Over the weekend, I got an e-mail from a reader of one of my sites. The site that he wrote about is my Live in the Philippines Web Magazine (LiP for short). LiP is a hugely successful site, frankly, most of my income comes indirectly from LiP. It is a very important site for me, and I work hard on it. It took me years to build the site into the powerhouse that it is today, but the work was very worthwhile for me, and the site is dear to my heart.
Anyway, this fellow named Steve wrote an e-mail to me. He was asking me to help him get publicity for his site so that he could build an audience. Building a following and an audience for your website is a very important thing for anybody who publishes on the web. To help you in gaining an audience for your site, today, I would like to share with you the e-mail that Steve sent to me, along with my reply to him.
Hello Bob; I have been a long time reader of this site of yours, I love the articles, and what you provide here. Thats why I keep coming back, it is chalk full of good stories and helpful information.
My wife and I have started our own website. It is all about our transition from living here in the UK to moving to the Philippines in 2013 and then our life there in the Phils, however it is also about much more that that. We write articles, video blogs, cuisine, travel and much more on this site, and I was wondering if you would be willing to write an article about it, and help us build a little bit of a user base.
Any help would be very much appreciated! Thanks for your time.
Take care and god bless. Steve
Here is my response to Steve:
Not at all intending to offend you, but I want to share information on how you can do things to benefit your site.
Firstly, writing to somebody and asking them to “write an article about your site” is not generally a good thing to do. Think about it.. why would I do that? You want to get a benefit from me… it is you who should be offering to do something for me in return for that benefit!
As I say, I am not trying to be mean or offend you, but rather to help you understand better what you should do. In order for you to use my site and it’s a huge audience to benefit your site, I have two suggestions for you:
- Comment on my site, join the discussion. Every time you leave a comment on my site, there can be a link to your site. If somebody clicks on your name, they will go visit your site. If you leave an intelligent, well thought out comment, people will be interested in finding out what your site is all about. As far as I know, you have never commented on my site before. If you have, I apologize, but I don’t recognize you as a regular commenter. So, get busy, join the discussion on my site, and people will come to your site. I am not talking about leaving advertisements in the comment if you do that I will just delete it. I am talking about adding to the discussion and leaving a comment that is relevant to the discussion and adds value. When you do that, people will want to check you out.
- Instead of writing to me and asking me to add to my workload by writing an article about you and your site (frankly, I know nothing about you, so it would be difficult to write about you), normally what is done is that a person would write to the owner of a big website and say “can I submit a guest article to you to be published on your site?” That way, you do the work, and I get a bit of a break by having an extra article available for publication on my site. You get the benefit of people finding out about you. In your article, you can give a link to your site, and plenty of people will click on that and visit your site. If they like what they see on your site, they will become regular visitors.
These are the best two things you can do, Steve, to promote your site.
I recommend that you do this not only on my site but on other sites that deal with the same subject matter as your site. If you do this over time, you will start attracting an audience.
Good luck to you, Steve, and please remember that I do not mean this e-mail as a criticism of you, or to strike out at you in any way. Just offering suggestions that might help you in your quest.
Glad to see you and your wife making the move .. both to the Philippines and to blogging.
But as Bob suggests, I think you have the idea a bit backward.
I’m speaking from experience here. For several years I wrote regularly for Bob. When I started I had a Philippine-related blog that had idled along doing virtually nothing for years. During the time I wrote here my traffic (and much more importantly) my readership doubled … more like tripled and my income easily tripled as well. It was very rewarding in non-monetary terms as well, and believe me if I had the time I’d be writing here still.
There are also many other active bloggers out there, aside from Bob. Contribute to the community, learn who the community is, learn what the members do well and where they could use help (hint, most of the bloggers in the space are US. there are many special issues regarding retirement and living overseas regarding UK citizens that are completely foreign to us “Colonials”. Fill the gap.. Enjoy and best of luck to you.
Hi Dave – Thanks for chiming in with your answer… I think we are really in full agreement on this. I already heard back from Steve, and he took my comments very constructively.
Hi Bob – Just a brief comment on how gracious you were replying to Steve. From everything I’ve read in the past couple of years, you’re completely right in suggesting how to grow a following online. Taking those ideas & running with them is anyone’s best route to a larger audience in cyberspace.
I’m also a fan of livinginthephils…………………though I’m not known to comment; question once or twice, yes; more comments to come this year & next.
Keep up the good work!
Thank you very much, Bruce. I appreciate your input!