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Book Blogging 101 - How To Gain Followers

Today for BB101 I'll be answering a few questions that came through in December. Some were a few technical questions because of the HTML post that went up at the end of the month.

Spawned from the Big Sis, Little Blog program, Book Blogging 101 was born. Do you have a question? Leave it in the google docs form and I'll try and answer them in the order they are received.

Question #1:

How do I go about gaining new followers and getting my blogs name out there? -- Joder

A: The Question. If there was a set rule to this, or answer I think I could make a fortune. Maybe bottle it up, or write a book. *IDEA* Who is with me?? Gaining Blog Followers for Dummies. But, right now, I'll give you a simple break down. 

Step 1. Get your content, vision and brand down pat. I have a post on making a plan and branding yourself. >> Here

Step 2. Make friends. Social Networks are great way to do this. An integral way to do this.  Guess what? I also have another post for that. >> Here

Step 3. You follow me, I follow you. Find blogs that are similar to yours, introduce yourself and ask for a follow back. Hook up with other start-up blogs and introduce yourself. Other young eager new blogs will quickly return follows for a follow. My bit of advice on this: make sure they are worthwhile blogs. Blogs you will like to read and comment on. Numbers in the beginning might make you happy, but in the end you want worthwhile readers that comment on your blog and participate. Your reciprocal commenting and participating helps with this. Just like a "real" buddy, the phone goes both ways.

Step 4. Join a book/blog tour. Fun ways to have like-minded individuals become aware of your existence include signing up for tours that are offered through 3rd party groups, other bloggers or the author themselves. I happen to have a post on that also: >> Here

The fun thing about this is that even other bloggers might host an ARC tour, so it really isn't that you need to have a contact or an "in". I can't point you in directions or push you towards certain tours...just scour the WWW and I'm sure you'll find a few.

Step 5. Join a group. I get group invites all the time. This book group on goodreads, this one on Facebook, this one on BookBlogs.ning. People love new group members, just as much as they love new followers. Join a group, make new friends. Five good bloggy friends are worth 500 non-participating blog followers.

Step 6. Host a contest. Contests are good ways of getting attention and getting followers. All of them might not be loyal followers, but you will get people's attention that will most likely come back for more. I also have a post on contests >> Here

Step 7. Patience is a virtue. Followers come in time. Blog good. Blog true...and they will come. That was sooo hokey. But it is true. At 500 I stopped actively trying to recruit new followers. They come in time. They come through google searches. They come through friends made. They come through recommendations. They come through twitter. Did I say that you need to be on twitter??? Refer back to step 2.

Once again, there is no set formula. You make friends, you network, you blog good. That is the basic advice I can give you. What I strongly recommend that you do not do to try and gain follows are a few basic no-nos that have sometimes a reverse effect:
  1. DO NOT Spam. Don't harass people through their comments. If you are making a contact, saying hello, introducing yourself that is fine. But don't comment on 100 blogs with the same message. "Hi, I'm Jane. I just started The Next Book Blog, and I want you to check it out. I followed you, can you follow me. XOXO - Jane" Book bloggers are a tight little group, we read a lot, including what people are commenting on other blogs. If they see that you made the same comment on just one other blog, it will probably leave a sour flavor in their mouth.
  2. DO NOT expect anything. Nothing in life is a guarantee, the same is in the blogging world. Do not expect authors to just throw books at you, and do not expect bloggers to just flock to your blog because you follow them. And please don't begrudge the blogs that don't follow back. It is probably not because of a blatant snub, it is probably just because they are unaware. If you are a loyal follower of one blog and notice they are not on your follow list, make a happy comment...saying check me out, I'm a loyal reader of yours. Nothing more.
I hope this helps!

Question #2:

I wanted to know if using a pre-made code for a blogger template to start your own is a bad thing to do. I seriously want to know how to code my own blog designs but tutorials out there are a bit sketchy and I'm trying my best to sort through all of them. - Akoss

A: As a website designer I have used pre-made code and have adapted it to my will. Just don't pass on anyone's work as your own and you should be good. Every coder knows that their work usually falls within the public domain and is used and adapted. Most offer it willingly. Blogger is even more open, because they have the standard templates that are easily modified to your own design. Easy rule of thumb, if it is offered up for free on the internet, try and modify it to your own design, just don't keep any images or design elements.

Question #3:

How/where do you get all of your "follow me" buttons in one gadget? Are they custom made?

Thanks! This is such a great help.
- LJ

A: The ones that I have on my blog are custom made:

But there are great sites that you can get free icons. Just do a quick search online and you can find something that might just fit your design:

And on that note. I'm out. Have a wonderful Thursday my lovelies.

Ask your BB101 Questions here...


Juju at Tales of said...

Amen on patience being a virtue!

BooksforCompany said...

'Five good bloggy friends are worth 500 non-participating blog followers.'
l couldn't agree more!!

Sandy said...

Great post! If I didn't have patience my blog follower number would drive me to depression. I'm finding that participating in other blog memes really helps with the follower number and actually getting comments on posts :).

Akoss said...

I got an answer to my question. Thank you so much. I was already learning to tweak and rewrite pre-made codes to work for my design. I just wasn't sure if that was ok to do. And yes I will do my own graphics and design elements.
Thanks again.

'Five good bloggy friends are worth 500 non-participating blog followers.'
this is sooo true.

Jenni Elyse said...

I really like your Blogging 101 questions. I've been blogging for a little over three years, so I know quite a bit, but I don't know a lot of the things you post, especially since before a few months ago my blog was more of a personal blog than a book blog. Thanks for passing on all your tips and know how!

Blogging Books said...

I love the BB 101 blogs you do! I'm just starting out, and it's nice to know that I'm not the only one going through these things. I love your blog, keep up the good work!

Nicole Sheldon said...

Great question again this week Junkee, I love reading these. I am at 54 followers now, but I have the same handful of regulars that post comments and I couldn't be more thankful for them. I enjoy their blogs very much and feel so honored when they take a moment to read/post on mine. And I agree with so many of your points here, especially being sure they are blogs you want to follow, at the beginning I felt obligated to follow those that were following me and I was not interested in their material, not through their fault, but just that I have a very select group of interests and I'm wretchedly picky. Keep up the awesome blogging!

BookGirl said...

I love this topic. I started my own blog only two months ago and all I wanted was followers. But I realized that the number followers doesn't matter, I just love to read and blog about books and that's what's important to me now. And I got this confirmed through this blog post. Thanks for the great answers

ParaJunkee said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone and for commenting! I'm glad these posts are helpful...funny thing they help me out to along the way. If it wasn't for comments and people chiming in and expanding on topics it would all just be one sided.

And for those upping followers, do you know that this column BB101 is one of my most popular posts of the week. Most comments, and most pageviews. At first I was upset that my reviews weren't getting as much attention, but hey, whatever works right??

Anonymous said...

My opinions about the number of followers has really changed since our blog first started. It's nice to have a bunch of followers but it's those regulars that we interact with that I really appreciate and can't wait to see what they think of my latest post. You sure said it.

Stephanie G
Paranormal Haven

LJ said...

Thanks so much for answering! I'll be checking out more sites. Again, BB101 is so informative

Missie said...

I know people worry about followers. I don't think it is something that can be helped.

Having a lot of follower is nice, but I love the people who regularly comment on my blog. They are the people whose blogs I stalk and it feels great to feel like I have formed true friendships with them as we discuss our love for books.

No need to feel offended or upset PJ! You are doing a great thing here and it is very helpful.


m. christine weber said...

I love when you do these posts. I always feel so much smarter! ;-) Thanks.

a girl & her books

Celine said...

This is probably the most asked question from every new blogger. It took myself a few months to figure it out too, hehe. I found it really helps to be an active commenter on other people's blogs.

By the way Parajunkee, I'm a loyal reader of yours! :D

MJ said...

thank you for putting this together-it is extremely helpful. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into it.

Amanda P said...

This is awesome! I've been blogging about 6 months now and I just recently started getting a lot of views but not so many followers. You tips are very helpful. I still don't quite have the look I want down yet but this certainly helps. :)

Rebecca said...

Thanks so much for all your Book Blogging 101 post. They have been so encuraging. I have only been book blogging for about a month, but I think i have checked your site more than spell
Thanks again, Rebecca

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