So here you are, a new or experienced blogger looking for traffic to start things off or get over that plateau in traffic. In the olden days (like they were really that long ago), you were at the mercy of the search engines. How can I word this article so that it will rank well? How many keyword strings do I need? Are people actually going to read this after I throw in a bunch of crap just to improve rankings and grow my blog? I hate being at the mercy of the corporate search engines to grow my blog!

Then something happened that changed the blogging world for forever…Twitter and other micro blogging sites (Facebook can be included in this mix) gave the small blogger a voice and an audience without the aid of Google. It was an amazing turn of events as you could now reach targeted readers faster, easier and you can do it under your terms! You are no longer at the mercy of the infamous keyword. You are now actually building a following, community and network online by connecting with people instead of statistics! It’s a wonderful thing.

As I look back at 2009, it really was the year for Twitter. With record breaking growth numbers, Twitter gave businesses, blogs and the random neighbor down the street an easy to grow outlet to promote their content or what they were eating that morning in 140 characters or less. If you need proof, you can look at how John Chow grew his blog to epic proportions while being banned from Google completely (has since been let back in after having subscriber counts above the 50k mark). This shows the powerful leverage power of Twitter and social media as we move forward into the blogging future.

So how do I grow my blog to epic proportions with Twitter and other social media outlets without looking like a spammer trying to promise unrealistic goals?

Twitter Tips That Grow Your Blog

The key with Twitter and other social media outlets online is to grow your following, increase your spread and network in a way that brings value to BOTH your blog and your Twitter account. When you try to run them mutually exclusive…it doesn’t ever come out with the results you are looking for. So…as we move forward…keep in mind…a QUALITY social media profile (more than just self promotion that looks like spam) and QUALITY content on your blog is what wins out in the long run. The trick is fusing these two together so they grow as one.

  • Syndicate Your Blog Feed On Twitter – Typically, syndicating your rss feed on Twitter has been handled through TwitterFeed, but…recently…Google released a new feature on FeedBurner (which you should already be using to syndicate your feed to your rss subscribers) that automatically tweets your latest article with a host of options including excluding categories, adding hashtags, controlling the text amount and even making sure there is room for your followers to RT. While I used to recommend TwitterFeed, I now use FeedBurner due to the new options and ease of having less accounts to sign into. By syndicating your feed on Twitter, you are automating a process that you would normally have to do manually and driving your followers to your latest content. You are also giving them an opportunity to spread your new content for you by ReTweeting that article to their followers within their preferred Twitter application or web app.
  • Search Out and Follow Like Minded Twitter Users – Social Media is very much a game of finding people and being found. Twitter is one of the purest forms of that application by being able to search for hashtags, keywords and trending topics. In all reality, unless you are a New York Times best selling author or Oprah, Twitter users are not going to follow you just because you want them to. You are going to have to search out these users, follow them and then hope they check out your profile and follow you back. I do not have time to do this manually every day of the week, so I use a tool called Social Snipe to handle that chore for me. The trick is to find people who are tweeting about what you are blogging about…and then interacting with them on Twitter.
  • Provide Alternate Resources and Articles Related To Your Blogging Topic – No one likes a shameless self promoter (only promotes themselves constantly without any other content), so it is always good practice to tweet other articles in your blogging topic that you think your readers and followers would find benefit from. This increases your credibility online and brings more attention to your articles as they hit the Twitter stream because they are not seen as self promoting spam.
  • Make ReTweeting Easy For Your Followers – If you want your content spread on Twitter, you have to make it easy for people reading your blog to spread your content. As much as you think your readers are going to copy and paste your url into their Twitter app, most if them are not going to go through the trouble even if they like your article. By installing the Tweetmeme plugin, you can insure that you have provided the easiest outlet for your readers to spread your content on Twitter. I typically recommend having an option to submit at the top and bottom of your article. You can see my Tweetmeme button at the top of this article…hit it…I know you want to! 😉 And a Twitter icon that submits at the bottom of the article.
  • Display Twitter Profile and Latest Tweets On Your Blog – A lot of social media and blog integration is to make sure you are properly displaying your profiles on your blog. You do not want to make it hard to find you on Twitter and other social media because…the harder you make it…the less follows you will see. On your blog, you are going to want to use a widget (plugin like Twitter for WordPress will do the trick like you see in my footer) and link to your profiles on your About Page and other related sections of your blog. If you want people/readers to find you…you have to make it easy.
  • Run Contests On Twitter – One of the fastest ways to grow your following on Twitter in a way that compliments blog growth is to create a contest on Twitter where they have to follow and RT some line you setup to be entered in the contest. For best results, you are going to want to give away something your blog readership wants (does not have to be expensive) and link to the contest article in the RT line. You are driving traffic to your blog and increasing your Twitter following with targeted leads that will help grow your blog down the line.
  • Have A Complete Twitter Profile – What is a complete Twitter profile? Let’s break it down…a user name that compliments your blog title/brand, a Twitter background that compliments your branding and blog (usually includes urls, useful info, etc.), a link to your blog in the sidebar of your Twitter page and a short excerpt of who you are and what you blog about in the description (DO NOT use the word expert, guru, etc…you can not give yourself those terms and it just looks like spam). It really surprises me sometimes when people completely overlook their Twitter page and leave the background generic. You can get fantastic backgrounds on the cheap from freelancers (TwitterWalls.com did mine for @robbsutton) and you will see an increase in follow rates by having a professional looking profile.

So there you have it! Follow these steps and you will watch your blog grow without the aid of Google. With social media growing by record numbers each year, you can actually grow your blog and your business easier than ever before. It just takes making the right decisions and carry out a plan…the rest will be history.

If you are anything like me, writing with a voice did not come easy at all! During my beginning stages in blogging, I really struggled with writing with my voice instead of a bland, boring, research paper diction that was putting me to sleep as I was typing. Much of blogging and growing a successful blog is tuning your writing into who you really are and something that readers can connect with. In the blogging world, this is called your “blogging voice” as you have probably already heard referenced more than a thousand times.

So…how do we find our blogging voice that is going to connect with readers on such a personal level that they can not…not subscribe…comment and interact with our pages on the screen? For many new and experienced bloggers, this is a stressful question in the quest for bringing our personalities and thoughts out into words.

How To Find Your Blogging Voice

Blog…Blog and Blog Some More – Blogging is no different than any other discipline. By practicing blogging, you will get better at your craft over time. Do not let fear and anxiety keep you from publishing articles and experimenting with writing styles. As you continue to write, you are going to find that it becomes easier and easier to get the words out of your head and onto the screen. After awhile, you will start to notice a trend in your writing style without even really realizing it. It is a beautiful thing and it only comes through actually participating in the process…

Write As You Talk – You can always go back and edit, chop up or scrap a whole idea before hitting that publish button, so take your first draft as a mind dump. If you write as you talk, more of your personality will get out through your words and then you can go back and proofread to fix any glaring mistakes. You are not going to get crucified for several little mistakes here and there if you are connecting with readers by bringing your personality into your writing.

Stop Stressing About It! – Stressing about your writing will just make you lock up even further. Your best content is going to come at moments of happiness and when you are actually enjoying what you are doing. If you are sitting in front of a screen with the small dash blinking stressing about what you have to write that day, get up…walk around…have a cup of coffee (or any other preferred beverage, but I don’t recommend publishing articles while you are loaded) and come back…sit down…and write with a heart-rate that is considered normal. The more you try to push your voice and your writing…the more stressed and upset you are going to become and that will come out in your writing.

Self Reflection – When I first started taking blogging really seriously, I sat back for a second and thought about who I really am. I’m not going to lie…it was really weird. How often do we ever sit back, think about who we are and how we interact with people? Almost never right? Well…after spending some time looking inside, I found out more about myself than I thought I actually knew! It was crazy, but it also gave me some insight into how I wanted to write and how I wanted to interact with people on my blog. Sometimes, we get so caught in the rat race of the days events that we forget to look into our souls and learn about ourselves. It drastically changed how I blogged and for the better.

Do you see an underlying theme here? Basically, if you want to find your blogging voice, you need to practice and relax. The rest will fall into place and you will find yourself in a rhythm that you can call your own. Blogging is about that connection and no one wants to connect with a stressed out mess.

Blogging is all about attraction. You have to attract readers to your content, make a great first impression and then hope that they subscribe to your blog. There is a lot of talk on the net about getting readers to hit that rss feed or newsletter subscription, but there is not as much discussion on how to keep those readers once the conversion process is done. Online…you only really get one chance. I don’t want to put a lot of unneeded pressure on you…but once you lose that rss or newsletter subscriber…it is incredibly hard to get them back for a 2nd round. So…in true “don’t do this at home” fashion, let’s take a look at the top 10 ways to lose subscribers to your blog and have them running away with no hope of coming back.

Top 10 Ways To Lose Subscribers To Your Blog

  1. Frequently Go Off-Topic – Going off topic every now and then to give your readers an insight into your life or interests is one thing, but frequently going off into unrelated topics on your blog with no rhyme or reason can kill your chances of retaining consistent subscribers. Readers subscribe to blogs for a number of reasons, but the #1 reason is to get relevant, up-to-date information on a given topic…even if that topic is the blogger (applies to personal blogs). Have a defined topic to your blog and stick to that subject matter. If you are going to ADD your blog into randomness…do not expect people to stick around. They will just find someone else that will.
  2. Inconsistent Content Quality – There is a lot of talk in the blogging world about posting frequency. For new bloggers, this puts a lot of pressure on them for a schedule, and – often times – I see new bloggers (and some experienced ones) sacrifice content quality for a schedule or the feeling that they have to post so many times a week. It is and always will be quality over quantity in blogging as it relates to content. Do not sacrifice the quality of your articles to satisfy some random post number or schedule. It is not worth it.
  3. Performing the Hard Sell – We all know you want to make at least some income from your blogging. Hell…these days it is pretty much expected! However, honesty and transparency still rule when it comes to quality blogging and no one wants a used car salesman in their face when they are trying to get real information online. I have seen bloggers lose a massive amount of subscribers by getting desperate for the almighty dollar, and…by doing that…they post up questionable reviews and content that are a vain attempt at converting content into dollars. Be patient…money comes with successful blogging and them more you push affiliate advertising on your readers…the less success you will have.
  4. Changing Topics Frequently – Throughout the course of your blogging, you are going to see or come up with more great blog topic ideas. Just like the blogger that frequently goes off topic, you also do not want to change the direction of your blog frequently or chase other ideas on other blogs. You have to give one blog a real run at it for at least 6 months before deciding to change topics or dropping it completely. There is no quick and easy way to get a ton of subscribers and traffic within the beginning stages (unless you already have a massive blog in a related field), so stick with it and try not to chase every “great idea” out there…you will lose the subscribers that brought you your beginning success.
  5. Changing Designs Frequently – There are a ton of WordPress designs being released every week. Every 6 months, there is some new, hot theme that everyone just has to have. This is not going to change. Especially if you do your own design work…you are going to be the most critical when the readers of your blog probably don’t even notice the aspects of your design that just get under your skin. If your design is performing as it should…leave it alone. Do not add every single new, hot plugin or theme as you will start putting off readers with clutter and ever changing environments. The key to successful blogging is consistency.
  6. Forgetting To Interact With Your Readers – Readers will subscribe to your blog to connect with you as the blogger (even the lurkers). You have a comments section and contact form for a reason. Connect with your readers by responding to comments and answering emails. This task will get more daunting with more success, but even the most successful bloggers answer their emails…so you can to. If you want to lose subscribers…show how much you really don’t appreciate their efforts to help promote your content by ignoring their emails and comments.
  7. Not Providing Value and Uniqueness – So you created one incredibly valuable blog article that is converting casual readers into subscribers…great! But…now you are getting lazy and your content is slipping. Instead of creating unique, valuable content, you are just regurgitating the content of others and posting up sub par crap that your readers just could get better somewhere else. You absolutely have to provide value with a unique angle to be successful in blogging. If you are expecting to copy the success of others, the few subscribers you do get will leave in search of the real thing.
  8. Too Many Ads – Just like the used car salesman, no one wants to be bombarded with a bunch of banner advertisements on your blog. Your readers will understand (and appreciate) well placed, relevant advertising, but they will not tolerate in your face ad placement. If you want to lose subscribers…and quickly…blind them with ads. It looks cheap and actually converts a lot lower than well placed, relevant ads due to “ad blindness” (so many ads that they do not look at any of them).
  9. Negativity and Ranting (online arguments) – No one wins online arguments…ever! Yes…you can reach a lot of people at once and tell them how much you hate someone else…but the reality is…if it is not related to your blogging topic…your readers don’t care! Public bashing for the pure reason to just show your ass will drop subscribers faster than you will be able to recuperate from it. Keep the ranting and online negativity to a minimum…especially if it has nothing to do with what you are blogging about. You know you hate that co-worker that does nothing but bitch all day, so why are you going to be that person online?
  10. Becoming Bigger Than Your Blog – You start to see success, things are going really well, you have made a little bit of money and…all of the sudden…your head has gotten so big that you can’t fit through the doorway. Online ego’s and the feeling that you are not better than your readers will drop subscribers like crazy. You are never bigger than a single one of your readers and if you start to grow that online ego, it will come through in your writing. Humbleness breeds success in blogging. Even if you have succeeded in positioning yourself as the expert in your niche, there will always be more that you can learn and you will never know everything. The day I know everything about blogging, cycling or coffee…will officially be the stupidest day of my life. Always be learning and always be humble.

There you have it! The top 10 ways to lose subscribers to your blog. If you want to keep and attract subscribers to your blog…do the opposite of every single one of these top 10 items.

Image by Pippybug