I got invited as a resource person for the Digital Filipino’s Blogging and Social Networking Forum which was held at the swanky Microsoft office. My topic was Personal Blogging Experience. What great timing. Just a few days ago, an old office mate, Myrna Co dropped by to ask questions about blogging. You know, back at the old days when I was a researcher for UP Institute for Small Scale Industries, my research had to pass through the scrutiny of our editor, by who else, Myrna Co! I was always amazed at how my writing ended up so well-polished for publication. How I admire writers ! So I was pleased when she finally started a blog niche on retirement and growing old. It got me inspired to share the little knowledge I have of my 10 month blogging experience to others who are just starting.
A common question, and asked by my friend Myrna: ” how do I get people to go to my site, apart from begging my friends and relatives.?” When I started my blog, I wanted people to visit me. How else can I promote my advocacy if no one reads my blog? How else can I reach out to bereaved family members if they don’t know about my mission? I developed strategies to drawing in visitors. These [tag]Promote your blog[/tag] ideas are not original but they worked for me.
1. Write/show (not just tell) my unique experience and topics close to my heart.
Use senses (smell, taste, touch, sight, ) to show an entry. Without sounding sappy or appearing like a victim, I illustrated my grief journey with a few emotional insights. I’m sorry if I made some of you cry. It really wasn’t my intention.
2. My About me section motivates readers to read more of your entries. As a reader of other blogs, I am interested in the person behind the blog. What are their interests? What did they used to do before blogging? Why did they blog? What do they look like?
3. Tell me about you. This will give you an idea what your readers are interested. I didn’t know what topics to write about. I didn’t want to keep writing emotional entries. Through this section, “personal experiences” is what interested my readers. I drew in on my parenting, health recovery, recovery principles and my other experiences for additional categories. This jives a recent Phone survey of 7,012 people by the POW Internet and American Life Project: 37 % of bloggers cite “my life and experiences” as what they blog about
4. Promote my blog by commenting and being interested in other popular blogs. I started out with Abe and Connie because they were the only two blogs I knew of. I loved reading tech blogs so it wasn’t difficult to comment on Abe’s entries. I used to be intimidated by Connie’s blog but I threw my insecurities away by just being myself . I stopped thinking of her as a powerful and popular blogger and instead focused on her as a caring person. I didn’t spam comments or anything of that sort. I just contributed “intelligently” to her discussion. One day, maybe out of curiousity, she surfed towards my blog. To our pleasant surprise, Connie discovered that my husband and she were schoolmates at UP Law school. Not just schoolmates, they were drinking buddies as well. Haha. One day, she blogged about my site which paved the way to being recognized in the blogosphere. Thanks Connie.
5. Interact with comments of readers. The first time I commented on Connie’s blog, I felt really important when she replied back to my comments. I thought I’d do the same for my readers. YOU are important.
6. Search engine optimized titles and entries drive in web traffic. Think search engined optimized keywords.
example: SM mall of Asia, Philippine Idol.
Keywords are what drives new visitors to your site. How else do you visit a site? You type in NOUN keywords on that search box. You narrow down your search to specific keywords. Remember, accidental visitors can convert to your regular visitors. Also, be the first to blog about local events. My Typhoon Milenyo entry got me into the Daily Inquirer news update. A nifty tool to decide on blog topics is the 103bees.com, search term analysis and statistics tool. Previously they enabled users to track what keywords people were using to arrive at your blog but now they’ve added questions analysis.
7. Link exchanges makes it easier for Google to index your entries. I had a distinct advantage of my daughter’s old sites for these link exchanges. Later on, my blog got linked by other bloggers. I remember Toe as the first blogger to link me. Wow, that felt so good. I got recognized. In less than two months, my blog’s google page rank is 5 (out of a possible 10)
8. Participation in blogosphere events (like the Second Philippine Blog summit and meetups (like the Christmas meetup and Globe Innove sponsored meet. How did that help me? These bloggers write that you were there. That means they also get to link your blog. We all know how these link exchanges increases your search engine ranking. ( see no. 7)
9. Eye candy presentation. Use of photos, youtube videos, graphics to draw attention.
10. Short or brief entries for short attention span visitors. Since I’m not a creative writier, I make my entries short and sweet. Use one topic or theme per entry.
It’s just common marketing sense after all.
Be friendly. Write what you know.
Any other suggestions from other bloggers?
Next entry will be about “Has my blog achieved its mission? What has my blog given me?”