We all tend to get stuck in our own blogging cliques from time to time. I’m as guilty as anyone. But getting out there and finding new blogs to read can be really inspiring. It can give you ideas for your own blog, introduce you to new people who have something to teach you, and give you a new perspective on the same old topics.
Below, I’ve listed several ways to find new blogs to read. My challenge to you is this: at least once a month, use one of these tips to expand your feed reader (and purge any blog you don’t absolutely love – life is too short to read crap).
1. Ask your mailing list to email you recommendations.
Lots of people will reply with their own blogs, some will reply with others’ blogs. In either case, you have the potential to find some gems.
In order to avoid slamming your inbox, which is possible if you have a big email list, ask people to submit their favorite blog via a Google Doc form. Ask for the name of the blog, the URL of the blog, and a one-sentence description of the blog. That way, you can easily sort through submissions to find blogs that truly seem interesting.
2. Ask for recommendations via Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
Yes, you’re going to get a lot of self-promoters, but you’ll also get some good recommendations as well. As with asking your email list, however, keep in mind that these are already people in your circle of friends and fans. So many of the recommendations you get will likely be for blogs you’ve already heard of or already read. It’s a start, because you will probably get some new blogs named as well, but keep going down this list to really get our of your circle and find brand new blogs. PostPost is also a tool you can use to easy dive into social recommendations without even flat-out asking people to send you links.
3. Discover new blogs on Pinterest.
You don’t need to be a Pinterest user to get benefits from Pinterest. Even if you aren’t interested in creating a profile and pinning, you can browse through the Pinterest categories to see what other people are pinning. Go to the category that most closely reflects your own niche, click through some of the most interesting-looking pins, and discover some new blogs. Now every pin will lead to a blog you want to follow, but some will.
You can also use Pinterest’s search function to find interesting pins, but be aware that this platform doesn’t have the best search out there. It’s okay, but you do have to wade through a lot of crap and duplicates. It’s better than it used to be, but it still needs work.
4. Do a Twitter search for some main keywords in your niche.
People love sharing links on Twitter. Use this platform’s search function to find the links others are sharing. Simply type in a keyword relating to your niche, and check out the links others are tweeting. These could lead to some awesome blogs you never knew existed.
5. Browse blog directories.
Blog directories aren’t as hot as they once were, but they can still be helpful if you’re trying to find new blogs. Here are some places to search since blogs are categorized:
You can find even more blog directories listed on TopRank (this list is periodically updated).
6. Check out who else is attending an event.
NMX is the obvious example, but you could do this for any tradeshow or conference you’re planning to attend. Some events have attendee directories, but even those who do not give you this access can help you find new blogs to read. Simply find the event hashtag on Twitter (ours is #NXM) and see who is tweeting about the event. This works especially well in the 1-2 months surrounding the actual event.
If someone else is attending the same event as you, they probably have a blog or website that is interesting to you. As an bonus, this also will introduce you to others before the event, so take advantage and set up interviews and meetings with people you find interesting.
7. Use Google Blog Search.
Many people never realize that Google has a special type of search just for blogs. When a topic interests you, try using this search instead of the main search. It will help you discover new bloggers instead of the same old news sites that everyone reads. Other search engines have a similar function (in case you don’t use Google).
8. Use Paper.li.
With Paper.li, you can easy create a “newsletter” of sorts that includes your favorite content. I’m sure you’ve seen some of your Twitter friends broadcasting their Papers. However, even if you don’t use this service to create your own Paper, you can use it to discover new blogs. Just click on any Paper.li link that someone tweets to see what content they’re reading.
If you want to get out of your circle a little, though, try instead going directly to the Paper.li site to see what people are curating. Simple click the “newstand” button at top right and then type a topic into the search bar. You’ll see tons of Papers about your topic of choice, each with lots of links to blogs where you’ll find content about this topic.
9. Sign up for Swayy.
Although relatively new, Swayy is a great way to discover new content. It’s still invite-only, but head to their website and request one and you’ll get in pretty quickly. Swayy allows you to sign up for topics that interest you, and then it will display content in those categories. you can browse through new blog posts, read what interests you, and (my favorite part) instantly share the best content. You can even see analytics – they’re very basic, but you’ll be able to tell which of your shares were most popular. Like I said, Swayy is the new kid on the block, but so far I’m loving this tool for discovery.
10. Visit commenters’ blogs.
If someone comments on your blog, they are highly engaged with your content. Check out their blog in return – you might be interested in their offerings as well.
I like the comment plugin CommentLuv because it allows your commenters to link to their most recent post, instead of just linking to their blog homepage. That way, when you are perusing comments, you can click on links that catch your eye instead of randomly clicking through to blogs or websites that might not interest you. A post title is easier to understand than a blog name.
You can also use this technique on other blogs you like, especially if they use CommentLuv. It doesn’t have to be your own blog. Make sure to tell people how you found thing – it’s a great endorsement for a blogger you like.
So there are my ten tips. How do you find new blogs to read?
Image Credit: Altered, from Bigstock