Take my words with a grain of salt. I am in no way a professional writer, nor do I plan on doing this for a living. However, I have been in this business for a while and I’ve seen the ups and downs that come with blogging, and I want to give out my experiences and advice to other people that want to make it bigger as bloggers.
How I Started
A couple of years back I came across a Facebook post for a website that was in search of writers for an anime news site. The website was called Ani.me, and it was a site that I had followed for quite a while. At the time, I had absolutely no experience as a blogger, yet I naively applied for a writing position, thinking that my passion for anime was enough to get me by. As expected, I was denied the position and left disappointed at losing a chance to get paid for writing about what I love. When it came down it, what I really lacked when I applied was experience. I needed to start writing, grow my roots in the community, and show that I knew what I was writing about. So what I first did was make a blog, which is the very site you’re on right now, except it went by the name of Mech 2 Hearts, instead of Bulgogi Chan.
How Can You Get More Traffic and be Popular?
This is one question I know every blogger is dying to know the answer to, and what I tell you may be things you’ve already heard before. However, I will tell you the things that have gotten a few of my articles to go over 500 views to 10,000+. The most obvious advices are to write regularly and use social media to spread your blog. I’m just going to get those out of the way and be done with them, but here are my own tips and tricks to getting more traffic.
Write and Publish About Things That Are Yet to Be Known
Most bloggers usually keep away from news articles, because news pertaining to anime can always be found at Anime News Network or Crunchyroll. Why should readers go to secondhand news pieces when they can just find the originals at the big websites? I make a very good point, BUT what if you published a piece of news before those big websites even published it themselves?
If you can publish a piece of news before anybody else, that revenue of traffic will solely be yours. Just make sure that news is relevant and something that people care about.
On the left, you’ll see my top posts for 2014, and the article that got me the most traffic by a LARGE margin was “Lelouch’s Return to Code Geass?“. The piece was essentially a news piece that revealed a new character in the Code Geass series that greatly resembled Lelouch Lamperouge. I found this piece of news, along with images of the character, on a Japanese news website and jumped on it immediately. I spread my article through forums and social media before the news was even known to the Western audience. Within the first few hours, the article already had over 400 views. To this day, the article has received 23,356 views, and this is only after 2 years it was published. What led to the article’s success was that I was the first to publish it, but an even great factor was that it was about a controversial and popular subject, which is what leads me to my next tip.
Controversy and Notoriety Are Your Best Friends
If you’re into anime, you’ve most likely seen, or at least heard of, Code Geass. If you have, then you know probably know of the infamous main character, Lelouch Lamperouge. What makes Lelouch notorious in the anime community is not just his infamous eye power, the Geass, or his brilliant mind, but it’s his fate at the end of Code Geass. I won’t spoil you about the specifics, but it’s a controversy that’s still being debated to this day. I took this fact to my advantage and used it in my article. If there’s more to something big that people want to know, they want to know it and refer to it whenever they can. If you can offer a different point of view pertaining to a certain controversy, give your two cents about it and make it as controversial as you can. People like to argue, and I think using that as a weapon is essential as a writer. It’s fine to put a piece of your mind into the pieces you write, and it’s even acceptable to have people hate the things you say. Having a person have huge beef with what you say is the same thing as having them really like it. Either way, if you can leave a big impression, the more likely the readers will return to and spread your article.
What also helps is that you’re writing about something that a lot of people know about, even if it’s about mainstream series like Naruto or One Piece. After all, popular series will always get you a huge portion of referrals from Google search.
If you look back at the top articles I wrote for 2014, you’ll also see a couple of articles that say “Sh*t 4chan Does”. Those articles were mainly screenshots of hilarious posts and trends on 4chan, so they’re not “original” per se, but they weren’t common. Another original piece that did seem to bring in a decent amount of traffic was Otaku Quirks. I wrote these articles which were about habits that otakus would usually have, like spending and reading manga on the toilet. Those two columns had articles you couldn’t find anywhere else. Which brings me to my next tip: Make What You Can Make. In terms of Fate/Stay Night, think of Archer’s advice to Shirou in the Fate route. “If you can’t defeat it, then imagine what can.” It doesn’t really make complete sense in relation to writing, but what I’m trying to say is that you should write things that no one else can. You’re your own person. You have your own train of thought. Your own way of life. You’re unique. You should capitalize on your uniqueness. If people enjoy reading your original articles, they’ll be sure to return for more in the future.
Writing a blog is what got us started, but why should it be our one and only outlet? If you’re really serious about becoming a serious blogger, why not write for other websites? I’m not talking about collaborating with other blogs, I’m talking about legitimate websites that have authority in the community. Take Anime News Network as an example. They’re constantly on the look out for interns to write for their site, but I wouldn’t advise you to start out there. The hiring process is usually strict, and you’ll need years of experience if you want to make it. My advice is to start out a little smaller and look for sites that are searching for writers, but with no pay. The sound of no payment may not seem appealing at first, but what those websites CAN give you is experience and various opportunities rare to bloggers.
When working with a bigger website, you’ll have a lot more people reading your articles compared to the number of people you get on your blog. When it comes to bigger websites, you’ll have to be responsible for writing in a more professional manner and following deadlines. You’ll find it very different than blogging, because you may be going at a pace you’re not used to or the subjects you’re assigned are outside your field of expertise. If you keep on writing, your name will be known in the community, and people will start coming to your blog for content not found at the websites you work for.
My advice to you isn’t a sure-fire way to make you or your blog popular. What I do know is that all my tips require hard work and dedication, and those are essentially what made my blog bigger than when it was first created. If you can make it over a year writing, while still going at it with the same vigor you had when you started, I can guarantee you’ll find yourself in bigger places.
If you have any questions or want some more advice, just drop a comment below or contact me directly. I’m always open to collaborations as well.