Blogging Q&A: Followers and Giveaways

Part 2 of the Series. Click here if you missed Part 1: Basic Blogging.

Attracting Followers
Q: “Share your followers secret with us.” –Shanny
A:  I get asked this quite a bit. I don’t have any secret! So I’ve put a lot of thought into it and I came up with several reasons, that I think, make people click that “Follow” button.

Writing/Personality: a blogger’s voice makes all the difference. Putting personality into your posts makes a reader connect with you. That connection is very important. In my opinion, that’s what makes people come back to your blog and read often.  

Photos: they really are worth a 1000 words in blogland. I know I am guilty of visiting blogs and just looking at the photos and never reading a word. So use those photos to your advantage! Work on your photog skills and try to post the best pics possible. {I’ll post some photography tips in another post}

Appearance: I hate to say it, but a good-looking blog is always a huge plus for me.  I like something that’s easy on the eyes and easy to navigate. {shallow? maybe….} A simple blog design with a white background is universally more appealing. You can pay people to design your blog for you, but you can also save a little $$ if you learn how to do it yourself.  {check out my tutorials in Beautify Your Blog. A mini series I wrote after researching how to do some simple blog design myself.}  In my opinion, the time and/or money you spend on making your blog look nice, is well worth it. I know after my first blog makeover, I noticed that my readership grew a lot faster.

Layout: make it easy to navigate through your blog. It can be intimidating to visit a blog that has too much going on. Instead of trying to get their bearings, people tend to click away and move on.

Quality Posts: some bloggers focus on quantity, but I think quality is better. I find that if I focus on writing quality posts, the response is much better than if I’m just posting to have post that day. One guideline I’ve always used is, “If this was my first time to this blog, what would I think of this post?” Because every post becomes your “home page” for your blog until a new post replaces it.

Creativity: Be creative! Post about new ideas that you have not seen anywhere else. Everyone loves something new and different.

Getting your blog out there
All the above tips are great to make current visitors turn into followers, but how do you create new traffic to your blog? Here are a few ways to help you get your blog name out there.

  • Submit/email your best posts to bloggers that only feature other bloggers’ posts/projects on their blog. They are always looking for new and upcoming bloggers to feature. These bloggers can seriously help you out. {they helped me a ton!!} They tend to have a lot of followers who are looking for new ideas and new blogs to follow. I suggest only sending such bloggers 1 or 2 of your very best projects at a time. They are very busy and deal with a high volume of emails. Make sure you send them the Permanent URL to your post and not just to your homepage. Then cross your fingers!{and eyes and toes…}
    • One insider tip I have on that is, bloggers that only feature other blogger’s projects don’t like to feature the same things as each other. They like new, fresh stuff. So I suggest sending one project to only 1 or 2 bloggers at a time. If they don’t want to feature the proejct, then send it to 2 new bloggers. You’ll get an immediate rejection if they’ve seen your project already featured on another blog. 
  • If you use another blogger’s tutorial, send them a picture or link to what you made using their tutorial. They just might feature you in an upcoming post! {I know I do}
  • Participate in Linky Parties by linking up a post or two. These parties give you the chance at getting featured on that blog because the party host will usually feature a handful of entries from the party. And don’t forget one of the most important parts of the linky party, to socialize! Go visit other links and leave a comment and be sure to tell them you are visiting from the Linky Party so they can kindly return the visit to your blog. You just might gain a few friends AND followers.
  • Commenting on other blogs: Just going around and visiting blogs and leaving comments can bring traffic to your blog. A lot of bloggers are good about returning a comment for a comment…..until you hit a certain amount of comments, then this becomes impossible. But when you’re starting out, always return a comment for a comment.
  • Buying sidebar ad space on another blog is a way to grow your blog and get new traffic. You may have to pay for it and prices do vary. Note: Some bloggers don’t allow other blogs to advertise on their blog. {personally, I don’t care if another blogger wants to advertise} Another way to do this on the cheap, is to find another blog that is similar in size to yours and then check with the blogger to see if they’d be interested in swapping advertising space with you. It never hurts to ask!

Social Networking
Q: “Do you think being on twitter helps your blog?” –Corrie
A: I think it helps a little bit. I’m not a real big tweeter {is that the correct term?} but I have seen some traffic come from my tweets. I definitely don’t think it hurts my blog! Twitter opens up a way for me to attract people to my blog that would never have found me before. What I’ve enjoyed the most about Twitter is being able to connect and talk to readers one on one and become friends with them. Which is mainly why I blog. So I view it as a good thing that possibly could help promote my blog, but I mainly just have fun with it.

Facebook on the other hand, I think is a better way to grow a blog. Just the way it is set up and how your feed can go to people that are not fans yet if a friend of theirs comments on your wall post. That way it attracts people that may have similar interests to view your FB page, which in turn hopefully directs them to your blog. {if that makes sense….}

I have a lot of fun interacting with my FB fans. I have them post links to their projects and share what they’re up to on my wall. And sometimes, we get some fun threads going!

Giveaways
 Q: “How do you set up a good giveaway and does that work as an effective way to reach new readers/followers?” –Corrie
A: In my opinion, yes, a good giveaway will attract new followers. Readers are getting more and more picky about giveaways though. They won’t enter a giveaway if it’s not worth their time. So if you’re going to do a giveaway, I suggest it be a good one to be effective.

Q: “If you are interested in hosting a giveaway, how do you go about it?  Do you contact the person with the item you wish to giveaway or do you just purchase it yourself and then list it as a giveaway?  Does that make sense?” –Jan
A: Great questions!  If you’ve never hosted a giveaway, here’s a couple ways to get started. {I put them into scenario format just for fun :}

Soliciting the Giveaway: You’re on etsy and you find this uber cute shop full of great items you think would be *perfect* for a giveaway. You may convo the shop owner and offer to do a giveaway for them on your blog for free. Be sure to leave a link to your blog, provide blog details and stats and give them reasons why you would be a good blogger to host such a giveaway. Don’t feel bad if they say no or never respond. Most etsy sellers get plenty of these requests. BUT it never hurts to ask, right?!

Buying the Prize: You’re on etsy again, and find something you absolutely love. And you think to yourself, ‘my readers would go nuts over this!’ So you decide to buy that item in a quantity of 2; one for you, one for a giveaway. If you want to do this, I highly suggest you contact the shop owner and let them know what you are planning to do. They may just say thanks and go on. Or they may put the word out about their item being given away on your blog {therefore helping you reach more people}. Or they may even throw in a little extra something in your package to add to your giveaway! You never know, but I highly recommend at least letting them know you plan to giveaway part of your purchase.

 Once you’ve established your blog and have a good viewership, most likely vendors will approach you to do giveaways and you won’t have to do such footwork anymore. {I will post more about sponsorships and advertising in another post}

Q: “I’ve wondered how people number their comments…man that would make giveaways so much easier!!” –Kari
A: I don’t know! I’ve tried to figure that out too, but for the life of me, I cannot figure it out!! I have to do it the old fashioned way and count. {and triple count for giveaways…} If anyone knows how to do this, please tell me! {if I find out I’ll let you know}

*****ADDED LATER: thanks for all the help on adding numbers to your comments, everyone! I just added the numbers to my comments using Mandy’s recommended link at Bloggerstop.net. Took me all of 5 minutes to do!
Be sure to use the key stroke “Control F” to help you find the code the tutorial is talking about. Otherwise you will be wading through code up to your neck :) {when you use Conrtol F, a small window at the bottom of your screen will pop up and you can copy and paste the code you are looking for into it and hit enter and your computer will find and highlight the exact code for you. awww, wasn’t that nice?!}
And thanks to Ellie’s great tip, if you set up your comments to have a pop-up window, it will not display the numbers. To view your comments with numbers, you have to go to the post’s Permanent URL so that it displays the comments below the post instead of in the pop-up window. 

Thank you Mandy and Ellie!! You ladies ROCK my computer world :)*******

wahoo! Part 2 down. Several more to go. Stay tuned to find out the next topics I tackle in Blogging Q&A.

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Linda
Hi! I'm Linda, the craft addict behind Craftaholics Anonymous®, a craft blog. Crafting is cheaper than therapy, right? When I'm not DIYing something, I can be found taxiing around our 4 crazy kids or working out. Or shoe shopping... because you can never have too many shoes! Happy crafting! ♥
Linda
Linda

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Comments

  1. 1
    mle

    Really great tips, Linda!! thanks : )

  2. 3
    Jackie@Lilolu

    Re: numbering comments..

    I'm not sure how to number comments on Blogger but Typepad gives you a few comment options under "settings".

    ~Jackie

  3. 5
    Courtney

    Great tips, Linda! Thanks for taking the time to put these all together!

  4. 6
    The Oxford Family

    another good one! I am doing a baby shower type giveaway and hoping to find a shop or 2 willing to do a "I buy one, maybe give me a deal on the second one to giveaway" I am a little nervous about approaching them though! I would love to know how you stay organized! I find myself struggling to keep up with emails, convos, etc… I think immediately replying would solve this, BUT not always possible! I am also a little apprehensive about this baby shower giveaway I am doing and keeping everything straight! Guess I need to start taking better notes :) If you have any words of wisdom on this let me know! Now off to figure out how to number those comments!

  5. 8
    becky

    I am so glad you are doing your tips series! It is a big help to us newer bloggers! Thanks for the great info!

  6. 9
    Tara

    Linda, you are awesome! I agree with you about the look of a blog. It may be shallow, but I tend to trust blogs that are well designed and clean looking, and that makes me more likely to follow them?

    Tara
    http://www.tarabeingtara.blogspot.com

  7. 11
    ellie g

    Mandy is right on top of it! I was just about to give you the same link! I JUST put them in mine with that tutorial. It wasn't fast, and I had to dig in the code…but I LOVE how it turned out.

    (I have my comments in a "pop-out" window like you do…and just so you know…the numbering doesn't show up there. Never to fear, though. If you click on the actual post, where the comments are listed underneath. Nicely numbered. And I even figured out how to add a picture. YAY!)

    I'd be happy to help you if you need it!

  8. 12
    Shel at Dreamy Nest

    Great tips. Thank you!

  9. 13
    Jenn @ WestSacHoney

    These are great! I really like them!

  10. 14
    Reagan @ Recipesmademyway

    I have a recipe blog and have been tring to figure out how to make a link to a printable version of the recipe! Do you know how to do that???

  11. 15
    Andi Lia

    Hi Linda, thanks for the tips :)
    I'm a newbie in Blogger, could you give me a hint for other bloogger which only feature other bloggers' posts?
    Thanks :)

  12. 16
    Amie

    Thanks so much for using some of your valuable time to answer all these questions for us. They are so helpful!

  13. 17
    clare's craftroom

    Wow all great tips , thanks very much !

  14. 18
    Curt and Alexandra

    Thanks so much for all the great tips on blogging. I'm really learning a bunch!

  15. 19
    Heather from WhipperBerry

    Thank you, thank you! I really appreciate that you have taken the time to write this all out for us. I find the information extremely valuable!

  16. 20
    ificould

    Linda,
    Thanks for all of the great tips!
    Missy & Kimi

  17. 21
    Dita Maulani

    Wow! Thanks sooo much for bunch of info here Linda! I really have to learn harder!

  18. 22
    Marjolein

    Hi Linda,
    I love your blog en thanks to your posts I found out I am a "stalker" ;-)
    But I will try to better myself, and maybe even start my own blog (just have to find the courage).
    You have definitely helped me in this decision.
    So thank you!
    Marjolein

  19. 23
    famr_4evr

    Thanks so much for this!! I'm just posting mainly as an out for me, and a place to express thoughts. But I think it will help others who it is their business. Thanks, and I love the craftiness!

  20. 24
    Rachel Harwood

    Thank you so much for your advice. I am just starting out, and find it very useful! :)

  21. 25
    Amanda

    A huge thank you is in order: first for a wonderful blog, second for taking the time to teach us newbies, third for proving that we can craft and eat our cake too (I'm a SAHM to 3 little girls all under the age of 3). I, in all my excitement, went ahead and put together a blog but didn't really think all of the logistics thru and you have done such a bang up job in explaining what needs to be done. Thank you again, Linda!

  22. 26
    ALi

    Thanks so much for the tips. I am working on establishing my blog and this article was very helpful. I also love to craft so I am excited to take a peek at all of your projects!