And because I've got a massive headache and some asthma-related wheeziness, let's just jump into the questions, shall we?
1. How important do you think reader connectedness is to the success of your blog?
Let's keep this one short and simple: there isn't a whole lot of "blog success" without readers. I mean, my other blog has few readers, but it's just for me, and that's fine with me.
2. What do you do to draw readers in and create that writer-reader bond?
I like to think that the tone of my blog is pretty conversational, which is one way to create a bond. Friend Friday is kind of a way to reach out to readers by showing them a different side of me, I guess. Also, I try to respond to comments - that's the kind of thing that makes you feel like the writer actually cares when people react to their posts. At least, that's how I feel.
Also, this question makes me think of Hansel and Gretel for some reason - like I should be laying out a trail of candy (or shoes) to draw the readers in. Just kidding, I wouldn't do that - or would I...?
3. What is one way you could improve this connection?
Honestly, I feel a little disconnected now because I've been so busy in my personal life and so busy at work now that we've started the Spanish language phase of the study (because I'm one of two Spanish speakers here) so I haven't been really keeping up with the commenters as well. I hate that. After the move from Philly and the whirlwind family visits and the big move to Costa Rica, I will be better about that.
Also, I've heard that closing posts with a question is a good way to connect. Sometimes I forget to do that, but I find that when I do, people have something to say and I like that. Of course, sometimes questions at the end just feel a little awkward....
4. Is there a blogger you think does a great job creating that writer-reader bond? Why?
I think lots of bloggers do this just by responding to reader questions in their posts. Shey of Modesty is Pretty comes to mind. Also, Liz of Lizzypunch has asked her readers to help style her during the 30x30, which I think is pretty genius. Other bloggers that immediately come to mind are ML of Twenty York Street, Elaine of Clothed Much, and Collette of Statements in Fashion. They all leave great comments on other blogs/twitter that I think are a great way of connecting. I could go on and on, of course, because I don't think I visit many blogs that don't reach out to their readers in some way or another - otherwise I wouldn't be reading, right?
5. What do you do to cultivate new readers? How do you get them to your site in the first place?
I honestly have no idea how this happens. I've gotten some new readers from various challenges, the most recent, of course, being Kendi's latest 30x30 challenge. I get some readers from ModlyChic's Friend Friday group, too, I think. How those first readers ever found me in the first place, though, I just don't know - though I am eternally grateful.
I don't know much about how to cultivate them. I think at this early stage, I'm letting my blog grow kind of organically - I haven't done much as far as marketing or coming up with a business plan for it. I have no real strategy for cultivating readers. Now I feel inadequate....
Not really, of course. I'm just trying to keep this as really me as I can, though I sometimes wish the sarcasm and deadpan humor translated better in text. I like to think that my readers would kind of like me in real life, sarcastic awkwardness and all. Just be warned that I don't do small talk well.
So what do you think?
How do we create a reader-writer bond as bloggers? How important is that connection? How inadequate do you feel when you realize you don't have a plan for blog growth - or am I totally alone on that front? (Please tell me I'm not alone.)