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

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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.

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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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