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I am using Blogger currently. I have paid for a domain name, but my hosting is free and to be honest I don't really want to pay (being a student). I am a self-proclaimed cinema buff and I love writing my reviews for films. I also post my 'Top' lists and my own personal cinema sins.

I have tried promoting myself by contributing to Quora and Pinterest and I have a Facebook group page, but I'm getting nothing back. I've even attempted and tried pinging services. Obviously, I have already spent my time researching how to promote my blog, but I'm failing. Since I have covered Pinterest/Quora etc please no recommendation on anything of a similar sort. Also, anything like 'comment on other blogs' - I do not exactly know what to comment or what blogs to comment on, so please maybe some recommendations?

Are there specific ways to write a blog and/or promote a blog (not including the ones above) that are effective at building an audience?

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    Sorry, but we don't do critiques here. All the other things you have mentioned, like how to promote your blog, would be on topic, but your don't want any more advice on those, so there is not much we can do to help you on that front. Truth to tell, though, the problem with most content is that it simply isn't original or interesting. When it comes to reviews, "I liked it because..." isn't going to cut it. You would have to consistently make people see things in a new light. That is really hard to do. Writing careers are fundamentally about insight and no one can teach you to have that. – user16226 Jul 19 '17 at 17:38
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    If you can rewrite your question so that is asks a clear question and isn't a request for critique of a specific site then you should be back on topic. I suggest something like, "In the era of ubiquitous customer reviews, how can I make a one-man movie review/opinion blog stand out?" I believe you'd be allowed to include a short excerpt by way of example. – mwo Jul 19 '17 at 18:57
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    @mwo Good suggestion. That would make an interesting question. I can already think of several ways to answer this. – Patsuan Jul 20 '17 at 12:23
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    I rewrote your question (as minimally as possible) to remove the off topic material and the link, and to refocus it around on-topic questions. I believe it would work as an on topic question now, and have nominated it for re-opening. If this edit does not respect your intentions, please feel free to either revert or add further edits. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Jul 20 '17 at 17:51
  • @CallumMooney - If you're okay with the rewrite, lets reopen this! – Goodbye Stack Exchange Jul 28 '17 at 16:32
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Blog audiences (and for that matter audiences for most content) are primarily built word of mouth (or perhaps today I should say tweet of thumb). Yes, you have to seed the process by making the existence of your blog known to as many people as you can, but after that, it is all about the retweets and the facebook likes etc. etc. that other people do.

I track the stats on my blog pretty regularly and I can tell you that just one tweet from someone prominent in the field can send the views through the roof. Usually they settle down again, but thanks to the blitz that one tweet provides my regular audience grows just a little, and that increases the chances of the next big blitz happening.

And, of course, the more linkbacks and tweets and likes you get, the more Google takes notice and you climb us the search rankings for your topic and that bring in more pure search visitors, and some of them become part of the regular audience and so a virtuous circle is established and your audience grows, at least to the point where you saturate your available market.

But what provokes all those tweets and likes and shares? Great content. The Web is full of content. Very little of it is any good. You can promote the heck out of bad content and you will get nowhere at all. If you just seed your local area with references to great content, however, word of it will spread and your audience will grow. The best thing you can do to grow your audience is to create great content that people love to read. And if you are promoting the heck out of your content and your audience is not growing, that is probably a sign that you have not figured out how to write the kind of content people want to read yet.

There are a ton of film blogs, and a ton of people interested in film. But the audience never gets distributed evenly. Just a few sites will attract almost all of the audience. That is just the nature of the beast, and part of the effect of word of mouth: success breeds success. So, if you want to grow your share of that audience in that crowded market, the best thing you can do is to figure out what you can provide to that audience that other film blogs do not. Can you be different? Can you bring a different perspective? Can you be wittier or more perceptive than other critics? That is where your real audience growth is going to come from.

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As with the popularity of most websites your overall chance of succes boils down to 3 factors: Content, usability and network.

Content
Quite simply put, you need to produce content people not only want to absorb, but ideally interact with. Give users a space to react and form a community. That way, the discussion itself becomes additional 'content' people will come back for, even between your own postings. Encourage discussion.
Of course, nobody will come in the first place if you're not engaging or have nothing new to say. Many popular bloggers have become so by creating a persona for themselves that allows them to tackle their subject in an Original manner.

Usability
Quite simply, if your website is not easy to navigate it will annoy and turn away potential audiences. Make sure it is easy to find older posts, tag them by subject, and do everything you can to make a visit to your blog the smoothest experience possible (For more info we have an excellent UX SE).

Network
This is unfortunately where you get the most traction. Known derogitorily as "circle jerk", having a steady network of other bloggers with similar reach to cooperate with allows for cross-pollination of your audiences. This can potentially exponentially grow your audience, so don't ignore it. This point really comes back to community building, which becomes easier if there is a larger information base for them to consume as a group.

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