I've had a couple of people (who wish to remain anonymous) ask me recently how they can get more followers/hits on their blogs. I'm really not the best person to ask since I'm really new at this, but I've seen this topic covered on the 'sphere before. I decided to use my February contest to conduct a little experiment.
For those of you who have been following Play at the Plate since it started in October, you know I don't normally ask for anything in my contests. It might be a simple question, but I don't make it too complicated or research intensive. I've also never required any pub on your blogs as a part of entering. For the Groundhog Day contest I offered a bonus prize for mentioning the contest on your blogs, but that was optional and part of the experiment. At least 14 of the 46 entrants in the contest did mention the contest on their blog. That is HUGE because it got my blog name in front of people who might not already be aware of it.
As a result of the contest, which always generates more hits/comments, and the publicity on other blogs, Play at the Plate saw record numbers on February 1st, the day of the contest.
That contest post got 51 comments overall, not including mine. There were 46 entries in the contest. The number of comments and entries were far over anything I've seen for a previous contest. Play at the Plate added 4 new followers as well. According to statcounter, I had 415 page loads that day, beating my previous high of 195. There were 211 hits from unique users (previous high 139) and 117 hits from first time users (beating 81). That day also put brought the blog hit count to 10,171. That number astounds me.
I'm sure those numbers are nothing compared to what some of you draw on a daily basis, but for a guy who just started out in October, they are pretty good. I'm still amazed anyone reads, but I appreciate everyone who stops by, whether on a daily basis or only for contests.
The experiment showed me you can use contests to draw in readers. You might even get a few new followers out of it. I still find new blogs almost every day by seeing them in someone else's blogroll. Commenting frequently on other blogs will help. Putting together good trade packages is another way of getting people's attention. That is what I was doing before I started blogging. In the end, I think it all boils down to content. The quality of your posts is what gets people coming back. Good writing is helpful, but not a requirement. A little humor goes a long way. Good scanned images help make a blog more appealing, but I didn't have a scanner until Christmas and inexplicably there were people who still read my blog. There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of bloggers out there with better advice and more knowledge about this whole process than me.
I would love to see some of you put up a post with tips and ideas for new bloggers and people like me who think they know what they are doing but don't. I may be the only one in that last category.