a dialogue in the comments section. Bloggers who neglect their commenters are like bartenders who ignore the drunk with his wallet out. Commenters are the lifeblood of a blog. Always try to respond with something intelligent. (And remember this when you're reading others' blogs as well.)

You'll get comments from approximately 3% of your readership. (There are exceptions, of course.) Asking for an opinion rarely gets someone to comment; asking for advice often will. People like to read humble bloggers because it makes the tiny people feel TALL. But, humbleness will only take you so far. You must show some confidence, as well. The best way to do this is to hone your writing skills and communicate effectively. The best way to hone your writing skills is to write, and posting every day is great discipline. To combine the two topics:

If you want to be read, post nearly every day.

If you want to be read, post nearly every day.

And most of all, HAVE FUN.

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