“How do I get more people to follow my blog?”
“Why don’t I have as many followers as that writer?”
“How many followers do you have to have before you are successful?”
You have all either seen others ask these questions or have pondered them yourself. Because today, subscriber counts are everything. YouTube rewards their creators with plaques for reaching milestones. WordPress sends you congratulatory notifications.
As if having more automatically means you’re doing your best.
Of course, it might be a sign you’re doing something right. But what happens when you don’t know what that “right” thing is?
I think I have an answer.
I want you to ask yourself two questions:
- How much content are you creating?
- Is it “good”?
“Good” blog content always serves the reader. It provides them with information, or motivates them to do or consider something.
And the reason I asked you to consider how much stuff you’re making is because I believe the key to successful blogging involves creating consistently, and doing a really good job at it.
Notice I did not ask you how many followers you have.
I want you to stop thinking about that. Because once I stopped caring about how many people read my blog every day, more people started following my posts.
Here’s how it worked for me.
I started out writing what I wanted, when I wanted. This meant there were months I would only publish a few sentences — or nothing at all. I eventually started focusing my content on “the writing life,” but even then, it was more like a diary and less like a “helpful” blog. For the first five years or so, I think I had about five followers.
I just kept blogging anyway. Because I had nothing to lose.
Then I learned how content creation on the internet really works. Meaning I understood, perhaps for the first time, that what people wanted from a stranger and barely-published author wasn’t summaries of my daily life, but relatable, informative, and entertaining content.
The blog was still mine and I still talked about my experiences — but through the lens of an educator of sorts, instead of just, well … whatever I was doing before that.
I made sure everything I posted would resonate with at least one reader. Whether it was a lesson I’d learned or a tip I wanted to share, I wanted everything to come off as though it could go into some kind of self-help writing book (eh, sort of).
Blogging ceased being a daily memoir and became a host of content that contained something for everyone who visited it.
And that was when my subscriber base started growing.
People started sharing my content because they thought it was worth sharing. They didn’t do it because I begged them to or because they saw I had a lot of followers and figured it’d be worth it (I didn’t, and really don’t). And the more people that shared it, the more chances other people had to review the content I’d been producing for so long.
Creating good work over a long period of time paid off. In my opinion, it always will, if you are patient and consistent (and persistent).
But having more followers did not make my content better. I am still the only one responsible for making sure I am publishing things that my audience wants or needs. If I had only five followers or five thousand, it wouldn’t make a difference. I’d still strive to create better things because that is why I started blogging in the first place.
How many followers you do or do not have DOES NOT MATTER.
I never worried about or obsessed over it. I still don’t. Because, to be honest, most of your followers are just numbers. While you do have to treat each one of those numbers with care and respect, people don’t come to your blog (or avoid it) because you do (or don’t) have a lot of followers.
They come for consistent, quality content. And just might happen to stick around because of that content, and/or the previous followers that have stayed with you because of it.
Your content is what matters. The quality of your work. How consistently you can deliver things to your audience that make their lives better.
So if you’re doing that, then you’re doing a good job. Try not to worry so much about how many people are or aren’t reading.
And when creating good content does work out in your favor, just keep doing what you’ve been doing all this time. That is why these people found you. Because they saw the amazing things that you were doing, and could not resist being a part of your world.
Make them proud.
Want to get better at blogging? These posts will get you on track. The Unwritten Rules of Blogging My Biggest Blogging Mistakes (and How You Can Avoid Making Them) 21 Reasons You're Producing a Boring Blog
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.