Advice on Growing a Blog

I have tried a bit of everything to grow my blog:  participating in carnivals, signing up for contests, spamming Glenn Reynolds for attention (sorry Glenn).  Here is the lesson I have learned:  You have just got to write a lot.  Other bloggers will notice you and start linking back to you when you write about them.  Walter Olson at Overlawyered has had me guest blog a couple of times, and I don't think I ever emailed him once.  I linked to a lot of his posts, adding my commentary, and he eventually noticed.  Ditto some of the folks at Cafe Hayek, at Reason, and at the Knowledge Problem.  In turn, I have discovered great blogs like Maggies Farm and Catallarchy from my traffic logs.  Write a lot on your blog, and comment on other people's blogs, if you really have energy to burn, and the traffic will show up.  Search engine traffic alone will bring new readers, and the more you post, the more different searches will find you (though some are a bit bizarre).

As a sort of reverse proof of this, here is my traffic profile for the last year.  Nothing spectacular, I am just a small blog, but you can see what happened to traffic when my posting went way down over the summer.  I have in turn been burning up the keyboard in September, and I hit a new traffic high.

Traffic2

Update: Trackbacks used to be a great way to tell folks that you were commenting on a particular post.  Unfortunately, spam has pretty much killed them at most sites, including this one. 

  • MesaEconoGuy

    Thanks for the advice here. I’m working on my own blog right now (ripping the AZ Republic a new one, especially their business/economic misreporting, if you know who I mean, and expanding from there) and will link to yours, if that’s ok, Dr. Coyote.

    So much of modern journalism/press release/soundbite journalism is run by people who would have failed in any other endeavor, and so much of their "information," especially economic, is simply wrong.

    There’s so much material out there, it’s hard not to write/refute, if one has the proclivity……

  • http://successful-nofear-speaking.blogspot.com txdave

    I like your blog for colorful graph, ideas and clean look.

    I took a look at a couple of liberterian blogs you mention and question comes to mind: where are liberterians in power either in US or abroad?

    If not in power, why not, I can't help but wonder?

  • Patri Friedman

    Don't forget that blogs have a yearly cyclical pattern, with summer lows and fall highs, so this effect is conflated with your writing. Perhaps if you graphed the last two years on the same graph (with a 1-year X-axis), you could isolate the two effects.

  • http://www.humanadvancement.net/blog Kyle Bennett

    I've had you on my blogroll for maybe a year now (not that it helps you one little bit, I get like 12 hits a day), and in that time I've noticed links to you appearing in a widening circle. Slowly, but it looks to me like it is growing.

    I haven't done much to grow my blog, but I've noticed a few things about how other blogs seem to take off. The first is, as you say, content. Lots of it, and of good quality, with original analysis. I think you've got that part mostly down. The other is word of mouth (so to speak). All the techniques people try amount to one thing, getting people to link to them.

    It's the quality of the links that matter, though: repeated links from quality bloggers to articles that pertain to what they're writing about. The one-hit instalanch doesn't do as much in the long run as a circle of well-read bloggers that consider you one of their "regulars" that they read every day. To that end, as with everything business-ish in life, networking is one of the best tools. Making valuable comments on other blogs, (participating in and adding substantively to their conversations, not just saying "hey, look at me") is one way to do this. Its not enough for other bloggers to know *of* you, they have to know you.

    Then, when you get the links, what matters is whether the people following the link think there's some value in returning on a regular basis - and so we're back to content.

  • http://porkopolis.blogspot.com Porkopolis

    For what it's worth...the quality of your writing keeps me coming back and linking to your site.

  • http://engtech.wordpress.com engtech

    Don't forget to mention comment spam as well as trackback spam.

    That post by gino is a pretty good example ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^