Blogging isn’t as easy as writing a post and hitting “publish”- that’s because after you’ve published your content you also need to get people to read it.
When I first started this blog I’d publish my posts and that would be it. I had no idea how to grow my audience. I just hoped that eventually, my potential readers would just “find” me. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve received quite a few emails from other bloggers asking questions about growing a blog, building an audience and increasing traffic- basically getting people to read your blog. In today’s post, I’m sharing a few ways that have helped me do those things.
WRITE SHAREABLE CONTENT
Pinterest and Facebook send me a ton of traffic. Pinterest alone refers thousands of new visitors to my blog, on weekly basis- some of my posts got re-pinned over 10 thousand times, which is great for my traffic. But what does “shareable content” mean? It means creating content that is somehow helpful to your readers. If they find it helpful or useful in some way, they’re much more likely to share it with others, pin it for future reference or bookmark it. You also need to make sure that your content can be easily shared with others- installing “share” buttons like Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook is crucial.
I noticed that my traffic started to grow substantially once I started posting more frequently. Other than being mentioned on a different blog, someone’s Facebook page or being featured in a newsletter (like Bloglovin’), posting more frequently brought me some of the largest traffic spikes I’ve experienced so far. Writing more will not only keep your readers coming back, but it’s also great for bringing organic search traffic to your blog- Google gives higher priority to websites with new and fresh content.
COMMENT & RESPOND TO COMMENTS
As your audience grows, responding to each and every comment can be a bit overwhelming. It usually takes me a few days to catch up with comments on my blog and that’s because I like to return a favor and visit, comment and interact with other bloggers who stop by my blog. If I notice that someone has a question, then I always try to respond right away. This lets you build a relationship with your audience and grow your blog’s community. I really can’t stand it when I visit someone’s blog, ask a question and don’t get a response. When this happens, I usually don’t return to that blog, and it certainly discourages me from leaving a comment. Commenting is not just about “plugging in” your blog link- they should always be meaningful and bring some value to the conversation.
Your blog design should be easy to navigate. When I visit a blog for the first time, one of the first things I want to know is the blogger’s name- so make sure that it’s visible somewhere right away. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve visited a blog and couldn’t find the person’s name anywhere. I also noticed that my “About” page started to get a lot more hits ever since I added an author picture on my home page- which is something that I should have done from the get-go, I know…. If you have several categories on your blog, make sure that it’s easy to navigate through those as well. If you want people to comment, you also have to make it easy for them to do so- several months a go I switched from WordPress to Disqus and I love it. I’m getting a lot less spam comments and don’t have to moderate them anymore- which saves me a ton of time.
If you write on regular basis, chances are that you’ve published quite a few posts. An easy and simple way to drive some traffic to those old posts, is by doing a “Roundup” post and linking to older content. This is exactly what I did in my Best of Thirteen Thoughts- my 50 Most Popular Blogposts. I also love doing monthly Roundups, where I talk about and link to posts published past month.
PROMOTE OLD POSTS
Reference your older content whenever it’s appropriate. Re-share it on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook. Some of the most popular posts on my blog, are ones that I’ve published years a go. They still continue to bring me traffic, on regular basis (mostly from Pinterest). If you want to know how to drive traffic to your old blog posts, make sure to check out this post.
Be consistent and stay patient. Most of the emails I receive say “I’ve been blogging for x amount of time, but it seems like no one’s reading my blog. What am I doing wrong?” Truth is, growing your blog is a lot of work, but one thing that will definitely help you is being consistent- with your content, images, posting schedule. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try new things-it means that you should pay attention to things like your analytics. Which posts are most popular? What type of content does your audience seem to enjoy the most? Unless you get extremely lucky, chances are your blog will not go from 1000 to 500k monthly page views overnight, this is why it’s important to stay patient.
What are some of your favorite ways to grow traffic and promote content? I’d love to know!
Edit: A lot of you guys seem to be really interested in Pinterest, I already talked about growing your blog with Pinterest right here. Also, if you’re interested in joining my Group Board for Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle Bloggers, follow me on Pinterest and shoot me an email with your Pinterest link at paula[at]thirteenthoughts.com