They Link Me, They Really Link Me
For the first time, I made it on a list of top Edubloggers, this one by Scott McLeod of Dangerously Irrelevant. The list is based on technorati authority, which for the uninitiated is calculated based on how many blogs link back to your blog.
It’s not an exact science and kind of arbitrary though I’m glad to be included on the list. A fairer way might be to base the list on numbers of readers but those figures are not necessarily public. Several of my favorite blogs (see my blogroll) aren’t on the list with the exception of Larry Ferlazzo who comes in at #13.
Readership on the Rise
Nevertheless, I have noticed my readership increase from 100 readers in December 2007 to 400+ average readers this month so I thought it might be time to offer some advice on what has worked for me.
If You Write It, They Will Come…Not
When Jon Becker, a new-ish blogger, mentioned that being a new blogger felt like being on the outside of an “awesome cocktail party”, he touched a nerve with many bloggers perhaps because we’ve all felt that way in the beginning. A lot of bloggers responded by saying that if a person would just write valuable posts, an audience would show up. While this might have been true in a world with few educational bloggers, I think it’s naive to suggest that just writing good posts will get you noticed when there are hundreds if not thousands of educational bloggers in existence. This is not to say that I haven’t gotten better at blog writing over the past year, it’s just that unless you put yourself out there, people may not show up on their own.
Join the Conversation and Comment
It took me awhile to feel comfortable commenting on other people’s blogs. However, I have discovered some of my favorite bloggers because of comments they’ve left on my own blog. So I’ve come to appreciate that leaving comments is a way to get people to notice your blog. Sometimes it’s not the blog owner who visits your blog as a result of your comment but it can be other commenters who follow the link from your name back to your blog.
By commenting on blogs and getting comments back, I’ve built some blogging friendships that have both contributed to my teaching practice and been personally rewarding. I never would have “met” Kevin, Alice, Elona, Leila, Gail, Jose, Bonnie—to name just a few, were it not for blogging.
Each of them are bloggers who are about on the same level as me in terms of popularity. It might be more difficult to build a relationship with a top blogger. The top bloggers I’ve spoken to are all nice but they’re busy people. I think friendships are more likely to spring up between bloggers who are on your level because they are more likely to be mutually supportive of your blogging efforts.
Visit a Carnival
A blog carnival, is just a collection of blog posts. I used to think this was gimmicky but the Carnival of Education is like an institution and a generally respected one at that. There are always about 30-40 compiled posts from around the edusphere. There are too many blogs there for me to subscribe to them all (and I wouldn’t want to) but I do like reading a few of the articles every week. I assume other people do the same. They may not want to subscribe to my blog but once in awhile they might be interested in a particular article I’ve written. I have been linked to both from my articles in the Carnival of Education and by visitors to the Carnival of Education who liked a few of my posts, sometimes even stumbled them.
Jon Becker managed to go viral by complaining. My Mr. Winkle movie, while not a pork and beans size youtube hit has been viewed over 50,000 times between Youtube, Teachertube, Vimeo, and foreign translation sites and has brought a few visitors to my blog.
While content will not automatically attract an audience, if you don’t have something worth talking about then people will never come and never stay. At the same time, I must say that some of my throwaway posts have been the most popular.
I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m saying that there’s a paint by numbers way of becoming a semi-popular blog. There is no such way. However, these are a few things I’ve done on my blogging journey that have worked for me.