How did I REALLY get 6,000 followers?

This is a reply to an email I received from a lovely follower who wanted to know ‘my secret’. I don’t think there really is a secret, but over the years I have definitely learned a few tips and tricks from observing (and asking) the greats.

In general, these are some good rules to follow:

  • Blog consistently
  • Produce quality content
  • Blog about the same topic/area/subject
  • Find a niche to make you stand out
  • Take note of what generates the most interest
  • BUT… don’t get too obsessed with your stats
  • Get personal, but only with what feels comfortable
  • Be honest & genuine
  • Have fun
  • Write when inspiration strikes
  • Engage with other bloggers
  • Reply to those who comment on your blog
  • Reach out and comment on other people’s blogs
  • List your website on all social media
  • Don’t plead with other bloggers to visit your site

This is all really great advice, but what this follower really wanted to know was the actual steps I take on a day-to-day basis.

 

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image via pixabay

 

Be a member of the ‘crew’

I think a lot of what I do is behind the scenes. You’ll notice I only blog around 4-6 times a month, but what you might not know is that I spend a lot of time interacting with others, whether that’s through reading, liking, commenting or following their blog.

In the early days, I used to think I was talking to no one. But once I began to reach out to other bloggers, they started visiting my site in return and everything just snowballed from there.

If you don’t know already, the WordPress Reader is great for finding other bloggers.

Like amazing.

This is a bit embarrassing to admit, but before I discovered the Reader, I was using twitter to find other WordPress bloggers. Yep, I was manually looking up #amwriting and trawling through dozens of accounts until I found Twitter users with links to WordPress blogs.

It’s no surprise then, that it took me a few months of blogging before I got the hang of it.

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image via pixabay

Find what works for you

For those who are curious, this is the blogging strategy I have adopted:

  • Blog 1-3 times a week
  • Always use around 6-8 tags
  • Use good cover images from pixabay.com
  • Stick to my writing theme
  • Add lots of cat GIFs
  • Link to other bloggers as a thank you
  • Check grammar and spelling with Grammarly
  • Post blogs at 11.55pm AEDT (UK lunchtime, US morning)
  • Post blogs during the week only
  • Reply to any comments on new posts within a few days
  • Check out the blogs of those who comment on my blog
  • Add my favourite bloggers to my blogroll
  • Check the WordPress app every morning (15 mins)
  • Every night, find and follow new blogs (30 mins)
  • Use the weekend to come up with new articles

I don’t always follow this perfectly. Sometimes I skip a few days, only to find I have a humongous mess on my hands. Sometimes it can take almost an entire weekend to catch up if I get lazy during the week!

I would say I devote around 1-2 hours a day on my blog, which is definitely achievable if you cut out some of your Netflix time, or alternatively, spend time blogging while watching Netflix (the latter a much better option in my opinion). On the days/weeks I neglect my blog, my stats suffer badly.

It’s like going to the gym, you have to keep at it every day if you want to see any real results.

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image via pixabay

Investigate those stats

Here are some of my stats for January 2018 if you’re interested to see what is possible after 2.5 years of blogging (please note I think you can achieve way more than me as I don’t blog very often, even though I wish I did):

  • Average 155 views a day
  • Average 77 unique visitors a day
  • Average 47 likes a day
  • Average 30 new followers a day
  • Average 17 comments a day
  • 400+ views on days I blog
  • 90 views on non-blog days
  • 250 unique visitors on days I blog
  • 50 unique visitors on non-blog days

You can see it makes a huge difference when I post a blog. My stats jump up almost 340% on those days!

If I blogged every day, I could make my monthly stats in just under 2 weeks!

So why don’t I? Well, funnily enough, my favourite part about blogging is not the act of blogging itself, but the many opportunities I have to interact with other bloggers. You’ll be more likely to see me on any given day reading someone else’s blog, rather than writing on my own. But that’s just the way I like things. Everybody’s different!

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image via pixabay

In regards to monetization

I’ve heard that it’s a good idea to monetize your blog when you start to get on average, 500+ unique visitors a day. You could make anywhere from $20-$70 a month with those numbers through the Google AdSense advertising programs (there are so many different variables though, that an exact number is impossible to pin down).

Even on my really, really good days, I only make it to 250 visitors. So… I’m pretty far off that golden ‘500’ mark, but it doesn’t bother me so much. I much prefer to have repeat visits from my followers, as you guys are the ones that matter (to me) in the grand scheme of things.

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image via pexels

Keep things in perspective

Before I leave you, I can’t forget to mention that I’ve made some truly wonderful blogging friends here, for which I am eternally grateful.

And I hope this helps you out, even if just a tiny bit!

 

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182 thoughts

  1. Thank you Milly for this outstandingly helpful post. Having read it I’ve just spent the whole day revamping my blog mostly around a single topic area rather than the scattergun approach previously. i have almost 500 followers, but I’m not concerned about getting 5000, my interest is in getting a quality 100 say who actually engage with myself and my content. Wine is the answer! Our travel options had been getting less and less so I had thrashed around blogging about philosophy, politics, previous travel, photography and more.But wine collecting has been a hobby for 45 years, so why not? Ive downloaded and joined Pixabay too, got some fantastic images already. So, thank you again!!

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on Julia's Journal and commented:
    It was interesting to read your insights and experiences of blogging, which were invaluable to a newbie like me! 6,000 seems like a far off dream at the moment! I agree, the fun of blogging is all about building online relationships, rather than making money

    Like

  3. Thanks for the post! So many great tips. I’ll definitely try to incorporate them soon enough as I started blogging only a couple of days ago and don’t know much yet 😂

    Do you take SEO in account when writing your blog posts?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I believe it’s how much you participate in the ‘community engagement aspect’ that will really effect your following. As long as your content is interesting, most people will follow you regardless 🙂 Get out there and comment on as many blogs as you can, make friends etc… and see what happens 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So true. I started the year at 20 followers. I didn’t know about engagement, never having been on social media, really. I’m at 120 after two months. Still not your 2,000 or what have you, but a good start. I just can’t keep up with it all and fear I’ll lose followers if I don’t follow everyone back. And I don’t believe every follower is reading every post. I really should be promoting it more, too. But thanks for pointing out this important need, like how you do that more than blog while writing your books, Milly.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Very helpful post, Milly. I’m quite a lax blogger – spending more time on other people’s blogs than my own. But I’m fine with that – I only read and comment on the ones I find interesting, or where I’ve made a real connection, so it’s actually an enjoyable way to spend time and I don’t worry too much when I fall behind (I’m sure you’ll wake up in the morning to several comments from me across your latest posts 😉).
    I didn’t know about optimal timing of publishing a post though – I’ll try that out next time I come up with something to write about!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great and helpful list thank you for sharing your advice.
    I think it’s important to blog for yourself. It’s great if people like and comment but honestly, we enjoy the prep work, the days out, the shopping, the eating and the photo taking and the writing. We are so new to this but I’m loving the excitement it brings me to write it and take pictures for it and to plan it. We are doing this for us because we enjoy it….so far anyway hahahah / Anna x

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh my.. I can relate to your twitter struggles! I just started a book blog last October and have been torturing myself on twitter trying to find other book bloggers to connect with. UGH! I very recently started exploring the WordPress Reader and have found so many awesome book bloggers! I cannot believe what I’ve been doing to myself!
    The other weird thing about twitter is that I have been able to get a decent amount of traffic from there, BUT, nobody is engaging on my blog! They are engaging with me through my twitter posts!

    Anyway! Thank you for sharing this extremely valuable knowledge.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. This is great! I’m only just getting into a rhythm of posting something every week and while I know in theory that you need to be reading and interacting with other bloggers, I have been really inconsistent with it. Even though I luuurrrrve it when I do!

    I think I’ll replace my morning bout of meaningless Facebook scrolling with a morning bout of meaningful WordPress engagement 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Useful stuff! Definitely saving this, both for the tools you reference, as well as the encouragement that it’s okay to not push so much, and just do what I’m okay with.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank you for the encouragement and for the candid reveal of your numbers. I am tired of bloggers with thousands of followers talking about their tips that are really geared toward moving from 10,000 followers to 40,000 followers. I want to know more about moving from 0 to 10 followers and from 10 to 25. This helps.

    Liked by 6 people

  10. Being genuine is super important – I always find that the posts where I include genuine thoughts/feelings get a lot more people to respond. I love Pixabay for free photos – Pexels.com is also a really great one!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Great advice. When I first started out (all of 4 months ago!) I received the best piece of advice, and that is to treat your followers as friends. I also respond, and check out new visitors to my blogs. Sometimes it feels like I’m doing more housework than writing, but it’s all part of the fun!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Thanks for the advice! Being a new blogger, I do get tempted to be obsessed about the stats. haha. But you’re right. When you’re making good content and have fun doing it, success will follow. This is good advice and I’ll try to apply them in my blogging as well. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Good stuff 🙂 My biggest problem with regards to my attempt to build a following is that I often forget to read and comment on other people’s blogs. It makes me feel like I’m writing to the void sometimes. And perhaps it’s because I don’t have nifty cat pics or gifs 😛

    Liked by 3 people

      1. There was a time when I first started that I worried about getting people’s opinions and asked for comments, but very few did, and I finally said to myself, “If no one’s going to comment, then I’m going to write whatever I want” 😛

        Liked by 2 people

  14. My failing to grow a large following is probably due to not sticking to one niche. I follow my interest all over the place – handwork, decluttering, cuttlefish, how to tell if your eggs are bad, books… But I’m afraid I’d get bored if I only wrote in one area, and if the writer is bored, the reader sure will be.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I definitely believe in doing what you love. If you love blogging about various things, than that’s what you should blog about 🙂 I think it’s nice to add a bit of variety – helps you stand out!

      I usually blog about writing (I occasionally diverge, but those posts aren’t nearly as popular). Within writing you can blog about tons of stuff: editing, publishing, poetry, books, fiction, literature, literary rejection, queries & submissions, agent & publishing lists, social media, technology, writing rules, short stories, flash fiction, writing journeys, author interviews, critiques, reviews, home décor (in relation to writing spaces), posts about characters & plot development, etc…

      Mmm, just writing that list has given me a few blog post ideas…. 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes have a go and try 11.55pm AEDT! I find if I post around that time, my posts get a lot of views from the US, and not as many from AUS. But then, I think most of my followers are from the US anyway, so I feel it’s best to cater to them 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Interesting you say that. I noticed most of my viewers come from the US, and I think India is the second in line. I wasn’t sure if that is just so because of MY location or if indeed there are just a lot more WP bloggers from the US than anywhere else.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I feel very resonant with your style of blogging. I post about twice a week and spend couple hours reading those I follow with wonderful interactions with blogger friends. That means more reading than my own writing 🙂 I don’t let numbers affect me, check stats only sometime, to know how it looks The Gratitude and Happiness is a higher return to me. I don’t think I can keep up with posting every day and staying interactive.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You sound really similar to me 🙂 🙂 I try not to check my stats too often, maybe only once a day – I know, that’s still pretty bad! Hahaha. I don’t know how people post every day! I’d be flat out trying to cope, and I think my responsiveness would suffer – unless I could blog full-time, but that won’t be happening anytime soon hahaha

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Good to hear from you in agreement 🙂 I do have an observation that 2 plus years of consistent blogging and sincere interacting, reading most people I follow – and I haven’t crossed 1000 followers yet. It doesn’t bother me because I will keep doing only what I can do and find happiness in the responses I get. I am not very flattered with the numbers myself if a follow is only for the sake of follow back and does not translate into any interest in my work. I do become aware of this fact time and again though. Do you have any insight for me?

        Liked by 3 people

        1. The pleasure in Blogging must surely come interactions with readers around the world, and not from “the numbers”. In fact, if you did have constant interactions with 1000+ Followers, I would suggest that the fun would go out of the whole process. My “high points” of Blogging are when a discussion goes “off-Blog” and onto email! Those individuals become more like friends than Blog Followers.
          If you are happy with what you are doing …. don’t change anything!

          Liked by 3 people

          1. if you did have constant interactions with 1000+ Followers, I would suggest that the fun would go out of the whole process. – Haha this clarifies for me 🙂
            I am in agreement with you about the ‘high points’ I am indeed happy with what I am doing and feel positive of growing steadily in a way that works for me. Thank you very much for taking the time to affirm this for me.

            Liked by 2 people

  16. Wow! Great post! I’ve been blogging for a little over two months now and this is really great advice. Happy to say you confirmed what I already knew and taught me a few new things! I now have a few goals for the upcoming months. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Solid advice.
    CongratZ on such a big following.
    To me, it is really important to interact with other bloggers. If someone leaves a comment on my blog, or follows, I automatically go and check theirs out. Be it repeated followers or new. Even if I don’t follow them, I will read their stuff and leave some comments here and there. Which is why I was so pleased to see that you do similar things.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Thank you for some really great tips. I started getting up at 1:00 am here in the eastern United States. I have many wonderful followers overseas. At that time, it’s 7:00 am in England, afternoon in India, and early evening in Australia. My posts can been read by those in the western USA, when they wake up. I wish you the best, as you move towards 12,000 followers!

    Liked by 3 people

  19. I think that connecting with other bloggers is really important, it’s really cool to see you spending so much of your blog time on that part of the equation. Thanks for sharing these tips, I think it makes perfect sense!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Slightly different without any of the actual ‘details’ of what I do on a day to day basis – thought I’d do a more comprehensive one to answer everyone’s questions. I think I have all my bases covered now! Slightly stuck on the book publishing side for the moment – maybe one day 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  20. Am taking a blogging break 😩 after 4 years of constant blogging (two years I posted daily). I agree with the comment about using likes and comments as a guide for blog following. A blogging break is both a gift and a curse 😫

    Liked by 3 people

  21. This was really insightful!!! I’ve had this blog since last April but I say I’ve only be actively writing since September and it’s definitely a slow climb but I can see my views rising every week which is lovely! Congrats on getting 6,000 followers, your content is great!! Definitely one of my favorite blogs to follow!! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  22. A great post, Milly. My blog continues to be small, but I’m not all that concerned. I use to check my stats every day in the beginning. Now I only check when I remember. I love that I’ve met so many wonderful people through blogging. Bloggers are a fantastic group of people. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  23. I love how you are blogging because you enjoy it rather than just for the numbers! The reason I read blogs and watch youtube vlogs etc. is because you’re reading something genuine (and that’s why I blog too!). So interesting and smart to consider UK/US times when scheduling a post. Will definitely take that into account for the future 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  24. This is great! I’m a new blogger, like wee-naked-baby new, starting really late in the game. I have NO idea what I am doing yet or what my blog will end up being, but posting my flash fiction for people to see and review is fun! And, I adore reading other bloggers work while I wait for my follower count to take its natural course.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. New bloggers should also be aware that while WordPress advises of every new Blogger you get, and takes care of the running total … it does not advise you, or adjust the stats, for an “unblog”.

    It is therefore far more practical to monitor Likes, and Comments, in order to get a realistic “picture” of one’s Blog performance. As Milly so clearly put it, it is really nice to develop regular Followers and enjoy the ongoing interactions, and meeting numerical targets should be secondary.

    I have 1600+ Followers according to WP, but I have a core of around 50 regular contributors …. and they make my Blogging worthwhile. Getting to know my Followers is a wonderful experience but then, perhaps it is my Blog that attracts such lovely people?????? 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I am very, very glad that WordPress doesn’t let you know when someone unfollows you, that would be super depressing!! And on that, WordPress actually does adjust your stats when people ‘unfollow’ your blog. I’ve tested it before. You might not be noticing any ‘unfollow’ adjustments on your blog if you’re getting more new followers than you are losing them – which is a good thing I think!!

      But, I think you’re definitely right that likes and comments shows a more realistic portrait of your blog’s health as it’s a better reflection of your ‘active’ followers. My blog’s 2.5 years old, so I would have more ‘ghost followers’ than a blogger who managed to get 6,000 followers in say… 6 months (think The Nerdy Lion: https://thenerdylion.com/2018/01/27/3000-followers-in-6-months-the-nerdy-lion-edition/)

      Liked by 3 people

    2. As a newbie, I enjoyed reading the information in these posts and thought I’d comment about ‘active’ followers and ‘spam’ followers. I dislike followers who are ‘selling’ something and delete them. Subsequently my followers decrease, in much the same way as being unfollowed. Two steps forward and one step back a couple of times a week! Do you leave your ‘spam’ followers?

      Liked by 4 people

      1. My main interest in Blogging is to share my “world” with anybody who is interested, and learn about other people’s “worlds”.
        I have little time for commercial blogs of any sort because, once money is involved, I can no longer be sure that the content is impartial.
        All Comments on my Blog are moderated by me, and any Comment that simply links to another Blog is deleted. I have no problem with promoting other Blogs, but I believe in the etiquette of asking first!

        Liked by 5 people

        1. Oh I’m the same! I don’t like it when people link to their own blogs in my comment section to drive traffic their way, but I usually leave them up anyway. I don’t mind if they link for a specific reason (but that’s a pretty rare occurrence) – most of the time it’s a “please check out my story and leave a comment!” But I never do. The ironic thing is, I might have visited them and commented on their post if they’d left a nice normal comment like everyone else. It’s amazing how some people completely lack etiquette when it comes to these kinds of things! I get people asking ALL THE TIME if they can post a guest blog on MY blog. LOL. Like no, unless I ask you first, please don’t even ask…

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I should ahve added this to my post “Don’t plead with other bloggers to visit you blog. No one likes a begger” AND “Don’t ask to guest blog on someone else’s blog unleas you’re George Clooney or a unicorn. They will ask you if they want you.”

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Many people will Follow a Blog for no reason, other the hope that the Blog owner will Follow theirs in return. i.e. They may have no interest at all in your Blog, but are simply promoting themselves. There is no need to do anything about them because you will likely not hear from them again, but posting a Comment which simply promotes their Blog? Yes … I would delete it!
            The Internet is a bit of a “Wild West” world, and so I discourage rude/selfish behavior as much as I can. Inflammatory Comments are instantly rejected. Having those on ones Blog (therefore in public view) for a few hours could have unpleasant ramifications.
            I have often thought about removing the “moderate” control feature but, to me, the time saved is not worth the potential risks.

            Liked by 3 people

      2. I just ignore the ‘spam’ followers – though I haven’t really noticed that I get many?? I check out most of the people who follow me, and they look pretty real. I do get a TON of spam comments though, but akismet gets rid of most of them. If (real) people leave links on my blog to get other bloggers to check their stories or WordPress blogs out, I tend to leave them up (if they do more than one link though, they get automatically trashed). I don’t mind helping people out, even if it does annoy me a little 🙂

        Also, I don’t moderate my comments as akismet picks most of the bad ones up anyway, and the ‘Your comment is awaiting moderation’ thing is really annoying from a readers point of few – and can actually drive your stats down! It was one of the first things I learned from a succesful blogger – I should add that to my list actually…

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Hi Milly – I can see your reasoning re not moderating Comments, but there is a “flip side”… and that is the abusive/crude language Comments. Those can also be deterrents for new Followers. I have only deleted 2 Comments in my Blog’s life of just over 3 years, but both included abusive language. I have never been deterred from a Blog simply because my Comments were “held pending moderation”, so I guess it comes down to personal preference.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Yes that’s very true 🙂 I ‘swear’ a little in my blogs, which is why I’ve left it open in case someone wants to comment with similar words LOL. However, I did get one very nasty trolling comment early last year (I think they use the word bullshit), but luckily I haven’t had any more than that. I think the problem (for me) with the ‘awaiting moderation’ thing is that the blogger (a.k.a me) might take a while to approve comments or they may even miss them completely, by the time they realise, the reader has moved on and will most likely not reply back. But if you’re on top of it (which sounds like you are) you probably have no problem. I used to forget to approve comments all the time and it made me feel really bad for the poor person waiting for a reply – also, quite often, my readers like to talk amongst themselves. Like you said, I suppose what suits one blogger, probably doesn’t suit the other!

            Liked by 3 people

    1. When you go to customise, your blogroll is the widget titled “Links” – I think some people call it their “blogroll”. You can edit and add to your Links list by going to https://YOURSITENAME/wp-admin

      p.s I only discovered this recently!! I kept noticing everyone with links to other blogs in their sidebar and thinking how much I’d love one. FINALLY figured it out hahaha

      Liked by 4 people

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