Wine, lots of wine. Preferably a light-bodied, unoaked Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, NZ.
OK, but how did I really grow my blog?
A few people have been asking me to answer this question via email and social media ever since I blogged about reaching 5,000 followers.
I’d like to reassure you that while that number looks impressive, there is no need to get jealous. My blog doesn’t actually attract high levels of organic traffic (from search engines). A large percentage of my views are made up of social traffic (from platforms like Twitter, Instagram and the WordPress Reader).
This means if I don’t put the leg work in, my stats begin to slide as my blog verges on the precipice of a supermassive black hole. For this reason, I spend most of my time and energy seeking out other WordPress bloggers and visiting their blogs. You may also find me trawling my favourite WordPress tags, #Publishing and #writing. Engagement is the name of the game, and I am very happy to participate.
Thinking back over the last two years, I think there are three main reasons why my blog has grown to where it is today (and this is very specific to ‘The Cat’s Write’, as you’ll see!):
The links that bind
I love making lists, which is why my very first blog post back in 2015 was a list of: 10 blogs writers should be following by new & upcoming authors. On second thought, don’t click on that link. Who knows what you’ll find at the other end. No really, don’t do it.
At the time of writing my first blog post, I had no clue my links would notify other WordPress bloggers that I had written a blog with them in it. I merely wanted to create a list that I could come back to time and again. I’ve since learned about the Blogroll widget (I’m still astounded at what a newbie I was!) I didn’t even know you could add ‘tags’ to your posts or that there was a search function associated with the WordPress reader.
When my first post went live, I was surprised by the amount of bloggers who came by to say ‘thanks for the shout out.’ It was an epiphany, without which, I could have gone months and months talking to only me, myself and the void!
Cats, so many cats
The second thing that I stumbled across purely by accident, (but which should have been blindingly obvious) is that cat gifs are hilarious and everyone f—ing loves them. After I wrote my first cat themed post back in 2016, my blog exploded with traffic for the first time ever. And to think it only had one cat gif in it. Just imagine the possibilities!!
It wasn’t long after that post that I decided to change the name of my blog to ‘The Cat’s Write’. Even today, my most popular post of all time is The nine main stereotypes of writers. Seems I’ll never be able to escape all the cats! (Funnily enough, since I wrote this, my top post has changed LOL). I’m not sure if anyone remembers that far back, but my blog used to be called ‘Coffee, Chocolate & Writing’. More LOLS.
My back has an itch
It took me a long time before I figured out that the saying ‘if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’, applies to blogging too. I always try to reply to every comment on my blog, and when I can, I reciprocate in kind. This has actually turned out to be one of my favourite hobbies. I’m slightly obsessed with reading other people’s blogs and getting a little sneak peek into their lives (I’m not a stalker, I promise).
Oh and most importantly, don’t forget that people can smell a faker from a mile away. Think of those ‘social media influencers’ who employ the follow/unfollow method. Do they think they can do it without anyone noticing? No, no they can’t. We will sniff them out every time. Employing a method like this won’t necessarily damage their stats and reputation, but it’s just not nice.
My non-expert conclusion
If you decide to become a blogger because you ‘want to be famous and all that’, your followers are gonna pick up on it and be turned off. They want someone real to talk to, not a social-climbing piranha.
Be genuine, and they will come.
And if you want tips from the ACTUAL pros, check this out: Ask the blogger: how did you get so many followers?
I really don’t think I deserve any of it: all the lovely, encouraging comments, all the helpful emails, all the views and likes and follows. I never intended to be a “blogger”, and yet here I am, throwing cat gifs at you as you sip your morning coffee/tea/vegan matcha latte.
Sorry, I just had to throw that one in there.