I get this question all the time: “How do I get people to read my blog?”Whether you’ve just started a blog or you’ve been blogging for a while, you can’t just expect people to find you without any effort on your part!
Once you’ve got (at least) a handful of value-packed posts, driving traffic to a new blog, or boosting traffic to an existing one, involves three main activities: community building, SEO, and promotion.
Part 1 | How to build a thriving community of peers and readers
1. Comment on similar blogs to build relationships
Start thinking about bloggers in your industry as friends rather than competition.
You’ll all learn from each other, provide opportunities for one another, and you may even find some of your closest friends this way.
Make sure your comments:
Are thoughtful and considered
Are conversational & informal
Add value or opinion to the thread &/or post
Are not a shameless or veiled self-promotion
Include your website in the suggested field
You can sign up to Gravatar to have your portrait photo appear next to your name across all the blogs you comment on.
2. Interact with your followers (however few!) + reach out to other bloggers
Make sure you’ve got email notifications switched on, so you can reply to comments you receive on your blog.
As well as replying to any comments, interact with your followers and reach out on Twitter and Instagram. This is a great way to give short feedback if you like a post, ask a quick question or simply introduce yourself.
3. Give readers an incentive to join your mailing list
Are you collecting email addresses on your website? This is something that many bloggers, even established ones, miss!
Rather than saying “Subscribe for updates”, offer a tempting freebie to encourage people to subscribe to your email list.
Think about what would really help your ideal client or what they’d need before they buy from/hire you?
There are lots of different formats – you could provide a:
Keep it easy to use + addressing a major pain point. I invite my new subscribers to a 6-day Challenge which gets them started with optimizing their website:
4. Find groups and forums in your niche
Search on LinkedIn, Yahoo Answers, Quora, etc, as well as joining Facebook groups with like-minded bloggers and solopreneurs.
Network and answer questions. This will demonstrate that you’re an expert in your field and will lead interested people to your blog.
I want you to look outside what you might typically consider a community.
For example, each of the platforms listed below serves a unique purpose:
5. Look for guest posting opportunities
Do you know anyone who already has a blog? Ask them if you can write a guest post.
If you don’t know any bloggers, start building relationships!
Producing regular content is vital to building your own community, but as you’ll know, finding the time to post more than once a week, or even once a month can be challenging if you’re also handling client work. Many blogs accept guest posts these days and are grateful to have help with producing content – it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Guest posting works best if you have complementary audiences. When I was first getting started, I guest posted on The Lean Green Bean and FANNEtastic Food. They’re both RDs who have many wellness-minded entrepreneur readers.
More recently I suggested a wedding planner client reach out to a blogger who creates DIY wedding decorations or a wedding planner in a different geographic location.
Also, check out your favorite blogs – they may accept guest posts, and the fact you’re a big fan will stand in your favor.
Part 2 | Easy ways promote your blog without spending all your time on marketing
1. Add links to your blog (and social channels) in your email signature
Use every (reasonable) opportunity to make your website and social media links available!
This is the simple email signature I use in my Gmail:
And this is the footer I use on all my email Newsletters:
2. Tell everyone you know!
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Tell your friends and family, share your blog on your personal social channels and add it to your business cards.
Figure out your one-liner introduction for when people ask what you do, for example, I might say:
I help women solopreneurs and bloggers stand out online through business coaching, digital marketing, and SEO.
Here’s a quick script:
I help/teach/train [type of client] [desired result] using/through [your practice/services].
3. Get social in just a few minutes a day
Promote every single post on social media. There are a variety of WordPress plugins that do this automatically when the post goes live, but (if your post isn’t time-sensitive) you can promote it over and over again.
Keep your content alive.
There are super-helpful tools like CoSchedule, Hootsuite, and Buffer that help you schedule multiple promotions for each blog post, as well as any other content you want to share and interactions, likes, comments, etc. They have free options and affordable pricing for users who want to add more social media profiles &/or team members.
4. Make sure your blog posts are easy to share
Use Click To Tweet to create tweetables which are text links your readers can share on Twitter in one click – I include two to three tweetables in every post.
Or there’s a good chance your WordPress theme has sharing buttons built in, like mine below:
5. Up your game (and increase your traffic) with Pinterest
Investing time in developing a strategy for Pinterest has been a game-changer for me. In fact, 85% of my social referral traffic and 50% of my total traffic now comes from Pinterest!
I’ve got a whole series on using Pinterest to grow your audience and traffic – here are the steps:
Next, you need to optimize your blog posts for Pinterest
Then you can start figuring out your audience and the best times to Pin
Plus understand and make use of your Pinterest analytics
Finally, you can plan, schedule and start automating your Pins.
6. Experiment with article-sharing sites like StumbleUpon and Reddit
Share your post in a relevant category, follow others and share their content as well.
During the first two years of my business, StumbleUpon worked really well for me and my clients. Below is an example of “My Likes” dashboard within StumbleUpon from 2015. You’ll see that some posts have 50+ likes while others have 0. You’ll just need to play around and see which posts work best for your channel.
7. Try advertising on social networks
While Facebook’s organic reach is WAY down, their advertising platform is pretty powerful and worth the time learning how to use it. You can create highly targeted ads cheaply.
Below is an example of boosted Facebook posts with a conversion rate that's only a few cents.
8. Use hashtags to connect and bloom
Hashtags on Twitter and Instagram can help you:
Connect and bond with more bloggers, peers, customers and potential ideal clients
Build deeper relationships with your target audience
Grow your own community and followers, while helping others grow theirs
Discover new opportunities you’d otherwise miss out on
Build your authority and position as an expert in your niche
Here’s an example of one of my recent Instagram posts:
Part 3 | Simple SEO to get your ideal readers (& clients) to your website
SEO is often the last missing piece of your marketing puzzle and I’m determined to help as many bloggers and solopreneurs as possible find out what SEO can do for your business and how to harness its power.
When you implement a strategic approach to your SEO, you’ll experience big traffic gains within 3 to 6 months, meaning more subscribers, more inquiries and, ultimately more cash.
But there are so many myths surrounding SEO, and it can often seem intimidating and complicated – not on my watch!
With SEO Made Simple, you can DIY-jump-start the optimization of your website with ease.
If your blog isn’t ranking, you can take simple steps towards higher search engine rankings:
Tackle the elementary issues with your branding & content which are easy-to-fix
Stay ahead of the game when search is evolving
And, most importantly, learn the core SEO fundamentals you shouldn’t neglect
Don't forget your free ebook download with even more ideas to increase your blog traffic, no matter what level of experience you have.
Which tip stood out the most for you?
What one are you going to try first to start growing your blog traffic?
Let’s chat in the comments below.