I just received another “let’s trade links” e-mail. Unlike the obnoxious “Branson Spam” (which, by the way, looks like it was entirely unsuccessful, seeing as how there aren’t any bloggers listed on their site), this one seemed to be a genuine request. I wrote back and explained that while I don’t “trade” links, I do publicize sites that I visit. I mean, I don’t like the idea that blogging is all about advertising yourself and getting a lot of traffic. Those links on the left are sites that I visit every day for their content. Some of them are written by people that I’ve come to consider as friends. I’d rather have a good discussion going with brigita and Bill and John than have lots of anonymous visitors. That said, I know how hard those first few months of blogging are, when your IP address is the only one showing up in the logs. It seems like everybody else has their own little groups and cliques and it’s hard to find a place for yourself. Here are my tips for publicizing your site (without being annoying) and getting to know some of the people behind the blogs:
- When you find a blog you like, bookmark it on your site (without asking to “trade links”). Check out the blogs that that person recommends. Always use the links on your own site to check your favorite blogs. Most bloggers are obsessive about checking their site logs, and your address will catch their eye sooner or later. I discovered Angie‘s site that way.
- Leave comments if possible. When someone takes the time to contribute to a discussion, I immediately check out their site. That’s how I discovered several of the blogs I check daily. I’ve also left comments on nearly all those sites as well. Blogging isn’t just a one-way street. (Oh, but never leave a comment simply to plug your own site. Very tacky.)
- Update often. As I’ve said before, I’ve got a serious addiction to content. If your site languishes for months, you’ll get deleted from my bookmarks.
- Contribute to a community site, like MetaFilter or Plastic or Disturbing Search Requests. If you leave interesting comments, people will follow your link to find out more about you. For the month that I was on Plastic, I got lots of hits. (It helps if you let slip that you’re a girl, I admit.)
Above all, the key is not to actively *appear* to be doing anything to promote your site. If you have something to say, people will find it. If you’re just trying to drum up meaningless traffic numbers, people will resent you. (Yes, Bransonshows.com, I’m looking at you.) Do my fellow bloggers have any other tips for newbies?