I think this is one of the most common questions in the blogging community. But as much as it’s so tempting to focus on numbers, try to stay focused on the reason you blog instead (I know this is easier said than done).
Let’s face it, we all look at the numbers, we all want to know that people are actually reading our blogs, don’t we? The thing is, when it comes to attracting readers to your blog, you need to be very realistic (and patient).
I’ve been blogging for two years at The Multitasking Mummy and it’s only been in the last few months that I’ve noticed it starting to take off in terms of page visits and unique views, 2 years! And that has been two years of lots of hard work, consistent writing and trial and error both on the blog and social media. But I’m still not where I want to be yet and my goals are likely different to everyone elses.
There are so many different avenues you can take to attract more readers to your blog because the online landscape is changing every day but I thought I’d share with you my top 8 ways you can attract readers to your blog, methods that I’ve used during my blogging career so far.
1. Share Relevant Content on Social Media
I recall a statement that Chantelle Ellem from Fat Mum Slim made at a function she was speaking at, ‘Facebook is where the party’s at, just bring your business there.’ This is just so true.
But when it comes to social media, it’s not about broadcasting to your followers in the hope they might go to your blog, it’s about getting to know them and using the ‘TRUE’ principle when sharing information on the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
When it comes to Social Media though, and especially Facebook, I always like to use the 80/20 rule whereby 80% of posts are informative and interesting (and amusing) to my audience and it is content other than my own. For this 80% to work effectively for you, it’s really important to understand who your audience is and what it is that they like. Review your analytics, take note of the content that works and what doesn’t and don’t be afraid to ask what your audience wants to see.
The remaining 20% is about my brand or blog, sharing links to blog posts with persuasive calls to action – make your readers want to click through to your blog post/website without looking like you’re trying to do the hard sell or simply just sharing a link with no lead in info.
2. Comment on Other Blogs
Be seen by other bloggers and by other readers by commenting on other blogs, especially comment on other blogs within a similar niche. Not only does this help in getting recognised by other bloggers and readers, but it helps with SEO too. Make sure you’ve set up your Gravatar, WordPress, Blogger or Disqus commenting system to include your blog name. I use Eva @ The Multitasking Mummy. When I search ‘Multitasking Mummy’ in Google, not only does my blog and social media pages come up, but it also pulls results of where I’ve commented on other blogs.
3. Respond to Comments on Your Blog
I will admit that I’ve recently become very lax in responding to comments because time has simply got in the way which is very naughty of me. This is a common problem for many bloggers but what I’ve been trying to do is allocate an hour or so each week where I can respond to comments on my own blog and on other blogs, especially linkies.
The other thing to consider about responding to comments on your own blog is that it shows that you are interested in what your readers have to say and that you’re looking to engage and create conversation. This is definitely a work in progress for me and can be time consuming, but it is so important.
4. Join Link-ups & Blog Hops
Definitely one of the best ways to put yourself out there, link your blog post up to a linky party or blog hop.
What is a linky? I remember in the very beginning I had absolutely no clue what one of these was or how it worked.
A linky is an event hosted by a particular blogger where they open up their blog to other bloggers and use a tool which allows bloggers to add the URL of a blog post from which the tool then grabs the blog image and embeds it on the host bloggers blog. The linky is essentially a collection of various blog posts from a variety of different bloggers all displayed on one page and where best practice is for bloggers to visit other blogs. Here’s a screen shot of my linky that I host at The Multitasking Mummy:
Linky parties are a great way to discover new blogs and for other bloggers to discover you. There are also many different linky parties for different niches and which have different themes.
A Blog Hop is similar but a little different. A blog hop is a linky party which is hosted by a number of bloggers at the exact same time, but no matter which of these blogs you visit and link up on, your link/blog post will show up on all of the host blogs. A good example of this is at the Fabulous Foodie Fridays blog hop which is hosted by Create Bake Make and Bake Play Smile. You will see that the exact same link up and blog links appear at both blogs. The benefit of blog hops for the bloggers linking up (and the host bloggers) is that bloggers will receive exposure to not one lot of readers but the readers of two blogs or more.
5. Join Facebook Groups and Google+ Communities
If you’re not part of a Facebook Group or Google+ community for bloggers, search for one now! There’s likely to be one suited to your niche, your state or country, all you have to do is look for it and request to join.
You will find that a number of blogging communities often have a share thread each week where you can share a post. In addition to this, getting involved in the conversation within these communities is a good chance for you to be discovered by other bloggers.
Building relationships with other bloggers is good because you can do various things such as swapping buttons, swapping shout outs and arranging guest posts. As a woman who has worked in various different industries in the past, the blogging community is the first I’ve been involved in where bloggers are not competitors, they actually support one another.
6. Guest Blogging
Following on from point 5, guest blogging has a great number of benefits. It not only introduces you to a new audience and helps to grow your readership, but it can help with SEO when you include a link back to your website in the blog post. Perhaps you don’t have time to write guest blog posts in addition to your own content? Why not do a shout out to other bloggers to see if they’d like to guest post on your blog? The likelihood is that they will share the link with their social media followers.
7. Get Found in Google Search by Optimizing your SEO
You want your blog to be found on Google right? If you’re new to blogging though, give it time for your blog to be indexed on Google Search.
There are a few things you can focus on over time to increase your chances of coming up in Google Search, especially for keywords pertinent to your blog/niche:
- Build your Social Media Presence
- Use keywords in your blog posts (title, URL, headings, meta-tags, meta-description, alt-text in photos are a start)
- Make sure your blog is set to be found by search engines (you can change this in the settings section of Blogger and WordPress)
- Comment on other blogs as your blog name
- Update your blog regularly and consistently
- Submit your blog sitemap to Google. A sitemap tells Google what it otherwise may not find, about pages on your blog. (I will do a blog post about how to do this soon).
8. Provide Valuable Content
Remember this tip I shared in 6 Ways to Increase Your Engagement on Facebook? Well it pertains to blog posts too.
Whenever I’m writing a blog post, even on my personal/parenting blog, I always start with thinking about how the post will be of value to my reader. Admittedly, there are a few posts that are purely to share my thoughts, but many of them are about sharing my experiences, views and ideas so that they may benefit other Mums that are going through the same or are in the same point in their lives.
As with Evapedia, I put myself back to when I was learning and share the things I wanted to know about back then. Part of this is also about knowing your audience too, so make it a priority to figure it out – female or male, age, location, do they work or not, what are their interests or pain points?
If readers are finding they are connecting with your content and finding that they can implement what they’ve read on your blog in some way or form in their lives, well then they’re bound to come back for more.
So, I set you a challenge. I want you to take at least two of these 8 points and implement them this week. When you start, take note of your unique and page views and review them again in a month. Let me know how you go!