By ‘Sola Fagorusi
Growing a blog is akin to a newspaper house trying to attract readership. It is a rough task. Last week, we established the rationale behind having a blog. A blog however will gather thick cobwebs and dust in the absence of a number of things – especially content. No blog owner begins to think of revenue for his or her blog if readers are not retained and new readers are not added. Enviable advertisement revenue is secondary and only a natural process that follows after a blog has established solid presence.
As hinted at last week, it is best to blog about a subject one is passionate about or a specialty one has full knowledge of. A housekeeper or even a porter at a hotel for example can choose to start a blog about life in a hotel using an anonymous identity. It is as unusual as a commercial sex worker or escort choosing to start a sex blog. Curiously, there are a number of such blogs by individuals around the world. It can also be a nursing mother writing about parenting on her blog, therein she can choose to chronicle her everyday life on the blog.
Most times, blogging is a pastime and not a full time vocation. It means a blogger will have to make out time to write contents that will resonate well with the readership. A blogger needs to know how to write about a popular issue from a curious perspective. The recent and unfortunate Hajj stampede is an example. A blogger focused on politics for instance may choose to write about the grandstanding between Iran and Saudi Arabia following the sad event and also throw in a bit about international diplomacy. Bloggers writing about life and living may choose to focus on educating readers, mostly of different faiths, on how Muslims perform funeral rites. The above has a better chance of generating traffic than the usual copy and paste approach that has irritatingly become the norm for most bloggers. It is ultimately about saying something new and interesting. Contents like these will be a fresh departure from news coverage about the mishap. It can also be about putting up a post with helpful tips. A city-focused blog may choose to highlight top restaurants in the city. It will become a reference for visitors and also dwellers seeking such information. It is also important that readers are made to feel wanted on a blog. A blogger choosing to respond to comments makes the blog interactive. It can also be taken a step further when the blogger decides to write a new blog post based on recommendation of the reader or comments provided by the readers on the blog. It is also a good strategy to leave space for subscription at the base of the blog or even a reminder at the end of a blog post. That way, a blogger can begin to know the number of people who are not just landing accidentally on his or her blog.
It is unlikely that a blogger today will be the first to start blogging in a niche! Even if that is the case, it is unlikely that a blogger will be the only person blogging about a niche. An old strategy is to engage with other blogs and leave comments there regularly. The quality and consistency of the comments will stand out the blogger; it is safe to afterwards begin to leave the address of your own blog after each comment.
Interviews are also a good way to get contents especially fresh types to a blog. A blogger can arrange a phone interview with a leading figure in the industry he or she blogs about. A career-focused blog can choose to run email or phone interviews with a successful career role model and ask for pictures to share with the interview. The interview can even be serialized over a period of two to three weeks. What this does to the blog is that it helps to attract fans of the interviewees to the blog and there’s a chance that they can return if you keep up with such quality content.
Pictures are great ways to also keep a blog alive. Ensure that when the opportunity presents itself, you capture related pictures that can be used for your blog. It is not the volume of words or the number of pictures that counts when sustaining a blog; it is the consistency and quality of post that matters. Readers love gossip and as your blog starts to grow, find time to share few comfortable details about yourself online – a picture, a family time out or a session at work – can make a lot of difference. Your personality can also draw readership if you know how to use it well. Organising offline meetings and or get-togethers as a gift for prominent commenters on your blog will also keep such readers permanently glued to your blog. Of course, you also get to write about these get-togethers on your blog.
One other strategy is to share your content through social media. Use Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and even LinkedIn for this purpose. A blogger can also choose to pin his or her most read post on his or her social media outlet. Bloggers willing to also spend on getting their blog to the desired position in a record time can also spend on promoting their content through advert on social media to enhance visibility.
Sola Fagorusi is a social entrepreneur and a prized freelance writer with a bias for youth and rural development. He started off as a youth staff with Action Health Incorporated in 2001. The Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife alumnus currently manages the programmes ofOneLife Initiative, Nigeria. ‘Sola is a DESPLAY Africa (Africa’s foremost and most consistent annual youth democracy academy) fellow and has been on its faculty since 2011. Keenly interested in governance and pan-Africanism, he volunteers as online editor of YouthHub Africa; a cyber-community for young Africans involved in social change. He believes in the efficacy of oratory and writing as tools to drive developmental engagements. As a freelance writer, he spares time to pen thoughts on contemporary societal issues and is a weekly columnist with Nigeria’s most read daily ? Punch Newspaper. His training and capacity cuts across democracy and governance, leadership, micro-enterprise, ICT4D, SRH, value chains, development communication and policy issues. He tweets @SolaFagro and blogs at www.kadunaboy.com
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