10 Ways to Use IFB to Grow Your Blog

 

Once upon a time, I stirred up A LOT of feelings when I wrote Responding to “Follow My Blog!” Messages & Comments.  In general, it seems that many bloggers don't respond well to generic messages begging for followers on IFB.

 

Think about the relationships in your life.  Would you walk up to a stranger on the street and say, “I have a blog, you should follow it!”   I bet most of us wouldn't. (If you would, damn dude, you've got balls!)  We'd probably get to know the person first and maybe have a conversation.  Think of IFB as the place you met the stranger and the place to have that conversation. You can find people who interest you and build up relationships with them.

 

Rather than send a message to bloggers begging for them to follow you, consider using IFB in these 10 ways to reach out to new bloggers and grow your site in the meantime.

 

  1. Go to an IFB member's blog and leave a thoughtful comment on their blog.  Better yet? Read a few pages and make multiple comments.  The quickest way to catch a blogger's eye is through their blog.  Anytime I see a new blogger comment on my site, I immediately check out theirs.  And you know what? So do other people who read those posts.
  2. Write them a thoughtful, personal email.  When you decide to write another blogger on IFB to pitch your site, don't make the email about you first.  Make it about them.  Tell them you visited your site.  Reference a recent post.  Maybe direct them to a post of your own that they could be interested in.  Make the email as much about interaction and being personal as possible.  (For more amazing tips, check out Taylor's pot on How to Write An Email that Gets Read.)
  3. Write personal responses to spammy emails.  In my last post, I suggested this as an option to dealing with spam messages.  Instead of ignoring your fellow bloggers, why not take time, write back (use their name to show that they're really noticing who they are!), thank them for sharing your site and share yours as well.  make the message similar to a personal email (see above).  A few readers said that they've found a ton of great blogs this way!
  4. Submit your blog's best post of the week to Links a la ModeWhenever my post gets selected for Links a la Mode, I always see a lot of new faces leaving comments and visiting my site.
  5. Visit the selected blogs in Links a la Mode and leave them comments.  Every week the 20 best posts submitted are featured.  When was the last time you visited those 20 blogs? Did you leave a comment on their post? How about linger around, see what other posts they're producing, and leave more comments?
  6. Start thoughtful, engaging discussions in the forums & provide useful information!  One of IFB's best resources was its forums.  You could find discussions on almost any topic and lots of helpful members providing their experiences and insights in to blogging.  Be sure to dig through and find old threads, revive them and provide the community with more info.
  7. Participate in polls– and leave more detailed answers in the discussions!  Polls are a fun place to get chatting about different topics, share your viewpoints, and engage in a more playful way with the other members.  Be sure to chat up WHY you voted the way you did in the poll so others can find you!
  8. Find similar bloggers and pitch them– your site, a guest post, a post of yours they may love.  On IFB you can find great blogs– AND their email addresses.  Write your favorite bloggers a quick note, and propose writing a guest post.  Maybe suggest that they check out a post of yours sharing a topic that they have written about.  (See Problogger's posts: 13 Tips on Asking Other Bloggers for Links and 9 Things to do to Make Sure Your Next Post is Read By More Than Your Mom.)
  9. Contribute posts to IFB! All of the content on IFB comes from our own experiences in blogging– the good, the bad, the mistakes, the trials and successes.  Share that information with the IFB community and contribute a guest post to IFB!
  10. Join in the fun on the IFB Project Roundups! This is one of IFB's newer roundups, and so far the topics have been fun and spirited.  Each week IFB announces a theme (this past week's was Shopping Survival Tips) and you create a blog post based on that theme.  You submit your post (like Links a la Mode) and each week the favorite picks are posted on IFB.  Its' a great source of blog inspiration, a way to find and read new blogs–and have new blogs find you!

 

Most importantly– in everything you do to grow your site, be sincere.  Build up real relationships with bloggers you admire, who content inspires you, and who make you strive to be a better blogger.  Befriend other bloggers in the same position as you and be supportive.

 

IFB Community– how do you use IFB to grow your site? Is there any tool I've forgotten?  Have you had success using any of these to grow your site?

 

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About The Author

Ana is a Travel Blogger and Blogging Coach at The City Sidewalks. With her expertise in online marketing, she's able to help other bloggers, creatives, and entrepreneurs grow their businesses so that they can achieve financial freedom to travel the world on their own terms.

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20 Responses

  1. Madeleine Gallay

    so true and concise …

    and I’d add to look at your stats, not just your comments

    it’s not realistic to count on comments only as proof of your blog’s readership

    Reply
  2. Synthetic

    I found that while I am not a fan of the “visit my blog” messages (to say the least), I could use these messages for my own benefit. When I get this kind of comment I would very seriously go and comment on that persons blog saying what I like\dislike about their website. At first I thought this kind of behavior on my part would make the sender of the said message feel uncomfortable, and maybe it does, because most of the people I did this too started following my blog.
    I am new to this community and I was not aware of the possibility to submit posts to “Links a la mode”. Thanks for the info!

    Reply
    • Ashe

      Wow– I love that your constructive criticism of their site has helped you gain followers! That’s so awesome to hear that people are receptive (even if they’re literally asking for it).

      Reply
  3. Shalanda

    I agree with Madeleine about looking at your blog stats. I rarely get comments but I have developed a steady flow of daily visitors. I have done everything I could to get comments (i.e. ending the blog post with a question) but to no avail 🙁

    Reply
    • Samar

      Some blogs just don’t get a lot of comments for whatever reason. Don’t let that get you down! If you know people are reading be content with that if you can 🙂 ps- I know a few successful bloggers who don’t get comments.

      Reply
    • Mary

      I have return traffic but not many comments on my blog too. In general people will just let me know on twitter or FB if they really liked a post. I’ve actually had more positive feedback during the spans of time when I had to take a break for whatever reason so it could also be that people may take your blog as a given & not think of commenting.

      Reply
  4. Sarah

    I pop in and out of here from time to time and this post has encouraged me to use IFB more proactively! Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

    You know how much I love Links a la Mode!

    I do remember getting bombarded and a bit overwhelmed by ‘follow my blog’ direct messages when I first joined, I wish when people first joined they’d get a copy of this article! 🙂

    The key really is to build a relationship, followers come and go, but establishing relationships with followers, readers AND fellow bloggers is the key to real growth!

    There is netiquette involved and it should be followed.

    I will add that I have done my best marketing in lines! Grocery Store lines, post office lines, bank lines, anytime there is waiting involved, there is always a chance to strike up a conversation and end with giving someone my blog card! 😉

    Reply
  6. Lush Coils

    Good stuff!

    The suggestions here have inspired me to really take notice and get more intimate with my readers, blogger community, etc.

    Thank you!

    -LC♥

    Reply
  7. Laura Nd

    Very useful, well I think I already do some of these tips, but I am always sincere. I never leave comments just for begging to follow mine, I write something when the post or pictures inspire me or really interesting me !

    Reply
  8. nichole (eat & be pretty)

    THANK you so much for this post. i definitely agree with your first statement. being bombarded by messages asking for followers is stressful. and tracy, a blog card is a great idea. i’ll have to print myself some of those 🙂

    Reply
  9. Emmy

    Thanks for the wonderful tips! I have found great blogs through IFB, and doing an IFB project did bring a lot of new traffic to my blog.:)

    Reply
  10. Shayne Renee

    It is off putting to receive a message saying follow me and I’ll follow you. I’d rather you follow my blog because you like it, not because I followed yours.

    Thanks for the tips!

    xo

    Reply
  11. Devora

    Great post Ashe! I think that the IFB network is great, and these tips are really helpful for how we can utilise it and make the most of this great community of bloggers.

    Reply