Today the official Feedburner subscribers count says that the SEOptimise blog has reached 5001 subscribers. In spite of the recent addition of Friendfeed subscribers to this statistic it’s still an impressive number.
When I joined SEOptimise as a blog writer roughly 14 months ago the blog had around 1000 subscribers. Even without the FriendFeed subscribers we have tripled the number of subscribers during the last year. This is especially surprising as we deal with a very specific and for most people boring topic: SEO.
We don’t write much about search in general like the most popular blogs that also deal with SEO.
OK, enough of the shock and awe. The most interesting thing about it for you is probably how we did it and whether you can do that too. You can. Le me tell you:
How to get 5000+ subscribers for your boring (SEO) blog.
The #1 prerequisite of making it with a boring SEO blog is to admit it: SEO is boring.
SEO is a topic most people don’t care for, don’t understand or downright hate.
Now that you don’t lie to yourself you can solve that problem. You can not succeed with a SEO blog solely writing about boring SEO. More than that: You can’t succeed with a SEO blog solely addressing the SEO audience. Similarly most other business topics are boring for the average reader. So you have to decide whether you want to address a small community or a wider audience with your blog.
Attract similar crowds.
In case you write for a SEO blog you have to attract the
- social media
- web development
crowds. Ar at least some of them. You can’t attract them all of the time everybody at the same time but you can attempt to serve content those groups are interested in fro time to time. There are only a few SEO only readers out there. Even search marketers or the search industry as a whole is still quite small. So don’t try to blog for a perceived ghetto of just a few hundred people. Another boring business blog topics most people don’t even know they should are for is CRM. Nonetheless a blog like Inside CRM managed to get very popular among similar crowds and even on social media.
Find the right voice.
When I started writing for SEOptimise I already had some experience with SEO blogging for my own SEO 2.0 blog. I was short of reaching 1000 subscribers on SEO 2.0 as well. My blog was quite personal though. On SEOptimise I was part of a group blog for a business. It was more of a corporate blog. So I couldn’t just copy the blueprint from my own blog. I tried several approaches before finally finding my way of successful blogging here. I tried to write from a UK view point even as an outsider. I tried to write link baity like I did on my own blog. I tried to write very business like. In the end I succeeded with a combination of
- social media buzz
- die hard resources lists
Meanwhile the regular SEOptimise staff bloggers changed their styles as well.
- Deep PPC insights
- analytics advice
- timely search engine coverage
- local news
- broad event coverage
were regular topics on SEOptimise as well. You can’t offer the same kind of content all of the time. You can keep a recognizable voice though, even as a group blog.
Target a few platforms and communities that make sense.
Our blog did well on
We didn’t waste our time with Digg, a place SEO publications can’t or rarely succeed at. Design, environment or self improvement can succeed there. There are obvious reasons why SEOptimise succeeded on Sphinn. The topic of course but also the very active contributions to the community by Kevin Gibbons, one of the most prolific Sphinn users. I’ve been quite active on Sphinn as well in the past but Kevin really made the difference. Sphinn is a niche social news site like there are plenty. Almost every niche conceivable has such a community, if not, there at least forums.
Our blog contributors have active Twitter accounts with a large number of followers. We have a SEOptimise Twitter account with by now more than 4k followers as well.
StumbleUpon was huge last year but in 2009 Twitter has taken over. Still: Now SU even added an SEO category. That means you can reach a very targeted group of readers there. Nonetheless it easier to succeed on SU with every other blog topic.
Delicious is not as popular as it once was but it’s still great for links, even without getting on the front page. Many bloggers will you once you end up in their bookmarks. Our big resources lists have repeatedely gained recognition with the Delicious crowd. Tech, design and web development blogs are most welcome over at Delicious.
Guest blog elsewhere.
Kevin Gibbons did very well by contributing to other blogs and publications apart from blogging for the SEOptimise blog. Additionally my readership came over from SEO 2.0. So you have to tap into similar audiences nearby (topically not geographically) just by dropping in or getting other writers to write for you. A blog is not an island. Make sure to connect with similar bloggers. Also don’t forget to link out to them, this way they notice you the fastest.
I can’t guarantee that you get 5k or 3k (depending on ho you measure) subscribers one year from now as well but these tips will certainly help you in achieving this goal. I think these aspects were among the most important reasons why we got thus far.