If you run any kind of business, you know that keeping a blog on your site is one of the essentials to your page—but how do you get people to read it? If you want your blog to blossom, think about your motivation: you want to engage your readers, interact with your clients, and maybe even make a little difference in the world.
Still, you’re not going to be able to affect positive change if you’re talking to the proverbial wall. How do you get your blog out there so you can expand your audience and balloon your blog’s readership? Read on to learn powerful, practical, and professional ways to increase your blog’s followers and readers.
1. Post consistently
The word blog is a shortened form of the term web log. Think about it: when you are logging something, you are keeping track of (insert said item here) on a regular basis. That means when you are blogging, you are doing (whatever said item is) on a regular basis. That’s not to say that you have to write, photography, and upload daily (but you can); rather, you need to keep to some kind of blogging schedule so that people know to expect fresh material. There’s nothing worse than clicking on the link to a blog that you follow only to find last week’ (or worse, last month’s or even last year’s) post. That’s a surefire way to lose readers.
2. Link up
Linking up with other blogs, sites, and businesses is crucial to the online life of your business. Think about linking up as virtual networking: it’s like venturing out to your local Chamber of Commerce for a networking event, only without the cocktails. There are several ways to do this:
- Link parties are great ways to join a community of bloggers and expand your audience. Basically, one blogger “hosts” this virtual gathering and other bloggers “show up” (via images and links back to their home blog) with their recent work/post/project on a mutually agreed upon topic. Not only is this a great way to share your blog, but it also builds a great deal of traffic on your site.
- Trackbacks are ways to find out who is actually linking back to your articles, either through social media or through their own blogs or web sites. It lets readers know, Hey, you might want to have a look at this—yet another way to build a community with both your readers and other bloggers alike.
- Comment on other blogs, and leave a link to your blog when you do. Do this so you can build a bridge with another business or another blogger. The idea here is to actually offer a genuine, insightful, relevant comment to the blog post you’re commenting on—saying something generic, irrelevant, or blas? just so you can leave your link is rather despicable in the eyes of fellow bloggers.
Photo by Jenny Downing
3. Hosting and Posting
Once your begin to establish yourself within a small community of bloggers, you can continue to build your audience and your online reputation by inviting others to contribute guest posts to your page and asking them to return the favor. Just like a link party, guest hosting and posting brings your work to a brand new range of readers.
4. Organize your posts
Have you ever come home from work to piles of dishes in the sink, unfolded laundry sitting around in baskets, and mountains of papers strewn across your kitchen table? Whether this is an everyday reality for your or just a once-in-a-while-on-a-busy-week deal, you are not alone in wishing that someone could come in with a magic wand and wave cleanliness and organization throughout the place.
Believe it or not, it works the same way with your site and your blog: one glance at a messy, chaotic scene and your readers will run screaming (to someone else’s page, that is). Fortunately, it’s much easier to maintain an organized blog than it is an organized home:
- Don’t write one gigantic paragraph. I used to teach English classes and the number one rule I had to instill in my students’ brains was this: don’t submit one huge paragraph and call it a piece of writing! Naturally, like goes with like; organize your writing so that similar concepts live together on the page.
- Use headings. It’s much easier for people to read and digest smaller amounts of information than swallow it down in a few big bites.
- Proofread. Do more than just hit spell check and grammar check; actually read over what you just wrote. Spell check doesn’t always do the best job of picking up on errors in word choice, as you may know. Whether you have a PhD. in English Literature or you’re just a guy trying to make a buck, give your post a thorough once-over to make sure the document is error-free. You want to come across as a professional, and careless mistakes on what you publish indicate that you and your work might be just as sloppy. In a detail-oriented world, these things do matter.
5. Do a little SEO
Everyone who has a website hopes that their page will appear at the top of the Google search results list since that means two things:
- people are searching for you, or
- people are searching for content that your provide.
If you don’t already know, SEO stands for search engine optimization. What this means is that Google (and other search engines) will rank your site/post according to how people search for certain keywords; therefore, it’s wise to consider where these terms are placed in your post. Just keep in mind that you’re writing for actual human readers, not Google algorithms, so that you stick with your natural writing voice and style.
6. Interact with your readers
While some personal blogs become forums for gushing over heart breaks or spouting off your political opinions, most blogs function as a platform for relating pertinent information or intriguing insights with the world. So, if you have a clever, amusing, or remarkable personal story to share, always bring it back to how the reader can personally or professionally benefit from what you’ve just said.
There are plenty of ways you can interact with your readers through this virtual meeting place:
- Ask questions: this begs for answers, which translates into comments, which translates into dialogue, which means people are following, which means readers and community.
- When possible, write in the 2nd person. The 1st person point of view is all “me, me, me,” literally: it uses the pronouns I, me, myself, our, we, and so on. The 2nd person point of view is generous: it’s all about you, your, yours, yourself. It’s the most natural way to engage your readers to what you’re saying.
- Invite them to see you. If you’re going to be speaking at a local event, if your business is doing a giveaway, or if you’re participating in a fundraiser or charity drive, let your readers know the details and invite them out for a meet-and-greet.
7. Be a social media butterfly
Like it or not, social media has become the fastest, most popular, and most convenient way for people to connect. While the depth of those connections might be in question, there’s no doubt that social media provides instantaneous ways for readers to share interesting articles, ideas, statistics—you name it.
- Facebook: create a page for your site and post links to your blog on the page. Ask your friends to like your page and share it with others: instant free marketing.
- Twitter: their chats are a simple way to gain more exposure, get more hits on your site, and get more page views and followers (read, traffic).
- Pinterest: it’s not all crafts, d?cor, and recipes (though if that’s your business, you have a great built-in audience right there!). More and more businesses are creating Pinterest profiles and adding Pin It buttons to the images on their sites, which is a super simple way for people to “bookmark” your site, review it, and become a follower.
What are you doing right now to boost your readership? What seems to be working for you—and what’s not? Leave a comment below and let us know about efforts to increase your audience.