Now before I dive into this post I have to preface it. I am not a blogging expert, nor do I believe there is a sure formula to follow for how to get 1000 followers in a year. However, if you read this post I recently had my one year blog anniversary and hit the 1000 followers bench mark. Whooo! I've had some people ask for my "secrets" so I figured I'd share what I have learned here.
1. Get a good blog design
When I started my blog, I had NO idea of how it would be received. I did know, however, that I had a lot of confidence in myself to be able to work hard at it and knew it was something I really wanted to put effort into. Thus, before I even launched my blog I payed to get a custom blog design done. Before I posted one tutorial - before I had one follower!! I forget the exact amount but think it was between 60-75 dollars. Now, I know us crafters are all about DIY and doing things cheaply. But especially when I started out, I had NO CLUE how to design a blog. And even now after I've learned a lot more about HTML and such, I still have no regrets paying someone that much. Here's the thing about your blog design- before anyone ever reads a WORD you write or even sees a picture of your awesome project, they are going to see you blog header at the top of your page and automatically form an opinion about your blog. My biggest suggestion for growing your blog is to get a design that reflects you and the idea behind your blog (and that isn't too over-the-top - I actually do not follow some blogs because I think their blog design is too garish. Oy vay my eyes!)
2. Link up to a lot of parties
If you see on the bottom of any of my tutorials I post, I link up to a LOT of parties. This is the easiest way to get your projects out there in bloggy world, where they can be seen by the party host to potentially feature and by all those visiting the blog who might like the picture and click through to your blog.
3. Comment it up!
I've gotten bad at this recently....but I was really good at it when I started out. Don't link and run when you go to link parties, scroll through, find a project you like, and take the time to leave a nice comment! Chances are the blog owner will want to see who left the comment and click over to your blog. If they like your blog they just might start following you or at least comment back!
4. Start your own link party
This may not be for everyone, but I have LOVED hosting my weekly Your Whims Wednesday party. It takes time and money, but I have loved being able to see the projects my readers have been working on and being able to feature them on my blog. It is also an easy way to get followers - IF you go about it the right way. When I started up my link party I spent a lot of time going through other big link parties, looking for projects I liked, and then clicking over to the blog and leaving a MEANINGFUL comment and inviting the blogger to come link up to my party. Here's the key though: I only invite projects I actually do really like, and I always leave a meaningful comment before the party invite. I HATE when people comment on my projects and say "This is cute come link to my party at XYZ blog." Spamming much?? Take the time to leave a meaningful comment and you may be rewarded with a link up and even a new follower.
5. Submit your projects.
Submit your projects to blogs and websites that feature blog projects. If you get featured on them you will see a huge influx in traffic and also followers! Here are some to get started with: UCreate, Totally Tutorials, Tip Junkie, All Free Sewing, All Free Beaded Jewelry
6. Be real
I know the main reason we follow other blogs is to get inspiration, but I personally LOVE when bloggers post about other stuff besides just crafts. Post about your life too! Make the reading experience a little more personal for your readers. I love finding out more about the blogger behind the computer screen. We are all more than crafters, give me a peak at who that is!
7. Be nice and enjoy the experience.
Follow the guidelines to link parties. Don't leave mean comments. Make blog friends. Respond to comments and questions. Help promote other bloggers. Understand other bloggers have lives outside of the blog world and you do too. Don't let blogging consume you, don't feel the need to post "I'M STILL HERE!!" after you haven't posted for two days. Let your blog show your passion for your craft. Don't create a super strict posting schedule and get upset when you can't keep it up. Blog when YOU want, and blog because YOU want to. And most of all, have fun :)
Phew, ok, that is all the wisdom I have at the moment. Comment or email me if you have any questions. Once again I'm not an "expert" - but then again who really is??
Happy blogging :)