Editor’s Pick
APRIL 22, 2009 4:19PM

Tips: Growing your audience

Rate: 127 Flag

photo for post

(courtesy of Robyn Gallagher.)

One of our goals at Open Salon has been to help bloggers find the audiences they deserve. As the site continues to grow, we've been thrilled to see many of you do just that. Browsing through the most-viewed tabs on the cover, many of your recent posts have attracted thousands -- and tens of thousands -- of readers from around the world. But if you're a blogger still wondering how to grow your audience – or a blogger who simply wants more, more, more! -- here are a few easy steps you can take to help bring readers to your blog:

Make your blog more SEO-friendly

Much of the traffic to Open Salon comes from search engines like Google or Yahoo, when your posts appear in search results.  There are a few basic steps you can take get your blog to appear higher up in those results and maximize the traffic to your blog – a process called search-engine optimization (or SEO).  SEO is a notoriously imprecise science, but we've boiled down a few tips we think work:
 
• Use keywords

The easiest way to rank higher in search results is to include in your blog post “keywords," or popular search terms. Examples of recent keywords include: “Susan Boyle,” “Oprah twitter” and “Somalia pirate.” To find the most popular keywords of the moment you can check out Google Trends. To maximize results, the more keywords that appear in your post, and are used as tags, the better. Also, it helps to include the most important keyword in the title of your blog post, which also becomes part of your post’s URL. (Having keywords in your URL are believed to help improve search results, as well.)
 
• Write direct headlines

Give your post a title that tells readers exactly what you're writing about. Yes, you want your headline to be as attractive to as many people as possible, so you want to be clever and smart. But, as stated above, it helps to include the keywords from your piece in the headline – if you're blogging about Oprah joining Twitter, you're better off with the keywords "Oprah" and "Twitter" both appearing in the headline. When people are searching for stories on a specific topic, your clever, evocative title might not rate as highly as a similar post by someone else with a clearer headline.
 
Be sociable

An easy way to find a very big audience, very quickly, is to become popular on a social bookmarking site like Reddit, Digg, Delicious, or Stumbleupon, (all located in the tool bar at the top of each Open Salon post). How can you do that? First, you need to really become a valued participant at one of those sites:
 
• Build your Reddit Karma:

When you join Reddit, a Karma number and a Comment Karma number appear next to your name on your profile page. Increase those numbers, and you’ll increase the number of people who see the posts that you submit. To increase that number you need to participate on the site by submitting popular posts, commenting on other people’s submissions (it helps if one of your comments leads to a new comment thread) and making new friends on the site.
 
• Spend time on Digg:

As with Reddit, the more active you are on Digg, the more widely-read your submissions are likely to be. There's no exact science, since Digg keeps its algorithm secret, but the following steps should help: Customize your profile, make new friends (especially friends with a high "popular ratio," which is listed on their profile page), Digg other posts and comment on other people’s submissions and chances are they’ll return the favor.
 
• Get involved on Stumbleupon:

Like the other social bookmarking sites Stumbleupon doesn't publicize its algorithm, but there are some logical ways to build up "fans" on the site: Rate and review other stumblers' submissions, and submit posts yourself that you think will be popular.

• Get linked:

This probably goes without saying: Develop a rapport with as many other bloggers (or one really popular blogger who likes your work) and you can be rewarded when they link to your work. It's widely believed that the more links to your blog, the better it will rank in search results. But a strategy note: You're better off finding like-minded blogs that will want to you link to you because you're doing something similar, or creating content that might be helpful,to them. Don’t expect charity.
 
Promote yourself

Find logical ways to promote your posts – like:
 
• Use Yahoo Answers to your advantage: See if your post answers a specific question posed on the popular Yahoo Answers site. If it does, register and post a comment and paste the URL to your post as an answer.

• Make sure to link to your blog on your social networking profiles (Myspace, Linkedin, Facebook, etc.).
 
Facebook:  Set up your Facebook profile to automatically import your Open Salon blog RSS feed. To do this, click on the "settings" button on the top right hand corner of your profile wall, and, under "Imported stories," click on "Blog/RSS." Then input your Open Salon blog RSS feed.
 
• Twitter:  Let your Twitter followers know when you've blogged by putting out a Tweet with a link -- or set up your RSS to do it automatically. To do this, you'll need to use an external import (like Twitterfeed).
 
• E-mail: Send an e-mail blast to friends and family when you've created a great post. Include a link to your blog in your e-mail signature.
 
We'll update this post over time, as we discover reliable strategies. But we want to know what works for you, too! We hope you'll suggest your own winning strategies in the Comments below.

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My oldest son is an SEO expert...started his own SEO firm at the age of 17 and now works as Internet Marketing Director for a great company in Palo Alto. He taught me all of these tips several years ago. I try to do most of the things you suggest, although the reddit and digg I don't. The main thing with good SEO'ing is that it's somewhat time consuming. At least in the beginning. Thanks Thomas. Many of these tips will work for anyone with a website they are trying to optimize.
thank you for the information and the work you do at OS. blogging can be daunting, but oh so rewarding. all the new technology is overwhelming to me-- I started writing on a Smith Carona
Thanks Thomas. Much appreciated.
Loved the suggestions but am disappointed that it will take up as much time as a full time job to establish the following. And, you have to leave OS to do most of that work! Boo hoo. Great advice! Bookmarked.
Thanks, these are great tips, now I just to find a little more time...
Thanks Cartouche! But don't get discouraged. You'd be surprised how big of a difference some of these tips make -- and most of them really don't take much time at all.
The social bookmarking is . . . dare I say it . . . .fun, if you're an info junkie.
Excellent tips....bookmarked! One of my posts has gone viral (with most of the readers from higher learning institutions), I don't know why that is the case or what was done to cause it....but I will definitely try some of your tips.
If you say so, Thomas. Now, while I've got you here, could you please explain why the upper right hand feed of most viewed is virtually frozen with the same ten posts? It doesn't make sense at all to most of us....
Thanks for the great tips!! Rated for helpful suggestions.
Thanks Thomas, these are useful tips. Appreciate the time you took to explain it all.
These are great tips. Thanks. I appreciate the info on tags and getting linked.
I'm not sure I really understand digg and reddit et al, and Facebook is weird. I honestly don't know what to do with my Facebook account. Not to mention I've got all these people from high school I didn't like trying to "friend" me.
Perhaps I'll check all this out in more depth during summer break.
Thank you for this! Many of these sites are new to me and I need to familiarize myself with them. I am going to take advantage of your suggestions.
Dear god, Thomas. That sounds like WORK.

Noooooooooooooo thank you!

:-)
I'm devoting this weekend to evolving technically!
Thanks for a great, great site!
I thought the best way was the tradition of posting a blog whining that nobody comes to read the blog, and then making accusations at others who are blog-hogging, and then attacking all who post in that thread, which results in crushed violets and general rancor...
Clear, concise and timely. Thanks!
thank you, thomas...a wealth of information! now i just need to use it...
Thomas,

Thank you for this info and your interest in helping us promote ourselves.

My concern with some of these tactics is that, if used, they eliminate a certain anonymity---and that would limit some of what I dare write about?

;-)
should not be a question mark....should be a period.
Scribefire.

Scribefire.

Scribefire.

Scribefire.

If you don't use either Firefox or Flock, do (I use Flock). And once you do, add-on Scribefire. Through it, you can automatically ping a number of services with your post. Learn to use it.

Zemanta too is an excellent optimization tool.
I would like to invite you all to my next blog which is titled "Oprah Twitters from Popeyes about Earthlink and Apple earnings. Free Blender for everyone who rates this post*while at a gay marriage with my sexiest men living. Happy Birthday.

Oh and hey does anyone else think that Thomas is cute in a Clark Kent kind of way? Wouldn't you like to see behind the glasses?
They are wonderful suggestions, but wayyyy toooo muuuuch work!!

C'mon, 99% here have a life!

OS is great for what it is and a person wants to conquer the world then your tips will be a great help. I say go ahead.

Me, I don't give a shit! I have less than seven reading my stuff at any one time.

And besides, do you think I want all my friends and family reading my stuff??

Only OS people please.

And yes, Tijo, I can only imagine what's behind those zexy glasses and wholesome boy look. :)
Thanks, Thomas! I appreciate the work and links and explanations, as Reddit and Stumbleupon in particular are foreign to me.

(And I second Pablo's endorsement of Flock above, though I'd suggest the FireStatus add-on, which lets you easily post links/comments/etc. to del.icio.us, Twitter, and Facebook).
re: Saturn
I just looked into Firestatus & you're right. It's HOT!
Thanks for all of this. I just wish our new posts didn't get swallowed up so fast on OS, but I guess that's what popularity get you.
Thank you. Celebrating my one week anniversary on Open Salon by making this post my to do list.
This is really good. Many thanks!
I'm happy with the hundreds of middle eastern folks who hit my posts on a regular basis, no, I don't think they have OS accounts but damn they love me.

Especially the Iranians. Next 'Anti-american rally' you see over there, you can blame me and Ed I. Tor's interview!! :)
Thank you. What useful information. It does seem like work, but I can see the usefulness. I reminded me, however, of the first group of people I interacted with other my Amiga back in '84....so I'm off to see what I can remember....
I fondly remember my first 10MB Macintosh.

Loooxury.
Oh Gawd, Tom. Oh dear gawd. Yes, yes, you're right. All of these tasks will go on my to do list. Right next to solve world hunger and cure for cancer. Is it wrong of me just to wish with all my heart that I have 8 little babies from an anonymous donor so that reality TV will come set up shop right in my very own living room without me having to lift a finger? Is that so wrong?
If you're that desperate or narcissistic to get noticed, hire a mass-marketing firm so you can concentrate on your writing.
You probably need to.
Clearfield, you are obviously a kindred spirit. Good writing sells itself, not a Madison Avenue-style PR campaign, or mass PMs to all your friends touting your latest non-sequitur-like epiphany. Gad, an article like this sooo panders to the self-indulgent aspirations of the inept writer, it makes me wretch. There used to be some really meaty stuff being put forth on this site, it's sad to see it has degenerated to this level. Oh I know what I'm doing wrong...I don't include enough pretty pictures with my articles to get taken seriously!!! Oh shit! I'll have to fatten my photo gallery to get adored!!!

Barf.
Great info. Thanks!
Thomas--1 quick thought. Updating this is important---but you might also want to link it to FAQ's---or find some way to keep it always available. . .just a thought Roger
Thanks for the great advice. I agree with those who wonder if they can ever find the time!
I am lucky to barely navigate OS...
Being OBVIOUS the greatest sin in my book...
However, the first time I got rated I wanted to tell someone, trouble is no one in my real life could give a flying shit~
Great post Thomas. Can I suggest adding the 'os user manual' tag?
Thanks for the tips Thomas
Hope search engines get more sophisticated, so people who have interesting things to say will get the audience who would want to attend to them, without forcing the writer to become something of an expert in sales and promotions. It's too easy to get a high on hits right now. I'd rather people post most of their effort into becoming interesting people/writers.
It occurs to me now that these social bookmarking sites may help build traffic but not comments. And without access to our blog's analytics, non-OS user traffic is invisible. Does there exist the possibility of opening blog comments to the Open Internet?
I'm going back to all my old posts to insert the words Oprah and Twitter wherever possible - thanks for the tip!
Can't I just write what I want and forget the rest?
I appreciate all the tips. I am new to OS and trying to figure it out. This is a brave new world.
Or you can use inflammatory and sensationalist words in your headline which don't actually apply to the inane celebrity story involved. "i.e. Lindsay Lohan strips naked on Ellen and proceeds to stab the horrified host in the stomach with boxcutters!" (or whatever your hooplah employed.)

I'm tellin ya, New York Post would pay big for that one!
OY! I've done some of the aforementioned, but I'm a Dinotech. Trudging slowly, slowly, slowly into the present, which btw keeps changing the closer I get. I need a butler or manslave to help me translate what you said into ENGLISH. I was an English major, we do not speak Twitter.
Thank you so much for this primer. This is really excellent. :)
When you say (under instructions for Facebook): "Then input your Open Salon blog RSS feed." what does that mean?? Is there a code for it ("my" OS blog RSS feed)? I'm sure you can barely make it simpler, but for me, you're going to have to.
It sounds like an actual job.
From a blogging newbie who is working to build a platform for her writing, a heart felt thank you, thank you, thank you! I have bookmarked this post. Here's hoping that the editors will choose to keep it at its current location on the Open Salon home page.
I think I'm going to chage the name of my site to the "I Hate Dick Cheney Site." That should do the job.

Look out Huffington--an internet monster has been born!
Hey---you found an even better way to keep it available---nice!
I appreciate these tips but they only reiterate what I've long suspected: there's an inverse relationship between commercial recognition and an emphasis on content. I have been wondering if I should make a better effort to do the sorts of things you mention (and I genuinely appreciate your offering these), but it gives me the uncomfortable feeling that I would no longer be writing what's True. If that makes sense. Working the titles, trying to get key words in, joining other sites just to get read here...gah, it sounds not only exhausting but sort of soul-crushing. And I have the same concern as m.a.h.; I don't really advertise to the carbon beings in my life that I have this little blog. Because, really, how could I do these posts detailing my feelings of betrayal, my frustrations at work, my outrage about certain political policies whose supporters may in fact be instrumental in my life? Again, thanks for the information; this is clearly a case of having to choose one path or another--I don't see how people can have it both ways without watering down their stuff.
As an afterthought, I wanted to add that I always recognized that Dr. Amy was following this strategy and she got reamed for it around here. I don't understand the disconnect between the accolades here and the sentiment toward Amy that she was somehow a lesser human being for deliberately marketing her work toward a larger audience. I want to be clear that I don't disparage anyone who is doing this, nor did I have a problem with Amy's doing that--and she was upfront about it at every turn. It just sort of demoralizes me that, like Ben says, we can't just write our little hearts out with authentic truths and good technique and, voila, become Famous Writers. Yeah, I knew this already of course, but still. You know. I kind of want it all.
Dear Thomas,
I tried to follow your Facebook advice, but your instructions didn't seem to lead me to the right place. Under the Settings on Facebook I found the following:
account settings
privacy settings
application settings
I never did find "Imported Stories". And on OpenSalon.com, I can't find any RSS Feed button on my blogsite, so I don't know where to get that URL. Do you have a more detailed or better set of instructions for a Luddite?
dcvdickens: Your question made me recognize a flaw in our interface: Right now, if you go to other members' blog pages, you'll see the RSS tag up by their name. On our own pages, if we're logged in, that logo goes away. We'll fix that, but for now, if you log out, you can find your RSS button next to your name on your blog page.

Lainey: "It just sort of demoralizes me that, like Ben says, we can't just write our little hearts out with authentic truths and good technique and, voila, become Famous Writers." Well, you still can! These are just tips to help find a bigger audience for what you already are writing. And if you don't want to find a larger audience, that's perfectly fine, too. These are suggestions for people who really do.

Ralph: The Facebook instructions work for me; you might have a different browser that's changing the setup. Regardless, it would make more sense for you to go right to the source, and follow the Facebook guides. On your RSS question, see my response to DCDV, above.
I appreciate all of your information/advice. I love OS and feel I've finally found a home for my work--and also have the desire to yes, have an audience as I, yes would like to have this be my only work (writing I mean) and to do so, yes there must be an audience. I've already started a couple of the steps on my own as I'm an avid Facebook and Twitter user and now plan on exploring Firestatus to make it simpler and to start actually using my digg account and get everything organized. It was a big step for me in my own personal truth to connect my worlds together--that I can put a link to Open Salon up and expose my work here to my "friends" on Facebook and odd string of followers on Twitter.

There seems to be some concern over selling out your writing when you find an audience.... I'm not sure I understand that or want to really. I think we Open Salon writers are here for as many reasons as there are writers! I honor all of the writers and all of the reasons.

Again, Thank You for answering my unasked questions!
"make new friends (especially friends with a high 'popular ratio,'"

Yikes.
Thanks for your hard work on this. I think it will be very helpful
FACEBOOK feed adding, updated:

1. Go to your facebook page, armed with your RSS feed URL (see Kerry's instructs above: logout of OS, and copy link from RSS icon that appears next to your name on upper left)

2. In center stage of page, just below the text filed ("What's on your mind?"), to the right, click on "Settings"

3. You will see section called "Stories Posted By You", Click on "Blog/RSS". This will open up a filed for pasting in the OS RSS url.

et voila.

another resource:
http://www.facebook.com/help.php?ref=hq&hq=news%20feed%20stories

If you are thinking facebook is a labyrinth and bad GUI, you are right.
As a newbie to Os, I appreciate the advice and hope to utilize it.
Tom, tom, tom, what about us dinotechs (you know prehistoric computer skills)? I've got a really good core audience who read my web-site when I send them notice of a new blog...but as for all the other foreign words you used "link", SEO's" etc..I took Spanish, French...hay caramba. I use pop culture type words for titles , but I can't seem to comprehend how to do the other things you suggest. I respond, comment on OS and Vibrant Nation where they print my blog also, but don't have a big independent audience. Are you hireable?!?!? You could be me and traipse around cyberspace on a promotional tour! I've read this article twice maybe by the 32 time it will sink in!
Great advice, but it is a lot of hard work and you have to ask yourself why you are doing it?
I would add also, that you should check out the various social networks before signing up, to make sure you are hitting your desired audience. For me, even clicking through to travel and UK specialized areas, I'm not always sure it's my target audience, although they so say that you should never turn down a PR opportunity.
I was hoping this post was about how to grow your audience on Open Salon. Seems as soon as I post something, it's gone off the activity feed within seconds. The funny thing is, every time I open the Home Page, the same people are on it. How are they getting the audience following to stick on the Home Page? I like some of the articles I read but how does this work as a two-way street so new people don't get bored and give up on Salon?
OK, I reread your article and I see I have to do all these steps to build my audience and that's hoping all that work draws enough readers for you to stick on the Home Page. Who knows how long (years?) these people on the Home Page have been writing and building their audience? Looks to me like I'm back to 10 years old, when I wrote for my own pleasure and someone read it when they happened to go in my room, dig through my toy chest, and make off with my journal.
Thomas: Thanks so much for helping this newbie learn the ropes to successful blogging. I've been writing for years but just recently decided to try posting things when a friend gave me this website address. I love this place and, even if I don't become a popular blogger (knock on wood not to bring on this karma), I am really happy getting some feedback from some super cool people on here and reading their posts as well. I'm just really glad this place has been set up. It gives me a place to post things and an outlet to inner things going on...feng shuiing my inner stuff!
Headlines are very important. And writing about stuff that's timely and has mainstream appeal. Topics that seem to get the most views for me and the most feedback: lists, questions, and controversial opinion pieces (no surprise there).

Tough to spend more time on lots of sites like Digg or StumbleUpon since I'm stretched thin as it is, but I do try to have a presence at as many sites as I can.

The most important tip I think is to be genuine and transparent (as opposed to fake and just posting to hype your own blog) -- just read lots of blogs you like of bloggers with similar interests and post your own comments to their entries wherever appropriate. Build a network of cyberfriends, and your audience will surely grow.
hehe...
I'll pass this news onto my clone-slave with instructions to get busy whilst I proceed with the real world (vs virtual) tasks of paying bills, keeping the home, and keeping time with family/friends.

Best to those of you with the time/gumption.
Thanks for the tips, Thomas! I'm going to try them all!!
Great tips, but I can't get into either my Facebook or Twitter accounts because my passwords are never accepted. Might help if my posts weren't regularly deleted from "recent posts."
I don't have any friends. I suck : (
Thanks for the tips. I'm a writer without much in the way of political skills, and even though it shouldn't, it continues to amaze me how much the real world really is like junior high.
These tips are really helpful. I'll have to start implementing them.
I'm here to read interesting writing and post occasional scribblings of my own.

Unless I'm selling a product or running for public office (or appallingly egocentric), why do I care if anonymous people from Myspace & twitter are reading my posts?
After 30 years of writing by hand, I am excited to learn a new way. Thank you for the wisdom! This is fun.
Thanks Tom. I really interested in putting an RSS feed on my Facebook page that would update with my new post titles (as it does in Apple Mail). I've followed the tips but can't seem to get there from here. Maybe what I have in mind doesn't happen in FB?
Thanks for all the advice. I'm a newborn OS baby. My first week and I haven't fallen out of the crib yet and landed on my face. So far, so good. When I grow up I want to be a writer.
Thank you very much for the advice. I actually tried the Reddit and others and it is great so far. Wonderful! =)
This is great, thanks for this!
I thank you for this article but I am so not doing any of this. I joined OS a few days ago and already it has become too time-consuming. I shudder to think what my life would be like if I actually tried to build my credentials on digg or those other sites. I would become a shut-in with no friends or social life. But kudos to anyone who wishes to try.
Thanks for the tips Thomas. Will try to find some little blocks of time to try them out.
i now realize i dont belong here at ALL!! i'm old & way out of the loop. but i'm back reading james joyce's masterpiece (gabler helped it) ulysses . why i dont belong here? i'm about to finish a bottle of hi octane beer, & i happen to know the yung peeps have a whole different world they live in. girls readily show their tits, knowing there's no further outcome other than a check. but the statistics collapse past 10 yrs there has been a 40% elimination of 1st marriages should be telling us something.
Your Facebook instructions are obsolete. I simply add a new post every day or so to FB.
In all fairness, SEO is only needed if your not a well know person. You don't see Oprah needing to optimize her site!

SEO is not all it's cracked up to be. The internet is too big and many sites simply get lost in the sauce regardless of how great their keywords are.
thank you I hope I can find this post again to review sooo much great info!!!
I am going to try and do what ever it takes to force people to like my blog. I wrote everything down, for later.
I am going to try and do what ever it takes to force people to like my blog. I wrote everything down, for later.
Great tips. Thanks for sharing. I like to give more importance to SEO.
thank you. i had no idea how "all" this worked.
Is there a reason or goal behind all this besides being popular? Is there a financial gain of any sort? I have noticed that there are no sources on some of these posts. What are the rules around here for responsible journalism or scholarly work?
Great tips - now if only I could find someone to do all that for me - see, being as I have something of a life left in me (albeit not a lot I know) I just don't have time to get all "seo'd" up
x
Thanks this really helps a lot!!!
Thanks for the Facebook tip. I've got a solid blog going, just need to promote it. I'm doing a lot of Facebook stuff, but I forget how to do the RSS feeds.

Tom King
Illuminating, enlightening, encouraging.
Thanks for the tips! I posted my first entry today, and appreciate any feedback. I got my son to join too!
At the current rate of spam multiplying, by mid summer the only audience available on OS will be the spammers.
Thomas, I'd love to increase my readership and find these suggestions very helpful. You're preaching to someone who needs the help, for sure. The number of social networks out there is overwhelming! Thanks for the insights.
I'm going to be brave and work something out here. Look, I "joined" Open Salon just a few days ago. I started researching blogging a few years ago. I did it by getting books about it. I felt I needed to because I teach writing. And, as a writer, I felt I needed to understand this genre. What was I missing? I keep going back to that question. Since my writing is, well, literary (that's what I'm told when I get turned down by potential literary agents), I didn't think it'd work as a blog. But I thought to try it anyway, since sometimes I just have to Do it to understand. So I started a blog on smilingkarma.com (well, after a request by my husband). Then I read HOME GAME and laughed myself silly and saw that the author's work is art and remembered hearing (or did I make this up?) that he mentioned the book came about after his work posted on Salon got the interest of a literary agent (or his literary agent already) who said it needed to be a book. Again, though, this guy was established first I believe. And I doubt it was "posted" on Open Salon but Salon. I just don't know. So a few days ago, trying to Understand, once again, what I am missing and knowing I learn by doing, I got on Salon and started trying to figure this thing out. I posted my work, sent an email to one of the editors asking what I should be doing with it, and did my research thing--exploring, getting a headache, reading around, getting a headache, studying the jargon, getting a headache. Now, again, after a few days I'm coming to the conclusion, again, that I'm not cut out for this. Why? I think it has to do with my spatial problems. I can't See what's going on--what leads to what. How a Feed? works, an RSS? Tags, etc., etc. I think I could make a big list out and just DO it all and see, never understanding, because I need to HOLD the file and stick it in a filing cabinet before I EVER understand how it fits in. And I have to do it over and over and over to remember. Plus, as I mentioned, I get headaches doing this--I leave drained, instead of invigorated. I mean, I found the work of Home Game in a magazine first and then got the book. And, I think, it has something to do with weeping. I can't touch or hold or feel as well online. It happens to me every time. I have to Print It Out and read it. Then I may be moved. If I can get past all the advertisements AROUND the work. So back to weeping. I need touch the page. Think, oh my god, (not OMG), where is this person who wrote this? Die inside a little. Tell my students, holding up the book (not the computer), Read this. It will change your life. So, my conclusion? Maybe it's not that I'm a dinosaur--I'm 45. Maybe it's that there are two kinds of people--the spatially inept and the not spatially inept. I mean, I get Salinger. I don't get his running away from us totally, but I get his need to write to the end, no one reading it--that we know of--all the while. And I can SEE the room or rooms with all that work, waiting. I want at it. I want to HOLD it. The thought makes me weep. If my students get to me Not having read THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, I bring in my tattered book, the cover gone now, I Hold it. I say, Please, you have to, This will change your life. And I know I may just not get it. And that I'm just not cut out for the time it takes to self-promote. I mean, there's this whole list of things I'm supposedly supposed to be doing to promote my books but I don't do them. I'm also Hard. I want peope to draft and draft and draft, write for YEARS before they ever consider publishing, asking for an audience. Maybe that's My problem. But it just all seems too easy. And maybe it should be easier, now that more of us can write and have access to a life that allows it somewhat. But my story is long and hard and somehow seems Worthy. I Always wrote, starting with my first poem at eight. But I just didn't think I was smart enough. Long story short, I wrote and wrote my way through two graduate degrees and finally and MFA and thought my work terrible, all the way to the very end, well, until my Last semester of my terminal degree. I wrote through clinical depressions and childbirth and just everything. Facing every demon. I wrote. And I guess I feel like writing should mean that--everything to you--and then you publish. So, people, my people, I just got back from driving in the sun, working this all out in my head before coming here, having read everyone's comments before, to write this. And take note, this is just a comment, my first ever. It is a DRAFT. I wish I could see all of you sitting in a room. Your faces. In response.
Mr. Rogers,

You are the coolest! I've just started blogging on OS this week, and this advice column is just what I needed. It looks like I've got a lot of work to do, but at least I have some idea of how to get started. Thanks a million.
Thanks Thomas, your tips announcement attracted responses that were full of tips as well.
Oh and Katherine Mcord,
what was all of that about ... it hurts.
I found this helpful. I will implement a few of the suggestions you listed that I don't already do.
...so i'm working on a post that includes bernie madoff, percoset, and tiger woods—woods, i can go on about!

...seriously, thanks for the tips... SEO is real interesting....

lois cowan
This is a nice collection of tips that every blogger should know about http://www.pdfok.com/how-to-help-bloggers-find-the-audiences . Being from a design background it saddens me that so many blogs are difficult to read. That should be number one in my opinion, legibility. Some people say that good content is the way forward, and I’d agree, but if you can’t read it then what’s the point?
All the best.
These are sound tips on SEO and search engines optimization. Thank you. What many don't know about ranking well in the search engines is that it take hours upon hours to do the laborious seo building tasks such as link building. With a good seo software such as rank builder to automate the process, many people tend to give up along the way.
Thanks for this useful article Thomas...peace:)
Thanks, any advice is much appreciated.

I'll keep what you've written in mind. However, I don't have facebook (for reasons I'm explaining in my next post). Do you think this would prove as a disadvantage in getting traffic for my blog?

Thanks,

Lachy
Thanks. Lots of good information, and you shared it for free. What a kind soul. Ok that we're now 'friends'? R
Knowing your target audience is one of the major components to having online success. Google has tipped their hand toward these social networks and it's important to network online more than ever.

Mike, of Denver Plumbing Reviews
attempted to follow your directions to link blog to FB. I'm wondering if your instructions are prior to the latest FB "improvements"? If I'm just being lame, let me know. Otherwise, is there another way to do this besides simple linking from the blog after each post? thanks!
Some good tips in here, thanks for the info. Social networking to get a bigger following is really hot at the moment, linkedIn is one not to be missed also! Cheers, Gary the Mini Greenhouse Guy.
great tips for promoting ones website, they take a lot of time, which is why I now focus on promoting less sites, and I try to outsource the tasks
Tina Swanson
Christmas trees
Wow....
great tips,
thanks for share.
Dream Vacation Rentals
Hello ,
Excellent read about Growing your audience, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that:
Thanks for your great work :)
Professional Plantronics headsets
Suggestion for next article:
How to become an associate ed with OS.
There are some other ways to enhance your traffic on your website ... you are just trying to tell us that catch traffic through social media... where as, we can generate these traffic from search engines as well which you mention early.
Free Movies Online
Excellent article! Thank you for your interest
Radio
GREAT Article "Growing your audience" Congratulations ;-)
agriturismo
Your advices are very helpful and I hope they will help me to increase the PR of my brother's site, he is trying to run a container transportation Turkeycompany and with this list I will definitely help my brother. We try to survive in this hard economical crisis.
We try to do our best for a better life for our families, and your list it is very helpful for someone who is trying to make his outsized cargo by rail from Turkey company visible on internet. Like Marytkelly said it is hard but we have to persevere.
Oh dear lord. Just when I'm patting myself on the back by surprising my kids with the news that I can send a text message from my non-smart and perfectly mediocre, keyboard-less cell phone, something like this comes along that reminds me that I still belong in the Stone Age. Thanks for the advice! I'll act on it as soon as I finish writing something on papyrus with a goose feather quill.

www.runningwithstilettos.com
Thanks for the advice!
Very much enjoyed reading all your tips; now I need to know How to get a paying position at Salon? I want to be a Paid writer!!
Some great advice here in regards to helping to gain readers. Much appreciated!Swimming Pools
I suppose this is good "contemporary" and "populist" advice. I take it in the spirit of "growing your audience" as a purely speculative techno gibber sort of thing. I happen to hate twitter and facebook, though I do use them both.

The appeal of twitter is that you can use it to link to something that's more than 148 characters. Just about the right size for a link.

One thing you didn't mention and I think it's important, is TAGS. Tags are basically an allowance of the writer to place in that section called "Tags" keywords that folks who might be interested -- I mean actually interested -- in reading what you've written for it's sake as opposed to the SEO what's hot methods.

I rarely write on what's topical. I run the gamut of political thought, social consciousness and social engineering, poetry, fiction, sarcasm and hopefully the occasionally funny biographical story.

Nowhere in all that will the SEO tactic aid me and still gain my audience in an honest manner bespeaking what I feel is my one area of great integrity -- my writing.

So I use Tags. I suggest you all do the same if you can. As to posting to a Twitter feed or Facebook, or Reddit or Digg or whatever else, it could honestly be work like a job if you let it. It could also be a simple setup of ten to twenty minutes, then continue to blog on OS and remember to "Shout" it out to your other feeds. The buttons are right there at the top of the page when you finish a post.

I will probably have to spend a few more minutes on Twitter to get it to RSS my feed from here. Then I suppose I'll register on Digg and Reddit and manage to get the same thing happening.

As to whether or not the people who show up will be "my target" audience? I don't care. They will either like what I post and come back, getting hungry for more, or hate me and block me and never come back. I don't care. I can't help writing.

So you can post to the other sites, you can use tags, you can even bow down to the SEO concept and find ways to Push your Blog through PR buzzwords that may or most likely may not have squat to do with your actual content. That's totally up to you.

It's good advice, depending on what your reasons are for growing an audience and how interested you are not only in the type of audience as well as the size of it, but also in the integrity of your writing. You can do all the stuff listed and still maintain your personal integrity -- or you can do all that, none of it, whatever and still feel like a prostitute to technology.

Me? I'm going to leverage the technology as much as I can, not to grow my audience in some perverse stroking of ego, but in an effort to reach a larger audience of people who, like me, are interested in the things I discuss and write about.

If I care more about reaching a specific target number or size, then my writing is going to reflect that. If I just write what I write and take a few extra minutes at a time to set up a larger network so that I reach more potential readers, well, is that so wrong?

The purpose of communicating is to reach others. Else, why write in the first place in a blog on the internet? I have plenty of stuff in journals that will never see the light of day for others. That's for me. The things I wish to communicate is what I put out on the net. I do want folks to see it. I do want folks to comment. But I honestly don't care if they don't as long as I do what I set out to do -- put it out there for as many to see as I can manage.

In that light, this is really good advice.
Great information. SEO is so vital to a blog and you laid it all very well.

thanks
I'm sure this is very helpful to many people, but am I the only one scratching my head? Is the goal mere eyeballs on the blog as an end unto itself? I thought that the idea might be that one wants readers to here what one has to say. If my blog subjects are dictated by trending topics, and my title by the most popular keywords, then sure, I may get some attention, but am I going to be a real voice worth hearing?
This is great info. It also answers the question about why I sometimes stumble upon very random pop-culture references in otherwise sound articles. Now, what about tips for becoming a "editor's pick"? There's no way you guys read everything -- so how do you find what you like?
Very informative article. I plan on following some of the tips outlined in this article in my blogs.
the real problem is the audience!!!! what do they want???? personal trivia! Dead set. No just dead in the head. I got a following of 2 on twitter. It's an amazing place this cybavoid.
Great info but one would have to leave their job (which by now has been trashed by Romney et al ) stay at home....look after the kids and do this on the side.............all great things to do ...but that is not what I trained for .... so I will wait till I stop teaching the next gen all I know, retire from research....and then build that audience......hope this post stays on forever so I can read it then....:)
i think there is not so simple
Thomas, I appreciate all of your tips. I'm not sure that I want to spend this much time on growing my audience, but there are some easy things that I can do which it hasn't occurred to me to do. Thank you.
I'm finding this all very confusing. When OS used to show the latest posts and updates to posts, my posts did well and several made it into the center column. Since the change, no one even sees my posts. I've kind of given up on OS.
If one of your goals is to help the os writer reach their audience...you are sucking at it. Forget their audience how about any audience, the website has the same 10 or 12 blogs plopped on the side of the page, they seem to stay there forever Tom. What happened to open salon?