One of the common frustrations online writers face is the question: “is anyone out there reading what I write?”
I suspect that’s been the plaintive lament of all authors, since the dawn of written languages. Just as a conversation can’t occur when one of the parties ignores the other, no “communication” takes place when something is written, but never read.
Blogs provide an excellent framework for exploring this phenomenon. Bloggers don’t write merely for themselves. (If they wanted to do that, they’d simply “journal.”) Bloggers long to have others read their words. And the commonest disappointment of new online writers is just how few people actually visit their sites.
Fortunately, communities such as wordpress include features that allow us to track statistics in an accurate manner. Even when visitors fail to comment or formally “like” a post, they still leave digital footprints. I’ve written before about how enjoyable it is to see how frequently your page has been visited by people from all around the world.
At that time I shared my statistical world map, (directly below). Today I follow it with my current status . . . which reveals that I have finally penetrated the Great Wall and accessed the vast population of the People’s Republic of China! (Of course, I have long suspected the Chinese military of spying on my column, in an effort to glean military secrets about the Inklings’ military service during WWI.)
Methods of Increasing Visits to Our Sites
There are a number of concrete ways to expose others to our words. A few appear below. Still, it’s good to remain realistic in our expectations.
I recently read that it’s worthwhile being listed in the Technorati blog directories. As part of the verification process for inclusion there, I need to include in one of my blogs the code RFQE8T2R48RG. (I just hope their verification search engine isn’t confused by the numerous occasions when I’ve used that very same code in my previous blogs.)
As promised, here are a handful of nearly universal recommendations for increasing the number of visitors to our websites.
- Write on subjects we feel passionate about.
- Write well.
- Be as unique as possible (in our personal publishing niche).
- Encourage people to leave comments.
- Dialog with the readers who do.
- Create intriguing titles for our posts.
- Write regularly (at least weekly, but not hourly).
- Offer RSS and email subscription options.
- Visit other blogs & offer encouraging comments.
- Tell everyone you know to read Mere Inkling.
Truly sorry about that last plug. I’m simply trying extra hard to ensure my words don’t drop into the obsidian darkness of digital anonymity. Blessings in your own efforts to ensure the same!
35 thoughts on “Promoting Our Writing”
Every blogger has a story and a reason to write. You pose an interesting question – “is anyone out there reading what I write?” I am learning to ask myself – “Am I reading what I write.” What I have discovered over that past months is that blogging is about first having a conversation with myself….and sometimes I don’t listen!!! :)
Always enjoy your posts!
Yes, I too would find it easier to carry on internal conversations… if it wasn’t too often like talking to a brick wall!
LOL You always make my day pure joy – thank you!!!
This very true, and goes for artists as well. It is hard sometimes to get my work known to people. I try to come up with many different ways if promoting one’s self too. I made some business cards, have my link on other things such as my email, instagram, skype, youtube and so on. The best way that I have found, however, is simply by word of mouth. So I will be sure to tell others about your blog. :) I always enjoy it.
Thank you. And allow me to reciprocate by encouraging everyone who may read this comment to check out your site–you are an extremely talented young artist. When you get to be sixty, you use the word “young” to describe lots of people… The “talented” adjective is most definitely true!
Well thank you very much! And you are right in thinking that I’m young anyway, as I am only 18. :)
Hmmm… if you were just a couple years older, I’d introduce you to my youngest son, who is a Christian teacher. (Of course, if he knew I just wrote that, I’d promptly be the recipient of a chastising frown.)
Great tips. Thanks. I also like your statement about not writing blogs every hour. Clogging up a person’s mailbox every day, I think, is not a good idea. I might also add my own little pet peeve…I think it’s better for our blogs to be short instead of long because more people are likely to read them.
I agree with both your points. However, each blogger needs to be true to their own calling, and the path we follow with inevitably shape our readership. There’s nothing wrong with that. Oh, and we don’t want our posts so short that they might as well just be tweets!
I agree with that, too! But a 2,000 word blog is way, way too long….that is, in my humble opinion.
Oh, oh. You’ve got me running “word counts” on all of my old posts now…
“Write well.” <—- That, above all.
Encouraging, but not fishing for, or worse, openly pandering for comments is often a difficult balance. I sort of cringe at the Obvious Question at the tail end of a lot of blogs. Often times, the writer should just say, "Please, puh-lease, write something. Anything. I don't even care what. Just comment and *validate* me."
You’re certainly right about the emotional solicitation of affirmation being potentially off-putting. Still, I am sympathetic to the sad truth that many people have few people (or no one) to pat them on the back. I am blessed to receive a ton of encouragement from my family and close friends. (And knowing that God’s love for me is unconditional as well, provides great comfort.) I tend to feel compassionate for writers whose need for affirmation is so evident–as long as I agree with what they’re writing! No, seriously, I wish I had the time to offer every deserving author out there a word of encouragement.
It was interesting watching people at a Christian writers’ conference last Fall. Many people were visibly and audibly worried about self promotion because we’ve actually been paying attention to Jesus’ warning about feast seats.
It is a tough thing, but the passion you mention is key. When I’m talking to people about my blog, it’s not about me; it’s about the kids, the science, and God. Focus like that makes things way easier (not to mention the trip to Israel I’m working towards earning).
PS, Kudos on your new stats! I’ve still not gotten Paraguay on my map. :-( The most fun are the big countries; Russia, China, and Canada alone make you feel like you’re making a difference.
I agree with you about how it’s much easier to have passion when our Message is bigger than the messenger!
I enjoy reading your blog, and to be honest, this has inspired me to now leave comment. Not all of us are concerned with followers…. I don’t necessarily want to be known through my blog, just heard I suppose. I try not to ask people to leave comment as I rarely leave comment myself unless it has really moved me in the positive, though I confess even then I would rather talk to my friends and encourage them to read it too (as I have done with your blog I might add). I consider my blog a place I can write my thoughts down, perhaps I should be journalling but this way I can access them anywhere I go and share them with family afar. As to how many people traffic my blog I could not care less, it makes me feel good to just have it. I am not a great literary writer and would never profess to being, but I can write my own journey down and hope my lessons help whoever stumbles upon me :-) …..Thank you for inspiring me so – love the Greats! Oh to have my mind expanded like theirs!
I think most people share your philosophy about sharing through your blog. I love your invitation there to “Walk with Me In the Valley…” Those who do will definitely benefit from sharing the journey.
Yours is one of the few blogs I can recommend to others that offers solid intelligent writing. Always an intriguing read – with wit and humor – and stuff to think about.
Stats are a total puzzle.
I haven’t heard about blog directory – will wander over there.
All you twitter people ( I’m not one) WP posted recently in a forum that:
“Note to WP bloggers: If you come across a WordPress post you think is worthy of being Freshly Pressed, tweet it to WP at @freshly_pressed. I’d been told there was no way to nominate a post, but today’s WordPress newsletter says: “Did you read something in the Reader that you think is Freshly Pressed material? Feel free to leave us a link, or tweet us @freshly_pressed.”
(From Piedtype’s blog)
So a little hint to those family, friends and relatives of Mere Inkling (BIG hint)…..
Mere Inkling does deserve to be showcased.
Have you made some business cards with your blog address and a blurb about it? Pass those out at conferences and meetings….people always need something to jot down a note on – and wow, you just happen to have a little card with room on the back….(you can laugh but it worked when I was in library book sales)
Don’t get too famous – we’d miss the village feeling here.
Just write – that’s the best hope…and we enjoy it greatly
You’re too kind. And you host one of the most dynamic and entertaining sites I’ve ever encountered. The fact that you became one of my very first blogger-friends (as opposed to the innumerable blogger-fiends I’ve encountered) just makes the bond stronger.
Don’t worry about fame clouding my vision. Even if I experienced 15 seconds–and I keep myself clothed in all photographs, so that’s unlikely–I’d still want Mere Inkling to maintain the collegial feel it presently enjoys.
One reason I comment on your blog is because you dialog back! :) I hate when you take the trouble to comment on someone’s blog and your comment falls into a black hole! I like feeling like I’m getting to know people through their blogs.
I agree. Dialog is much more enjoyable than wondering if anyone even cared that you invested the time to comment. (Which, of course, directly relates to the theme of this post.) Alas, those black holes pack a tremendous gravitational pull; let’s work together to keep them from devouring our words of mutual encouragement!
Haha, that’s rather funny. Well, you never know. :) I like older people anyway myself.
Good tips, thanks for sharing. I’m guilty of not writing enough sometimes. I get busy and just don’t make time for it. I agree weekly is ideal.
When life is busy (nearly all of the time) it’s difficult to squeeze out even a few minutes to write. During those times it requires discipline to write. So much more fun when we’re free to sit at the keyboard or pick up the pen whenever we are inspired (and our creative juices are flowing)!
awesome advice God bless!
I confess. I am a stats addict. I think it is the most visited destination on my iPhone. Curse you WordPress app!
That kind of stuff can really become captivating… even addictive, can’t it?
Oh, and thanks to you I just now discovered how to “snip” on Windows 7. Cool, huh? I am fixing to post my own map. I am so excited! Kid in a candy store stuff, I tell ya’.
Always a pleasure to be of assistance!
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Thanks for the tips and encouragement, friend. Your comment on international readership was particularly noteworthy. As a blogger, I too have found this encouraging. Even if our readership is small, we should still feel encouraged by the fact that blogging enables us to reach others across a wider span of distance than we might otherwise.
Blogging requires a lot of self-discipline, doesn’t it? A little encouragement always peps me up.
As a blogger, I would love to have intelligent dialog with readers. But when a site makes it easy to comment, some think that the virtual anonymity of the internet allows them to be a troll, by “sharing” vitriolic, off-base or advertising contributions. While I seek to engage readers, I want them to be “on the record” and not think that they have a veil of anonymity to act in an untowards manner.
Moreover, I tend to keep to-and-fro to a minimum, as a convicted reader will not change his or her mind but will drive away others from conversing (or even reading) the thread. Where I need to do better is to have a means for readers to contact me off-line with ancillary issues rather than just posting on any given thread.
Yes, there are trolls about. The anonymity of the web provides a hospitable environment to such denizens. Fortunately, even when we allow comments, we’re still able to “police” them for vitriol. But it’s a shame that it’s necessary to do so.
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