Inquiring Minds Want To Know #40:How do you gain a following on your blog?

You know, when I started taking questions, I kind of thought people would ask me what my favourite moment was for Sebastian in Black Butler or questions about anime and stories in general (and I have had a few of those). However, far and away the questions that get thrown at me are about blogging or the industry or fans, and wow some of those are hard questions to answer in any meaningful way given I’ve only been blogging two and a half years so don’t consider myself any kind of expert and as far as the industry is concerned, I’m more interested in the product (anime) than in the goings on in the background. But I guess that’s the point with this sort of content. It is the askers who get to decide what they are interested in.

And I’m thankful for every question that someone has taken the time to send me and I do try to answer as best I can. If you’d like me to have a crack at answering something, or you are just curious about something, fill in the survey below or use the link in the sidebar and drop me a question. If neither of those work for you, use the contact form and just send me your question.

Question: How do you amass such a huge following on your blog? From Rebel.

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Okay, there are a couple of points here that probably need to be addressed separately. The first is that while my official follower count for WordPress is at around 2400, that many people do not follow my blog. A large number of those (I’d estimate nearly 2000 of them) hit the follow button and then never again came anywhere near my blog. So while it looks like a really nice number, and I was certainly happy to see the follower count grow over my first two years, realistically, I’d say I have maybe 100 – 200 regular followers who occasionally interact with my content and about 50 who regularly interact with me.

And that’s fine. I really love the community I’ve built around my blog and it makes me smile when I see one of the regular visitors has left me a comment. I love it when someone who occasionally comments feels strongly enough about a post to leave a comment, and when someone entirely new drops by the blog and enjoys the content that is definitely cause for celebration. And while I’m certainly working to grow my blog, I’ve definitely realised number of followers is not the measure I want to use. As Irina regularly says in her advice posts, it is quality over quantity, and the followers who really engage with me here are definitely the best.

Still, the question of how I grew to 2000 followers probably needs to be addressed and I’m going to confess I just don’t really know. When I started this blog it was mostly a half-baked idea, a whim based on a half-joking suggestion from someone, and an undefined desire to write something and to embrace my love of anime simultaneously. I don’t think I ever really thought anyone would follow so when my blog started growing I was as surprised as anyone.

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Realistically, I think a couple of factors helped my blog to grow and even now help people find it:

01. I post multiple times every day (even during my incredibly busy week last week I had at least one post out a day) which means my blog shows up in the reader for existing followers, and for anyone following tags like anime my blog shows up at multiple points during the day which helps wordpress readers find it. I also try to ensure most of my posts are reasonable (I’d love to say I make sure they are good but to be honest some of them really don’t get there).

02. I try to just write what I want to write and what I feel strongly about rather than trying for click bait or jumping on the bandwagon. While it might get my blog a couple of instant hits, it isn’t going to build a relationship with my readers if I’m just writing whatever is going to get me clicks.

03. I spend a lot of time on other people’s blogs reading their content and engaging with them. This one really is important and I cannot emphasise it enough. If I back it statistically, last week I received 600 less views than the previous week. Two things changed last week. One, I wasn’t posting as often, but the second one was that I only had brief moments to read a few other blogs in my reader and I didn’t get a chance to comment on all that many. I certainly wasn’t spending any time searching for new blogs and content which I normally give a block of time to because I like reading new content and I like finding new blogs.

So, while none of these are really a particularly interesting answer or a guarantee of followers, that’s really the best answer I’ve got for this one.

Voice of Fox Episode 1

So let’s throw the question back to the readers: Do you do anything to gain followers? Any tips of clues? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and if you have a question, please fill in the survey.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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50 thoughts on “Inquiring Minds Want To Know #40:How do you gain a following on your blog?

  1. This was a good read. Thanks for sharing your insights. I do feel that others would be more inclined to look at your blog if you are engaging with others on their Blogs. I’ve enjoyed the small moments where we interact about run with the wind but I need to make more time to check out your posts to see what your thoughts are. So working to be more interactive myself. You mention that you make timeblocks for things. I’m guessing you schedule yourself around blogging or just everything in general. I’d be interested in more information on that stuff

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you just need to look at your day and figure out how you want to prioritise your time (and it has to work for you). For me, giving an hour each morning to reading blogs is actually something I really enjoy doing as I love reading all the different ideas that are there and while I could use that time for other things, I think it is a great way to start my day. Giving another hour in the evening to it as a wind-down is equally fun. Other people might not want to spend that long or feel they have that time. If I still lived in the city where I was spending nearly two hours commuting to and from work each day, I probably wouldn’t. But because I live five minutes from everything because my town is tiny, I have the time to do that and still be able to watch some shows in the evening and draft some posts and do more or less what I need to do. I also don’t get a lot of sleep though I’m slowly improving on that.
      For me, I like plans, so I tend to divide my day into hours in my head, block out the work sections and potential work sections (never sure exactly how long things will take in the afternoon), and then I think about how I want to spend the time that is left. Some of it goes to stuff like housework and cooking and the like, some goes to watching anime, some goes to writing, some goes to reading… I like to have a plan the night before of what my next day is going to look like and knowing that I’ve given time to the things I want to do and the things I need to do.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think for some people and some blogs, posting less often but having more depth in the posts and more polish is what they seem to go for. Analytical pieces or pieces that do research into the industry take much longer to assemble, and also lead to more discussion and interaction. Whereas, episode reviews tend to rely on being timely with the release of the anime (same week at least) in order for anyone to care. So it really is about finding something that works for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I agree about that. Usually people still get a lot of views if they take time to make big posts. I think for me, I think I take my time on review, OWLS and personal posts. If it’s something short, it usually goes to the news.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing your views and experience on this. As someone trying to grow hearing from someone who has made it, so to speak, helps give me insight. Although I’d like to post often I always feel as if what I write is meaningless, not because of few viwers, but because I’m still not confident in myself or my writings. Either way, I appreciate your advice and will continue to grow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think anything is meaningless if you care about it. I mean, the majority of my content are anime episode reviews which outside of the week the episode aired are fairly pointless. And yet, I love discussing anime and getting my thoughts out and it is always great to know that some of my followers are waiting for the most recent post on X anime and they’ll comment on it and that other followers are waiting for a different anime.
      In the beginning, posts would regularly go past with almost no views and no likes or comments, but I think if you just keep putting yourself out there both through your own posts and through reading and engaging with others, you’ll slowly make friends within the community and build a following of people who appreciate what you are doing.

      Like

  3. Actually I do nothing. Except focus on a couple of things that I really want to do or write about. And doing the occasional blog reading. But again I’m a picky reader and finding a topic and blog that talks about something I like is rather rare. As such I simply don’t read a lot online. But when I get hooked, I get hooked.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can tell you why I follow, and keep coming back. Other than simply liking your stuff I also like reading your answers to these questions, reading about different themes in anime (like that post on bullying in March Comes In Like A Lion), and your different interest anime from my own introduces me to series I would have straight up ignored. Like currently I’m watching season 1 of Kamisama Kiss, and enjoying it. A series I wouldn’t have seen if you didn’t write about it. Stuff like that will keep me coming back, and I’ll be more than happy too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you liked the answer. I’ve been getting some tricky questions lately. I like that it makes me really think about what I’m doing, but it would be nice is someone threw me an easy one such as who is the hottest anime butler? That I could easily answer (then again I think everyone already knows what my answer would be).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Following trends is an easy way to gain followers, especially in the pop culture where “going negative’ is a fast way to get easy clicks.

    I myself try the opposite, and attempt to be a blog where I celebrate what I love in Anime, instead of cynically tearing it down. I’ll go negative only if I feel I need to have to (which is why there are no posts of me ripping Shinmai Maou no Testament apart)

    I have a small audience, but one I know reads my stuff and enjoys it to hit like. That’s enough because I am only writing for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is weird that negativity draws so many views particularly in a community that claim to love something. Still, I think there are enough people who either want to see both positive and negative points or who want to celebrate anime that writers can definitely build an audience without excessively tearing into it.
      That said, when I dislike something, I make that fairly clear because I kind of like balance and I can’t just forever be fan-girling.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agreed. It is ok to not like something and explain your reasons why, but a quick look into youtube shows you the entire cottage industry built on just ripping things apart and not taking in context, ideas, or even overall quality.

        I want no part of that, the pendulm has swung to far towards negativitiy, so if I can help even things out by being fair, but also positive, then that is what I can do.

        Shinmai still stucks though.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I write, I post.
    If people read, it’s fine. If people don’t read, it’s fine. If they give me a like, it’s fine. No like? It’s fine as well. The most dedicated followers are those found in the smallest of numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pewdiepie has, like, 69 million subscribers on Youtube. I wonder how many of those actively view his content, or even like/comment on them. The revelation that you feel over 85% of your followers don’t come back is astonishing, though I’m sure you get that from the number of views you get on posts and what-not. Makes me think of my own 330 or so followers, and how I can think of MAYBE 15 people who interact with my content semi-regularly.

    I’ve always pondered upon regulating the number of followers based on user activity with the people they follow. Youtube and other social media sites will occasionally purge userbases that have been inactive period, but I wonder what would happen if we were to do that in regard to a user and who they follow. Like, say, if someone doesn’t like or comment on an individual’s blog for at least three months, WordPress will automatically have them unfollow (with some reminders before that point). I think that’d be interesting (and a lot of work).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think though it would give a better indications of a sites’ potential reach and how active the community really is. It would also stop people who spam follow just for follow backs as the practice would become more or less useless in the long run.
      I’m sure there are practical reasons why the follower count is going to just keep counting anyone who said follow even if they’ve since deleted their own blog and vanished (and I have more than a few of those in my follower list), but I think it goes to show why just looking at one number is probably not the best way to measure the ‘success’ of a blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I think my tip, aside from what’s been said and what I’ve got running on my blog right now, is to stick at blogging. Not to the point where you find it a chore or hard to keep up with real life, but to allow yourself to have good and bad days, because in retrospect, you might not even remember you had blogger’s block (is that the right term?) this time next week/month/year. Time may be money, but it can also help things pay off if you’re willing to persist. In terms of followers, the longer you’re around and the more you post (especially if you post about certain theme/s), the more people become aware of you as a blogging entity. However, if you’re a big enough entity people start to ask you questions, they can sometimes think you’re a real industry insider, when in fact you’re just a fan…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It really does. So many times I read something you have written or someone else in this community and it jump started my brain to write something. I feel like I can never run out of ideas as long as your reading and being active in the community.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Like others, I agree with everything you have pointed out. I have been one and off for years but since doing this steadily, I have realize the posting regularly and interacting with other blogs is the most beneficial thing you can do. I’m nearly the 100 follower mark and those two things have blessings for ideas and meeting new people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that you have pointed out that the interactions really help with coming up with ideas. While it isn’t about using someone else’s idea, it is amazing how often reading something someone else has written will inspire something you want to write. It might be related or it might end up going in a totally different direction but the catalyst was a comment or a discussion you had with someone else.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post and advice! I have to admit, time is an issue for me a lot- I wish I could write and engage more with other bloggers (and I do when I can), but I really do find the same sense of fun with the regular readers and commenters. I know who those folks are (yourself included!) and it’s always a cool feeling to engage in conversation over the work you’ve put out. As always, keep up the great work, and I’ll try to get more writing out on my end 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t think you can overstate the interaction element of it. I was putting out fairly regular posts for a long time and it wasn’t until I started to interact with other blogs that I really saw notable statistics.

    You can always hope that one post explodes, but they are few and far between. Better to take a slow and steady approach. Produce content at a consistent rate and enjoy it. You can always tell if the author of the post enjoyed writing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the problem with having one post explode is that once the fuss around that dies down people who came for the show will naturally migrate away to whatever the new explosion online is. Whereas when you’ve built it up through interactions and consistency, followers tend to stick around (mostly).

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I just try to post as often as I physically can while also trying not to make it a huge burden on me while also trying to make as high quality of content as possible. The amounts to at three posts a week as a minimum. Maybe my follower count will not grow as much as I want it to, but I’m ok with that.

    Also, interact with other bloggers is also a big deal that try my best to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I definitely celebrated hitting the 2000 follower mark, I’d happily have a smaller number sitting there if there were more people to chat with about anime. Honestly, that is the far more rewarding part of blogging.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve started blogging around the same time as you have, although my followers count isn’t as much as yours. I absolutely agree on everything you said. Posting as often as you can is definitely something that’ll help amass your following, but it’s not something I can afford to do since I’m still a college student, and I place education as my top priority. That being said, it’s absolutely true that you need to have a passion to write in order to keep up. I remember when I first started my blog, that was pretty much all I wanted to do, but I was still in high school, so I had the time. Most of my other collaborators just simply don’t have the time like me, but to be fair their schedules are a lot more busier and hectic than me, so to them, it’s actually a miracle I get to even browse around here to read your article and comment.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember having a lot more free time when I was at university compared to when I started working – then again I was a lot more stressed out and had some really irregular hours with classes and part time jobs. I wonder how I would have gone at keeping a blog if I’d tried it back then. And now that I think about it, I’m really glad I didn’t try.

      Like

  15. Great post. I’ve only just passed the 500 mark, so I’m way behind on official followers, but I’ve found that regular posting really does help. Even if it’s just hosting blog tours rather than reviews etc, it does bump things up a bit. I thin kyou’re right about writing stuff you care about too, it’s better that than a stock piee about a popular thing that you just don’t have an opinion on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the real problem is there is no way to track which followers actually have meaningful interactions with your blog or even visit it regularly. I know some of my followers don’t like posts and only comment when they really have something to say because they’ve mentioned that they do read my blog and when they do comment it is clear they’ve read previous posts. Other people I really do believe just hit follow and never return and there’s legitimately no way to keep track of that.

      Liked by 1 person

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