I don’t have thousands of RSS subscribers to this website, and I probably never will. Mainly down to the fact that I just don’t have the time to be a frequent blogger, and I only visit about 10 other design blogs regularly. I blog and network on social media for the fun of it, and to learn from those more experienced than me, and hopefully provide help for some of those less experienced than me. I don’t have sponsored ads on my site, and I don’t use this blog to acquire new clients, although when that does happen it is a nice bonus.
Owning two businesses, running a few different revenue generating websites, and finding time for my social life is hard enough without adding this site to that pile! I am extremely grateful for the almost 1,000 current subscribers to BrianYerkes.com, and really enjoy networking with, and learning from them. I try to provide some decent level of value for their subscription when I do post new articles.
That being said, I do, however, understand how some of the “individual” design blogs like Jacob Cass acquire a large amount of visitors and RSS subscribers. And if you have heard about the opportunity Jacob just recently received because of his online exposure, you will see that there can be wonderful outcomes from spending a lot of time networking on social media.
The following list might prove helpful for those with the time to put into their blogging efforts if they want to see thousands of subscribers in their Feedburner accounts:
Comment, Comment, Comment
If you want people to visit your blog, you need to get the word out. One of the first ways to do this is to comment on other subject related blogs. By simply getting your name out there, and a good avatar seen, you will see that a small amount of traffic will start flowing to your website. About a year ago, a friend on mine decided to create a blog and in his first post, he linked to Jacob Cass’ website, JustCreativeDesign.com. This was the first thing my friend did with his blog. He didn’t comment on anyone other blog, didn’t publish his posts on any social network or anything..and guess what? Jacob visited his single post, and left a comment! So, starting out, you have to be a bit of a comment whore to get your name out there, no matter what website it is on.
One big tip when commenting: if you are commenting on a post similar to a post that you have published on your own site before, add your comment along with a link to your post to attract others that are interested in reading more on that particular subject.
I have noticed that people like Jacob Cass and David Airey do this often, and if carried out correctly, is definitely ok to do. Just make sure the link to your own post is adding value to the original post, and your comment as a whole is doing the same. If you add a comment that has no substance whatsoever, and then throw in a link, your comment will most likely be unapproved or will be deemed as spam.
Example of this in action: I recently read a post on Six Revisions titled “25 Elegant Workstations for Your Inspiration“. I enjoyed this post, and originally published pictures and information of my own workstation here on BrianYerkes.com back in September 2008. I thought this may interest some of the readers on SixRevisions’ post, so I added the following comment:
Wow, some of those work stations are ridiculously cool.
Enjoyed this post a lot. I posted some info on my work station with pics in Sept 08, haven’t changed it much since then!
Jacob Gube of SixRevisions replied to my comment, and was curious about what brand my speakers were. This interaction in the comments area of his post gave me and my site some good exposure, and in one day I received just over 100 visits from SixRevisions.com. I didn’t post this comment with the intention of trying to increase my traffic. I simply thought that it would be fun to share my workstation post with Jacob and others reading about similar workstations.
With honest intentions, your comments can provide value and interest, and that in turn will increase the visitor numbers to your own website. Comments made with bad intentions will not help you to make friends.
Lists, Linking and More Lists
One common characteristic of blogs with thousands of subscribers is that they all publish lists. This seems to be extremely time consuming and tedious to do, but there are a number of reasons bloggers do this.
Example of this in action:
- A decent list can get you on the frontpage of Digg/Stumble Upon etc. I recall a time when Jacob Cass’ blog was down a few times one day because a list style post of his made it to the home page of Digg, and as a result, his website was hit by a barrage of traffic in a short space of time. He published a huge list, a lot of people dugg it, and he received a lot of visitors.
- List posts create a lot of links to other people’s blogs, which most of them will see, whether in their WordPress dashboard, or in their website stats’ traffic sources. If you see a blog post with a huge list of links, check out the comments section. Most of the comments on the post will be “thank you’s” from the people that the post is linking to. As a result, you not only receive a lot of extra traffic, but a lot of the people you link to will probably subscribe to your website also. Check out this link from Jacob Cass on Logo Design Resources. Do you have the patience to create a list post like this!?
Any chance you have to promote your name and your blog, do it. When a blogger says on Twitter he is putting together a logo design gallery post, submit your logo. When someone asks for your input to be included in an upcoming post, send your input. A while back, I showed some appreciation to my subscribers by allowing them to submit their website information to me and I published it here.
Also, if you have networked with someone on Twitter with a prominent blog, don’t feel bad asking them if they would list you as a friend on their blogroll. This can give you a lot of random website visits, on a regular basis. It’s all about building foundations like this to develop your base.
One obvious way to promote your blog and your personal brand is to be extremely active on social media websites like Facebook. Be active on Twitter, retweet links, #followfriday people, interact with others, be personal and make friends.
Write Good Content
That last item on my list, and probably the most important. You can get thousands of daily visitors, but if your content isn’t interesting or if it doesn’t provide any value to the reader, then your rss icon will not be clicked on as much as it could be.
Don’t waste all that time and effort you put into social networking, comment whoring and list publishing without providing readers with some good original content.
There are a lot of other ways you can get thousands of rss subscribers, like asking your mum to create thousands of Google reader accounts…..but the list above should help you get started!
Start your dirty comments, shameless promotion and link bait commenting below! Those with thousands of subscribers, anything little secrets you want to share?!