As a small business owner, we know we get the most bang for the buck if we use our advertising dollars to target specific clientele.

Being in the construction industry, we know those who prefer to rent won’t need our services. And because we don’t have the man-power and equipment, we know those who need huge jobs done, won’t be our customers either.

Hence, when we advertise, we choose resources we believe are being viewed by the clients we are targeting.

It’s not always easy, but through trial and error, we hit the mark .

Today’s Lesson

Building a blog is very similar to building a business. First and foremost, we need to know who our target audience is.

Secondly, in order to reach that audience, we need pick our blog post topics accordingly.

Similar to advertising, by using SEO (search engine optimization) we can tighten the gap, just as we can by sharing information we feel would be beneficial to our target audience.

However, problems can emerge when we throw comments into the mix.

Truth be told, it’s often other bloggers who are commenting on our blog posts, and not the readers we’re writing for.

I believe it’s easy to start blogging with a target audience in mind, only to forget whom we’re blogging for when other bloggers begin to show up.

Bloggers will always support other bloggers. That’s a given.

However, if we inadvertently start writing for bloggers and NOT for our target audience, not only can our readership suffer, but so can the growth of our blog, as well as potential earnings (if applicable).

Today’s Assignment

In an effort to receive more comments, have you changed your writing style or blogging activities in order to attract fellow bloggers to your blog, instead of your target audience?

If you’re not attracting your target audience, what is your biggest challenge?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

Related Posts with Thumbnails
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Look Who's Talking
  1. HI Barbara,
    For me it always comes down to “who I am and why I started the blog”…my mission is to help & heal people, motivate people to become happy, loving and peaceful.
    I must admit that sometimes I do get enticed with all the wanting to attract comments etc….and I have blundered a few posts in the bargain. But you know, its amazing that when I remember, or constantly remind myself-“why I started the blog” purpose for starting the blog- the topics, the niches just automatically fall into place. Its the days when I forget and get attracted to the silly glamor (stupid ego!) is when I know I have lost my way. Infact only recently I have started focusing more and more on my readers…I write what I want and what inspires my soul..but I know it will inspire and touch others the same way. That way, I write for me and for my readers too. If they are happy so am I ๐Ÿ™‚
    Even when i get no comments at all..I am fine…cause I have seen the feedburner count going up higher on those particular days. Amazing na….
    Thank you for bracing this awesome topic. I am gonna come back and read all the comments here….I cant believe it …but I think i am one of the first few commenters..woohooo…!!
    Much Love,

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Zeenat,

      Yes. You are first. ๐Ÿ™‚

      That’s true. When we stop to think why we’re blogging, what our goals are, and what we’re trying to project, finding and writing a post can come much easier. If you continue to write from the heart, you will touch the hearts of many, even if they’re not commenting and saying so.

  2. John HoffNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, I’m sure you’ve noticed I haven’t been around in all our fellow blogger’s comment sections lately.

    That’s because I have shifted a little, not on the topics of my blog, but who exactly I’m targeting. The interesting thing is when I did my advertising just to attract other bloggers, I didn’t make as much money. I had more comments, but not as many sales.

    Like you said, you’ve got to think about who you’re targeting.
    Check out John Hoff’s awesome post.1 Awesome Way To Find Products To Make Money On Your BlogMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      It’s good to see you John,

      That’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? Testing to see what works and what doesn’t. By the sounds of it, you’ve figured out commenting on other blogs isn’t the best use of your time, but instead you’re doing better by changing your target market. Good job!

  3. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    “Truth be told, itโ€™s often other bloggers who are commenting on our blog posts, and not the readers weโ€™re writing for.”

    That is so true. I can tell that I get a lot of hits from teachers but I don’t often get comments from them and it’s a bit frustrating. I do occasionally get a nice email so I know my teaching-related content is appreciated. That is nice.

    However, I don’t just blog for teachers. I also blog for hip-hop fans and these two audiences aren’t necessarily the same.

    I don’t think I need to have a specific target audience in my blog. I let my personality shine through and blog about what interests me.

    That’s how I feel anyway.
    Check out Chase March’s awesome post.Know Your History โ€“ 16 BarsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chase,

      That’s true. Even though you’re not getting comments from teachers, you know your posts are helping them.

      Unfortunately a lot of those who read our blogs may not know how to leave a comment or choose not to voice their opinion. As long as your numbers continue to show activity, what you share is proving to be useful.

  4. Barbara:

    When I started my blog, it was just a means to release my pent up emotions. Ofcourse, love for writing was another incentive but I did not think much of a niche audience. As I started writing frequently, I unconsciously started giving importance to certain topics. But still I don’t think of a target audience but for sure I know what I want to write. I do get carried away by comments some time but I think I always maintain what I always intended to do. The writings are my views on everyday happenings that tend to get missed in the larger picture. So, I could say that the blog is an extension of my personality.

    A well-thought out topic. and I would definitely like to know what others think on this.

    Joy always,
    Check out Susan Deborah’s awesome post.Throw in a couple of stars- will you!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Susan,

      Your comment reminded me how some blogs don’t HAVE to be a niche blog nor HAVE to have a target audience. That said, I’m not certain what it would take to grow one without having an “audience” in mind, short of just getting your name “out there” and self promoting.

  5. FriarNo Gravatar says:

    I’m still trying to figure out who my target audience IS.

    And since I never know what I’ll be writing about, one post to the next, that’s not easy to figure out. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Friar,

      That’s easy. Your audience is Viking lovers who enjoy reading humor and viewing your beautiful photos and paintings. 8)

  6. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    Looks as though you’ve hit the nail on the head Barbara – yet again.
    Looks pretty much as though we bloggers are helping each other out by commenting on each others blogs.

    I’ve not altered my writing style or content because of that, but it does make me reluctant to start selling things to people who I see as my follow bloggers!

    Interesting comment from John Hoff who appears to be setting up niche sites away from his main blog.
    Check out Keith Davis’s awesome post.Two way trafficMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Keith,

      That’s true. Bloggers do help each other by commenting.

      With regard to “selling things”, keep in mind many who are reading and not commenting are the ones who will buy. Bloggers know we all blog for free and I doubt they’ll be turned off if you plug a product of show ads on your site.

      I can’t speak for others, but I’ll keep visiting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. JoychristinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I hadn’t considered this point, so thank you..
    I enjoy the comments from bloggers because I learn from them..
    Like Zeenat, my blog is my life’s purpose on the page..healing and my content remains the same, as does my writing style. The quantity of my comments vary, but the energy within my blog, and the readership is elevated.
    When I think about your point, then..I’m not writing *for* you my fellow blogger, I am writing *because* of you and the inspiration and encouragement, practical tips and all else that you share..
    Check out Joychristin’s awesome post.Fearless Fun Friday- Celebrate Your StepsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Joy,

      I agree. Comments can teach and inspire us, and like you said, they can elevate a blog’s energy.

      I like how you put that, you’re writing *because* of your fellow bloggers and the inspiration and encouragement, etc they provide.

  8. JamesNo Gravatar says:

    Yep, it easy to get a bit distracted when you get comments by others not actually in your target market. Often, comments are by bloggers in niches completely off from the blog. In other cases, the blogger is well above the skill level of the reader you are targeting.
    Still, those comments do provide social proof for the rest of the readers. Your response is important just as it would be for any comment.
    I have recently started to work on a blog for a company in the construction industry also (I think the economy has made the construction industry ready to try anything). It is going to be tricky to make the blog interesting to the target audience.
    Check out James’s awesome post.Why Backing Up Your Computer Is Like Flossing TeethMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi James,

      That’s a good point. Even though it may be another blogger who is commenting, others who are reading are gaining even more value from the post.

      Yes. In the construction industry, we are open to suggestions. When you have the blog up and running, shoot me a link. I’d love to read what you’re sharing.

  9. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Sometimes I just have to comment on the daily events but other than that, I try to stay on topic. There is so much to inform folks about in this ever changing world. There is no way I write for comments as I get very few at the moment.
    Check out Linda’s awesome post.Green Is ExasperatingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      I hear you. It’s hard not to say something about some of the current events, but I think you do great staying on the topic of “green”. Even though your comment count may not show it, I’m guessing what you’re sharing is being noticed.

  10. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara.
    I’ve started writing about creativity and writing because that’s the direction my coaching business is turning. Not to mention, writing is my passion. This doesn’t feel like a business decision because I enjoy it so much. The change has been a natural transgression. I’ve noticed that more writers have been participating and I love that! I’m tickled pink. Those creative challenges I had running in August drew more people than I ever thought they would. Readers are still leaving comments with their submissions. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Check out Davina’s awesome post.Short Story- Compliments of Lake SuperiorMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      With you being a writing coach as well as a proofreader, “writing” is naturally a part of your blog, so I can see why you’ve been so successful with your creative challenge. I’ve read all of the submissions and am amazed at the writing talent bloggers have.

      P.S. Your “Lake Superior” story is awesome, as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Mandy AllenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara, I didn’t even consider a target audience when I started my blog. I write about things that are of interest to me and hope they are of interest to others. One thing I have started this year is to ask a question (I learnt that from you!) to encourage comments. I get lots of visitors, less commentators. I suspect the non commentators are not bloggers and likely regular visitors.

    Enjoy the journey.


    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mandy,

      Yes. Asking a question at the end of a post can help us to get more comments, but like you said, some visitors will continually show up, but won’t comment even if we ask for their input.

      Thankfully bloggers will support other bloggers and share their opinion, even if we don’t ask.

  12. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    In the beginning I was targeting people interested in the topic I cover (puppetry, video editing, etc.), but later I just feel like sharing the random creative stuff I come up with and my random thoughts. Now I don’t know if there is indeed a target audience I am trying to reach. I am just writing for people that regularly comment on my blog, and most likely that will mean other bloggers.

    I am not trying to profit from this, or change the world, so I don’t bother thinking about targeting that much. However, if I am to start a website for profit or a cause (which I just might one day) , I would give it more serious thoughts.
    Check out Kelvin Kao’s awesome post.New Business CardsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      That’s true. We don’t have to have a target audience, and if that’s the case, writing for the bloggers who visit can work well. I think it’s when we choose to grow a blog we need to become more aware of whom we’re going to target.

  13. Tony SingleNo Gravatar says:

    To be honest, I’ve no idea who my target audience is! ๐Ÿ˜›

    Naw, I just write and draw and post, and leave it at that. Whoever wants to read will read. Whoever doesn’t, won’t. That’s about as much as I can handle for now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • DavinaNo Gravatar says:

      Tony… *giggle* I just love your use of emoticons in comment sections. You have a fun online personality. You must be a really expressive guy in person. Do you gesture a lot while you’re in conversation?
      Check out Davina’s awesome post.Short Story- Compliments of Lake SuperiorMy Profile

      • Tony SingleNo Gravatar says:

        Actually, folks find me really hard to “read” in person. They never know when I’m being funny, sarcastic, or serious! I’ve had some tell me that I’m far too reserved! Little do they know that I have a rich, inner life goin’ on. ๐Ÿ˜›

        • HilaryNo Gravatar says:

          Hi Tony .. you’re right .. it can be difficult to get on people’s wave-length .. especially as you first hit a blog & have no idea of the persona behind the comment or post .. often comments first & then from there across to the blog.

          It can take time to have an understanding and a feeling for that person and their blog ..

          Great point .. thanks for highlighting it .. Hilary
          Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Misalliance to veer to the left- or to veer to the right!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tony,

      As I mentioned in earlier comments, we don’t HAVE TO have a target audience, and by the looks of it, not having one is working well for you. 8)

      Keep doing what you’re doing. ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. It’s interesting, isn’t it – the fact that almost all comments come from fellow bloggers while the non-blogger reader almost always remains a passive reader.

    I write about the topics that I find interesting. Haven’t changed this strategy since I started blogging, except for a few blog posts in 2009 that were written specifically to attract SU traffic. Have stopped doing that!

  15. This is such a great reminder, Barbara. And I do often find myself needing to remember this. Since bloggers are the ones who tend to comment, it’s tempting to write about blogging (but of course I don’t since who could do it better than you?). But even in my niche of counseling/coaching and personal growth, many bloggers actually write more about blogging than anything else, I’ve noticed. So I consciously try not to get pulled into that. It helps that my business was around long before I started blogging. And when a client or colleague (from my real world) leaves a comment, I’m always delighted. Which is not to say I don’t relish comments from bloggers.
    Check out Patty – Why Not Start Now?’s awesome post.Finding Clues to Life Balance In a Time JournalMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re making me blush Patty,

      That’s a good observation; how you’re seeing those who are in your niche are blogging about blogging and are not sharing articles which could potentially help their clients (and I suspect, send business their way).

      How neat; that your clients will leave comments from time to time.

      • I have to admit some of my favorite comments come from non bloggers, like my cousin or one of my students. I think, how cute, they don’t even have a blog to promote! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Check out Julie @ jbulie’s blog’s awesome post.i โ™ก uMy Profile

        • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

          Hi Julie,

          That has to really pull at your heart strings when you see a student comment. That is awfully cute ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I realise my blog is somewhat different .. my target audience will be people who want an interesting read and to learn something .. I am definitely thinking of other ways of doing things. Then there are various opportunities to take the information to other levels.

    Interesting post – particularly for those with specific businesses .. as Patty above says .. is the blog an adjunct to the business, or an advert for the business, or a journal on that business highlighting useful information, or just a person’s reflections on life …

    Thanks Hilary
    Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Emoticons- Book Packaging- ebooks what was the future- is now the pastMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Hilary,

      I see your target audience being more than just people who want an interesting read. With the information you’re sharing, your target audience could be students working on term papers, teachers looking for material to use in their classroom or those who are wanting to learn more about the history of any of the topics you write about.

      I really think you should add “Historian” after your name. What you share is awesome.

      • HilaryNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Barbara .. really appreciate the comment – it’s fairly broad audience! As to adding Historian after my name – many would be turning in their grave – but I hear you .. and am truly grateful for everyone’s support over on the blog – particularly yours .. you’ve always been there for me.

        I’m just so pleased I’m here with you and then can learn from everyone’s comments – lovely group of commenters ..

        Thanks – have a good week .. Hilary
        Check out Hilary’s awesome post.Emoticons- Book Packaging- ebooks what was the future- is now the pastMy Profile

  17. Sandra LeeNo Gravatar says:


    This is a fabulous question and a fantastic point. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder from the comments if only bloggers read my blog, which is not about blogging! But, I know that’s not the case.

    Thank you for this reminder about staying focused on one’s target audience. I really appreciated Zeenat’s take on this too.
    Check out Sandra Lee’s awesome post.Sunday reflection- we are what we thinkMy Profile

  18. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    You’re welcome Sandra,

    I think once we start blogging and KNOW what a blog looks like, we want to support other bloggers and by commenting, we’re able to do that. Granted, we also know a comment on one blog may mean a reciprocal comment on ours, but all in all, I believe bloggers are the biggest cheerleaders for other bloggers.

  19. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! Boy you hit the nail on the head in one of your comments that commenting on other blogs is not always a good use of your time! Wow, yes! I have severely cut down on the number of blogs I visit, certainly NOT because I don’t think the blogs are good – this is so not a judgment issue but strictly watching where my time is spent! Consequently the visits to MY blog when way down and I cannot be concerned about that either. I’ve changed the topics to health related blogs so I’m in a transition stage altogether – and being pre-website now I know I will eventually have to decide whether to keep Erasing going or do a totally new blog connected to the website. Like I said, its a transition stage for sure.

    I do write from the heart, always have, and I’m unleashing my passion for nutrition, natural health, etc. by putting out information for others to chew on. Where it goes, how many read it, and how many comments I get are totally not in my head right now. I will say I have been very encouraged by the comments lately because it seems people are very interested in the topics and tell me to keep “giving it to them” – that’s always great!

    It’s an interesting ride! My challenges will be with the website and future blogs – whether to keep Erasing going and link it, or start a new one on the website – hmmmmmmmmmm.
    p.s. WWBD? (What Would Barbara Do?)
    Check out suzen’s awesome post.One FLU Over the Coo coos NestMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Suzen,

      That’s true. Comments can be a motivating factor. When readers show encouragement, it helps to drive us to challenge ourselves and do more than we even thought we’re capable of.

      I’ll bet you know what I’d do. I’d start another blog, keep the existing one and dedicate the new one to nutrition and health. I would also pick a name that is search engine optimized. (You know, something with heath, nutrition or something similar in the title). If you need help, just let me know.

      By keeping Erasing, that way if you want to share your thoughts or opinions on something not health related, you could post the entries on there, plus you can link between the two.

  20. Hi Barbara,

    The concept of having a “target audience” strikes me as an odd thing to do. A person has to blog or run a business based on what they can offer to others. Your posts are a reflection of you so to skew what you write for a target audience just does not make sense unless you are a copy writer who is writing copy for other people.

    So say just write about what you can offer and where you are in your journey. Do quality work and quality people will find you.
    Check out Nadia Ballas-Ruta – Happy Lotus Lifestyles’s awesome post.Branding Itโ€™s An ArtMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Nadia,

      I agree our posts should be a reflection of who we are, however if we want to grow a blog (or business) in a specific niche, it helps to know whom we’re going to write for or provide services to and use search engine optimization or advertising accordingly.

      For what you’re doing with Happy Lotus Lifestyles, your service could be used by anyone, so I can see how your business will grow without targeting a specific market.

  21. I quit writing for other bloggers about 6 months ago and within weeks began seeing a HUGE increase in potential client contacts from my blog. I’ve wondered if I should say something about it on the blog.

    There’s an old saying of “you can’t judge someone’s insides by their outside.” The same is true of a blog. My blog posts rarely get comments these days- but they make my phone ring and that’s what it’s all about.

    Thanks for sharing this “secret” with everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Check out Kathy ~ Virtual Impax’s awesome post.Social Mediaโ€™s Role in BrandingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      It’s good to see you Kathy,

      How fascinating that you quit writing for bloggers and have seen an upsurge in your business. Did you change your writing style, or was it even a conscious decision?

      You’re right. It’s not all about comments. When we’re blogging for business, it comes down to the bottom line.

      P.S. I didn’t realize this is a *secret*.

  22. I think that other bloggers understand commenting and that’s why you get comments from more people who are bloggers than the others. I try to concentrate on who I am hoping to attract as I write but sometimes I just write what I want to say to get it off my mind and keep the day going. I value comments no matter who they come from and I think that when people see comments, even if they are people in the same industry or other bloggers, it makes them feel like the person they are reading has value.
    Check out Julie Walraven’s awesome post.5 Downfalls to Being a RescuerMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Julie,

      That’s true. When readers see comments, especially positive comments, it does help to lift us up in the eyes of our audience. I know I’ve been on blogs where the commenters disagreed or corrected with the blog author and I began to doubt if what they wrote in the post was credible.

  23. SaraNo Gravatar says:


    You’ve been giving some tough assignments lately. I kind of agree with Friar…I don’t really know who my target audience is and I must admit, my writing style is sort of all over the place.

    I keep thinking I will find my niche, but it’s still illusive. Fortunately, I don’t use my blog for marketing a service…or else I’d be out of business.

    That being said, I think all the points you made are important, even with my site. Something I don’t do enough (or at all) is look at my stats and then trying to get some people to leave comments.

    I have always wanted to generate more of a dialogue in the comment box and I don’t think I will do that until I commit myself to paying attention to the stats.

    *SIGH* I appreciate the lesson:~)
    Check out Sara’s awesome post.Story Photo- Fall SeasonMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      I’m sorry Sara,

      I’ll try to come up with some easier lessons. ๐Ÿ™‚

      When I look into my crystal ball I see your audience being those who like to have fun and be challenged (like with your picture posts) and those who like to read uplifting words.

      You’re right. Our stats can tell us a lot about how others are finding our blogs, as well as the search terms they used to get there.

      As for generating more dialogue in your comment box, have you thought of using threaded comments? By doing so, those who comment can chat easier amongst themselves and interactions between you and the comment author may go further then one comment, one answer. I can steer you in the right direction if you want to try it. Just let me know.

  24. RoseNo Gravatar says:

    I have a personal blog, so I really don’t have a targeted audience, but you do offer good tips for those in a niche. I blog for me with my readers in mind. Gave this a tweet!
    Check out Rose’s awesome post.What reading level is your blogMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Rose,

      Yes. It does make a difference if we have a personal blog vs one we’re trying to grow. With personal blogs, we can pretty much throw caution to the wind.

  25. For me, I think blogging is very personal. I never had a target audience intended, but rather, I just blogged for myself. However, I can see how people would lose sight of their audience. It’s a popularity thing- to begin to become obsessed with how many followers you have, instead of your content. Thank you for reminding us of our audiences.
    Check out Andy @ U Comment – I Follow’s awesome post.ะะนะฝ- ั†ะฒะฐะน- ะดั€ะฐะน- ะฟะพะปะธั†ะฐะน !My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Andy,

      You’ve brought up a good point. When we start blogging, sometimes we don’t know who our audience will be until they show up.

      And yes, for some it becomes like a popularity contest to see who can get the most comments. However if the content is lacking value, the number of comments becomes irreverent.

  26. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I do not think I have a target audience…maybe that is the problem, I am just writing about what it takes to inspire me to be my best and hope that my stories and sharing are helpful to others.

    Trying to use keywords and SEO has not helped my blogging stats at all so then I wonder if I am putting out quality….or good information. I still think my most important function is reading and writing on other people’s blogs…

    I am tired tonight and not feeling very excited about blogging or reading or commenting…maybe not the best time to be putting it out right now?
    Check out Patricia’s awesome post.Being Hung Out to Dry โ€“ DIY HealthcareMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      Some blogs don’t necessarily have a “target” audience. In fact, when I publish on one of my other blogs, I feel I’m writing “for the masses”.

      Don’t ever doubt the quality of work you’re putting out. What you share has tons of value. Using keywords, keyword phrases and other forms of SEO can be confusing. It’s not just a matter of knowing what words to use, but we also have to know what the competition for those keywords and/or keyword phrases is and then try to position ourselves for a high spot with Google. Not always an easy task, but doable.

      I hope you got some rest. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. LoriNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Babara,
    There you go again, just when I think you must have covered it all, another topic that hits directly to home base. BOOM.

    I’m so glad you brought this to our attention for discussion. I’m with Tony and Sara — I still have no idea who comprises my audience and why they visit me. I still am drawn to interacting in the comments, so maybe that’s why my comment-to-subscriber ratio is elevated. (?)

    I love what Davina had to say, too, I like where she’s taking her blog. I’ve noticed, too, that readers like a challenge. That’s great and I love that.

    This is a great reminder, to remember that potentially most of our readers don’t comment and to remember the silent crowd — they mean a lot to me, too (I’m agreeing with Zeenat there).
    Check out Lori’s awesome post.Fiercely CaringMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Lori,

      You do know, your audience visits and comments because they love you and love what you share. And that’s evident in how you write; from the heart.

      Yes. We do have move visitors that read and don’t comment, then we have who comment. Like you said, we don’t want to forget the silent crowd, as they too, are gaining value from our blogs.

  28. Hi Barbara,
    To be frank, at times, I do change the writing style to suite or get some SEO friendly keywords or most searched phrases in place. Sometimes, the writing style (especially affiliate product reviews0 is also to suite the potential buyer. Unfortunately that’s how life goes as blogging is like a business too (as you rightly said in the beginning)

    Nevertheless, I do not lie and believe that blogging is first about writing what you like and to be liked.
    Check out Ajith Edassery@Make Money Online Free’s awesome post.Facebook ads vs Google AdwordsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Ajith,

      I agree. If we’re blogging in an effort to gain more traffic via the search engines we need to use SEO. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with that if we see our blog as a business.

      Yes. Blogging is about writing that which we care about and getting confirmation from others our posts resonated with them, is often what keeps a blogger going.

  29. I think it comes down to the purpose of your blog and are you remaining true to that purpose. My blog inspires the leap to self-employment and talks about the many issues facing those who want to earn money authentically. So I write for both, those who may make the leap and for those who already have. It’s pretty easy not to sway from that focus even though occasionally I’ll get the itch to rant about something else.
    Check out Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s awesome post.Five Blind Spots That Keep You From Seeing Your True CallingMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tom,

      That’s true. If we think about the purpose of our blog as we construct posts, it does make it easier to stay on topic. I know what you mean about sometimes wanting to rant. Thank goodness we can do that on Twitter or Facebook.

  30. Hi Barbara,

    I’m having only the teeniest bit of trouble making the switch from writing whatever comes into my head (like I do on my personal blog) to a more focused topic on Practically Intuitive. I still don’t have a good idea of who I’m writing for at this point but trust that will all shake out in time.

    I love when bloggers from other niches come visit. Who knows? We might get to be friends! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Check out Lisa@practicallyintuitive’s awesome post.Size 10 tearsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Switching between two blogs can be difficult. It’s like we need to put on another “hat”. And writing on a personal blog can be entirely different than writing for a business blog.

      With your niche being so unique, I think if you just keep doing what your doing and writing passionately about what you do, you will be found. Sometimes it just takes awhile.

  31. ValNo Gravatar says:

    I find this a little strange as I have a personal blog not a niche one and my ‘target audience’ is just whoever is interested in reading me and whoever is interested in connecting with me. As for whether I write for them or for myself (as I am mostly the ‘subject’ of the blog), the answer to that is both are the same to me. And this stems from how I have always been in my life. For instance, for as long back as I can remember, whenever I’ve painted, whenever I’ve written, I’ve ‘talked’ (internally not out loud!) to an audience of some sort. That audience, granted, is inside myself. But isn’t that how an author writes? Isn’t that how an actor performs?

    Perhaps this is the difference between an artist’s blog (or a writer, or other creative person) and the niche/commercial type. In a sense, I am always ‘performing’. An artist needs an audience, a writer needs a readership… otherwise what’s the point of putting it into a public place at all?
    Check out Val’s awesome post.Waking the creative spiritMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Val,

      Reading your comment reminds me of how when we put something “out there” (i.e. into the Universe), those who need to hear your words, will. I don’t want to sound “woo-woo”, but I do think there’s much to be said for what we believe when we “let it go”.

      The difference I see between a personal blog and a business type blog is the author of the business type blog will probably do better financially if they concentrate their efforts on attracting customers, and not necessarily comments. (See above comment by Kathy)

      • ValNo Gravatar says:

        Personally I think that there should be a separate definition for business blogs and personal ones so as not to confuse them. In fact, I think it’s time personal bloggers reclaimed blogs from ‘you lot’!

        I feel like I’m in the wrong place here in your blog, but that’s not a criticism of you, just a bad choice on my part.

        Bye bye!
        Check out Val’s awesome post.Waking the creative spiritMy Profile

  32. BorisNo Gravatar says:

    Dear Barbara,
    You presented a very interesting point! Writing for other bloggers: What a deviation of purpose! We look for ways of attracting bloggers because the are willing to comment as a way of getting self-promotion.
    That is the reason why many people, including you and I, have the “CommentLuv” Plugin…
    Some weeks ago I followed an advice of commenting on other blogs in order to increase my number of visitors… The strategy was simple: As I commented on other blogs, the bloggers would visit my blog and would comment on my own blog… The number of visitors and comments increased significantly and my level of satisfaction decreased significantly as well…
    Lately I decided to focus on improving the quality and quantity of my cartoons. If anybody visits my site and likes them, it will be great, but the main target is focus on my skill development. Now, my level of satisfaction depends exclusively on my dedication and not on random responses from others…
    Thanks for your interesting posts.
    Check out Boris’s awesome post.โ€œIt is time to look for a job whenโ€ฆโ€ 3My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Boris,

      How fascinating; your experiment. Itโ€™s interesting to hear that even though your readership and comments increased, your level of satisfaction with blogging decreased.

      What you said reminds me of how we learn happiness is within us, and isnโ€™t something we can buy or trade for. Reading your words makes me think youโ€™ve got lots of self confidence and have found your time is better used on self improvement instead of chasing for readers.

  33. Gail GardnerNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I suspect that bloggers seek out other bloggers more of the time than businesses do – for now – because they understand blogs. We are early adopters and the businesses WILL come. They are finally starting to show up in increasing numbers.

    The most important thing I believe each of us must do is determine who our audience and what they would type into a search engine to find us. There are tips and tools for doing that in the post I’ll put in CommentLuv.
    Check out Gail Gardner’s awesome post.Building Traffic Using Anchor TextMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Gail,

      Yes. Us bloggers do stick together, don’t we. And when we find new ones, we eagerly welcome them into the fold. That’s good to hear things are improving and businesses are beginning to find us.

      Thank you for sharing the link about anchor text. I know for anyone wanting to improve their search engine traffic it will be extremely valuable (as is your blog)

      • Gail GardnerNo Gravatar says:

        You are the one blogger I always think of who is not a part of any of the blogging collaborations. I hope someday you will have time to join us. The post I put in CommentLuv this time describes them and what they’re about and there should be a link to two other posts, one on BloggerLuv and one on MurrayNewlands.

        I am glad you like that link. I consider it one of the most important posts I have ever written. When I first started co-moderating the SBC forum I was surprised to find that even many bloggers with PR3-4 blogs and Alexa ratings under 50,000 did not know what anchor text was and had no idea who their target audience was. That is one of many things we share in that forum.

        I just put your blog in my TwitterFeed so I am more likely to see your new posts as you publish them. Hopefully that will allow me to come by more often no matter how busy I stay.
        Check out Gail Gardner’s awesome post.Why I Recommend BloggerLuv- CommentLuv- SBCMy Profile

  34. Frank WrightNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I had no idea you were in the construction industry. If you have a blog related to our niche please do let us know and come by and visit ours.
    Check out Frank Wright’s awesome post.Mahogany MoldingsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Frank,

      We’re on the excavation side of construction and have also done wood recycling, however except for a post or two on wood recycling on other blogs of mine, the business in not something I blog about.

      I checked out your blog and the post on Ernest Hemingway’s was very fascinating. I subscribed. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Frank WrightNo Gravatar says:

        Thank you Barbara. That post was written for us by Stephanie Suesan Smith who has a gardening, photography and woodworking blog at the dot com bearing her name.

        She and Gail Gardner manage our blog content for us and Kristi from Kikolani contributes posts too. We’re glad you’re subscribing.

        We’re always learning more and looking for other blogs in our niche with whom to collaborate. If you ever have a burning desire to write about wood recycling or anything else in our niche we would love to have you guest post for us.

        We custom mill wood recovered from many sources and as far as we know we have the largest inventory of river recovered deadhead sinker cypress anywhere.

        We are dofollow with CommentLuv and KeywordLuv installed and we love relevant links so do feel free to comment and build links any time.
        Check out Frank Wright’s awesome post.Dead Head CypressMy Profile

  35. George AngusNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I have to admit that the line blurred for me. Since my target audience is to some extent the bloggers who write, it’s hard to draw the line.

    It’s probably a mistake but when I write a post, I’m writing with no particular audience in mind other than those who write. If they be bloggers then so be it.

    Interesting topic.

    Check out George Angus’s awesome post.The Write MoodMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi George,

      It can get confusing when bloggers are also writers and you’re publishing posts about “writing”. In some ways it can be a win-win since bloggers enjoy commenting and they’re your intended audience.

  36. Barbara, So glad I found this while researching a post I’m writing, bemoaning my lack of blog comments. ๐Ÿ˜‰ No really just wondering out loud about comments in general, who takes the time. It’s a Catch-22.

    As a blogger, you cite sources: often other blogs. You want comments, and statistically I think other bloggers are more likely to read and comment on other blogs. It’s a trick of writing for yourself, for the audience you have, and the audience you want (which could be other bloggers or potential clients).

    I’m working on all of it, mostly writing from my gut: what I think, what I know and what offers the most value to readers, be they fellow bloggers and/or potential clients. FWIW.
    Check out Davina K. Brewer’s awesome post.Automation- Faking It the Twitter WayMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      I’m happy your found me, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Comments is a topic we discuss here pretty often since we all enjoy receiving them. I agree. It can be a Catch-22.

      I think it comes down to writing for our audience as well as what we see as the “end result” of our blog; or like Tom said (earlier comment), “the purpose of our blog”. I’ve seen some blogs which get very few comments or even have their comments turned off, but they’re tremendously successful, and blogs that get tons of comments and I shake my head and wonder what the draw is. It’s like there’s no rhyme nor reason.

      • I’ll agree there is no rhyme or reason. I’ve read posts, that were no better than some of my own, get tons of comments whereas mine *crickets* I will disagree that a “blog” without comments turned on isn’t really a blog, but more of a column or newsletter. Not that there’s anything wrong with that if say, you’re a Seth Godin. ๐Ÿ˜‰
        Check out Davina K. Brewer’s awesome post.Automation- Faking It the Twitter WayMy Profile

        • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

          Hi Davina,

          I hear you. Having comments turned off does change the dynamics of a blog, AND can send a negative message to the readers. i.e. “your input is not important”. I don’t know if Seth ever had his comments turned on, but because of the value he shares, his readers don’t seem to mind that he has comments turned off.

  37. HenwayNo Gravatar says:

    I always write what I know and what I’m passionate about. Most of the time that’s in align with other bloggers who visit my blog as well as normal visitors. But I always try to cater to visitors, and not other bloggers, just because they make up the majority of my visits, and they’re the ones paying my bills. It’s tough because a blog without many comments from other bloggers usually don’t garner a huge reader base, so you gotta balance the 2 out somehow.
    Check out Henway’s awesome post.My Review Of ColonixMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Henway,

      You’ve raised a good point. If its generic readers from which we make money, it’s more important to write for them then to write for fellow bloggers. Although longer comment threads can make a site “look” more successful and gain a larger reader base, I think a blog/site can be just as successful with fewer comments as long as the post has completely solved a problem for a reader or answered their question to the point where they can stop searching.

  38. Jane SNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I think the biggest challenge you would face if you are not attracting your target audience is to get your target audience to visit your blog! It sounds silly, but it really is the most important thing when trying to communicate, so if you are not attracting your target audience you really need to take a look at what you are doing!

    Thanks for your blog,

    Check out Jane S’s awesome post.The Little Big Econ TrailMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Jane,

      That’s true. If we’re attracting the wrong audience we need to not only look at the keywords/keyword phrases we’re using, but also how we’re marketing our blog.