November 5, 2010

Which lurking reader is helping YOUR blog score the perfect touchdown?

Touchdown!

Ah, football.

The game, that is, not the oblong thingee that gets played in it.

Let me ask you.

Have you ever watched a football game?

In other words, have you ever lost yourself in the sheer edge-of-the-seat anticipation, the utter gut-wrenching panic of seeing the underdog rip out that last winning point with a fervor unknown in the modern world except for when angry parents battle each other to secure that last Tickle Me Elmo on Christmas Eve?

Really?

You *have*?  Jeepers, what's it like?

See, *my* football experiences has been watching first my high school team and nowadays, my daughter's high school football team, devise ever fresh new ways to lose games with a style and grace Tim Gunn would appreciate.   Or perhaps Homer Simpson. 

Maybe Barney the Dinosaur?

But I digress.  :)

The fact is, football (when played by competent teams who actually run in the *right* direction to score a touchdown), is a team sport (unless it's played by Chuck Norris).

It's not just one person who scores the touchdown (unless of course we're talking advertising marketing rights like plastering one's 300-watt smile on a Wheaties Box or lending one's name to the Wii Fit White Balance Boardie Thingee like so:

No indeed, football IS a team effort.

Just like your wonderful blog's popularity…it's a team effort done by your *readers*…..and *you*.

I mean, let's be serious here, okay?  Chances are that like me, you write utterly magnificent spine-tingling awesometastic content, right?

But now ask yourself…how often does that fresh and astute content of yours *really* get the promotion it deserves?

And gosh (pardon me while I weep tears of sorrow and heartbroken anguish in my soothing morning coffee) isn't it more maddening than waiting for a flock of turtles…..to speed across the parkway so you can continue to drive……when you really put in all….that….effort….and see popularity results less impressive than a springy recital of Angry Molten Baked Goods?

Yep…what I said.  C'mon now, confess.

I see you nodding your head there!

The fact is…

You could be a barely-clad Madonna or a bare-chested Macgyver or a secret free shiny gold coupon with web 2.0 gradients to never-ending coffee for the rest of your life!  On a horse!  With tickets!  and unless your readers tell others about it…your blog will *never ever ever* score that critical touchdown that you deserve.

Shocking, I know.

Heck, you'll never get out of the ballpen! (What's that?  A ballpen is used in writing?  A Ball point pen?  Then what's the word I want?  Oh jeepers, I hate it with that happens – hang on, let me fire up Google….ballpen…ballpoint pen….you want to sign up for the rss feed for my site pen by clicking on the orange badge on top pen….oh yes, that's it!)  Bullpen!

Now, I hope you're sitting down real comfy-like, because you're about to spring to your feet and cry out:

"Ouch!  I bonked my knees on my keyboard tray!"

No no, instead, you're going to sing in soul-searing delight:

"My gosh, Barbara Ling is right! That IS the key!"

Ready?  Alrighty then – get this.

*You* do not make your blog popular.

Your *readers* do.

Actually, think about it.  All *you* do is provide great content.

Right?

Right.

And if that's the case, that's where you're *wrong*.  El wrongo!  Do not pass go, do not collect $200, you lost on Jeopardy!:

Anyone can provide great content!  Heck, my mooses could shed great content.  The fact is, there's 100s and 1000s and millions and beeyons of really great content out there (there really is!) but….

Stay with me here, gentle reader, this is key!

Because the readers have no insane desire to share your content, it dies a slow painful agonizingly boring death.

There, I said it.

You need (you really do!) to make it worthwhile for your readers to share your content.

And how on earth do you do that?

So glad you asked!  Here's what I'm doing, and I'd love to hear your own take as well!


NOTE!Step 1.)  Install CommentLuv

The most magnificent plugin on the face of this planet, Commentluv gives your commentors a deep link back to their own site when they leave comments for you.  A win win!  You can see some of the commentluv blogs I follow over at:

Just trust me here.  Do it. Your readership will increase.


NOTE!Step 2.)  Make your reader's time on your site…. memorable

How many times do you come to a blog and get hit by 83 optins?

Do you see that on mine?

And yet, mine IS a marketing/make money/grow your profits/etc. blog.

Instead of whomping folks with my optin, I've added that nifty neato peelio thingee on the upper right hand side.

G'head, click on it, I'll wait.  And I'll watch….

Oh hey there, you're back!

Now tell me….what did you see?

Yep.

Right from the get-go, I try to set a positive, happy mood for my visitors. 

My visitors… like you.

See, I know that you're a busy person and have probably 9,239 site competing for your attention.  So I appreciate your time and want to welcome you and make you feel at home.  And yes, I am in the middle of a huge site redesign, so I will be adding more content later…but this is certainly a good placeholder, don't you think?

Now…think how you can apply that idea to *your* site!

How can you make visits to your blog memorable? 

An excellent question!  Move now to:


NOTE!Step 3.)  Connect *with* your readers straight from the getgo.

Ask yourself.

What added special good feelings can you compel your reader to feel? 

It really does depend upon your blog niche, of course.  If you're writing a parenting blog, you can connect with your readers by empathizing with the demands of children, pets, exploding coffee pots, sock-eating laundry monsters and the like.

Writing for Martial arts fans instead?  Talk about the challenges of perfecting katas, point sparring in competitions, NOT braining yourself with your bo-staff or nuchaku, and then welcome your readers for something….relaxing in comparision.

What's that?  Your blog focuses upon fashion?  Mention the up and coming trends you keep your readers current about, or how tough it is to find the best stylish accessories if you're a runway model locked into a body that brings to mind images of a surly toy poodle! 

See what I mean?  You make your blog memorable to your visitors by seeing what others *don't* do in their niche…and become the first to highlight it.

The above is one of the best takeways from this post – do internalize it please.  Thanks!


NOTE!Step 4.)  Make your Twitter ID…obvious.  Please.  I beg you!

If I had a dime for every tremendous post I've stumbled across and then NOT been able to find the author's Twitter ID…I'd be a hell of a lot richer than virtually every Adsense publisher!!

Please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please make your Twitter ID obvious. 

It will make it much easier for people to promote you in (get this) Twitter.

Oh, and I'm @barbaraling.  Just in case you were wonderin', see.


NOTE!Step 5.)  Ask for the promotion

I know, bold, eh?

But quick!  Scroll down to the end of this post and see what's after the nifty neato coolio social promotion icon thingeeos.

It says, and I quote:

Thank you for reading!"Hey there, thanks so much for stopping by! If you enjoyed this article, please do feel free to tell your friends about it or use those nifty neato social icons above to spread the word. I love sharing great info, and would really appreciate it…thanks!"
— Barbara Ling
Whee!

Drop me a line in the comments below if you'd like the code to that, btw.

I asked meself:

Self, what would remind ME to tell folks about a really great post?

The above is my take.  I just added that this morning, believe it or not; I fell asleep dreaming on what would possibly be the cat's meow.

Or the touchdown added goodie.

What do you think eh?

Oh, and before I forget:


NOTE!Step 6.)  Use Light Social To Promote Your Posts…With The Following Twist

Yes, I know you're in love with your SexyBookmarks.

So was I.

Until it destroyed my Feedburner feed thingee.

WAAAHHHHH!!!!!

I researched the issue and came up with:

Feedburner insists that my feed is too big

I deactivated SexyBookmarks and voila, that problem was solved…

While the following big huge ballet-dancing moose-sized problem waltzed into my office!

How could I *still* make it easy for readers publicize my post?

Well, I came across

Light Social

and my gosh, it's wondrous!  It does exactly what's needed except…the social media icons provided are smaller than an ant's toothbrush found at a yard sale.

So….I hunted around for some nifty social media icon sets and used those instead.

You can too!  Just look around at Icon Finder or check out:

That should cover all bases, eh?  :)

And finally, my last suggestion to help you help your readers help your blog score that perfect publicity touchdown is…


NOTE!Step 7.)  Install some customer-care wordpress plugin shortcuts!

I'm a geek, I'll be the first to admit it…and generally, I much prefer hacking stuff into my blog than adding yet another plugin to my wordpress installation!

But if you'd like the ease of such goodies, revel in the below.

  • Comment Redirect – allows you to set up a page to thank your first time commentors.  Comment below and see what you get!
  • WP Greet Box – This plugin lets you show a different greeting message to your new visitors depending on from where they found you.
  • Simple Author Box – Adds a simple author box with Gravatar image below the articles on individual posts pages (you customize it to thank your readers for reading, too!)
  • Jquery Pagepeel – Cute little adorable peelio thingee!
  • Do-follow – This plugin makes your comments do-follow.  I don't care about such things meself, but others do.
  • Connect With Facebook – I hope you're sitting down for this revelation – it allows your readers to (wait for it!) connect with Facebook!
  • Highlight Author Comments – make your responses in your blog stand out from everyone else

In closing

Dear stellar reader, in this article you learned about the 7 excellent tips for making your reader feel special and tell their friends about you.  They include:

  • Step 1.)  Install CommentLuv.
  • Step 2.)  Make your reader's time on your site…. memorable
  • Step 3.)  Connect *with* your readers straight from the getgo.
  • Step 4.)  Make your Twitter ID…obvious.  Please.  I beg you!
  • Step 5.)  Ask for the promotion
  • Step 6.)  Use Light Social With The Following Twist
  • Step 7.)  Install some customer-care wordpress plugin shortcuts!

But remember, the above ideas are useless…until you make them your own

So what are you waiting for?  And drop me a line below when you've added your own ideas to your own site – I'd love to check them out.

Thanks!

Grow strong,

Barbara Ling

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