How to Make Money Blogging: 10 Ways to Build & Increase Your Readership (Part 2)

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Read Part 1 if you missed it.

6. Host giveaways.

Readers love giveaways. It’s a way to generate buzz for your site, give something back to your readers and get additional traffic by linking up to giveaway link-ups (ours goes up every Monday afternoon).

If you are a new blogger and wondering how on earth you get started hosting giveaways, it’s really very simple. Read my other post for some tips and suggestions for getting started offering giveaways.

If there’s one thing I want to encourage with giveaways, it’s this: don’t overdo and don’t make people jump through a bunch of hoops to enter. Okay, that was two things, but I think they are both vital for giveaway success.

Giveaways are great — in moderation. Unless your blog is primarily a product review blog, any more than 10 to 20% of a ratio of giveaways to regular posts is probably too much. And make it simple for people to enter. I promise your readers will appreciate it.

As a side note: be honest in your reviews if you’re including them with a product. If you didn’t love something, there’s no need to gush up and down about it.

Your readers appreciate honesty and forthrightness. Show pros and cons. But, as I’ve learned the hard way, if you only have critical things to say about a product, it’s probably better to skip the giveaway altogether since most companies aren’t really excited about sponsoring a giveaway where the blogger just posts a very negative review of the product.

7. Interact on Facebook and Twitter.

A year and a half ago, my husband suggested I set up a Facebook Page. I wasn’t too sure if it was worth it, but I went ahead and did it. I was shocked at how much traffic it generated from the start and how many people signed up as fans!

The beautiful thing about a Facebook Page is that when someone interacts on your page, it shows up on their personal page. Many people have told me they originally found my blog through a friend on Facebook.

In addition, my Facebook Page is one of the highest generators of traffic to my blog each month. Needless to say, I’m listening more carefully when my husband suggests I add something to my blog. :)

A successful Facebook Page doesn’t sit dormant. It should be updated at least once a day, preferably a few times per day. Post links to all your blog posts, share posts from the archives and throw in the occasional picture or real-time funny story, quote or question. The more you interact with your fans, the better.

By the way, I recommend posting your links manually on Facebook, instead of using an auto-post set up. Not only does this cause you to see if people are commenting or leaving questions, but this also shows up more readily in people’s feeds (auto-post tends to bury posts so people never see them).

8. Link liberally to other bloggers.

Want to know one way to have people find your blog? Link to their blog!

Most bloggers track their stats and incoming links and will click over to see if someone has linked to them. They might just end up linking back to you if they like what they see.

Now, I’m not advocating a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” sort of mentality here, but I know that some bloggers are so scared they might lose traffic if they link to another blog. I’ve found the exact opposite to be true.

If you find a great blog or blog post that you think your readers would love, share it on your blog or Facebook Page! Don’t keep a good thing to yourself.

I got a little long-winded with these three, so I’ll save the final two ways to build and increase your readership for next week.

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Comments

  1. says

    Two years ago someone stole my domain name and today I finally got it back! Woo hoo! I was just in the middle of building my blog when the domain was stolen (it was totally my fault for signing up via Blogger!). This series has been so helpful!

    What I really popped over to say is that it drives me NUTS when a blog giveaway offers 27 different ways to “enter”! Tweet this, post that… ARGH! I don’t even bother. I LOVE that you have a button with a super easy sign up and it is one of the many reasons I stick around and read your blog! :-)

    • Guest says

      Gosh, I so agree with this. There is another “mom” site that I absolutely love (not financial) but I won’t sign up for any of the giveaways because you have to do so many different things to be registered. I certainly understand the desire to increase their visibility but it’s really annoying and not worth it.

    • deborah says

      I totally agree about a simple entry to giveaways, instead of multiple ways to enter. I will just skip it, because it sounds like too much trouble. I am interested in starting a blog, but don’t feel like I “know” enough….

  2. says

    Thanks for so many great tips!! I love my Facebook (and blog) readers and interacting with them is a highlight of blogging. I learn so much from them! And your husband is a very smart man! After all, he picked you, right? :)

    Looking forward to next week’s tips!!

  3. Kristi says

    I am so interested in starting a blog since there really is not to many active coupon blogs in my area (Northern California). What is a good company to host the blog. I do not want to use a free service.

    • says

      Anne, I resisted it, too, but it’s worth it. I’ve been blogging about 16 months, but didn’t break down and open a FB page until about three months ago — needless to say, the FB page is about to surpass my email/rss subscribers in terms of followers. Another couple weeks, I’ll be there.

      Like Crystal, FB is currently my biggest source of traffic/pageviews.

      Go for it! :)

    • K says

      Anne,

      Would you mind sharing your reasons for resisting opening a Facebook account?

      I don’t have a blog as of yet. I have wondered whether or not I’d open a Facebook account once I’d started the blog.

      It does help that so many readers have commented that they have had a postive experience with Facebook with respect to the success of their blogs – to include Crytal :).

      • says

        K, The only reason is time. I feel like once I open that page there’s no going back–it has to be updated! And I’m fearful of the time commitment.

        Although, I have to say I’m finding Crystal and all these comments pretty persuasive!

  4. says

    I’ve never done a giveaway. I’m a little nervous about that idea, and I’m not sure if my blog is big enough, but I might try it. I’ve recently learned how to use twitter and I’m feeling more comfortable it. It’s a great way to interact with and get to know other bloggers. As far as linking to other blogs, I do this frequently, and I think it’s great! It’s been by far my number one source of traffic. (A couple really big blogs that I talked about in one of my posts liked it and linked back to my post.)

  5. says

    What a great series this has been, Crystal. I’m looking forward to the next two points!

    I resisted FB for the longest time myself, but it is now my biggest source of traffic, too. Who knew! :)

    Regarding giveaways, I’ve noticed that while I do gain more traffic and subscribers with them, those new subscribers sometimes unsubscribe after the giveaway. Many aren’t like-minded or interested enough in my niche to stick around… or so it seems.

    Are there legal issues surrounding giveaways, too? I’ve come across some articles and posts regarding that lately and need to look into it more.

    Regarding reviews, I love that you brought out the necessity of keeping the review honest. I was sent a product that I wasn’t pleased with, and I knew that I could not write a positive review about it. After letting the company know, they were gracious and sent a new product to review that I loved. It was win-win, and I ended up feeling great about sending my readers over to them.

  6. says

    Here’s my question for you about Twitter: I know lots of people use it, but I’m totally lost even reading it (much less starting one for my site!) While you mentioned both FB & Twitter I noticed you didn’t say whether or not you update your Twitter page manually – do you use a feed or just manually post there too?

    I took forever to get on board with Facebook, but like you I’m now thankful for it, just not sure I’m ready to take on the Twitter challenge :)

    Thanks so much for this series – I love reading it each week!

    • says

      Yes, I kinda forgot to mention Twitter, didn’t I? I get distracted like that sometimes. I have my posts set up to auto-tweet to Twitter and then just check over there once a day to respond to anyone who has tweeted at me or retweeted something I’ve posted. I don’t do as much with Twitter because I’ve found Facebook is a much better return on my investment of time and it also seems like more of a community than Twitter does.

  7. says

    I love the idea of Giveaways too! Each week on my blog I am trying to give away a nice gift of something I found at a yard sale for my readers. This week it is a “Summer Boredom Buster” giveaway…15 Golden Books or 5 DVDs. People seem to like it!

    I haven’t set up a facebook page yet, but I think I am going to now based on your post. Thanks for the push in that direction, I have been dragging my feet. Do you need to “promote” your facebook page or does the facebook thing kind of just happen?

    Loving this series!

  8. says

    Thanks again! I have been trying to figure out how to do this facebook thing and wanted to do an auto update, but was technologically inept! I have decided to try to do the manual update and see how that goes.

  9. says

    Interesting about the FB auto-posting. That’s what I have set up now, but maybe will try to manually post in the future. Just seems like it would take more time than I’m willing to invest. We’ll see.. (I, too was FB resistant. Even now I have no personal “friends”. I’m really, really working to keep my FB account just for FrugaLouis.)

    Thanks for the post, Crystal!

    • says

      I’ve kept my automatic posting on for when I am out of town or away from the computer and have something scheduled to post, but when I’m home I normally manually enter it (and delete the automatic post).

      One nice thing about the automatic posting (at least mine) is it includes about the first paragraph of your post, so it gives a nice introduction.

    • says

      It’s super simple and maybe takes me five minutes extra per day. I just keep my Facebook Page open when posting and put the link on there as soon as I put a post up.

      • says

        I actually have not seen a huge difference in traffic when I have switched from auto post to manual post. But I may not have done it long enough..

        I think it is worth testing both ways and seeing what happens.

        jen

    • says

      Thanks for this Jenae-

      I have been looking for this info for a while. I am concerned that offering a prize or money for your email subscribers is an “illegal lottery”.

      jenetta

  10. says

    Crystal, I would love to see a post on how to successfully set up a Facebook page. I have one created for my Team Chandler blog but I just can’t seem to figure the ins and outs.

  11. Emily E says

    I *really* wish blogs would stop it with the 20 different steps for entering. I understand why they do it- to try and increase traffic and numbers- but it is ridiculously annoying. I generally avoid those types unless it’s something I really want and then I’ll only do maybe 2 entries. Plus, I hate seeing my twitter feed overflowing with daily tweet entries. That and partial RSS feeds are my two big blog pet peeves.

    I love the way you do entries- quick and easy. No fuss.

  12. says

    Hi! I recently started a blog. I would like to increase traffic and FB fans. Do you think it would be a good idea to sponser another blooger’s giveaway?

    • says

      I’d suggest guest posting before I would suggest sponsoring another blogger’s giveaway. But you could also do both!

    • says

      Hi, Beth–

      I sponsored a few bloggers’ giveaways on facebook and found that it helped boost my number of facebook fans. Which in turn gave me a bigger audience to have read about my giveaways and my posts.

      I believe a few $25 Restaurant.com gift certificates (purchased at the end of the month for $2 each) were a great investment.

      AND, the shout-outs I received from those bloggers as thank-yous for sponsoring their giveaways was soooo worth it.

      Certainly, you should try a few things to see what will work for you. *That* is what worked for me!

      Good luck!

  13. anushka says

    Simple, easy and no more than two options for entering giveaways are so very important. I usually get turned off by the multiple ways of entering in other blogs. It paints the image of the blogger in a different light. One such giveaway and I don’t go back to those blogs.
    I always wanted to let you know that this has been a big reason I have loved your blog. Nothing is complicated here. When I am free and unwinding, I always think, ‘let me see what moneysavingmom is up to today’. You have become my dear friend. Thank you and Goodluck.

  14. says

    This is great advice, Crystal. I am having my second giveaway this week, and I agree that it can be overwhelming and so I’m taking it slow and giving thought to what I am giving away. I appreciate your method of entry and it’s simplicity. On the other hand, I also appreciate some blogs that offer additional ways to enter, but they aren’t required-like the FB following, twitter, and maybe answering a question. I think it’s good to make a “required” entry of their name/email address (only for notification purposes), and offer additional yet optional entries for tweeting, facebooking, etc.

  15. Kaidi says

    I quit “liking” one blog because of all the hoops they made readers jump through for giveaways.

    Well, ok, there were other problems as well, like grammar, ton of exclamation points everywhere, personal opinion expressing posts that very long winded (and mostly in one paragraph) and sounded very unprofessional (as in simply venting with hardly any content). But yes, when I tried to enter for a giveaway and there were a ton of conditions, then I stopped reading.

  16. says

    Thanks for this series! I also have discovered that FB has been an incredible means of promoting my blog. It seems like fans are added almost daily, which is exciting. I also really enjoy doing giveaways, although you are right about limiting them if you are not a review blog. My niche is healthy cooking, and I really feel that giveaways more than once a month detracts from my blog.

  17. says

    Hello:

    Facebook has worked really well for me. I opened a Twitter account, but haven’t used it yet; I just don’t think I’m interesting enough for that one. I’m putting the pieces together to put together a podcast, so that will be my first venture into the great unknown.

    I’ve set up links to a few blogs run by friends and a few other blogs that I really like, and I agree, that has worked out well. It’s also a good first step to starting a dialog with the people who run other blogs that you like, which gives you a chance to pick their brain.

    Thanks again for the excellent tips. I waited all week for this post!

    Best,

    Travis

  18. says

    I have a question? How long should I wait before sending traffic to my blog? I have 4 posts now and five additional links to posts I have written on other sites. I set up a Facebook page and also feed to Twitter, but I am hesitant to start sending people to the blog until I have more written… but then it looks funny to go “live” with no comments on any of my posts.

  19. Kimber says

    Anyone know of any place you can host a blog that you can run a paid memberships to read the blog?

  20. says

    We link to you and a few other of our favorites in our sidebar. We tell our readers that we are a great place to come and find everything you are looking for! We get great feedback about our links to other bloggers!

  21. Chris says

    Thanks for you post, Crystal. I learn so much here at your site. I am thinking of starting a blog soon. My question is…Is there any proper etiquette to follow when linking to someone else’s site? Do you ask permission first? Or is it just assumed that the other person would welcome the link?

    • says

      You shouldn’t need to ask permission to link to another blog. Bloggers would welcome the extra traffic/link love (well, provided you’re not saying negative things about them and linking to them!).

      If you copy and paste from another blog, that’s a whole different story.

  22. Pamela says

    I, too, love your very simple, no-strings-attached giveaways. I understand that other bloggers are trying to generate traffic by making us jump through all the hoops, but it does backfire when readers tire of the hoops and quit reading their blog.

    I am really enjoying this series even though I don’t have a blog. I don’t like writing (probably partially because I’m in the midst of a dissertation!) and don’t ever want to blog, but I sure have appreciated this behind-the-scenes look into what makes a blog tick (or not tick, as the case may be).

    Thanks for writing it, Crystal!

    • says

      You can use Sitemeter or Statcounter. I personally just use Google Analytics as well as the tracking through my ad platform.

  23. says

    I think the Facebook page is the best thing I’ve done. I’m not sure where people are finding my site, but when you think about how quickly word spreads on FB, it’s not surprising. It spreads a lot quicker than waiting for someone to google your site, or see you somewhere else.

  24. erika m says

    I have a question for ya. I read thru your part 1 post and I would like to blog, more as a journal, but…might turn it into something. My question is: I am a security freak, with young children and such, I didn’t even open a facebook page because I am paranoid about my full name being on there. It freaks me out that I say for example: “My name is Jen Brooks and I live in Tallahassee, FL” and someone just has to type that into a whitepages.com and if its listed….bam theres my home address and such. How do you keep you and your family safe and aren’t you paranoid? Really, I’m paranoid so I am not judging you at all…

    • says

      You can make up names, just use your first name, not share where you live, etc. There are many, many ways to help protect your identity as a blogger. In fact, I think it is smart to be careful in what you post online so as to protect yourself and your family.

      • K says

        Crystal,

        This is good to know. Thanks so much for the information that you have in this series.

        It’s simple – easy to understand.

  25. says

    Thanks for this series, I’m loving it! I really appreciate the way you do your giveaways. It makes it so quick and easy.

    Thanks for sharing all your knowledge with us. I know you’ve worked hard to learn all this stuff.

  26. says

    I have a FB page and I try to interact on it (other than just posting posts) but I don’t get much feedback, any ideas?

    I have given away coupons that I got for free and made homemade greeting cards as a giveaway. I usually ask for them to comment on my giveaway post as a required entry and then if they like me of FB than that’s another entry. Is that too many in your opinion?

    • says

      I say just keep at it. It takes awhile to build up a following — you’re at 135 followers so you’re making steady headway! You could always try posting something fairly controversial or opinionated and that might bring some commentors out. :) (I’m pretty much teasing on that one!)

      I think as long as you keep your giveaway simple, it’s totally okay to provide a few extra entry opportunities. I’ve seen some giveaways that require you to do four different things to enter and that’s just plain overkill (unless they are giving away $10,000 or something!).

  27. says

    Thank you so much for this advice! I’m a new blogger, only been doing it a few months. A few days ago someone asked if I had a facebook page, so that combined with you recommending it, made me decide to set one up today!

  28. says

    I am so new to blogging.. been doing it for a week or so and love it! Can someone check mine out and give me some honest feed back on what you think?? I am looking for constructive criticism!
    Also, I signed up for adsense but was denied for some reason. I think it had to do with my original name. I changed it to my current on Chronicles….. I re-applied, so I am just waiting to see what they say this time around.
    http://chroniclesofmybeautifulchaos.blogspot.com
    Thanks in advance for checking me out ;)