Here is the previous post: Blogger Advice: Gaining Followers
1. Captcha Codes: Boo...Hiss...Grr... I hate Captcha Codes with every fiber of my being, as do most bloggers. Also known as Word Verification, these are the letters/numbers that you're required to enter in order to post a comment. Please, please get rid of them! In the year that I've been blogging, I have only received 3 or 4 spam comments that slipped through. You don't need Captcha Codes. Trust me. Give it a try and if you get tons of spam, you can switch it back. It will make it much easier for people to comment on your blog.
A lot of people may not even realize that they have Captcha Codes on their blog, if they don't comment on their own posts. If you want to see if you have Capcha Codes and how to get rid of them, here are some easy steps:
Go to Blogger and then click on Settings.
Scroll down until you find "Show Word Verification for Comments." Click No.
2. Music: I said this last time, but I'm going to say it again. No music! It's incredibly irritating. And I'd prefer if you don't post book promoting widgets that have sound. It's personal preference, but I think most people share my preference of silence.
Okay ranting part of post over.
3. Timing of Hops/Memes: If you're a new blogger and even if you're not, the weekly blog hops and memes are the best way for new people to find your blog. While it would be nice to expect that every participant will visit all 300 blogs, that's pretty unrealistic. I often get through all the blogs on the Hops/IMM, but there are many weekends when I have to stop after 100 or 200 because I'm afraid I'm going to lose my mind.
Anyway...if you want to get maximum exposure for your blog, your best bet is to be one of the first bloggers listed on the Hops/Memes. It's much more likely that random people will visit your blog and comment. The memes generally aren't posted at exactly the same time each week, but here are some approximates:
Parajunkee Friday Follow: Usually about 8 or 9 PM, Central Time Thursday night
Crazy for Books Book Blogger Hop: The posting time on this meme no longer matters. A few months ago, the linky switched to a random order. So each time you load the page, the links appear in a different order. Makes it fair for everyone (except the people who get there first, I suppose)
Breaking the Spine Waiting on Wednesday: This is always posted as 12 AM Central Time Wednesday
The Story Siren In My Mailbox: This also varies. It is usually posted Sunday morning, but it can be Saturday night.
I tried to figure out when Top Ten Tuesdays (an increasingly popular meme) posts, but it's really sporadic. I also had trouble figuring out Teaser Tuesdays, because I couldn't tell the time zone. If you know any times that popular memes tend to post, please let me know and I'll edit this list.
Also, follow these bloggers on Twitter. They will generally Tweet the link to the Hop/Meme as soon as it posts.
4. Finding New Blogs Through Hops/Memes: This is a twist on the previous comment. Just like people find you through the Hops/Memes, you find new blogs. After awhile, you see the same blogs linked every week. How do you find new ones? I often wait until the Hop/Meme has been up for a day or so and then start clicking on blogs - starting from the bottom. New people don't know the Hops/Meme well enough to time when it's going to post, so they often arrive late. You are much more likely to find new blogs at the bottom of the list.
5. E-Mail/Tweet Experienced Bloggers: A way to become known by experienced bloggers and to gain loyal readers is to personally reach out to them. The first review I posted was Swim the Fly by Don Calame (if you haven't read this, you must get it right away! It's one of the funniest books I've ever read). I read it after Steph Su Reads recommended it. I e-mailed her to tell her that she inspired me to read this great book and included the link to my review. She became my first follower.
Since that time, I've had a few new bloggers e-mail me with questions about blogging. Talk about a surefire way to get me to become a frequent visitor. I'm always so flattered that anyone takes the time to specifically contact me that I seek out their blogs. I really like to support new blogs, but there are so many that it's hard for me to keep track of them on a daily basis. E-mailing a blogger that you like definitely keeps you in her mind.
These are just a few thoughts about ways to promote your blog and make it more reader-friendly. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions (alisoncanread at gmail dot com or @alisoncanread on Twitter). I rather like doing these advice posts. I may make it a semi-regular feature. I don't want to usurp on the fabulous advice features of other bloggers, specifically Parajunkee's Book Blogging 101, but I have lots of thoughts about blogging that I enjoy sharing. Let me know if you have any specific questions in mind.