Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I will follow...

     I was introduced to blogging a little over a year ago by my cousin, Rorybore. She has her own blog and I asked her about how best to set up my own little space on the web. I had ideas but everything hadn't come together just yet. I checked out hers before taking the plunge myself.

     Of course now that I had my own space, I wanted people to read it. I needed followers. I admit, it was not my first concern. The only people I thought would be interested in my personal blog were my family, some friends and a few co workers who wanted family recipes. They were the people I was writing for after all.

     I sent out my emails, letting people know what I was doing and voila, I had my followers. Exactly 15 to date. Am I disappointed? At first, a little. Who doesn't want to be popular? Now? Not a bit. Here's why.

     Not everyone chooses to follow publicly. I had a very pleasant surprise from a co-worker. We were chatting and she mentioned how much she enjoyed my blog. Then she preceded to talk about all the things on my blog. She was reading it quite thoroughly and I had no idea.

    I don't follow many blogs myself, less than a dozen all told. I usually book mark them. I check by hundreds from time to time, sometimes spending an entire night catching up, but a daily update, only a few. Truth be told, I have no idea how people find the time to keep up with a longer reading list.

     The other reason I follow so few is, even the blogs, or writers I like, not every post is of interest to me. Sometimes only one in a handful catches my interest, other times it's every post. That's a lot to try and winnow through when my time to read is limited. Life is busy for all of us.

     My blog touches on such a variety of subjects, researching family history, recipes, family photos, gardening and my rantings and ravings. I haven't got a focus for people to follow. I don't belong to a group who share similar experiences, like the SAHM community, I don't post recipes every week for the cooks out there or regularly provide research tips for those hunting their ancestors. The only real unifying factor in my blog is that I wrote it. I write about things that matter to me or catch my interest at the time. I can't honestly say I'm surprised my following is low. You never know what I'm going to go on about next. LOL

     Here is my advice, for what it is worth.

     If you want followers, give them a focus. Let them know what they can expect when they drop by for a visit. It isn't limiting at all. You can still write about all kinds of different things provided you keep a common thread. There are lots of networks, blog hops etc you can participate in to increase your following.

     If you are more like me, unfocused, maybe slightly out of focus, don't despair if your following is low. Followers does not equal readership. I get far more emails than comments about my blog. Relatives saying hi, researchers saying thanks, that kind of thing. It all depends what you want.

     Regardless of whether attracting followers is important to you or not, give them options to be able to follow along. The social media icons, the RSS feed and a way to contact you. (You'll notice I do not currently have all those things, I'm working on it LOL)

     Having a lot of followers is a great thing. Who doesn't like some recognition for your hard work? Not having them doesn't mean no one is listening. Who knows, it might even be me.

     Do you follow?

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