Every blogger who’s ever hosted a blog has experienced the frustration of trying to gain readership. Though we’d all like it if readers just magically came to us, the reality is, it takes some work to build an audience.
It’s easy to get frustrated and just give up on blogging, but once you experience the benefits, you’ll understand that your blog can have a tremendous impact on your business by attracting traffic to your site, helping you build a social media audience and making an impression on prospects and clients alike.
Following are 20 proven strategies that can help you boost readership and increase traffic to your blog. Here are some tips for attracting more visitors to your site:
1. Tell People In Your Social Networks About Your New Post.
Promote every new posts across your social networks with Jetpack’s Publicize feature as you hit publish button. This will automatically tell your Twitter followers, Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, and more as soon as you publish a new post.
Share each new blog post across your social media networks, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. If you spend time cultivating your networks and share great content, social media sites can become some of your top traffic sources.
Add social sharing buttons on your blog posts. At the top and bottom of your blog posts, make sure you include social sharing buttons for Twitter, LinkedIn and the other major social networks. Make it easy for readers to spread the word.
2. Make your content visible to search engines.
If you want your post to be indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing, make sure that “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” is not checked at Settings > Reading in your site’s Dashboard. The internet is full of theories as to how you can raise your post’s visibility in search rankings: none will contest that original, high-quality content with a few well-chosen tags is the best way to get started.
Speaking of SEO, keywords are at the heart of SEO. One of the easiest ways to generate more traffic to your website is to ensure that every page on your site has a keyword strategy. So for each blog post you write, choose one key phrase that you believe readers would use to find that post. Next, incorporate that phrase into the title of the post, the headline on the page, within the content on the page at least two times, in a featured image on the page and also as part of the page link. Keyword concentration helps Google understand what that page is about, which can ultimately lead to more traffic from the search engines.
3. Write Better Titles.
The titles for your blog posts are almost more important than the content itself. That’s because titles help potential readers decide whether they should click and read more. Pay attention to the article titles you see on magazine covers. They entice readers with promises and solutions. When you do the same, your traffic and readership will increase.
4. Know your niche.
While you may be interested in sea life, exotic travel destinations, Little League baseball and weight loss, you’ll confuse your audience if your content doesn’t follow a clear theme. Decide who your target audience is, what they want to read and what specific messages you want to convey.
5. Include Photos.
Studies have shown that photos in blog posts boost readership. Not only does a photo make the post more visually appealing, but you can also include keywords in the Alt Image tag on the photo, boosting search engine optimization (SEO) for your site. Keep in mind that you can’t just pull any photo from Google because you risk violating copyright laws. Instead, locate royalty-free images from a site like Clipart.com
6. Add Video.
Google owns YouTube, which is one of the many reasons that videos can drive more traffic to your site. Supplement the written content on your blog with short videos that are informative and entertaining.
7. Retweet past content.
We aren’t all looking at Twitter at the same time, so when you share a new blog post link, the majority of your fan base won’t see it the first time. Repeat your tweets, and don’t be afraid to share past content. Readers don’t care when it was written as long as it’s still relevant.
8. Invite Guest Contributors.
When others write for your blog, you add more content that you didn’t have to write yourself. As a bonus, those contributors will also share with their networks and may ask you to write for them, opening up new readership avenues for you.
9. Write Post On Other Popular Blogs.
Locate other popular blogs that reach your target audience, and offer to contribute guest blog posts. If the site has a substantial audience, you can bet that readers will in turn want to engage with more of your content.
10. Conduct give-away events.
Create fun theme days such as “Free Book Fridays” where your readers can win a prize by submitting a comment or sharing your link via social media. You can provide prizes yourself or invite companies to donate or sponsor these promotions.
11. Cross-promote to your mailing list.
Instead of writing all new content for your electronic newsletter, share the first paragraph from several recent blog posts and include a link to continue reading on the site. Not everyone is taking the time to read your blog each week, so this will help get your subscribers invested in your blog.
12. Make Your Content Easy To Read
Make your content easy to read by using plenty of subheads, bullets and numbered lists.
13. Make Your RSS Feed Functional
Make it easy for blog visitors to subscribe to your RSS feed.
14. Encourage Readers to Leave A Comment
Invite readers to leave a comment, then respond and let them know you’re engaged.
15. Utilize Email Signature
Promote your blog in your email signature and your bio in any online profiles.
16. Pay for traffic to your site.
Web applications like StumbleUpon can bring visitors to your posts with rates starting at $.10 per visit. If you’ve published a great post and you want some feedback from visitors, this can be a good way to get the ball rolling. Companies looking for broader distribution of their posts, including getting their content in front of journalists, may want to try services from companies such as PR Newswire. Read more on paying for traffic.
If you believe your audience is spending time on Facebook, occasionally invest in sponsored posts. For as little as $10, you can “Boost” a post and increase its reach significantly.
17. Bug your real-life friends.
Encourage friends and family to read your blog: send them reminder emails when you update and talk to them about it when you meet in person. Better still, encourage them to sign up for updates using Jetpack’s Subscriptions feature. Having a small audience of people you care about is better than having a million visitors and not knowing any of them.
18. Link To Other Blogs And Companies.
Blogging is all about engaging with others and interacting in online discussions. When you link to a blog post, the blogger will likely find your blog through their stats or a pingback, and come to see what you had to say. They may even subscribe to your site and leave a comment, as we suggested you do above!
When you mention another company’s product or service in a blog post, include a link to that company’s page. Not only does Google like to see outbound links on your site, the company you mention may also notice your post and link back to you. Plus, readers appreciate it when you provide resources to make it easier for them to find the things they’re looking for.
19. Let people know about your posts.
If you’ve written a post with someone in mind, drop them a short email with a link to it.
NOTE: This approach works if used very sparingly, maybe once a month per blogger. You don’t want to annoy anyone or seem like a spammer.
20. Blog More and Regularly.
Blogs that have more frequent and regular posting schedules tend to develop an audience quicker. If you need inspiration, check out the resources on The Daily Post, like these how-tos on editorial calendars . WordPress daily writing prompts can offer a jump-start, too.
Studies show that the more often you update your blog, the more traffic it will receive. Google gives higher priority to websites with fresh content, so if you want to get more attention from the search engines, update your blog at least twice a week.
Relax! It takes time.
Even if you do all of the above, you won’t develop a huge following overnight. Building a sizable audience of engaged and loyal readers takes time. Many of the bloggers you admire have likely been at it for years. Stick with it, and don’t get discouraged by a slow start.