Blog Growth, the Eternal Struggle

I occasionally get asked for blogging advice, as I assume you all do, and I do my best to answer even though I’m still a rank amateur, albeit a veteran one. By far the most common question I get is how do you reach more people/get more followers? I’ve also noticed a trend in the comments. People pointing out how long and difficult it is to get even one new follower.

I don’t know about Karandi, but in my personal experience on my blog, it’s pretty much an eternal struggle. There are days I lose readers and end up with less at the end of the week. I know it doesn’t really mean anything. A long absent person who may never have read my blog deactivated their WordPress account and boom… I’m a little bummed that day for no actual reason. I try to figure out if my latest post was that bad. Sometimes I have a follower dance, gain one lose one, back and forth all week. Usually whenever I get excited about being close to a milestone, those last 5 followers take forever!

And to this day, getting someone new to want to follow my blog is exciting. I won’t deny that it gives me a little thrill.

But let me tell you, unfortunately it doesn’t get any “easier”. At least not in my experience. I thought that there would be some type of feedback loop or something of the sort that would make it so that the bigger a blog got, the more it grew naturally without any effort on my part. Nope, very wrong. You get complacent, you stagnate.

kuroko drowning
took me forever to find the right pic

Now I’m not going to rehash all the things you can do to gain followers but I will tell you the things that have worked for me and why they don’t get easier.

– Sidenote, I really wish WordPress would make it easier to like and comment without a gravatar account. I understand that the follow mechanic puts your blog in the person’s reader app so their would be no point in anyone following without having the app installed but I do regularly get comments to my posts on twitter because it’s easier for the reader, instead of my blog, and I miss them half the time. I think this is one aspect that cuts down engagement and ultimately follower count.

Back to what I was saying though. One of the most effective ways for me to get followers has been community engagement. Following other blogs, reading and commenting on their posts, chatting with bloggers. That sort of thing. As I’m sure you’ve heard though, that takes time. I have a full+ time job, a social life (I know, even I’m surprised), I write regularly, not to mention all the anime to watch and games to play. At some point, you just reach a point where following a new blog and interacting regularly with them isn’t really possible without leaving someone else behind. I know first hand how depressing it is to loose a follower so I rarely stop following blogs but eventually you have to make tough choices.

Then again, when I started out I followed everyone who followed me, something a few bloggers were exploiting, and as such I still follow a bunch of blogs on subjects I really have no interest in and who have obviously never been on my blog at all. I should probably trade them out for fellow Anime bloggers who at least have similar interests… This said I know I can’t follow unlimited blogs and as such that particular strategy for growth has it’s limits for any blogger. Now I follow blogs I like whenever I find a new one or from readers I interact with. I won’t just blindly follow everyone anymore because it gets out of hand.

The other strategy to gain followers is straight up promotion. I’m bad at this. I do projects without insisting on credit or links back. I have been told that promoting other blogs diluted your readership but I have always enjoyed sharing other blogs with readers. And if I lose readers to those new blogs, I figure they probably would not have stuck around anyways.

nisemonogatari-03-kanbaru-waving-good_bye-bandages-smile
thanks for stopping by

On the other hand, I’ve never been great about making sure other sites end up linking back to my blog and I’m super lazy about promoting my posts on other platforms. This is my own fault. But I’m just busy with the games and anime and stuff…

If you have the energy and the hustle, you can enlist other bloggers to advertise for you. I personally don’t like when people use comment sections just to plug their own blogs, especially when it’s completely irrelevant to the post, so I never click on those myself but I bet that works as well. I don’t like it because I think you should at least ask a blogger before advertising your own blog on their platform. But that’s just me. And if your own post is relevant than that’s a different story.

This said, no matter how many followers you already have, getting more is always hard work. I can’t say my blog has growth has changed in any way and the moment I stop putting in effort, it slows down. Some people might get lucky with a viral post or something and get explosive growth but for most of us it’s a slow (I cannot emphasize this enough, it takes time) hard climb. So if you feel like you’re at a standstill, don’t worry about it too much. We are all in the same boat. It’s hard for all of us and sometimes feels like a gargantuan task! You shouldn’t worry too much about those numbers anyways, eventually people will find your blog.

*If you get tired of it you can always write for someone else’s blog and make the follower thing their problem..? cough cough…

anime coughing
had a tickle in my throat

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Contributed by Irina
from I Drink And Watch Anime!

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38 thoughts on “Blog Growth, the Eternal Struggle

  1. I know it’s rather late to be commenting on this, but I really enjoyed the article! Hearing your perspective on things is always interesting Irina. And as always, it’s great to have people like you to look up to and learn from. I hope you get more and more followers and comments!! I hope I do too lol! xD

      1. I’d like to engage more people and get comments as well. View numbers are fine and all but I started the blog to talk about anime so nothing makes me happier than someone leaving me a comment and wanting to chat about a show.

  2. Great write up on the eternal struggle if you have been blogging for long enough. But like you ended this post on Irina, to not worry about numbers or stats least of my concerns these days.

  3. I mean maybe don’t trade them all out with anibloggers, maybe keep a couple dummies who talk about I don’t movies? Just to keep the feed diverse.

    I think WordPress is tricky because it doesn’t have much of a casual audience of non-content creators and a lot of people see the reader as not as important as their goal of making their own content. I think WordPress is great for bringing a pre-established audience into the blog style format or it’s more a place to build yourself. It’s a good place to sort of find your voice, style, schedule, design, etc. and maybe after being comfortable in your brand or identity you gradually expand to Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube with a core audience gathered through WordPress.

    Honestly, I think you have to embrace community here unless you want to play SEO Price is Right and make content that is obscure enough to not be buried under tons of other results but still have a healthy amount of searches. I like to think that following should be at least a sign of encouragement to that person that you support their content and hope they continue to produce it even if your not going to read everything.

    I know those “blogger awards” are ultimately meaningless, but I think they’re a great rite of passage and I think for those starting out to get your first one is a great sign that the community is accepting you and giving you a chance to spread positivity and acknowledge others. I think I remember once seeing some dummy used it as an excuse to say nice things to blogs they enjoyed on like valentine’s day; I think it worked out for them and they got some mutual respect out of it and to interact with some nice people…. or maybe they died I don’t remember.What am I even talking about? Great advice as always, definitely Bill K. Scamaton approved.

    1. Agreed first with Bill cause the man’s a genius and second with the particularities of the wordpress audience although I have been having a pretty good streak of off reader views they dont tend to interact much

  4. 🙂 Luckily for me, I have no problem with getting followers.

    Now, even though a person is unable to leave a “Like” without a Gravar account, it is still possible for them to leave a comment.

    Do enjoy the rest of your day!

  5. Great article. I think you’re right, both interaction and promotion are important if you’re wanting to get more followers. For me, the biggest obstacle with that is finding time in the day. Switching to essentially writing as a job has freed up some time to do both, but I’m still a full-time parent too, so getting everything done is a struggle.

  6. This was really encouraging. I’m pretty new to blogging and it’s good to know that I’m not the only one finding growth to be slow. Thanks for the post!

  7. As someone very new to this and started due to the sheer love of writing, I am encouraged by this posting. Someone in Singapore has read my last blog evidently, what a thing to wake up to !

  8. I’ve been into anime for all my teenage years, I’m glad I decided to follow you. This article really relates to me. I’m a new blogger and I find it really hard to gain new followers. What I do mostly is share my blog with my friends and persuade them to share more, it annoys them sometimes but I don’t care, I don’t feel good if my stats don’t go up. I might take it easy when I get a bit used to blogging, but for a newcomer like me, it is fun with anxiety. Thanks for this article, I had a good read.

    1. The better you get at blogging the more you learn as well. The more you wanna do. It’s kinda hard for it not to feel like a chore but your well on your way to having the results you want. Because your doing the most important think while blogging and that’s having fun. If you can hold on to that. Makes everything else worth while.

        1. No problem. Takes alot to put yourself out on the internet. I hope your proud of yourself for taking this leap of faith because your deserve it. Every little victory counts

    2. I think, particularly when you are starting out, you need to not worry so much about numbers and work on connecting with others. You can worry about numbers later (or not), but being a part of the community is where the fun of blogging comes from.

  9. Honestly I may be a bit of weird blogger when it comes to statts😅 Like you of course I get a thrill when I gain a new follower. But I also know that when it comes to followers there are a lot of what I like to call “silent” followers. People that might never even read your posts, never interact in any way etc. Exactly as you say, interacting takes time, and like you I have a fulltime job (not a real socal life, but eh…that’s probably just me😅) and in a few months I will have less time, when my company moves to a different city. There is a limit to the amount of blogs you can follow, and I’m not someone who just follows because someone follows me. Not that I maybe don’t want to follow a person, but simply because I would hate to become someone that never is able to read a post and all the hard work a blogger has put into it.
    It’s always a fine balancing line. That said, one of the most rewarding things I have gained from blogging is the interacting with everyone. Without that, blogging would have been so much less fun, and I would not have been able to meet so many cool people including you two. I just try to keep having fun, and when my blog grows because of the fun I’m having that’s awesome.
    In the end though, while stats are certainly important, and without followers one probably would not even have a blog, I try not to worry too much about it. This was a great post about probably the biggest struggle we bloggers always seem to have! 😊😊

    1. I think initially I just wanted to interact with people and have a place to talk about anime, but over the last couple of years I’m starting to really want to grow my blog into more of a full time thing so that I can do more with it and reach more people. For me, the question of blog growth, balanced with actually writing content, balanced with a full time job, balanced with occasionally being social in real life and occasionally sleeping is one that is becoming harder to answer. That said, I’m having so much fun it doesn’t really feel like work when I’m doing something for the blog no matter how long I work on it.

      1. Well, all I can say is that you are well on your way to doing that. With the risk of sounding like I’m on another let’s make Karandi blush round (lol), I truly mean it. Your blog is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest anime blogs currently out here, and so many people look up to you (myself included). It has always amazed how you are able to keep so much quality content going, alongside all the interacting and support you give to other bloggers. It’s no wonder that your blog has become as big as it is now, and I’m pretty sure that over the years it will only become bigger.
        There was a time I was pretty overwhelmed myself, and even at one point was debating whether I would quit blogging althogether. Luckily that time is now past, although in a few months when my company moves, I know I will not be able to remain as active as I am now. But I’ll cross that bridge when it’s time 😊
        Like you ever since my return (and pretty much all the time) I am having so much fun that it never feels like work either😊 And then again…I always thought that sleep was way overrated anyway…..😂😂😂

        1. Yeah, I definitely find sleep to be intrusive into planning. Not that I sleep all that much but sometimes I just kind of wish it didn’t take as much time as it does.
          I don’t envy you with the move ahead but I’ll wish you the best of luck and I hope that you’ll stick around even if you aren’t quite as active. We missed you terribly when you were on break and it has been great having you back.

          1. Haha, yeah if we could somehow sleep less, that would be awesome. I sleep about 7 hours a day, so not too much, but well imagine what I could get done in those 7 hours a day lol.
            Yeah, it’s not something I’m going to look forward to that’s for sure. It means about 1.5 to 2 hours extra travel time. But well, we will see how it goes. I definitely don’t plan on leaving here fully. Aww thanks! Well trust me I missed you all terribly as well, and I have been having so much fun since my return that it makes me smile every day! 😊

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