The 1-Step Plan Guaranteed To Get Readers For Your Blog

This article is for those who have read metric tons of "how to get traffic" articles and either:
  • have yet to see encouraging results, or
  • just want to find out what this so-called "guaranteed 1-step plan" is.
The typical list we're familiar with looks something like this:
  • Use social networking
  • Link effectively
  • Comment well
  • Be active on forums
  • Blah
  • Blah
  • Blah to the Blah
That's all fine advice (especially the "blah" part), but we'd all appreciate more than recycled versions of the conventional wisdom. Conventional wisdom is valid as far as it goes, but also tends to be overly-general and far from guaranteed. Let's change that.

The 1-Step Plan To Get Readers For Your Blog
  1. Have A Conversation With One Person
As in, two-way communication. Dialogue. One-on-one. A real, actual conversation.

You might link to other blogs, write good content and comment all over the place, but how often do you actually connect with someone else through a real conversation? ("Good post!" followed by "Thanks!" doesn't count)

Fire-and-forget comments, impersonal messages and unqualified links look exactly like what they are (i.e., lame), and are generally returned - if it all - with about the same level of enthusiasm. A real conversation, however, takes a little time, thought and effort; the end result often being friendship. A good link may get you some traffic, but a good relationship is more valuable by far.

So, who to talk to? If what primarily interests you about someone is getting in on their traffic mojo, you really have nothing to talk about (as far as they're concerned, anyway). If they make you think or inspire ideas, however, you've chosen the right person. You can start these conversation any way you like:
  • Links
  • Comments
  • Contact Forms
  • Email
  • Private messages on forums or social networking communities
It doesn't matter, as long as your goal is to connect with another person who shares your interests, as opposed to trying to get links or traffic from them. In terms of networking, the rewards you're looking for come as a natural result of investing in - and building - relationships. Ask any successful blogger and they'll tell you the same.

Want more readers for your blog? Connect with one person. Have a real conversation. Repeat. If you know what friends do for each other, then you know what a friend can do for your blog.

It's guaranteed.


  1. Totally agree! I've found that readership needs to built one reader at a time and the only way to do that is to communicate! I think a lot of people get turned off by at it seems harder than the "get traffic quick" schemes - but the payoff is that it works!!


  2. Yeah Kumiko, there's also a lot of hype over "SMO" (social media optimization), so-called, with some pretty popular blogs that devote themselves to talking about how best to keep your Digg/Social Bookmarking sugar rush-injections coming.

    I'll be surprised if anyone ever lists an obsession with getting Dugg as a major contributor to their success; whereas relationships and networking are almost always listed. Not exciting enough, I guess.

  3. I'm with you John, a good conversation is what keeps people coming back to see a friend. :)

    Or . . . as in your case they have to stock the sidebar with snacks and beverages. :)

  4. Hey Liz,

    I could have listed the benefits of having me as a friend, but that might have set expectations too high. >:D Or scared people away...

    Anyway, not only is it great to have people who come to your blog to see a friend, it's also great to be the person coming to see a friend. Investing in people has all kinds of rewards.

  5. Hey John, people are more fun to talk to than say . . . a stats program.

    And my brothers have this special where they pay people to be my friends -- so I won't bother them.

  6. Stats programs are so left-brain. Tiring.:( Technorati's more fun; it just tells you who wants to talk.

    Your brothers' plan sounds like irony waiting to happen. >:)


  7. I agree. I find it is the conversations that bring the posts alive otherwise it is just a newspaper to skim.

  8. It's really cool when you can continue the conversation with someone on your blog, on theirs, and on other peoples.

    It's sort of like taking a stroll through cyberspace with a buddy and having a few laughs along the way.

  9. Yo Peter,

    Exactly. And in that case, chances are that a "newspaper skim" would be putting it generously.

  10. Hi Shane,

    What you're describing is my absolute favorite thing about blogging. I quite agree, sir.

  11. John, I feel so relaxed and abnormally normal again. I really don't have the patience for del.icious and digg and I can't remember where the periods go and how many g's to add on any given day, so I'll take conversation and French Roast any day.

    What I love especially about my visit here is that you are up to finding the money, but not at the expense of authenticity.

    I love how absolutely real you are.


  12. Hi Lisa,

    Now that is just too kind; you've got to keep this up. :) Speaking of coffee, your blog goes well with it in the morning. A rare thing.

  13. Hi John,

    Just thought I'd drop by and say "hi" and add my .02$ to your collective dialog here ;-)

    There is indeed, something very cool about having a regular -or- semi-regular interaction with folks you would otherwise likely never meet "offline". This collective conversation is perfect example.

    IMHO, "Socal Media Optimization = Being Engaged with other People on the web. The level by which that interaction sincere or not, (I like to believe), determines it's "success" as a strategy.

    As far as measuring SMO success, I'd take one "substantive" online reader/friend relationship over 20 "link only" fake ones...


  14. ditto on all previous comments. i don't understand the rush anyway to build such a fan base. it seems to contrived and unauthentic. not for me.

  15. i meant "too" contrived.

  16. Hi Chris,

    Yeah, you can find forms of SMO pretty easily on this blog; I'm not opposed to it per se. I like being able to connect with people at different levels, such as talking with them here or on their blog, seeing their recommendations on Stumbleupon or Digg, being in their MyBlogLog community, etc.

    It'll be cool when all these ways to connect (and more) are integrated into one experience.

  17. Yo JJ,

    The rush to build fanbases could probably be answered with acronyms like CPM, CPC, etc. o O

    It's a gambling mentality, really; not a business one.

  18. I came accross your blog through another one...and found it interesting ...I was in need to know that how to get readers for our Blog...and got to know from here a lot...

    Thanks for that information...

    waiting for More..

  19. Yo Puneet,

    Welcome, my friend. While there is, of course, plenty of hotness here, I recommend checking out the blogs of some of these fine commenters as well. You'll be well on your way.

  20. Two KnivesApril 11, 2007

    Sorry, off topic, but are those gummi bears? I think that's my favorite thing I've seen all week.

  21. Yes indeed, TK. Sometimes it takes longer to find the right image than it does to write the article, but people like you make it worth it. :)

  22. I completely agree, John. Visitors are far more than just numbers on a traffic counter. Real people exist on the other side of that monitor. Relationships are an investment. Building them takes a bit more effort than the "slap up and sell something" mentality. A longterm relationship is a great reward in and of itself.
    I appreciate your straightforward thoughts. Quite refreshing!

  23. John! I agree completely with what you've posted about. When I had a livejournal account I had "regulars" (so to speak) that would communicate daily with me whether in comments or through e-mails. They slowly began to become friends who knew more about me than most of my real-life friends did.

    Great advice, nonetheless!

  24. Hi Robin,

    Couldn't agree with you more; real relationships are well worth the investment, and the benefits are tangible.

    Obviously we're not going to turn away one-time visitors who may buy something, click an advert, etc., but even those kinds of visitors are going to appreciate the social proof of active communities brought on by bloggers who invest in others.

  25. Hi Beebles,

    Sounds like you know what I'm talking about. Sounds cool. :)

  26. Hey John,

    Great point! See ya!

    Just kidding.

    I'm pretty new to blogging, and I've been pretty disappointed by a lot of the "conversation" that's happening in most of the blogs I've seen.

    IMHO, I think the conversation is one of the greatest aspects of what's available through blogs, and the possibility is so great to develop some real dialogue about all kinds of meaty topics.

    I've been a part of a couple forums (paid membership deals) where the conversation can get pretty good... my hope is that my blog (and others) can be places where, like beebles said, you get to know the regulars, like on "Cheers."

    The trick, of course, is finding people who are also wanting to connect enough, consistently, around topics that both people find important enough to keep coming back to. (hope that made sense)

    Take care,
    Adam Kayce : Monk At Work

  27. As usual I enjoy your posts, John. I suspect that you develop two way communication not only because of the methods you suggest in this post but your writing style means you communicate through the posts themselves - you talk to your readers and don't just talk at them. You also show integrity - don't come across as self-serving unlike many of the 'making money online' blogs.

    I tend to be shy of commenting and had not considered the direct contact methods of email, contact forms and private messaging for developing new contacts.

    I tend not to comment often, although I know the value of it. It is partly because I don't want it to come across that I am doing it just to gain readers. Also the posts I want to comment on are more often than not made by those bloggers who I feel have more talent than I have - so why would they want dialogue with me.

    The more direct forms of communication you mention may be hard for a lot of bloggers. Social networking sites are less daunting and maybe that is one of the reasons for their popularity. (I sometimes wonder if a lot of bloggers do so because they find it an easier way of communication than doing it in real life? - but that is a whole new topic!)

    Anyway, I would be pleased if you considered expanding on the topic of two way dialogue.

  28. I might be guilty, with this comment, of number 4 on your list of how to annoy the entire blogosphere - I swear thought, that I am not just going, "Great post!", "I agree!", "Ditto!" or fawning.

    I just have to compliment you on your choice of photos for this topic. I LOVE this photo. I have borrowed it to use for my desktop.

    A great post, too. I am trying to think og something smart to add but really, it's all about the picture. Thanks for the gummy bears chatting.

  29. I am always looking for new and better ways to gain new readers for my blog. I really appreciate your post. Thanks for the information.

  30. Ok, I just can't believe that no one but me has had the overwhelming urge to post the following TOTALLY NECESSARY and APPROPRIATE comment:

    Blah to the blah

    I mean honestly, how could I help myself?!?!?!?!?! I LOVE blah to the blah, after all... :-) :-) :-)

    I dunno, I probably do a lot of those short comments, but I look at a lot of scrapbook/papercrafting sites where people have all kinds of gorgeous work posted & I think I should let them know I saw it & enjoyed it...and how many different ways can you say, "I love what you did with that piece of paper!" anyway?!?!?!

  31. Thanks for the advice John. If you are ever up for an actual conversation look me up on SU.

  32. John

    I have yet to get any comments on any of my blogs and therefore have not had a converstation with any one on my blogs. Granted they are fairly new.

    However I have had a few on a few of the blogs I read and comment to ,on a normal basis. I still do not get that much traffic, so that is one reason I do not get any comments.

    I do see the point to your post and agree 100% It is a great way to get people to come back. If you show you are interested in what your readers think they will let you know.

  33. Enjoyed your site quite a bit and look forward to reading it again.
    It was fun and interesting.


  34. It is all about building relationships and doing them one at a time sometimes is the best way to go about it.


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