Cyberspace contains roughly 15 million active blogs, read by about 52 million people. If my gazintas are right, the reader-to-blog ratio is 3.466. Does that mean each blog has a mere 3 and a half readers? Not exactly. Some blogs have thousands of followers. Some have none. The “if you blog it they will read” philosophy is a myth.
There are many reasons, but the main answer is focus. Of those 15 million blogs, the approximately 5000 that have a regular audience (yes, that’s less than one percent), have a sharp focus. There’s a difference in creating a blog post that shares shopping tips and a rant about getting waylaid at the mall by a group of third-graders on a field trip. Both could fall under the broad scope of “shopping,” but one offers useful information to a target audience. The other might be a mad shopper’s rant.
People are joiners.
They want to belong, feel a part of a group that falls within their comfort zone. It’s that whole birds of a feather thing. But imagine a bird with multiple types of feathers — peacock, ostrich, blue jay, cardinal. Just a little scary, huh? One key to attracting and retaining readers is having a purpose for your blog — a focus. Make sure your feathers belong to your bird.
People are busy.
They may initially read your blog because they’re your friends, but if there’s no “rhyme nor reason” to the blog, they won’t keep coming back.
People are selfish.
They read blogs with the “what’s in it for me?” attitude. As you’re preparing your posts — think of the take-away value you’re offering your readers. Will this be worthwhile to them? If not, they won’t be back. If so, they’ll be regulars and will tweet about your blog.
People like predictability.
This concept is what retailers count on. Whether or not you like McDonald’s hamburgers, you know what you’re going to get when you step up to the counter. And serving consistency has created a worldwide empire for that company. Surprises are fun for birthdays and Christmas presents, but when it comes to choosing how to spend the few extra minutes a reader has with her morning coffee,she wants to know what she’s going to get.
Having a plan — a purpose, a focus — is one of the best ways to increase your readership.