Dear Copy Bitch: As my favorite bitch when it comes to critiquing copy and writing style, would you take a peek at my blog? I’m interested in any feedback on writing style, length, readability, etc. If it’s boring shit that nobody would want to read, please let me know. http://www.viewfromsection29.com
—DJK, Wellesley, Mass.
Answer: Here’s what I tell my clients: the key to a blog is passion and consistency. You need to be passionate about your topic, and you need to blog at least 3 times a week. Since yours is a personal blog, rather than a business blog, the rules regarding consistency might not need to be strictly enforced, but the passion part is a must. And you got that! Baseball and radio are two of your biggest passions. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. They’re informative and entertaining. So write what you’d want to read. The fans of both will enjoy reading the posts…if they can find your blog.
Which brings me to the issue that may be plaguing your blog: promotion. Here are some simple things you can do to promote your blog…and to keep fans coming back: [Editor’s Note: Some of these suggestions were implemented right away, so if you look at the blog listed above, you might actually be viewing some of the solutions as opposed to the “problems.”]
1. Add an RSS feed at the top of the upper-right hand sidebar. You’ll need to claim your feed through something like Feed Burner (it’s free)
2. Add a “Subscribe via email” option right below it. Think of both of these things like the pre-program buttons on your car radio. Let fans of your blog have an easy way to find you and be reminded of you (the email subscription will send an email to your subscribers whenever a new post shows up…I believe you subscribe to my blog, so you probably know how this works).
3. Claim your blog on Technorati, if you haven’t already done so. This post will tell you why and how to do it. (Takes just a few minutes, and it’s free.)
4. Consider rebroadcasting your posts automatically to Facebook and Twitter through Twitterfeed (again, this is free). The reasons why you should opt for this as opposed to doing manual updates are 1) it saves time 2) it automatically shortens the permalink to bit.ly and 3) you can see how many people click on the link. Oh, and it’s my favorite price: free.
5. Add a “share button” of some sort to each post. Blogger probably has a plugin. Or if you google “add share button to Blogger,” I’m sure you’ll find tutorials and info. I’m on WordPress, which, unfortunately, has some limitations. I use a free service called Get Social. After I publish a post, I immediately create the “share button” through Get Social. I add the HTML to the end of the post and then update the post. It takes maybe a minute. The purpose of the share button is you want to make it super simple for readers to share your posts with others through Twitter and Facebook etc. This will get you more exposure and more readers.
6. But before you do Twitterfeed or the social button…I just noticed you don’t have permalinks enabled on your blog. You need to do that first. Here’s a post that tells you why and how to do that in Blogger.
7. I’d remove the Google Followers widget, if you can. Wait until you have a healthy number of subscribers, and then you can show it again or show a “feed reader.” [Editor’s Note: This was done immediately by the blog owner, per my suggstion.]
8. You should be able to manipulate the title tag of your blog. Right now in the title tag (the blue bar at the top of your screen), the URL is showing up. Instead, you want it to say something like “View from Section 29: Musings on Baseball, Radio, and Whatever.” That way, if people bookmark it, they’re bookmarking an actual title. Plus, people expect to see words there, not a URL.
9. Create a more robust profile…actually include a little paragraph of info about you (see mine and look at others).
10. A good way to get more traffic is to make sure you’re listed in blog directories. Here’s a great post that lists almost 50 places to list your blog. Most are free and just require you to add them to your blog roll (see my blog’s sidebar for how I handle this).
11. Promote complementary blogs by listing them in your blog roll (also, comment on these blogs…that’s the way to get them to potentially comment on yours).
Those are my quick-hitting thoughts. Let me know if you have any questions.