There are three types of bloggers.
Type 1: I blog because it's fulfilling to me as a person, and I don't need an audience.
Type 2: I blog to keep in touch with family and friends--only. I'd prefer that strangers not read my blog.
Type 3: I might have some of the motivations of Type 1 and Type 2, but I really want as many people as possible reading my blog! I LOVE an audience! Please, please, please read! Pretty please?
I might as well not even sugarcoat it. I mean, I have a degree in theatre--clearly I want an audience! I am a Type 3.
Recently I've gotten questions from some fellow Type 3s, wanting to know how to get more people to read their blogs. I'll start with the disclaimers that there are far more successful blogs out there than mine, and I'm by no means an expert. But here are a few things I've learned about driving traffic to my blog. Please add your own in the comments section! (Type 3s love blog comments.)
1. Put a link to your blog in your e-mail signature.
2. If you are active on an Internet message board, put a link in your signature. Invite others on the board to share their blogs, and be sure to share yours too--this is a great way to get new readers and to discover some fun new blogs to read.
3. Post interesting or funny comments on other blogs. Lyndsay (whose hilarious blog you should definitely read) told me once she noticed people were clicking her name and visiting her site after she'd left a funny comment on a popular blog. Make sure it's genuine--that you're commenting when you actually have something to say, on a blog that really interests you. You can include your blog URL in your comment too, but be aware some bloggers don't welcome such self-promotion. Blog URLs are always welcome in comments on my blogs, as long as you post a real comment too, and as long as your blog is not of an adult (XXX) nature.
4. Think of an idea that is truly unique, and start a blog based on that. My One Minute Writer blog uses an old idea--writing prompts--but changes it by adding a one minute timer. The CrockPot Lady started the first-ever Crock Pot recipe blog, committing to post a recipe every day for a year--and has a huge readership. You may eventually get more traffic at a blog that offers something unique, though it may take awhile for interest to build and for the word to spread.
5. My dad has a fantastic new blog, and he writes his posts every night, setting them up to publish at the same time each morning. (To set up future publishing on Blogger, click "Post Options" below where you type your post.) I've started doing the same thing (when Blogger's software cooperates.) I always know I can check my blog roll early in the morning, and one of my dad's posts will be there. Routine may help your readers to be more consistent and will certainly help you to be more consistent! Which brings me to the next tip....
6. Write regularly. For me that means once a day (sometimes more often!) For you it may be a little less frequently. Just know that if you take three months off blogging, especially with no explanation, you may lose a lot of readers.
7. Respond to comments with a comment of your own. My sister Becki (beckiwithani) suggested this to me, and it's a great way to show appreciation for those who comment on your blog...and to get them to come back!
Some people have asked me how to become one of Blogger's Blogs of Note, since my traffic went up quickly when my other blog was given that title. Unfortunately, there's no way to "apply" to be one of the Blogs of Note; you just have to hope the folks at Google/Blogger find out about your site in some way. In other words, if it happens, great...but don't depend on it to increase your traffic. (Psst--See the comment by Mike Fan below, on how to apply--seems I was wrong! SHOCKER!)
Now, on a serious note--as a Type 3, I have to consistently remind myself of something very important--My worth as a person is not based on how many blog readers/commenters I have! Even as we Type 3s hope for more traffic, maybe we can also learn to take more pleasure in the process as we keep in touch with our families and friends. Those Types 1s and 2s may have it right after all.