Starting a blog over 10 years ago had its advantages: there wasn’t much competition, and if you could find the right niche, you could land a sweet spot that would last. The way to build readership was easy – simply comment on other blogs. Since there weren’t as many, it was an easy way to gather followers.
Nowadays, the sailing isn’t as smooth. There are over 4 million mom blogs in the U.S. alone. Today’s bloggers have to be savvy and competent. The good news is that if you make your first 1,000 monthly page views, you’re way ahead of the pack. Here are list of resources that will help you take your blog from Day 1 to 1000 page views.
1. Share, share, share!
“Shared and done” is no longer the name of the game.
You must continually share your posts, over and over. If you are invited to join a group Pinterest board that matches your niche, sign up and share and comment frequently. If you join a list of like-minded bloggers, odds are they will share each other’s content on a regular basis – weekly or daily. This will really help grow your readership and engagement. That said, pay attention to your social media stats. Don’t waste time where your efforts are not paying off. Instead, invest them where you see engagement.
For an excellent checklist on how to share daily, download “Growing Your Blog as a Business” on the SITS Girls website.
You need to know the latest trends and tips for social media engagement, SEO, domain authority and page ranking. For example, it’s been getting more difficult to get proper engagement on Facebook fan pages but this social media outlet is not dead – yet. And if you want to participate in campaigns, you need to be active in this area. “Increasing Facebook Page Engagements – The One-Two Punch” by writer and web developer S.J. Pajonas, explains how you can make Facebook work for you while safeguarding your page against future algorithm changes. In addition, every social media outlet has tools to track engagement, and you should be using Google Analytics to gage how your blog is reaching growing. It’s not only important to understand these, but check out the latest trends.
For example, while Google’s Page Rank is not dead, Domain Authority, by MOZ.com, is becoming a fast-growing replacement. Learn more about Domain Authority at Moz.com.
3. Set up content in a way that’s easy to read.
I get really frustrated when I find a blog with a title I’m completely excited about only to find 1000 words, with few paragraphs, no headings or bullets and tiny fonts. This will drives readers away. In addition, don’t burden people with turns of click-throughs, link directly to your article. While popular for magazine articles, but can waste a reader’s time. Know your readers’ time constraints and what drives them stay on your site.
Set up your content in a way that addresses that: chunks of digestible info separated by images, bullets and headings.
4. Don’t forget about design.
This goes hand in hand with the last bullet. Design is not the most important element but it’s important to tailor it so that the audience can read your content easily, find great stuff or income links quickly and share your content easily. You also want your site to be mobile-friendly so I recommend looking for responsive themes. Keep your site clean, legible and accessible. That means making sure your load times are fast too. Google’s Page Speed tool can help you fix errors. If your host is slowing you down, it’s time for a change.
In addition, new visitors should instantly understand what your site’s theme and quickly find the most interesting content and how to subscribe. Make sure that you have both email and RSS feeds, as well as services like BlogLovin’. Put links to all your social media in a prominent position to make it a no brainer for readers to follow you.
5. Offer your readers something of value.
I’m starting up a new program to share with my readers regular coupons and other resources that speak to their lifestyle: discounts on gluten-free, organic and nontoxic foods and products. Since I already hunt for these deals for myself, this is a no-brainer for my community. I’m also working on an ebook to coordinate all my resources and get them together to share with my readers, just as a bonus for reading my site. And I do regular giveaways in my niche.
Go above and beyond to help your niche save money and time, or provide them data in a usable format.
6. Don’t just join a community; truly connect.
This may mean that you’ll need to be invited to private Facebook or other groups or invitation-only events. The key is not just to consistently seek out your tribe but to also reward other members in it and connect with them. Help out at Twitter parties. Share articles in your newsletters. Round up and reward blogs that you love by featuring one every week or month. Ask how you can help someone out with a guest post or by offering guest post spots. Sell their products, use their affiliates links, promote their links on your social media while tagging them. As opportunities to recruit bloggers come up, these bloggers will remember your help and invite you to participate.
7. Don’t worry so much about comments.
I write a blog about parenting kids with special needs. While my numbers are good and I have a steady, sizable audience, I have very few comments, except from my comment groups. That’s because the parents who read my site just don’t have the time to engage. They need the bite-sized helpful content, and then they’re moving on. In fact, on my blog, those who want to reach out are more likely to email me personally and keep their information confident. In addition, less people are actually commenting on sites in general because they are more likely to share on social media. Are blog comments completely dead? I don’t think, but they are appearing less frequently (other than spam). You need to keep comments active, though, if you are applying for blog campaigns, because you’re more likely to get chosen if you have active comments. That is why joining a group that focuses on supporting each other’s comments is critical.
8. Don’t forget search engine optimization.
I recently heard that SEO might be dead – don’t believe it!
It has changed, though, and writing quality content with your keywords and integrating them your social media marketing is a must. In “5 SEO Trends Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know for 2014,” Entrepreneur.com contributor Jayson DeMers answers the question, “Is SEO dead?” with some very concrete tips on making your site search engine successful in this day and age.
9. A little controversy goes a long way.
A blogger on one of my networks this morning more than tripled her regular page views in one night by writing about a very hot topic that’s in the press nowadays. Now, it’s ok if controversy is not your thing. Personally, I don’t care for this for my own blog, it’s just not my style. However, if you write something that embraces one side of a controversial issue that is in the news you will draw comments – and possibly flamers! It’s one of the quicker ways to go viral, so consider it.
If you are new blogger, you have your work cut out for you! Social media engagement, live events attendance, comment/share groups membership, search engine optimization: there’s just no excuse to leave anything out anymore. Blogging is no longer a quick hobby, it’s an ongoing endeavor. If this sounds overwhelming to you, get in the game by blogging once a week or a few times a month. Work really hard on those posts, and then do the next thing: Tweet, pin, Facebook, instagram, G+. In 2014, you can’t afford to be stagnant.
Images credit: WHSR Leaf Icon Set