I discovered by accident that people enjoy lists. Readers appreciate easily accessible information. If ideas are packaged in point form, everyone wants to read and pass them on. Perhaps this is a sign of our times. People are busy. We like things that are quick and easy to digest. We’re used to flicking from one tab to the next in the browser, skimming for items that catch our attention.
10 ways to attract readers to your blog…
1. Start a ’10 ways…’ series.
2. Write a post on 10 ways to get students to own their learning
3. Write a post on 10 ways to foster a love of learning
4. Write a post on 10 ways to create a culture of thinking
5. Write a post on 10 ways to grow as an educator
6. Write a post on 10 ways my thinking has changed
7. Write a post on 10 ways to think about your learning space
8. Write a post on 10 ways to help students develop a PLN
9. Keep the posts short and to the point.
10. Number the ideas.
But, now that I have your attention, let me be honest. I find it disappointing that these are the posts that attract the most readers. Sometimes I write posts that I think are really important about things that I want to share and discuss. And sometimes those posts are read and passed on far less enthusiastically than the ’10 ways…’ posts. Sometimes hardly anyone comments on the very posts that I hope will be read, considered, debated, shared and responded to. Do I need to assemble my ideas into lists of 10 points each?
My intention was never to write to attract readers though. I write my blog as much for myself as for anyone out there who wants to read it. My blog is a place to reflect. It’s a place to clarify my thinking and synthesize the parts of my learning. It’s a place to share examples of great learning at my school. It’s a way to think through ideas and grow as a learner myself.
If you want to join me, please do… even though my ideas might not always be presented in a convenient ’10 ways’ package!
22 thoughts on “10 ways to attract readers to your blog…”
11. Make sure you blog about something you are passionate about!!
Excellent post! I might have a go at this actually.
What an interesting post. I have enjoyed all your 10 ways posts – not just for the format but excellent content. (There are actually a few too many 7 this and 20 that around of poor quality!)
I wonder if it is partly ease of reading on the screen and knowing exactly what you are getting! We are all busy and if all I am faced with is a large body of text with no headings and little spacing I am less inclined to read. The format is harder to cope with and I am unclear just by glancing at the post what it is all about.
I totally agree about large slabs of text. I’m sure I miss some excellent content just because the lack of paragraphs, spacing and headings put me off going any further!
Thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you have enjoyed the content, not just the format 🙂
As someone who is fairly new to blogging I’ve been inspired by many of your posts, not just because of the format but because you seem to be speaking from the heart about something you are passionate about. I often get caught up in worrying about ‘how I come across’ and then spend time procrastinating, instead of ‘going with my gut’ and letting the words flow – no more, I think!
Well said, Lynn! I, too, am new to it and I, too, often spend more time worrying about whether what I will write is valuable and whether it will sound right. I really should just be spending that time more wisely though, i.e., not worrying, and just writing about what I am passionate about when it comes to education and learning.
Oh, and I, too, am inspired by this blog. It’s a great place to learn.
I’m right there with you… but I actually tend to stay away from Top 10 lists, etc. I like the reflection, the thought-provoking questions of a post that isn’t organized by bullet points. Funny thing is, I probably wouldn’t have read this post, except that the tweet that brought me here was sarcastic enough to let me know what you really thought about Top 10 lists. haha
While I appreciate a short read, I tend to get too verbose on my own blog and end up with “novels” instead of blog posts. 😉 But then, as you say, sometimes we write more for ourselves than for our readers.
Nice post. 🙂
I agree! A blog should be as much, if not more so, about the writer as it is about being read by others. I have just started a blog and my main priority with it is to get myself to write… so that I can reflect, think, synthesize all the things that I read and think about and converse about–in my coursework and through my PLN, practice my writing since some day soon I will be a teacher of writing, and most of all, to just learn. Of course, it would be great to have readers and comments every now and then, but I know that as long as I am blogging, I am pushing myself to really learn and make the most of the opportunities I have to grow as a person and as a preservice–and eventually full-time–teacher.
Thanks for writing insightful posts. I read your posts regularly, regardless of whether they are 10-point lists or more lengthy prose. I learn from you either way.
How lovely to see everyone talking about writing for reflection rather than with the intention of gathering readers. (A little to much shameless self promotion on the Internet sometimes!) I started my own blog to learn about blogging – it is a real bonus if even a tiny number of people find something useful there.
Here’s a post I love by Sacha Chua on why we should write it all down that seems appropriate here.
Well said, I too have wondered about the popularity (and especially retweetability (I think I just coined a word)) of Top XX Ways To … I’m worried that it shows our desire for quick fixes and one-stop-fits-all solutions. It reminds me too much of infomercials (follow these steps and get results fast!).
I love how you structured that post, never saw it coming 😉
I like that you said, “I write my blog as much for myself as for anyone out there who wants to read it.”
A master of writing put it best, “If you consciously write for a teacher or for an editor, [or for a blogging audience], you’ll end up not writing for anybody. If you write for yourself, you’ll reach all the people you want to write for.” -in W. Zinsser’s ‘On Writing Well,’ 5th ed
….yeah, but heck, those “10 ways…” lists don’t hurt do they? I have mine too… http://tinyurl.com/2dmy9bw
The art of writing is a balance between yourself and your audience.
I am an education student and I found this post very useful. The reason is I think that using a ‘top ten’ list is a fantastic idea for getting students to start blogging. I think there are lots of times the students don’t think they have anything to say but in this format they can have success and then you can use the list to delve into deeper writing. Thanks for sharing.
As for me, I am new to Blogs and Twitter but I have to say the ‘Top 10″ lists are too quick for my taste I prefer to have the debate that read about others opinions. When I pull up a short Blog I think “That’s it?”
I liked this post a lot. It certainly reflected my own experience of how I write posts that I feel need to be read and get very little response and yet have had comparative success with short items that direct people to a video that I have liked… but I suppose you are right, people live busy lives now and have many commitments on their time and also many possibilities when it comes to following a blog or an individual post.
A lack of response doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of readership. I’ve read a ton of blog posts, that made me think and even changed me in some way, that I didn’t comment on. Sometimes it just takes time to let ideas sink in…I don’t always have an immediate response. And then, later, the source of that path is remembered but not necessarily accessible. The moment’s gone.
It seems like the lists are always the most popular for me too. This must be human nature, we want easy steps that we can quickly follow to achieve x result. It is probably why every magazine on the news stand has a 10 ways to do x or 101 things you never knew about x. They draw people in. I’m with you, lists are nice but there is more content and reflection that I want to express than can fit in a top 10 list.
I have started a blog and I just realized that I write mainly for myself and for my mother (!). I don’t think of a possible readership or I would feel self conscious and would write differently. So yes spot on about “My intention was never to write to attract readers though. I write my blog as much for myself as for anyone out there who wants to read it. My blog is a place to reflect. It’s a place to clarify my thinking and synthesize the parts of my learning”.
I really write for the same reasons!
Also I agree with Jo Hawke. I have been a keen readers of other blogs and have never posted a comment. Or what Jo said!
Thanks for the comment! Once you start commenting on blogs, you become part of the community. I urge you to keep at it 🙂 I hoped to comment on yours too, but will need to translate first!
Hi. Just started blogging and was wondering how to attract more readers. Searched on google and was shown this article. I’ll try out your suggestions and see how it goes. Thanks.
So I wrote a post ‘Top >10 Mathematics Websites’ which is currently the most popular post on my blog!
Note mine is >10 which was an excuse to mention far more sites!
That’s what people want to read 😉