What are Followers and how do I get them?

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Not on Blogger? See more resources for alternatives, or learn about Google Friend Connect.

Have you see one of the most popular new widgets/gadgets on Blogger blogs lately? They’re popping up all over: Followers. A grid of user pictures in the sidebar of popular blogs, showing off the wonderful mix of people that this blogger attracts:


So what’s this all about?

What’s Following?

Following is a lot like subscribing using RSS. When your visitors “follow” your blog, they get updates from your blog (and all the other ones they follow) in a centralized location—this time, though, instead of Google Reader or Bloglines, it’s their Blogger Dashboard:


How Do I Follow?

To follow your favorite blogs, click on the Follow button on their sidebar widget. You then get to choose what account to use to follow the blog—Google, Yahoo, AIM, Open ID or Netlog. (Google includes your Blogger account.)


Once you’ve signed in, Blogger gives you the option of following the blog publicly or privately.


Either way, you get to read updates on your dashboard, but if you don’t want this site added to your Blogger/Google profile, select Private. Note that Following a blog might also result in it being added to your Google Reader. Hasn’t happened to me, but I’ve heard reports.

Why Do I Want Followers?

You want followers for the same reason you want subscribers—it grows your audience. (If you don’t want that, that’s okay, too, of course.) Blogger Help explains this well:

The Followers widget is a great tool to help you grow your blog’s audience. Readers often visit a blog and enjoy it but fail to return. With the followers widget you can get all readers to return and become a fan.

You can also use a Followers widget to better connect with your readers—to see who they are and to find and comment on their blogs, even if they’ve never commented on yours.

How Do I Get Followers?

First things first, you have to add the Followers gadget. This is available primarily to Blogger blogs, but if you run a blog on your own hosting, you can also add the widget if you sign up for Google Friend Connect.

To add the gadget in Blogger, go to Layout > Page Elements (the default tab under Layout). Choose where you want the Followers box—your sidebar, your footer, whatever:


Click on “Add a Gadget” in your desired place. A window with a list of choices pops up. Right now, Followers is #1:


After you click the plus button to the right of Followers, you’re given options to give the Followers box a title (in my above example, from Literary Agent Nathan Bransford‘s blog, the title is “Friends of the Blog”) and to customize the colors to match your layout:


Once you’ve added the Followers gadget, you’ll want to encourage your readers to follow your blog. Again, Blogger Help has some good advice here:

  • Write a post about your followers widget.

  • Encourage all readers to become a follower [Well, unless you’re a grammarian. Then you’ll encourage all your readers to become followers, because I don’t think it’s very healthy for all your readers to become just one follower 😉 ].
  • Put your followers widget at the top of your sidebar so more readers will notice it.
  • Many readers ignore sidebar items so by writing a post about your followers widget and moving the widget to the top of your sidebar, you will inevitably grow your audience.

The best way to encourage people to follow your blog is to have awesome content—something they’ll want to come back and read again.

If you aren’t on Blogger, you can still get Followers. You can enroll your site in Google Friend Connect, but that will take a little technical work. If you’re on Facebook, you can try the NetworkedBlogs app.

You can also learn more about attracting readers with RSS and getting your visitors to stay and subscribe. I’ve written a free guide to increasing your blog’s stickiness, “Get Your Visitors to Stick!

Good luck garnering Followers!

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66 thoughts on “What are Followers and how do I get them?

  1. You know, I guess this is similar to having a fan page on Facebook! I’ve had a blog for over a year but don’t use the Follower widget. Maybe I should…thanks for the info and input!

    (Came over from WFMW!)

  2. The fastest way, I would guess, would be to run a contest with an awesome prize. To enter, people just have to follow your blog. Get the word out using social media, email other bloggers, etc.

    Good luck!

  3. Hi! I came across this post trying to figure out the whole Follower thing. Do you know if there is a way to use this application to notify the followers of new posts? Or is there a setting they can set up to be notified?

    Thanks in advance! =D

  4. Hey Connie,

    I don’t think they can be “notified,” but new posts from blogs you follow do show up on your Blogger Dashboard (the picture under “What’s Following?”).

    If you want to be “notified,” I recommend using RSS or e-mail subscriptions.


  5. This comment is late to the game, but do you know if my “followers” on Blogger are the same as my “subscribers” in Google reader? The numbers are different, but I’m not sure if some followers are also Google subscribers, and vice versa! Do I add them to get the “true” number? Thanks!

  6. Hi, just wondering if there’s a way to get blogspot to notify you of ‘new followers’ ie if someone signs up to follow your blog, you get an email alerting you to it, just how you can change a setting to get an email about the option to publish or reject a new comment.


  7. I’ve been blogging for more than 3 years now and i never had a follower in my blog. I used to not care but now that I think about it, I guess having followers will make me feel more inspired to write and put nice content on my blog. Thanks for this article. This should help me get readership. :)

  8. Hi…thanks for very informative post!

    I already have the followers gadget on my sidebar. unfortunately it’s at the very bottom and is stuck on 45 followers!! Any ideas as to how I might move it to the top of my sidebar?? I tried clicking on it and dragging it up but, no go!

    Thanks! x Jazzy

  9. Thanks for the post! I’m just starting a gymnastics blog and at this point am rather blog-illiterate, so this was helpful. :)

  10. im stuck at 4 followers, i have been building up a twitter acct as a sounding board, i get good traffic to the site, i just dont get followers

  11. So confused on how to get followers! I have tried several different social media methods but thus far no luck! I even did the team up with amazon? Any tips!!!!!

  12. Pheww… I have no follower.. :(
    I don’t know why.. It is hard.. SOB

    Anyway, thanks for the tips.. Appreciate that!

  13. I’ve only been blogging for a month now and I have to say that this is the best experience ever! Thank you for posting these tips, they will really help! my blog is really controversial…that kinda helps too ;D

  14. This may sound like a stupid question. I was on a blog and joined as a follower but I do not have a blog. Will I get updates from that blog or do I need to subscribe another way? Thanks.

  15. i too want to have some followers to my blog. there is nobody following my blog. please visit my blog and be a follower and feel free to comment on my blog posts. i will follow you in return…please…..help…….

  16. Hi there

    Im trying blogging for the first time and i would like to get followers. Could you pls have a look at my blog and give me some tips?

    It’s not to big right now but i am working on it.

  17. I’m not having much luck getting followers either. Can you please look at my blog and give me some helpful tips?? Maybe because alot of people dont have a google account and they dont want to bother registering? I don’t know.

  18. I only have one follower thus far but the above information is helpful:) Hopefully more keep coming *fingers crossed* take care and happy holidays!

  19. Thank you! I don’t have a blogger but still wanted to add followers to my blog, this was exactly what I was looking for!

  20. Thank you for the step by step instruction. I look forward to reading more from you. I am a fairly new blogger and invite you to follow along.

  21. Great information. I am a new blogger and invite you all to follow along my journey. I think having followers is motivating. I will add you to my blog list too.

  22. Nice tutorial – well explained and plenty of followers. That’s what I would like also for my site and blog.


  23. A personal blog, with views on life,love,the true meaning of happiness,animals,birds,and values. Follow me and i’ll follow back ! :]]

  24. this was really useful! i am new to blogging! please check out my blog about sewing. it’s a bit empty right now but it will get better!

  25. Thank you, this info is very helpful!

    If any of you would like to ‘follow’ mammablogga’s advice, HAHA, please check out my personal blog.


  26. Thank you for your post. :) I just started a new blog connected with my online baby’s boutique so hopefully it will work for me.)

  27. Somehow I did something that made my followers list private. How can I change that back to normal public? Thanks!!!

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