You've worked hard on your blog. You've taken time to research the right platform, find the right design, and you've even spend way too much time trying to figure out the perfect title for your blog.
Six months later of writing three times a week for your blog, and you're baffled. No one is reading it. You have two followers and one happens to be related to you.
Have you done something wrong?
Yes, yes you have.
I. Are You Reading Other Blogs?
After writing my own personal blog for over a year and half, it didn't take me long to figure out where I would go wrong on occasion. While it wasn't any guarantee, the more blogs I interacted with, the more successful my own blog was.
Choose at least five blogs you will read on a regular basis and comment at least once a week. You develop relationships as a blogger, and this is how your own blog is successful. Once people begin to see you as a faithful reader, most bloggers will return the favor. Not to mention commenters on this person's blog may also wander of your blog to check it out.
II. Do You Reply to the Comments You Do Receive?
One of my biggest irritations when I do reply to another blogger's posts was the lack of a response. While some commenters don't mind, I always subscribed to replies and felt a little perturbed when I never read a reply back or they never visited my own blog in return.
Even if you only have one comment, make sure to reply to that comment, or even add them to one of the regular blogs that you read. By doing so, you ensure a strong relationship with this reader and they are more likely to return.
III. How Long Does It Take for Your Blog to Load?
This goes right along with finding the right design, and this is also something I've learned the hard way, but be wary of adding a lot of third party widgets to your blog. I found certain widgets, especially those social networking pop up widgets, made my blog take twice as long to load. Sometimes it would even freeze my internet browser.
This is one sure fire way to ensure someone will not return to your blog. While it's important to have a way for readers to share your posts, follow your social networking accounts, and click on those ads you get a few cents for, it's more important that they can actually load the page without having to take a coffee break while they wait.
IV. Do You Have Complicated or Unreadable Style Choices?
For a long time, I chose a tight cursive font for my blog post, page, and widget titles. I figured as long as people can read the content, they won't worry too much about the titles. I have also had my share of blog designs with the dark background and light text.
Both of these are blog design no-nos (although they may be pretty or cool looking). While choosing a beautiful and fanciful design can be captivating, especially when you first starting, making sure your blog is readable and clear for anyone who stops by is most important.
V. What Are Your Posts Like?
There are a few things that will deter people from continuing a blog post, such as the length of the post, photos, paragraph breaks, and grammar and spelling issues. I am a pretty talkative blogger and I have been known to have posts go on for 1,000 words even. Let me tell you right now that unless the subject is riveting, most readers will not last long enough to get to word number 867.
Make sure your blog posts are 500 words or less and if you have more to say, break them into multiple posts (or at least break them into labeled sections or points). Also, have a photograph relevant to your subject (have a few throughout your post, if you can). People are visual and I've heard from more than one blog reader that having photos in the post can influence them on whether they will read them or not.
Finally, run a spell check on your post and read it through at least once. When a reader sees this type of care for your blog posts, they will return. We can all make these simple mistakes. Just don't make them so often they become a regular habit.
Having a blog takes time, work, and sometimes money. The one thing that can keep any blogger going though is a faithful reader or two that always come back, but trust me, it isn't always easy to find and keep these readers.
Doing these simple tricks I've mentioned above can improve your chances of growing a readership for your blog.
Andrew Whitaker is Author and Brand Manager for Promotionalgifts.org, leading online supplier of promotional products.