Bestselling Author Shares 3 Tips for Building Your Blog Audience

After moving from New York City to Chicago and getting married, Rachel Bertsche realized that her new life was missing one crucially important thing: a local best friend. So she decided to go on one friend date every week for a year, and she documented her quest on a WordPress.com blog at MWFseekingBFF.com.

But before Rachel even started the blog, the 27-year-old writer put together a book proposal based on her search for a local BFF, and successfully pitched it to agents, and then editors. She says, “After I sold the proposal, I decided to start a blog so that I could have a place to document my journey and some of the research I was finding. I also wanted to start building a community and to engage with readers.”

It’s now been over two years since Rachel first launched MWFseekingBFF.com. So did she accomplish her blogging goals? “Absolutely!” Rachel says, “When my book, MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend, came out, I had a whole audience for the memoir that wouldn’t have existed without my blog. And I made new friends through blogging — I’ve met some of my readers, and other bloggers, in real life. My book ended up becoming a National Bestseller and hitting the NY Times Extended Bestseller List. I continue to update the blog because I enjoy it, and also I have a lot of loyal and wonderful readers who seem to enjoy it.”

Rachel says that the discussions generated by her blog posts were a great aid to the book writing process. “Blogging also helped me uncover what issues surrounding friendship were most interesting to my readers, and brought me new ideas. Readers said things in the comments that would switch on a light bulb for me, or they often alerted me to new research on friendship. While my book is very different than my blog (it’s not a compilation of blog posts by any means), writing my posts made me feel like I had a platform to bounce book ideas off of.”

We asked Rachel to share her advice on how to grow your blog audience. Here’s what she had to say:

The first thing I did was to read and comment on other blogs that I thought had a similar audience to mine. Leaving thoughtful comments with a link back to your blog is a great strategy. But you need to actually engage, and respond to the post. Readers are smart. Comments that are clearly only self-promotion will be obvious. Don’t write, “Great post! I think you and your readers might also be interested in my blog [link here].” Instead, get into the discussion. Respond to the issue at hand.

When you go to leave a reply, don’t post your blog link in the comment. Readers understand that they can click on your name and I think leaving the link in the post reeks a bit of self-promotion. (To change the link, go Users → Personal Settings in your dashboard and find the Website field under Account Details.) If you regularly comment on someone’s blog, that person will likely eventually stop by and read your blog, too. I’ve found the blogging community to be one of the most inclusive and generous out there.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. When I started out, I emailed some of the bloggers I most admired. I told them I loved their blog and asked their advice on how to find success. They were people who had clearly cracked the nut and each had their own tips for what worked for them. Then you can pick and choose.

Finally, give credit where credit is due. When I read a blog post that I love or that spurs an idea for my own blog, I always reference the post and link back. Blogging is about community and sharing, and this sets the tone. Just recently, I wrote a blog post inspired by a post on 1000AwesomeThings.com. I linked back, and hopefully turned a bunch of new readers onto the site. Because there was a decent amount of traffic sent to his blog, or maybe because he received a pingback, Neil Pasricha then came and commented on my blog! This is the author of two #1 International Bestselling books! I was so thrilled. I emailed Neil to thank him, and that began a back and forth, where I was able to ask him his blogging tips.

The bottom of line of all these lessons is to engage. Blogging is about community. It’s most successful not as a solitary endeavor but when you enlist the help of others, and in turn help them, too.

Learn more about Rachel and her book at MWFseekingBFF.com.


Missing out on the latest WordPress.com developments? Enter your email below to receive future announcements direct to your inbox. An email confirmation will be sent before you will start receiving notifications - please check your spam folder if you don't receive this.

Join 18,328,724 other followers

Erica

491 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. silentlyheardonce

    http://silentlyheardonce.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/my-real-bffs/ This is my blog entry based on this blog entry of yours.

    Like

  2. valvandale

    Wow I am kinda impress by how many answers your post has. You all deserved it, but as i’m starting a blog and looking forward for tip like that, i’m happy to figure how it works for you. Congratulation, the topic is very interesting since blogging is taking so much time and asking so much more organisation I tought!

    Like

  3. Daniel Ottalini

    Great idea! Hardest part of me is consistently updating it. Should be easier once the summer break kicks in!

    Like

  4. louisdp12

    I too am going to copy this great information. I started blogging this year and have tried to do it daily but find I am not disciplined enough. Plus I am all over the place. Anyway I think you share was wonderful and good luck in the future.

    Like

  5. meitot

    This is wonderful! Great tips! I hope I’ll be able to pull it through. I’m new at blogging. And really I’m not good with words I just wanted several things that interests me to share to others. Now this tips can give me ideas to promote my blog and give something unique and useful to share.

    Like

  6. valrfederoff

    Thank you Erica. I had read about the importance of commenting on other blogs before, but I didn’t know how that could help. You cleared that up. I even checked my account settings to be sure people could link to me by clicking on my name. Slowly I am getting a small following and more clicks on my posts. I find posting on a regular basis a challenge, but I’ll get that worked out. Thanks again.

    Like

  7. Blink

    This is so helpful
    just cant thank you enough for this generous help
    stay blessed

    Like

  8. mid-century meals and memories

    I am a new blogger and am thoroughly enjoying meeting other bloggers. It is probably my favorite aspect of blogging. Thank you for the tips and congrats on your book!!l.

    Like

  9. adrian.dakota

    Awesome advice! Now all I have to do is implement all of it.

    Like

  10. administrator

    We agree with the “best practices” mentioned. We have seen comments left on other blogs that have self-promoting links and it’s an uncomfortable read.

    Like

  11. Margaret Lynette Sharp

    Thanks for your generous advice which, whilst based on common sense and manners, still contains points which are highly valuable, especially to newcomers.
    I went into running a blog with virtually no idea of what it involved, nor with any strategies for making it work. Genuine help such as you’ve offered certainly helps smooth the way. Much appreciated!

    Like

  12. Seasonsgirl

    I am new to blogging and this was very helpful Thank you very much :)

    Like

  13. 92dsolutions

    Great article and very inspiring. As I start my new journey reading things like this are the best motivation.

    Like

  14. tommuellerbooks

    This was really helpful. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Like

  15. Regina Ann

    WoW! Thanks so much for the offering advice on how to connect with other bloggers and being consistent. I am fairly new to the blogging world. I have a few blogs posted but I don’t get to navigate that much to other bloggers page so I now set time aside just to read and connect with others to find the commonality that I may have. There is a wealth of information stored on here and so much to learn. I appreciate you sharing. Carry on… :-)

    Like

  16. runytrythejonasgateway

    Good job!!! Work of excellent

    Like

  17. Mormon Soprano

    I love reading about these successful Cinderella “blog turned book” stories! Thanks for sharing Rachel’s story. – MoSop

    Like

  18. freespiritroaming

    Reblogged this on freespiritroaming and commented:
    Good tips! i love the idea of writing on a blog about a friend search! good idea!

    Like

  19. meggyzaputra

    Reblogged this on gyfandie and commented:
    good blog

    Like

  20. heartdrama

    Great Insight. Thanks!

    Like

  21. OLUWTOSIN!!!

    Thanks a lot for the tips,sure is useful. Working on my first book!

    Like

  22. lata

    Thanks for the very useful tips for upcoming bloggers. It is really encouraging to be n touch with some successful people.

    Like

  23. harymess

    Great post! I think you and your readers might also be interested in my blog [link here]. (I’m kidding. Besides, I can’t even figure out how to add links without consulting a step-by-step guide I’ve pasted into a Word document).
    Thanks for the blog advice!

    Like

  24. colonialist

    Certainly these seem the right rites for writers! :)

    Like

  25. inspiringmyselfforward

    Great tips, Love the book idea, sounds fun. I will try to keep your tips in mind. This is my first real attempt to blog. So here I go… Thank You

    Like

  26. Ajay Mishra

    I am not very old blogger…I have started just one and half years back…..and everyday is a new learning day for me. Today, also I have learnt something. Thank you very much. I congratulate you for the wonderful writing and it is very valuable for me.

    Like

  27. zaliwanaaccessories

    Thank you for these lovely suggestions. Yes ,being new to blogging can be daunting. I should confess I haven’t engaged with other bloggers as I seem not to have the time to put in a decent comment. I suppose if I want my blogs to be successful, I will need to put read properly what has been written and put in a bit more effort.
    Thanks a lot once again.

    Like

  28. zaliwanaaccessories

    Yes, blogging can be daunting if you are new to it. This piece of advice is extremely helpful. I will need to set some quality time in future to read and decently respond to other blogs. Thanks again for this!

    Like

  29. akandrewcom

    This is really good advice on a number of levels. You’ve really attacked the situation from agents to the blogging community and best of all perseverance. I’m relatively new to the blogging community, and had not realized the value it has for an novelist – just thought of it as time away from writing. But I’m beginning to realize the sense of community there is & I think the aspect of supporting each other is the crucial part of the post. I’ve long thought that competition is healthy and in the same vein I think share the wealth is the same. Without each others help none of us will get anywhere. Thanks so much for the post. A.K.

    Like

  30. El Ratoncito

    I just started blogging about a recent month-long trip to Costa Rica as a way of practicing the Español I’ve been learning and hope to build a base of followers. Thanks for the suggestions!

    Like

  31. The Storyteller's Garden

    Thank you for taking your time and sharing these interesting insights in the world of blogging.
    It’s a great reminder on the importance of give and take in life.
    Great blog.

    Like

  32. biccard

    This is the very first time I have ever commented on a blog. I only signed-up to WordPress a few minutes ago. I am so happy and excited that you were the very first blog I have ever read and commented on. Thank you so much for all your the wonderful tips. I certainly do appreciate it very much. Now I can… “Get out of bed to a good start
    with a cool head and a warm heart.”

    Like

  33. Ed Iannuccilli

    Thank you. This is such good advice. I have had a blog for some time and continue to work at expanding my audience. Yes, I too have seen too many self promotions. My problem is how to get people motivated to comment. Many contact me in other ways…phone, e-mail, person to person, but never a comment.

    Like

  34. Guri Singh

    good one … not only good tips, also inspiring for new bloggers like me to carry on.. thanks ;)

    Like

  35. Cynthia Triplett

    Reblogged this on Cynthia Triplett and commented:
    I think this is very helpful.

    Like

  36. boldbohemian

    Thanks for the tips. I am just starting out with my 3rd post today and seeking a direction still. This helped immensely!

    Like

  37. kirstenmcaleese

    I really enjoyed your post. I think it is wise as well as amazing in terms of meeting people you will get along with – especially in a new place but I guess, as you suggest, blogging and social media in general, is an online community where everyone needs to show courtesy and interest in what others are saying too. Thanks.

    Like

  38. kirstenmcaleese

    Reblogged this on My Blog.

    Like

  39. thewildbrain

    Thank you very much for the advise!

    Like

  40. dustinslater

    This was a wonderful post, as a new blogger myself I am working on launching my freelance writing career and I love reading post like this it helps to understand the work and time it will take to get yourself out there. I know a lot of people will be intimidated when they see the time you spent to do all this but I find it helpdful and reassuring. Thank you for the tips!

    Like

  41. ramachandrapkulkarni

    Thank u..:-D madam its so much useful, will surely use these tips. Even i’m trying to write. Hope to reach a level like u have.:-D

    Like

  42. saileenayak

    Very helpful post for a new blogger like me….thanks a ton!!

    Like

  43. Figments Island

    The problem I have with my blogs: is finding the right enthusiasm and relevant subject to post about, getting a quiet time when the first point is working, and doing it in a short time. The final point – completing it in a short time, thats my main issue; I tend to take hours typing something up and am very self-conscious of what I’m saying, how I’m saying it, what I might give away about who I am, what mistakes I’m making and what people will think of it.
    I’m also not great with small talk, so commenting on other peoples blogs is difficult!

    Like

  44. 7theaven

    Well, each and every word you wrote is damn true. Good luck on your book!

    Like

  45. Maya

    This is wonderful advice. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I agree that blogging is about community building. I often browse other design, home and family blogs for ideas but I never thought to leave a comment or even reference them on my own blog. Something to consider. I am certainly inspired by others, sharing the wealth helps everyone!

    Like

  46. Joan Graves

    This is me taking your advice, commenting on my very 1st blog, trying to convey I honestly connected & liked your post without shameless self-promotion. How am I doing?

    Like

  47. jollof

    Thank you Erica for sharing this piece! I definitely need to comment on other peoples’ blogs more. Off I go then…

    Like

  48. paws2smile

    Thanks so much for posting this! She offered some great tips and I will put them to use!

    Like

  49. Ernesto Vazquez-Belen

    I like the idea of community that you talk about. That’s what I’ve noticed with any ‘world of people’ within any specific field of work or interest. I’m doing some blogging work for some folks right now, and I’ve saved this post for good reference and examples. Thank you Erica and Rachel.

    Like

  50. Photography Contest

    Yeah, it’s great advice regarding not putting a the self promotional link comments. I usually delete those comments. :)

    Like

  51. esther & warren

    We are travelling by bicycle around the world. Sometimes you feel low about being in a place that is difficult to find a rhythum with. Most of the time you just want to share and inspire about the great people we have met. We started our blog before we started to travel and took advice from the writers of good similar blogs. Having a community has helped us a great deal. Thanks Worpress and the blogging community. You may only know 1 similar minded individual in the place you live, but on the WWW. there will be hundreds.

    Like

  52. leonelvalafululuenda

    I will read this.

    Like

  53. newfoundlandtraveller

    I’ve been trying to read comments and respond when it is something that I’m interested in. You’re right that you need to be sincere and allow others to know what you’re all about. LOts of good advice here for new bloggers! I’m new and feel I’ve had lots of success in only four months. I look forward to comments and new followers. One of these days I hope to be Freshly Pressed! Congrats on your bestselling book!

    Like

  54. Aedes

    I’ve always been a commenter on other blogs before eventually starting one of my own, which is when the bloggers of the blogs I comment on become commenters of my blog as well. So I can vouch for tip number one as commenting on other blogs is essential in becoming part of the blogosphere.

    Like

  55. Joy

    This is a great post!
    Thank you for the wonderful insight.
    It is greatly appreciated.

    Like

  56. EmmanuelTartagal

    Thanks for the tips!
    A few weeks ago I started my own blog with the same idea of Rachel’s, but I didn’t know about her till today!
    I also want to write a book, but tThe difference is that i’m writing my experiences as short stories and in Spanish.
    I’m sure Rachel’s tips will help me a lot, thanks again!

    Like

  57. Kelly Hamon (@KellyHamon)

    What a great article, thanks for sharing your insights. I will def take your advice. I just tweeted your article.

    Like

  58. Professional Diva

    I really enjoyed your blog. It was such an interesting idea! Why didn’t I think of that? Anyway I am curious how did you set up these interviews and what did you say to get them to hang out with you?

    Like

  59. Jennifer Worrell

    I really appreciate your advice, particularly the part about using the blog to build readership for a future book publication. I, too am new to blogging, and I am really enjoying it. Meeting new people and building relationships is the best part and certainly makes this big world smaller. Just look at all of us: complete strangers in a discussion. How cool is that?

    Like

  60. kammbia1

    Reblogged this on Kammbia1's Blog and commented:
    Good article about Blogging and how to build an audience.

    Like

  61. Jay-Ar Rendon

    Thanks, I just started my blog and really learned from yours. But still, having a hard time understanding how to use wordpress.

    Like

  62. Kettle Noir Artistry

    Thank you for this post it was very helpful. I have steadfastly refused to read or create a blog for years. Recently I decided to give it a go and was struggling how to begin. I’m still unsure but willing to try and I like the community aspect of this posting.

    Like

  63. charlieharman1946

    Just finished reading your article “Bestselling Author Shares 3 Tips for Building Your Blog Audience” on WordPress.com. Wow I believe i learned something from you today. I have always included my blog link in my comments, starting today I will discontinue doing so. Just wanted to thank you for the article, now I will read some of your posts on this blog. Charles

    Like

  64. deconfurniture

    Really AWESOME job

    Like

  65. zbpublications

    Great post. I especially liked that you commented on the leaving of links and other forms of obvious self promotion. It’s one of my pet peeves.

    Like

  66. CYAH

    Reblogged this on siyahkhaleel and commented:
    Good Work ! Interesting Blog

    Like

  67. 50pauses

    That’s so helpful as I am so scared and not sure if anyone reads ones blog, but like you said if u comment and read others, it helps. I normally just read and never comment, and yet I think some are so brave writing whatever is near and dear to them.

    Like

  68. qanniell

    Thank you so much for your sharing. Even my english is not so good, but I will try to make a connection with more blogger, especially an inspirational blogger like you. ^^

    Like

  69. excited27

    Great! very very thanx 4 informative not only informative but also very deeply heartly infomative helpfull tips u shared here for us, I really liked urs blog,
    I thank u once again by my herat.
    God bless u, Thanking u

    Like

  70. pressonwebzine

    Thank you for the tips. Especially, commenting on blogs that have a similiar audience. I will definitely look into that. I am fairly new to the blogging scene, and any tips help. Thank you.

    Like

  71. turnerrowedesigns

    Well done for successfully pitching prior to writing! And thank you for sharing your tips. The community aspect of blogging is why I prefer it to an ordinary website – there is a feeling of being a bit closer to people and it’s also nice to share a bit of yourself through your writing! :)

    Like

  72. hettynsm

    Thank you. Good tips on blogging. I take notes of this.i love the awesome book also. It gives me inspiration for new post.

    Like

  73. mybeautfulthings

    Thank you so much for these tips. I’m fairly new to blogging and am loving the way I’m becoming part of a community of bloggers all over the world. I shall also print these off as Linda Apple suggests.

    Like

  74. TongCuevas

    Reblogged this on tongcuevas.

    Like

  75. Hanneke @ Oh beautiful world

    great post! gave me inspiration to keep on blogging more and reading other blogs too :)

    Like

  76. christinaow

    thanks this was really helpful :)

    Like

  77. Kernersville Branch Library Staff

    Reblogged this on kvillelibrary and commented:
    For those who attended the blogging workshop (or wanted to but couldn’t), here are some additional tips for building your blog reader base. Enjoy!

    Like

  78. Salvatorianism

    I read this few times and I recently had amazing experience with my family, so I started to write down what I’ve experienced but turned out it’s nothing. Your advice made me think how to manage blogging as social media as well as Facebook and Twitter, thank you.

    Like

  79. menareweird

    Reblogged this on menareweird and commented:
    how to blog!

    Like

  80. lovegod enyinna

    Good ideas, Good comments!

    Like

  81. Mohammad Arafat Siddiqui

    Hmmm….really helpful information. Previously, I did some mistakes. Many many thanks to Rachel.

    Like

  82. thecoastallivingmom

    Really interesting anf helpful post. Thank you WordPress!

    Like

  83. live4life201

    This is exactly what I needed to know. Im writing a book myself & I just got into blogging 18 days ago. Thank you for these tips Erica, you’ve made me feel like my efford to express myself won’t fall on deaf ears.

    Like

  84. claudia scherzinger

    thank you very much for sharing… greez from germany/cologne

    Like

  85. gungunmulyawan

    I am totally agree. You have a good blog to post. Thanks for your advice. I got to work harder and open my mind so I can catch someting to write.

    Like

  86. narinder kumar

    thanks for the best tips that you gives

    Like

  87. AileenPettigrew

    Thank you very much for your post. I am a new writer with one book under my belt, and have already started blogging to build a presence. Good to know that with time and patience, success is possible. Thanks!

    Like

  88. Stephanie Miller

    Reblogged this on June Photography and commented:
    Great blogpost about blogging! Good advice for us newbies out here! I suggest whether you’re a new blogger or seasoned, it’s worth a stop and read :)

    Like

  89. The Weaver of Webs

    Great post – especially for someone who is just starting to blog (like me). Thanks!

    Like

  90. cmd1999

    This has really inspired me to actually take the time to blog more. I am still new at it so it is taking some time to actually get people to read my blog. Great post and Congratulations on your book!

    Like

  91. Texaslifemilitarywife

    Thanks for the tips, they are really helpful, especially to someone like me who is new to blogging and also started my blog because of the same reasons Rachel started hers.

    Like

  92. toryfisher

    Good advice! Thank you!

    Like

  93. coffee2ideas

    Thank you so much for the ideas. I have just started blogging And quite frankly I don’t know what I’m doing lol. I just feel the need to either start conversations or post inspirational sayings or advice. It’ll be nice to see where this goes. I enjoyed your post and way to go on being a best seller. One can only dream of something so great right. Thanks again

    Like

  94. Sharon P.

    That’s some great advice. Thank you.

    Like

  95. bnichefix

    Enjoying the book. Thank you for sharing =).

    Like

  96. yasniger

    Great tips! I’ve found out that the blogging community is full of people really intrested in what others are doing & how it can invariabily help them in what they are doing. This is unlike other kinds of social media networking outlets, where persons are more about getting others interest in what they are doing firstly. There is a compelling difference in these approaches & it stands out that the blogging communities’ is more genuine.

    Like

  97. warlog57

    All your tips are very attached to reality, and I congratulate you on your spontaneity, very commendable Finally, it should always be given credit where credit is deserved, and acknowledge the help given to us, even if not directly .

    Like

  98. MzLoveViewz

    Thank you for reaching back helping newbies like me. I’ve always loved reading, blogging has merged that love with my love of people,places, and things oh my. It’s a wonderful community, and the bloggers share and comment and it means the world to me when you’re acknowledged. We all want to feel apart of something . Once again thank you and congratulations on your book.

    Like

  99. Anna

    This is excellent advice, and many congratulations!

    Like

  100. My name is: A.L.E.X. Lexicographic Energetic Xarismatic.

    Reblogged this on Bohemian Wildebeest: and commented:
    Ah, this appears to be an interesting read! Good thing I once decided to subscribe to wordpress’ “own blog”.

    Like

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 18,328,724 other followers

%d bloggers like this: