How to Gain Followers, Comments, and Views

If you’re reading this, you probably are a blogger.  You probably want to be recognized and noticed, and love comments popping up on your blog like groundhogs.  If two more people could follow your blog, it would make your day.  You love search terms like “narwhals related to unicorns– be nice”.  In short, you love publicity.

If all that is true, I’m rather surprised that you don’t know what I’m about to tell you: how to get more views, comments, and followers without buying fancy schmancy extras.

Write well.

Really, it’s a no-brainer.  First of all, write about interesting things– things interesting to you, most importantly.  Don’t write about things that are popular, though that might seem to pay off quickly.  If you write about things that don’t interest you and write about them badly, even though other people might be interested at first, they won’t stick around.  Secondly, please use some grammar and good spelling.  Reading sentences where i’s and sentence beginnings aren’t capitalized, typographical errors are scattered all through, and you can’t tell when a sentence ends, it’s well nigh impossible to like the writing.  Third, last and possibly the least recognized, use your vocabulary correctly.  Though journalists, newscasters and such reporters can often misuse lingo without losing half of their readers, it’s only because they’re backed by such prestigious press companies.  You, my friends, aren’t.  (Sorry to shatter your dreamworld.)  Don’t obsess about it, but write in a way that’s readable.  (This also includes cutting back on coarse jokes, swearing, inappropriate topics– make your blog family-friendly.)

Create interesting titles.

The first thing a blog-hopper sees is the title of your post.  If the best post you’ve ever written is named “A Treatise on the Instigation and Continuation of Mass Stampedes of Rather Unintelligent Lemmings Over Highly Precipitous Outcroppings When Chocolate Cake is Involved”, no one will read it past the first glance.  When a Google search brings up your blog, they’ll take a look at the title and, with the limitations Google result portrayals have, will not be able to understand the point of the post before glancing away.  Make a pun, a joke, a clever or well-known turn of phrase.  The Dickens-style “In Which” chapter headings don’t work for blog posts.  Interesting at first glance; this must be your goal for post titles.

Common tags.

WordPress has things called tags that you can classify your posts with.  I’m not sure what Blogger has, or what they’re called in regular internet lingo, but I’ll call them tags.  What I did when I first got on WordPress was to look at their tag cloud.  (I’m not sure if that link will work, but…)  Wordpress takes the tags for all of the posts published in the last few days and puts them together so that other bloggers can find posts with topics they’d be interested in.  I looked over that cloud and picked out the tags with the most posts– more posts means more people looking for and reading such posts, so I figured I’d do well to piggyback that popularity.  Since then I’ve had a few common tags I usually use, such as Writing, Reading, Books, Humor, Literature, and Music.  I’ve even used the Poetry tag once or twice, just because that’s big– not because I do it well.  I also use other tags for finding things on the blog itself, but these tags have brought uncounted views to me.  Is it cheating?  No.  It’s enterprising.  I just checked that cloud again and found that Review is enormous: 25,565 recent posts, or somewhere around there.  I’ll be latching onto that soon, I promise.

Commenting: let it happen.

Some people love being in control; so much so that they don’t let comments through without approving them first.  This is great when you’re trying to keep certain things under control, such as book spoilers or whatever, but it cuts down on your popularity and comment count.  Let people comment.  Spam blockers these days are terrific– when someone comments with the username of “best hand cream”, using Ubbi-Dubbi to the exclusion of all else, it won’t get through.  You don’t have to be your own Spam filter.  You know what, if you’re worried about other things getting through your comments, such as swearing, insults to your writing, or those aforementioned book spoilers, there’s a nifty little tool on WordPress that automatically holds a comment for your approval if it contains certain words that you choose.  Go to Dashboard>Settings>Discussion and scroll down until you see a large white box.  Type into it the words you don’t want seen on your blog, and the Spam filter will do the rest.  Trust me: when people have the freedom to press “post comment” and see it pop up there, neat and tidy, right under that masterpiece you call a blog post, they like it.  They’ll comment more.  When they see the comments from before them, they comment for and agree or disagree with other people.  It’s called discussion; let people discuss.

Commenting: make it happen.

The other thing is replying to comments.  People like conversations, and when someone says something it’s polite to say something back.  Personally, I think the best conversations I’ve ever had have been with other people– I don’t know about you.  Also, commenting on the blogs of other people lets them know that you exist, and if you can say something interesting, they’ll probably check out your blog.  If you want someone to follow you, you have to follow and comment on their blog.  One interesting, bold thing you can do if you’ve commented a lot on another blog but they haven’t commented on yours, just say that their trial period has expired.  If they wish to receive more comments, they must return the favor on your blog.  If you’re an interesting conversationalist, they will comment on your blog to keep your comments.  You follow me and I’ll follow you.  That’s the way it works.

“Liking” posts.

Whatever you might think, “liking” someone’s post will not make them follow you.  Neither will just following another person’s blog.  I’ve got over 150 followers, and I know about twenty of them.  I keep breaking records for “most likes in one day”, but I don’t look at who has liked those posts.  When someone likes my posts, I don’t try to find their blog in return.  “Liking” is just waving hello and leaving.  Commenting is engaging in a conversation.  If you “Like” a post or follow a blog, no one will know you’re there.  If you comment, that’s a different story.  I never “Like” posts.  I enjoy a lot of posts, and if I do, I comment.  If you can’t find anything to say, just say “Good post!” and leave it.  Once someone knows you, yes, “liking” a post lets them know you read the post.  If you don’t know the blogger and they don’t know you, “liking” their posts is useless.  I’m a big fan of commenting, whether giving them or receiving them.

Awards and Contests.

Some people don’t like blog awards.  They don’t want their blogs cluttered up by non-interesting, fluff posts.  Well, awards are publicity.  You get linked to, you link to people, you have an excuse to go tell people– order them, even, to comment on your posts to accept the awards.  My top day for views was the day I posted an acceptance for an award, in which I gave it to 15 other people.  That’s 15 more people commenting on your post than with a usual post.  Compound that with one reply each from you, and possible replies from the bloggers themselves, and you have 30-45 comments, guaranteed.  Awards are publicity.

Contests are also great.  Create an incentive: a prize when the comment count gets to 500, 1000, your age, whatever.  People start commenting more to boost their chances at winning a prize– often a guest post.

Guest posts.

These are also publicity, whether the guest post is on your blog or that of someone else.  If it’s on your blog, the guest poster will probably link to your blog so that their followers can read their masterpiece.  If it’s on someone else’s blog, you get to steal the followers there for your own blog.  Win-win situation, so always accept– or give– a guest post if you can.

A wide range of topics.

Google search terms are amazingly hilarious.  When you see how people found your blog, you’d be surprised at what people have searched for to find your blog.  Usually those things will be so strange that the word they searched for only turned up once on your blog– such as the phrase “fatal badminton accident”.  I had one post on badminton, in which I used those three words scattered throughout the post.  Somehow I managed to become first on the search result page.  This only goes to show that if you want to be found everywhere by Google, you must say many strange things.  If you mention armadillos, you now have the potential to be found by a search for armadillos.  If you mention pink biplanes, yaks, crumpets or iPods with buttons, you might get views from those searches.  You don’t have to write essays on each of these topics, you only have to mention them once or twice.

Well, my friends, I believe my leash has brought me to a halt; I’m already over 1.5 thousand words.  In the interest of finishing before midnight, I shall finish now.  I hope you can follow some of these tips, but if you can’t it’s no skin off my nose.  Just send all the followers you don’t attract over here.  Thanks!

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Leave a comment

194 Comments

  1. Good post!

    Also, I just did a check, and this post is third or fourth on Google results for a wide variety of strange searches. It works, people.

    Reply
  2. Hmmm… I never thought about the security on comments turning people away. Maybe I’ll take it off of my blog.

    Reply
    • Personally, I think it’s better to let people think that they’re in control. They aren’t, but it’s better to let people think that they are.

      Reply
  3. Treskie

     /  August 15, 2012

    Awesome. Thanks. 🙂 I already try to do a bit of the things which you were talking about, but now that I have more tips, I shall work on incorporating them into my blogging.
    Nice post!

    God bless

    Reply
  4. Liam, is it okay if I mentioned your blog on my mine? I put it under a list of blogs that inspired me.

    Reply
  5. Hmm. Good thoughts. I’d have to say, I’m wondering why you don’t think the “In Which” titles work — but perhaps that’s because I’m fond of using them from time to time. 😛

    Reply
    • Because “In Which” titles give away the entire premise of the post, so they don’t make people want to read to find that out. Because “In Which” titles are so long and boring. Because “In Which” is just so… old. But from time to time, yes, they’re effective.

      Reply
      • Ahem.

        You just used an “In Which” title yourself (In Which a Duck Upstages My Protagonist), and I thought it was quite intruiging and did not give away the entire premises. Also, you have 32 comments, currently, on that post (quite a few, in my opinion!).

      • Indeed I did… Huh. But have you seen Dickens’s titles? “In Which I Attempt To Convince So and So To Do Something but Fail Miserably, but Earn the Right to Eat Squid on Sundays Instead”. Not exact, but it’s close to what he does. And what Dumas does in the Three Musketeers is absolutely horrible for any suspense (d’Artagnan looks for Aramis and finds what he’s looking for behind Planchet).

      • OK, agreed. Dickens and Dumas go a little too far 🙂

      • Aha, I see! I’ve got it now. Yes, Dickens and Dumas take it too far as Aylin said. However, I think that In Which titles can be done well if you don’t give away the entire concept of the blog post. 😉

      • I suppose you both are right. Vague In Which titles can be good, but you don’t want too much information to be given away.

  6. Psh, everybody knows that inappropriate topics are the best. They’re the opposite-of-the-Jim-Belushi of blog posts. Move in a distinctively downward helical direction family-friendliness!

    Reply
  7. Sage advice indeed. I’m guilty of having security settings on comments, but after reading this I removed them. I’ll be interested to see what happens. Thanks for this great post!

    Reply
    • It’s amazing how many views I’ve gotten today on just this post. What I didn’t tell everyone was that this entire post was an underhanded ploy to lure people to my blog… [insert canned maniacal cackling here, because I can’t do it that well]

      Reply
  8. Interesting thoughts. In relation to the guest posting, have you found ways to actually net a few of them? Outside of, you know, being around a while and being awesome.

    Reply
    • …Actually… net? a few of them? Do you mean get an opportunity to do one? Yes, I have. When someone says that they are three comments away from a guest post, make sure three people haven’t commented since he said that and comment thrice. That’s one underhanded scheme… But basically, comment a lot on blogs that offer comments for milestones– such as mine, who just gave one for the 3000th comment. Or win contests that they give. One blogger I know asked her readers to find thirteen incomplete sentences in her post– I gave it my best shot and I was the guest poster. And just be awesome. If you’re very complimentary and awesome like that, people just award you posts for being so cool.
      Just a heads-up– I might be offering a guest post for some unknown commenter around the first birthday of my blog, which is coming up. Who knows?

      Reply
  9. Destiny Skye

     /  August 15, 2012

    I Googled “biplanes pink buttons armadillo” and links to your blog came up first and second on the results.
    Great post!
    ~D. Skye

    Reply
  10. Hey people, go to my blog if you want an example of a blog that is essentially the opposite of the blog described here. Liam, this is a lovely description of how to get people to follow you and it will work. Someday I might get around to doing this, then I might get followers. Until then, I’ll be blowing bubbles in Arkansas.

    Reply
    • *in cheerful voice* Hello, Blowing Bubbles in Arkansas. Thank you for writing to Liam’s help column, and thank you for your kind thoughts. I do hope that you implement these tips on your own blog, and hope that followers abound like gazelles in Antarctica. Or wherever gazelles abound. Bye-bye, now.

      Reply
  11. Very interesting!

    Titles are certainly something I could work on: most of mine are fairly short and boring.

    With the search terms, do you find that they win you followers or only one-off views? Because personally if I searched something like “fatal badminton accident”, I probably wouldn’t be looking for a blog which just happened to have all three words in one post. Not, of course, that I would be searching “fatal badminton accident” at all, unless to see whether it actually leads to your blog. I suppose though, if you have a really awesome blog, maybe you can hook people who go around searching for random things?

    Most of my search terms have come from a post I did speculating where the 2020 Olympics might be held, but I’m sure everybody who looked at it would have been disappointed: it was all just speculation, no facts.

    And with the “likes”, I quite agree! The first couple of times that I got “like”, I clicked the link to the person who “liked” my post, but their blogs had very little in common with mine. I have been assuming that it is merely a tactic to win followers…

    Reply
    • Yes, I agree. There are some searches that would feature me, but the searcher him/herself wouldn’t click on it. But I have gotten views from the wackiest search terms, after only mentioning the topic once.

      The Olympics are a popular topic, but you’re right; if you don’t say something worthwhile, most people will pass you by.

      I never click on the people who “like” my posts. It’s a useless tool.

      Reply
  12. I loved this post 🙂
    You’re right about it being annoying when people don’t use proper grammar or punctuation. You just don’t feel like reading the post when it’s full of spelling mistakes.
    Thanks for the great tips!

    Reply
    • Oh, wow, thanks!
      It is, it is. Even though blogging is supposed to be a writing outlet for everyone who needs one, you’d think that a writer would actually follow the rules of good writing.
      You’re very welcome. Thank you for dropping by!

      Reply
  13. Aye, I’m indeed guilty of having comments reviewed before posted. Perhaps I shall take that off soon, perhaps not. I have yet to decide.

    Anyway, nice post. I really need to do more contests, and guest posting is a good prize as opposed to something like a life-time supply of air, yes? (Not that I’ve doled out that for a prize, but it would make for less participants I would assume.)

    Reply
  14. I liked your post, but I think I should comment too.

    Reply
  15. I have liked and commented. I am guilty or severe approve-comments crime. I shall be removing that quite soon. Although, how are you getting guest posters? I’d love to have some for my blog, and do it for others. (Now that I’m on that topic, would you mind guest posting for me someday? I’ve been enjoying your posts for a while and I like what I see! 🙂 )

    And looking at the number of comments, you have more on this one post than I do on my blog. Which is somewhat embarrassing. Also, I totally agree with the whole proper-grammar/punctuation thing. I can’t read blogs if they don’t have good spelling/punctucation/grammar/caps/ etc.

    If you’d get back to me soon about the whole guest post thing soon, I’d appreciate it.

    tomte

    Reply
    • Sure. Guest posting begins with having readers and/or commenters– I tend to give out guest posts for comment milestones such as the hundreds or thousands, depending on which. If you ask someone in the comments, usually they’ll accept.

      As for getting them… just be awesome in places you’d like to guest post on. I’ve guest posted less times than I’ve given guest posts, which I think is how it works most times.

      As for guest posting for you, let me get into the rhythm of posting often again and we’ll see. Remind me in about a week, maybe.

      Reply
  16. My Bloggy Woggy

     /  August 28, 2012

    Fantastic post; it’s actually helpful unlike so many ‘get better at blogging’ stuff that’s online.

    Reply
  17. great tips! hopefully will work! stylebyyvie.blogspot.com

    Reply
  18. taluimwriter

     /  July 10, 2013

    Thanks for sharing this information. :3
    It helps!

    Reply
  19. Yayzles! And I do believe they are called “labels” on Blogger.

    Reply
  20. myclosetnbeautyfinds90

     /  July 21, 2013

    Very helpful post! Thanks!

    Reply
  21. lauramacneillblog

     /  September 3, 2013

    Great post, thanks for the insights!

    Reply
  22. Nice post, i am new on WordPress, and this helped me:)

    Reply
  23. fitforlife9872

     /  September 28, 2013

    here I am commenting. hahaha kidding, good post. I’m so new to this!

    Reply
  24. Thanks for the guidance. I needed it.

    Reply
  25. Hey Liam, you get my follow and comments. Thanks

    Reply
  26. Thanks for the post! Like advice was actually pretty good & reasonable

    Reply
  27. Good post! Thanks for the tips will be trying these out 🙂

    Reply
  28. trying to get my blog started, thanks for the help!

    Reply
    • agarwalpooja

       /  March 8, 2016

      nice post..just to much for a beginner to absorb. will surely come back to these once I start writing.

      Reply
  29. Best Selling Author.

     /  November 23, 2015

    Reblogged this on kekethefamousauthor.

    Reply
  30. This is brilliant, few tips that I hadn’t realised the power of. Thanks!

    Reply
  31. Nice article, definitely going to take heed!

    Reply
  32. Andzelika

     /  June 6, 2016

    Very helpful post! 🙂

    Reply
  33. It never ceases to amuse me how popular this post is even four years later.

    Reply
  34. Great tips thanks a lot!

    Reply
  35. Michelle @ Addictively Turning Pages

     /  June 24, 2016

    Great post! I’m a new book blogger and trying to get more traffic on my blog and this post has been extremely enlightening. I have already checked out this tag cloud, and that last point of random vocabulary is hilarious and I’m definitely going to use that tip!!

    However, I actually disagree with you about how liking a post is useless. Maybe it just me, but I tend to always like and comment no matter. Maybe its the matter of commenting along with liking a post but I don’t think it’s completely useless. On the other hand, liking is like “waving hello, and leaving” so I completely agree with you there. As a new blogger, I quickly found how much I love commenting on other blogs and replying to comments on my own. 🙂

    Reply
  36. Yes, I’m 4 years late to this party, but obviously your tips work because I found you while doing my own search. I’ve incorporated a couple of your tips (most importantly opening up my comments without the need to moderate) and we’ll see how things go. Thanks for the helpful information!

    Reply
  37. Good blog 🙂 😉

    Reply

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