How to increase your blog following

TL;DR ~~

  1. Using the floaty ‘Follow’ button in WordPress only makes posts visible in the WordPress Reader. If you want to ‘follow’ someone and be notified by email when they post, you need to ‘follow by email’, which is different.
    Bottom line: Put a highly-visible follow-by-email button on your site.
  2. Gain an immediate (and impressive!) follower count boost by linking your accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to your WordPress account. But beware: if your blog has a high post count before you do, you may upset your followers…

For years, my follower count was at 130. It didn’t matter what I wrote about, nor how objectively ‘good’ the posts were; that number remained resolutely static.

And then I discovered The Daily Post‘s First Friday, a weekly open thread where any new blogger can share a link to their very first post with the larger WordPress.com community. Spending some time visiting, liking, commenting on and following the new blogs advertised there pays dividends; my follower count increases steadily when I do this, although it is a pretty time-consuming exercise.

(The Daily Post also features Community Pool, where more established bloggers can highlight their own blog posts every Monday. This is one way to reach a new audience.)

Some (not all) bloggers have a ‘follow-for-follow’ policy, so anyone who follows them gets followed back. I know of one blogger who owned up (and kudos to them for their honesty) to using this technique to build up a following of over 1000 in a relatively short space of time. You may — or may not — wish to utilise such a tactic yourself.

But the really big surprise came when I linked my Twitter and Facebook accounts to my WordPress blog: my follower count jumped from 196 to 503! So perhaps this is how those blogs I see with ‘followers’ in the thousands get those silly numbers?

I did some digging in the support forums, and found this:

If you have connected any of your social networking services (such as Facebook or Twitter) through our Publicize feature, counts for your followers on those services will also be shown.

… the sad thing (for me) is that I found one day, soon after I’d allowed the connection between WordPress, Facebook and Twitter, that The System was reposting old posts (like, from long, long ago) to my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Needless to say, I immediately disconnected these erring things — spam sucks, and no spam sucks more than old spam. Sure enough, my follower count dropped back to near 200 once again.

I got in touch with a WordPress Happiness Engineer about this spam problem. I was told that ‘Publicize’ will share old posts if they weren’t shared in the past, and that if I didn’t want certain posts to be shared, I could disable it on specific posts.

The problem is: I currently have over 400 published posts… and the thought of going through all of those and manually disabling the shares on each of them gives me a severe case of the screaming heebiejeebies!

The Happiness Engineer admitted that the only option is to automatically share each post and then manually turn sharing off again after publication. One other idea is to skip the automatic publishing and use the share buttons to manually share the posts instead. Neither of which is ideal (and for the purposes of this post, neither one increases your follower count).

So, learn from my mistake: if you’re going to share your blog to other platforms, do it before your blog post count gets too high!

About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in ... wait, what?, Communication and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to How to increase your blog following

  1. savvystreaks says:

    Thanks for sharing, I am working on something similar and your advice is useful. I am exploring twitter and reddit at present.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This sounds very useful for possible future endeavours. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good posts. Kept short and concise. And honestly following other and building relationships through honest commenting will do the trick

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Good post..very informative…im going to come back later and reread it..i don’t currently use social media..but I have looked into it…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great post! I agree with everything you mentioned. I don’t have that many followers yet, but I would add on to the first Friday and community pool reference that establishing genuine connection with other bloggers it’s great help. Not only do you meet really interesting and nice people, but you also support each other πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Collins says:

    Great post and thanks for the advice πŸ‘ βœ‹

    Liked by 2 people

  7. mistermuse says:

    Speaking just for myself, I’d rather have a few hundred ‘quality’ followers than thousands of ‘come and go’ followers. For one thing, I wouldn’t have time to do justice to the posts and comments of many more followers than I already have (I believe a thoughtful comment to a post deserves a thoughtful response, which may take more than a few minutes). Of course, I could post less often in order to give me more time to handle more followers, or simply devote less time to following my followers, but why let such options dictate how I write?

    That said, I don’t use Facebook, Twitter, etc., so the above is easy for me to say!

    Liked by 2 people

    • pendantry says:

      I agree completely with everything you say here. Far better to have a few friends you know well than many you know poorly. But some folk measure the ‘success’ of their blogs on how many followers they have; I recently learned a thing or two about the subject so I thought I’d share. What’s done with the knowledge ain’t up to me πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  8. This post made me research about wordpress followers and e-mail followers. Haha! Thanks for this!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I always assumed people ‘followed’ someone because they liked their work. A follow for follow doesn’t work for me. I go through a number of blogs everyday in search of good content. And even without ‘following’, I visit some blogs everyday because what is posted resonates with me.
    Thank you for the information you share.

    Liked by 2 people

    • pendantry says:

      ‘follow for follow’ doesn’t really work for me either… there aren’t enough hours in the day to satisfy the implied obligation to visit those others’ sites. But having said that, I can’t deny I’ve followed some people simply because they’ve followed me — it can sometimes seem impolite not to.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, it does. And I have been impolite! But I do try to make up by visiting their blogs whenever possible. Moreover I am neither on Facebook or Twitter, so I am pretty happy with a small number of follows and likes. To each his/her own I guess. ☺️

        Liked by 3 people

  10. Thats interesting..I always wonder how in the world people get into thise crazy thousands..I dont have my facebook up and havent for a year and I love it..I never noticed any change in following from it they would read and like the facebook post and never sign in lol..I am linked to twitter which I never look at and has maybe 20 people on there..I think the amount of time on these social medias..instagram facebook etc..I have to spend your life face first in your computer and phone..I just cant do that to get another follower…itll unfold as it may I suppose…this was enlightening as always….thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Well i have no new follower for long time but im very good at SEO and thanks for such a wonderful post

    Liked by 3 people

  12. obyakhigbe says:

    Great tips! I’m not a great fan of Twitter but will definitely try it. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Jalpa says:

    helpful post for all bloggers

    Liked by 2 people

  14. anstalmi says:

    I am really new here and I appreciate your info. I the floaty follow button you mention the one at the bottom of the page that sort of floats up?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. anstalmi says:

    Me again, how do I get a follow by email button on my page?

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      Go to Site Admin > Appearance > Widgets, and add a β€˜Follow Blog’ widget. (If you have trouble with that, let me know and we’ll see if we can figure it out between us).

      Like

  16. Lace n Plaid says:

    Thank you for this post. Very helpful as I am still trying to find my way around.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: Why Some Blogging Goals Are Bad | Wibble

  18. floatinggold says:

    I didn’t know they actually count your followers from ALL platforms, so it was so funny when I read a post about “x amount of followers” and then saw 5 times the number on the side. I wondered if they just gained followers in the span of 2 days. It was then that I found out that it displays your Twitter and Facebook followers.

    As far as spam posts on Facebook go, I’m not sure what you meant exactly. I HOPE this will not be an issue for me, because I am starting to have over a hundred posts. No spam needed.I have the posting automated for Facebook/ Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • pendantry says:

      If you’ve had your other social media accounts connected since the beginning, the spam problem won’t affect you. My problem is that I haven’t connected my other accounts to WordPress until very recently (I now have over 400 posts)… and WordPress began posting my very old stuff to all my social media accounts… about three a day. No way to effectively stop that, other than disconnecting the accounts again 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Squashy Moss says:

    Oh I didn’t realise that! I don’t want to share on Facebook. I don’t think there is any point because when I tried to share not one single person liked or commented.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Squashy Moss says:

    Yes maybe. Not a glass half full kind of person sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Squashy Moss says:

    You’re welcome

    Liked by 1 person

  22. thank you! Every bit helps!

    Liked by 1 person

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