The Trouble With Getting Your Friends, Family & Local People To View Your Blogs

A few days ago, myself and the rest of the Live Google Hangout Crew decided to discuss the topic of blogging for local folks and businesses and the issues we all seem to have in getting those people to even take a look at what we write. This isn’t a new topic for me actually, as I talked about it first in 2009 when I wrote a post leading with If You Can’t Get Your Family And Friends To Subscribe… and again in 2011 when I asked Why Aren’t You Well Known Where You Live?

This one is a little different and yet the overall theme is the same. I always make the recommendation to businesses that if they want to increase their SEO and the potential for doing more business online that having a blog can do wonders for each. Just being a player gives you a great boost in local search, which is a great thing, but do those people read your stuff, and if not why not?

I tend to want to look at my own sites, and I’m going to share statistics on two of them. And of course there’s the video at the end of this post where we talked about it all, and the other site I’m going to talk about is mentioned in the video.

For I’m Just Sharing, the last month’s stats show that there were 32 visits from what I’d call the local area, which includes Rochester, which is about 75 miles away. If I only include the Syracuse area I have to remove 11 visits. That’s pretty poor if you ask me. New York state is my highest volume state, and the majority of visitors come from New York City, but that’s not quite local. I consider this my flagship blog, even if it’s not my highest ranked blog anymore (that now goes to my finance blog; how about that?). Now, I have to admit that I’m not sure how many local people might be subscribing to the feed, and via the feed this is my most read blog, so it’s possible the number is much higher. But since I can’t confirm that I’ll stick with Google Analytics for now.

My other blog is called Syracuse Wiki, and it’s my local blog. It’s not a highly visited blog, but I don’t write a lot of posts on it because I only write when I do or see something where I can capture pictures regarding local events. In a way I can’t gripe all that much because the visitors on that blog are 54% local, but I have thought that blog would attract way more people because it talks about local topics. And I do market it on Twitter, but I have to admit not many other places.

This brings us back to the original issue and why it’s a problem. If you’re running a local business and you’re trying to get local people interested in what you do, what can you do to advertise yourself and get local business? On the video I offer suggestions to companies that sell products, which includes coupons and lots of pictures, and even advertising the blogs in their stores so people can keep up with new things they offer.

But what about those of us who offer services, who don’t have offices outside of our homes or even if we do, we don’t own the space and thus are more limited with some of our banner advertising, if you will? Is there a way we can target our blogs so that it attracts local traffic and thus local business?

And what about our friends and family members? One’s best advocates are always those close to us, but if we can’t get them engaged then can we legitimately hope to engage our community, no matter what we do?

I’d like to know what you think. I’d also like you to check out the video where Sheryl Lock of Fuzzy Wuzzy Anipals (yeah, that’s right! lol) offered a lot of good stuff last Sunday, and maybe it can help me and some of you. At the very least it’ll get you thinking; there’s never anything wrong with that.


26 thoughts on “The Trouble With Getting Your Friends, Family & Local People To View Your Blogs”

  1. That’s a sad fact, most bloggers are known for their work outside their country, that’s what i observed. There’s a good way to promote your blog to your local friends though. Post it on Facebook, I am pretty sure your closest friends will take the time to read it and when they do, more people perhaps their friends and relatives will be invited to read as well.

    1. Actually Tim, I’d thought that would be true until learning about Edgerank; it seems that the friends of mine that see the posts don’t live here. Well, the majority of them at least.

  2. Mitch I am glad you are discussing this because I was starting to think I was the only person with this problem.

    I can not get family members to participate in none of my blogging efforts. I even mean nieces and nephews.

    Unless there is a prize people will not do anything, but they will ask you for money.

    I have stopped trying for my own sanity. It is too difficult for some people to comment.

    If you are not a blogger, commenting can be intimidating. Yeah right.

    I walked this one girl through the process.

    1. Michael, I gave up on it years ago. I wrote a post maybe 4 years ago where I thanked tons of people in my life and then let those people know that I thanked them. Almost none of them visited the post, and I think only one of them commented on it. I wrote another post about a local event and even linked to all the people’s Twitter accounts; not a single one of them commented on it, and they all knew about the post. It’s like pulling teeth, and yet it is what it is. I’d love to figure out the formula but it’s beyond me. Well, it’s not, but I’m not willing to go that route to get it done.

      1. I wonder if they want you to succeed. I get more comments from strangers than family.

        Like I said I emailed my niece one time to comment and I seen her at a family function and she said I will get to it Uncle Mike.

        The ironic part is now she has asked me for a loan. You know my answer.

        BTW: I do know when you respond to my comments. I am not sure if you have a replyme plugin.

      2. Michael, there’s a box to check if you want to be notified of replies to your comments, underneath the Comment Luv area, though if you don’t see this then you won’t know that. lol

        And yes, I know your answer; quite appropriate I’d say.

  3. You know, I’ve done several sites for local business in my area. Each time they asked me what I thought of putting up a blog.

    Each time I told them it’s a great idea, especially if you offer tips and inside knowledge that you can afford to give away. I know some businesses don’t want to give away anything but in these cases I thought it would work. I would never suggest they give away trade secrets or anything lol.

    Well lo and behold I go back to check on the sites and not one of them has kept up the blog. Out of curiosity I emailed them just to ask, and the answer was pretty much the same for all of them: They weren’t seeing any monetary return on the time investment of a blog.

    Well, 2 of the 3 I contacted only had two posts then quit, and the other one only had an introductory post saying that they were planning on featuring a weekly blog and to watch that space.

    I think I must have done a poor job of explaining to them how it could help, although I sure thought I had managed their expectations. Maybe I should have shown them your blog or the Sales Lion so they can get an idea of the kinds of effort it will take.

    In the future if I’m asked I’ll have to keep this vid handy. Don’t worry if it lands me a gig I’ll be sure to divvy up a finders fee with you guys lol.

    1. All right, finder’s fee! lol John, I’ve tried the same thing. If I don’t write the post then it’s not getting done. I’ve created lots of blogs for people and I told them that it will enhance their website if there’s consistently new content and that then could help them make more money. Nope, they just can’t get it done. And it’s no wonder because it can be frustrating when you’re trying to reach an audience and you get a different audience that’s still not spending money or even calling you just to find out more about what you might be able to do for them.

  4. This is a tough call, Mitch. During the years I have worked on many local websites, guides and news portals. I can say that rarely local visitors are more than 50%. Usually travelers, people that are born there, but live at another place or just experienced surfers usually land on the website. Well, I don’t think that there is anything to worry about. On the other hand I think it is very rare family members to visit a website on their own and show to friends, even close friends rarely bother looking at it, but there are millions of people out there that would love to read the website or blog again.

    1. It’s just a strange conundrum Carl. Then again, no one in my family has read my book on leadership either. My dad made it through 25% before he passed away; thank goodness for fathers. πŸ™‚

      1. Yeah, actually my father also showing my website to friends when they gather at home to watch football, but I doubt that he have read even a line at any or know what is all about.

  5. I was going to e-mail everyone and ask them to sign up to receive updates and have them to go to their spam. If they read it, cool; if not, that’s fine, too. I need numbers.

  6. Oh! It’s damn tedious job to convince people especially non-interested readers to view my blog. What can I expect from others when my own family is not much into my blog? But I found my way out my promoting my post on Facebook and Twitter. I think it is the best way to allure people to my blog especially those who are really keen about reading it. Even promoting via mails to known people is best way to get hold of readers to view your blog.

    1. Sam, that’s what everyone pretty much does. Truthfully, I guess expecting family to like what we do is like trying to talk to them about a job you do when they do something else and have no interest in hearing what you do. However, finding ways to capture that audience is still a pretty big deal if you ask me.

  7. Interesting topic. I have a business blog personally but never thought of wher my traffic comes from. I don’t do any geo optimisation for my blog, so probably the most readers come from different parts of the world than I would need. Well, maybe changing keywords can bring more traffic from my targeted area. What do you think?

    1. I’m not sure Martin. If you’re writing on SEO it’s not going to help one bit; that one I know. However, I’m sure there are niches where that type of thing would work better.

  8. If I can’t get my friends and family to read and interact in my blog that must mean most other people wont want to either. So One must change it up and make it less boring?

    1. No Tanya, the two don’t equate. As I kind of said above, you can have a very successful blog with lots of visitors and readers and not have a single family member or friend reading it. Just seems to go with the territory, and yet if you’re hoping to do local business it’s a strange conundrum to work on overcoming.

  9. That Hangout was one of those that left me with a new way of looking at the topic; in this case, local blogging. That’s one of the cool things with group discussions, we get other perspectives.

    Like your Syracuse blog, I had one about Detroit a while back and gaining local interest was pretty challenging. I dropped that blog, mainly due to the time it was taking up, but I had a list of things to do to promote that blog. Of course, I didn’t run across that list until after the hangout but one thing on there is something we didn’t bring up… Local media. I did bring up writing for our local papers, which I’ve done, but local radio and TV could do wonders.

    1. Hi Brian. The thing is that I’ve been in the local newspaper a couple of times, as well as some local periodicals. None drove traffic or interest; that’s strange isn’t it? And yet, if I had to be truthful, I’ve read lots of things about local people and checked out few of them, so maybe that’s just the way things are.

      1. Some papers don’t like us to leave our blog URLs in the piece but after one article they contacted me for another. I said I’d do it only if they’d let me leave that link. They did but it’s almost impossible to know if any traffic came from it, since it’s print, because they’d have to type the url in their browser manually. I think it would take more than just a few articles to gain that name recognition to really make a difference.

        When I had “That’s Right I Said It” I tried to get on the Michael Baisden radio show because that’s where I kept hearing the phrase. That turned out to be a fruitless project. Those syndicated talk show hosts are protected like the President when it comes to solicitation.

        The idea is solid but it’s pretty high on the difficulty scale. One decent column or regular appearance and we’re off to the races.

      2. Ah, but I wrote about each episode on my blogs and linked to stuff when I could, or created a pdf that people could download. And you know I have all these interviews I’ve done, as well as the ones I’ve conducted. So it’s not like I haven’t worked on creating my own media.

  10. I could never get my family interested in my blogging, even though I virtually force them to read some of my stuff πŸ˜€

    As for getting more local readers, I wonder if keyword research might do the trick. If you hit on keywords that locals are interested in then you would assume that would increase local visits.

    1. I’m not so sure Sire. One of my blogs is only concentrated on local topics and places but hardly anyone local has ever seen it, even when they’ve been mentioned in it. It’s a strange conundrum.

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