One of the most exciting parts of blogging is when casual browsers, who may have found you through a link on another site, or through a search engine, like your content enough to want to come back to see your next post. While some people may bookmark your site in the “favorite places” on their home or office computer, more and more people are using multiple computers over the course of the day, or even reading your blog on their cell phone or iPad. To make it easy for your readers to read your newest posts, as soon as you hit the “publish” button on your blog, put the following buttons (pictures that are linked to URL’s) on your blog’s sidebar, toward the top of the page (readers should not have to scroll down to find them!):
Subscribe: Use Google’s Feedburner to provide readers with an RSS Feed. Readers can pick whether they want to receive an e-mail alert for every new post, or if they want to read new posts in an online reader, like Google Reader. Feedburner is a better choice than the RSS feed or “subscribe” options offered by your blog’s publishing platform, because the URL does not have to be updated by your readers if you decide to change your blog’s URL (though changing it beyond purchasing your own domain, as soon as you decide on which one, is not recommended).
Twitter: It’s easy to set your Feedburner account to automatically tweet your newest blog posts, which will alert both current and potential readers about your newest content, and the tweet automatically adds appropriate hash tags to both the post title and the tags that are tweeted out with it. Those popular posts will be retweeted by followers, and anyone who found your tweet and liked it – which means that their followers will read it, and so on and so forth. Readers who find what you have to say interesting will appreciate the quick and obvious link to your Twitter profile – and will follow you in hopes of more great information and content. Remember, if no one knows what your Twitter handle is, then they can’t follow you!
Facebook: In many ways Facebook serves the same function as Twitter, in that you can set up your RSS feed through Feedburner to alert those who “like” your blog of new posts. Facebook has become the first site people check in the morning, and the last one they peruse before going to sleep, so your posts being in their News Feed increases the likelihood that they will click to read them. When someone reads one of those blog posts and clicks the “like” button, or comments on it, on Facebook, then their friends and family will see it, and hopefully read your post and “like” your blog as well, leading to their friends and family’s interests being piqued.
The bottom line is that technology has become so pervasive, that most people use multiple devices every day to access web based content – including blogs, which makes providing multiple web based channels to access your content with as little difficulty as possible essential. This also means that thanks to readers reliance on social media like Twitter and Facebook to stay connected to the information that they care about – like your blog – when they comment on either network, or click “like” or “retweet” buttons in response to blog posts or other content that you create, they are not only telling you, but their entire network of friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues – at least a few of which will then check out your blog to see if they might like it too.