1. Be yourself. Easier said than done. The longer you blog, the more your own voice comes out. Don't try to be funnier than you are, madder than you are, cooler than you are. Don't try to portray the person you think people want to read about. People can see right through that. I write as if I were talking to myself (which I do a lot). Katy I'm a Ginger Monkey is a great example of this. She writes EXACTLY as she speaks - funny, interesting, slightly mad and offbeat. Sometimes sad. Sometimes happy. Always generous to others in the quilting community.
3. Does your blog look good? I like a nice clean, bright layout. Play around with blog headers, fonts and colours until you get a look that you like and that you think reflects your blog. You don't need to pay someone to do this for you although some bloggers do. And take great photos. You don't need a fancy camera to take great photos. Take photos in natural light - outside on a sunny day in the shade or next to a window where natural light pours in (but again not in direct sunlight which distorts colours). Find a clean flat surface like a white table or a tiled floor to place smaller items on. Keep your eyes peeled when you're out and about for somewhere to hang a quilt - a fence with a nice view behind perhaps. Rita at Red Pepper Quilts is a master at great photographs and I would love to know her secrets. Her photos are bright, clean, well lit and with true colours.
4. Respond to comments. Aside of during giveaways, I try to respond to every single comment on my blog. Not all bloggers do this and there is no obligation to do this. But for me blogging is all about connecting and, if someone stops you in the street to say "wow I love that quilt you made", you wouldn't just stare straight ahead and keep on walking. Especially in the early days of blogging, responding to comments starts a dialogue between you and other bloggers and that dialogue is what gets you connected and plugged into the bigger network. Marguerite from Adventures in Quilting and Sailing has been a faourite blog of mine for a long time. She posts beautiful seascape photos from her morning walks with her dog Rafael and always without fail responds to every single comment on her blog with a warm, friendly response.
7. Host a giveaway. You don't need hundreds of followers to host a giveaway. You could give away something you've made or some fabric from your stash you probably won't use again. Or approach an online or bricks and mortar shop and see if they'd like to have a giveaway on your blog. For a chance to win, you can ask people to click to follow you. Now some people don't like to do this, thinking that followers who only followed for a giveaway will not become a friend of the blog. But who knows, some might and some might not but you've just widened your circle a little bit more and breathed a little bit more life into your blog. Fat Quarter Shop is the best example of this for me. They are the daddy of the quilt shops. I go there for fabric inspiration, to see what's new, to browse their sales. And so often they are involved in giveaways in blogland. They are generous with their fabrics and that helps them to connect throughout the quiltblogging community.
9. Make it easy for people to follow your blog. Add a google follower widget. And an email following widget. And an RSS feed widget. Add widgets linking to your Flickr, twitter, facebook accounts. It's all about connecting. Making it easier for people to find and follow your blog will naturally grow your blog, little by little, bit by bit but grow it will.
10. One penultimate plea. Turn off your comment word verification. It is slow, cumbersome and bothersome. I turned off mine months ago and whilst I do get occasional comments offering me easy access to a whole variety of pharmaceutical products not easily available on the open market, the benefit to my readers of being able to leave a comment quickly and easily far outweigh the minor inconvenience to me. I have set my settings so that all comments on posts over a week old require my approval and that weeds out the vast majority of these helpful sales offers.
11. And finally, have fun. Blog for fun. Blog because you enjoy it. Don't feel guilty about not blogging for six weeks because life got in the way. Don't blog out of a feeling that you haven't blogged and need to blog. Blog when you want to. When you've got something to show. When you've got something to say. When you're in the mood. I am an example of this. I keep no record whatsoever of how often I blog. I don't plan my blogging. Sometimes I'll be bubbling over and have three posts in one day. Other times, my blog will lie dormant for days and days. I don't think anyone else notices so I don't apologise for it or feel guilty about it.