Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Blog-o-lutions for 2012 (Sort of)

So, here we are, one week in the books on 2012, 51 more to go. The warm, fuzzy glow of the holidays is behind us, and we’re back at work, back in school, back to the realities of every day life. In my cold corner of the world, people have their heads down, trying not to look too far ahead, as we’ve got the longest, coldest part of the year to get through. Resolutions have been made. Many have been broken.
But not here! Here, I’ve still got to do my Blogolutions, and let me tell you, they’re tougher than I thought.
Last week, I presented my writerly resolutions. They were surprisingly easy to set (and I’ve been able to stick to them so far). Goals for the blog have been surprisingly hard. On the one hand, what’s to know? Increase followers. Increase page views. More comments. There. Wasn’t that easy? And in fact, it might not be that hard to do. Here are two simple strategies for doing this:
  1. Post on a regular schedule. Nothing kills momentum like unexplained disappearances. If you’ve got nothing to say, tell everyone. If you disappear for a few weeks, so will your followers.
  2. Read – and comment on – other blogs. Easy enough. I do this already. And along those lines, there’s an easy way to try to bring people over. My post dates are Mondays and Fridays. I’ll sneakily wait until after I’ve made my posts on those days to go and drop comments. That way, anyone who decides to see what that guy with the funny mustache is all about will come to fresh material. Did I say I was totally above those sorts of shenanigans? Apparently, I’m not.
  3. Participate in the fun stuff! Following 1 and 2, I had a pretty steady increase in numbers from May through August, but the biggest spike came between September (144 pageviews) and October (266 views). What happened? At the end of September, Lisa L. Regan tagged me in the Ten Things  meme (or whatever these things are called – hey! learn the lingo – new blogolution!). My entry appeared on September 26. At the end of October, I participated in the Casting Call bloghop put together by Carrie Butler, Lisa, and Melodie Wright.  The number of comments on those posts was double what I had been seeing before, I got a slew of new readers, and, most importantly to me, I had a lot of fun.

Getting people here is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is keeping you here. A Venus’ Flytrap can snap shut in about a tenth of a second. A Sundew has sticky fluid that entangles an insect. What have I got? Words. Those words have to interest you and stimulate you and make you want to come back. That’s a tough assignment.

If I were the Grammar Guru, or the Query Picker, or the Industry Insider, keeping you here would be a lot easier. But I’m not. I’m the Doubting Writer. And I know that I can easily become like that annoying friend who invites you over for coffee and does nothing but kvetch and moan over how bad life is when it really isn’t. You sit there nodding your head and making sympathetic noises while glancing at your watch and thinking :
Sooner or later, you’ll just stop answering the calls and stop coming in for coffee. And that’s not what I want.
What I don’t know right now is what I’m going to do about it. Blogolutions 1, 2, and 3 are easy. If I were only concerned with driving numbers, I could probably do it without too much trouble. But it’s not just about the numbers for me, I don’t want numbers for the sake of numbers. I want you to want to be here.
So, I suppose I’ll keep on doing what I do and let things develop naturally. Thanks, as always, for dropping by. See you Friday.

12 Responses

  1. Hi, Jeff, found your blog through Cassie's. These are great blogolutions! It's definitely time-consuming to check out blogs and comment on them regularly, but also very fulfilling to make and keep up with so many friends! Good luck!!

  2. Well your words keep me coming back! Your Blog-o-lutions are actually good tips for maintaining a following on one's blog! Can't wait to see what you come up with in 2012!

  3. Thanks, all. Welcome aboard, Cortney. Lisa – the tough part is finding the words to keep you coming back. Oh, the pressure! New stuff! All the time! Egads. (runs off to start Friday's post)

  4. I'll always keep on dropping by because I like what you have to say. But if you want to increase your page views and followers and comments, the very best and easiest thing to do is read as many other new blogs as you can, follow them, and comment, comment, comment.

    Even better, join a blogfest or bloghop. I've received so much traffic, followers, and comments by participating in Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group. It's always open to to new members and everyone is very kind and, most especially, supportive. I meet new bloggers every month through Alex. I even met someone in my own hometown, if you can believe that. Click on his link on my page and sign up using the Linky link on Alex's page. Youwill not regret it. And, as The Doubting Writer, it's perfect for you!!

  5. You have some really good tips in your blogolutions. I've really enjoyed your blog this past year, so I think you're definitely on the right track–looking forward to seeing more in 2012!

  6. I know, right? Yet, when I see blogs that routinely have 60 or 70 comments, I about die. That's 60 or 70 blogs you have to visit and comment on. Not that that's not fun, but it takes a dang lot of time. I totally understand why successful bloggers only do some visiting and instead just reply via email.

  7. Great strategies. I love blogging, but I am always juggling the time spent on it with the time I spend writing and promoting. I could spend a lot more time on everything bloggy, but often there just are not enough hours in the day. *sighs* Great post.

  8. Look at the posts you enjoyed writing the most, and the ones that seemed to have been the most popular. Is there a theme there? Maybe this will help you settle on what types of posts you enjoy writing the most and what will draw readers back again and again.

    These are all great goals:)


  9. Thanks again, all. Nancy – I've thought about the ISWG. I've read a number of people's posts on that first Wednesday of every month (including yours, of course!) – a lot of great stuff comes out of that. I just haven't gotten around to taking the plunge, yet.

    Angela, that's a great idea, never thought about that one before, strangely enough. Time to take another look at the stats page….

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