On Writing Tips and Increasing Readership (Guest Post)

After recently attending iBlog 8, I bumped into an old colleague from the publishing world. He started blogging last year, and his blog (click here) opened a lot of doors for him, including winning a lot of contests and gaining a very good regular readership.

Photo courtesy of Mark Madrona

A journalism graduate of UP Diliman and highly recommended by his old boss (who I look up to as a writing mentor), he is now the first guest poster for Helena blog on writing tips and increasing blog readership. Ladies and gentlemen (naks!), I would like to introduce to you Mr. Mark Pere Madrona:

First of all, I want to thank Ms Helen Mary Labao for giving me the chance to guest post on her blog. I owe to her a significant part of what my blog is now. This time last year, my WordPress blog is still struggling to have regular visitors.

As I have written before, I received on the average less than 10 views per day on my first three months of blogging. Ms Labao encouraged me to become a regular blogger, saying that my write-ups deserve to be read. It’s funny to think about it now, but back then, I do not even know how to have a blogroll (LOL)!

My blog has received almost 340,000 total views since it was put up March of last year. Its readership is still somehow inconsistent. On certain days, it receives only about 500 to 600 views. However, one blog post last January has gotten 55,000 views to date! Blogging is a fun endeavor – a labor of love and passion for many like me. I keep getting suggestions for me to buy my own domain and have ads on the site. Maybe at the right time.

Obviously, there are lots of things I want my blog to achieve. Since I believe that being “ambisyoso” should not be considered a bad thing (despite its negative connotation to others), let me tell you now some of my wild dreams right now.

Someday, I want to win in the Philippine Blog Awards and Globe Tatt Awards, whichever comes first. Far-fetched? Maybe, but who knows? Haha. Ms Labao asked me to share writing tips as well as my insights as regards increasing one’s readership. Here are some nuggets of wisdom I have learned in my one year of blogging.

1. Know thyself – Before you immerse yourself in blogging, ask yourself: “In what topics am I really interested?” This will determine the orientation of your site. My blog does not cater to a specific niche. Although I write mostly about news and politics, I have bits of humor and entertainment every now and then, and this reflects my personality. My blog is essentially a hodgepodge of everything I’m interested about.

2. Do your homework – Go the extra mile! Since my blog thrives on news and information posts, it is crucial to do research. This takes time. On certain days, I sleep as late as 3AM just looking for information sources. Remember, people are willing to spend a few minutes going through your blog. Thus, you have to make sure that their time is not wasted by packing in as much information as possible. Who said blogging is easy?

3. Do not be a ningas-kugon – For one reason or another, it is challenging for just about anyone to maintain a regularly-updated blog. It is not unusual to see blogs who’ve not been updated for several months, or even years. Make sure you really find time to write blogs. You will lose any potential regular visitors if it takes light years before they can read new content.

4. Promote – Of course, you gotta tell everyone about your blog in every way possible. Tap the power of Facebook, Twitter, and the like to achieve this. Of course, do not do this indiscriminately. You don’t want to be regarded as a spammer, right?

5. Join blogging networks and link-up with other bloggers – It won’t do you any harm if you’d spend time visiting other blogs to give comments (of course, go beyond just saying “Great post!”). Also, join blogging networks and online communities. It’s a good avenue for you to meet other bloggers and potential readers. Some of them can eventually become your good friends, too.

Be patient. Getting more site visitors will not happen overnight, but when they start doing so, you will surely get a kick out of it. It is always great to have people appreciate your work.