Article by Jason Chow
Jason is a fan of technology and entrepreneurship. He loves building website. You can get in touch with him via Twitter.
Creating a blog that attracts readers from coming back is every blogger’s goal.
We all aware writing blog posts alone won’t get us results. Our blog needs to have an audience that reads and engages with the content.
Fortunately, there are many things we can do to keep visitors coming back for more. We can write longer content, integrate that content with social media, promote our blog, offer unique features, etc.
In previous blog posts, we have also suggested a few out of the box methods to grow blog readership:
But, which one is the most effective way or cost effective way to start with?
To get a better picture, I’ve reached out to 30 bloggers with one question:
The answers were enlightening. There are lots of useful tips I learned when I started collecting the feedback.
Here’s the list of bloggers in no particular order:
Michael Pozdnev / Lisa Sicard / Kulwant Nagi / Ashley Faulkes / Sharon Hurley Hall / Chris Well / Nate Shivar / Daren Low / / Brian Jackson / Harleena Singh / David Hartshorne / Amanda Menzies / Jasper / Stuart Davidson / Mike Allton / Tereza Litsa / Cent Muru / Kathryn Trainor / Chris Makara / Marina Barayeva / Bill Achola / Patricia Weber / Michael Karp / Jason Quey / Lorraine Reguly/ Viktor Egri / Dante Harker / Susan Payton / Justice Mitchell / Julie Blakley
So, get yourself comfy and let’s get down to it!
Pozdnev shared that when there is intense competition, it’s very important to pick the right strategy for growing the number of your readers.
I chose the way of building relationships with other bloggers. The way of friendship,” he shared. “I was choosing my future friends from commenters. Those who commented on the articles relevant to my topic.
This is how Pozdnev came up with his blogger outreach technique — BFF Commenter Technique.
“If you look closer, you’ll see that each of my articles gets more than 90 comments and 1k of social shares. All that became possible thanks to friendship.”
Once Pozdnev had friends, his traffic from both social media and search engines started to grow. “Most importantly, I got support from like-minded people!”
Lisa Sicard learned to grow her blog readership by commenting on other people’s blog posts regularly. She advises becoming known as a top commentor in your particular niche.
Another way to grow your blog audience us to grow your email list. Offer a free eBook or product. Don’t sell in the emails and provide some great information to your readers. Be sure to promote it on your blog and the at end of your posts.
Sicard also believes that another way to build your readersship is to not make your breaks too long (30+ days).
She added: “Many people are starting and quitting all the time, so your list is like a revolving door. Always be out there somewhere in some way to get noticed. Don’t be on every social network, pick those that you feel comfortable with and that work for you!”
Kulwant Nagi shared that guest blogging can be one of the best ways to grow a blog readership. By guest blogging, you can establish your presence in front of a relevant audience already visiting great blogs.
Nagi said, “Write an in-depth EPIC piece of content and submit it on quality blogs. If you connect the audience with your words, they are most likely to visit your blog through the author bio.”
Nagi also encouraged bloggers to get involved in audio, video, and text interviews on other niche specific blogs. “Share your story with the world. Share unique tips that are bringing good results. This you can tap more people and attract them to your blog.”
Ashley Faulkes shares that one of the best ways to impress people and entice them into becoming a fan and a reader is to create amazing content.
“I know, that alone does not help you. So, let me give you an example along with some reasons…” she offered.
You could write 10 kinda interesting blog posts on topics that are beaten to death (which is almost inevitable today) OR you can write something amazing that is “above and beyond” what is already out there. Sure, it takes 5x as long, but you will definitely stand out and get a lot more readers.
Want an example?
I wrote a post on how to create the best SEO content just a few months ago. It broke down all the aspects of writing content and optimizing it for SEO.
It included as much detail and examples as I could find. It had images, quotes, videos and I even created an infographic to go with it.
Faulkes feels that by creating such amazing content you will find that it not only gets shared and linked to far more, but you will get a lot more attention and readers as a result. For example, the post she mentions above already has 2,300 shares on social media.
“Just be sure to find the right topic (for your niche and audience) and something you can beat the competition on first.”
The main way Sharon Hurley Hall grows her blog readership is via smart social sharing.
I use Twitter a lot, but it’s so busy that it’s easy for people to miss what you share. To counter that, I need to get my content in front of different people at different times. I use two tools for this: Missinglettr and Buffer. When you link your blog to Missinglettr, it creates a campaign with image and text tweets to run over the following year. You can add and edit hashtags and delete updates you don’t like, then approve the campaign.
Since Hall also writes on lots of blogs (with links back to her own site), she wants to promote that content too. She shared: “That’s where Buffer comes in. I Buffer the post, using the Power Scheduler function to post slightly different updates over a month or more. I also check Buffer analytics to see which updates have done well, so I can share them again later.”
“Not only does this strategy grow the readership of my own blog, but it also attracts clients who want me to blog professionally for them – a double win!”
Chris Well has a unique take on bringing more readers to your blog. He promotes evergreen articles on social media. As he put it, he promotes them “repeatedly.”
He shared, “Too often, bloggers will send out a single message be done with it. But only a percentage of followers will see any one post. Therefore, the ideal is to send out multiple posts at different times on different days, to reach more of your followers.”
Well offers a simple three-step plan to help you promote evergreen articles:
- Create three or four ways to describe that piece of content. Try to approach the post from different angles or find different points of interest.
- Create appropriate social media graphics to accompany these posts. Use free tools like Pablo or Canva.
- Schedule these posts to cycle endlessly with free tools like Recurpost or Social Jukebox.
Nate Shivar focuses on user personas to figure out who would be a good reader for his blog and how to target those readers.
“I have 3 user personas that represent people who would be a good it for my blog. I’ve developed content themes that address their concerns. Within those content themes, I do deep content & keyword research to figure exactly what content they want & what they want to see within that content.”
After publication, Shivar does the standard social, email promotion and paid social ads. “But the main two things are that I stay consistent over time, and keep my most successful old content updated and fresh.”
Over time, building a readership is like building a wall – add brick by brick, and don’t let it fall down.
One of the methods that Daren Low uses to grow his readership is by offering the opportunity for guests to post on his site.
It sounds weird at first because it seems that instead of growing my readership I’m leaking them out. However I think differently because with guest bloggers around, not only I get to meet more people (the guest bloggers themselves), I get free promotions for my blog.
The method works well because it is a win/win. Guest bloggers reach the audience on Low’s site but also his blog gets exposure as they share the guest post to their social media channels.
“As a result, both of us get the opportunity to tap into each other’s readership. I see this as a win-win situation. On top of this, getting Facebook ads is an effective way to expand my reach. Boost-post come in handy for promoting blogposts to much bigger crowd. However, these 2 methods only work if the blog post in questioned is of top-notch quality.”
“I find that even on the woorkup brand if I keep things more personal I have a lot more engagement from people. I think as a society we just naturally relate better with people, rather than a brand. That is why I always write in first person.”
Another thing Jackson does is try to share tips and strategies that he has a hard time finding on Google. He added, “Of course I do keyword research, but sharing tips that haven’t been re-hashed a thousand times online I think has given me the edge on some of my content. If I Google something and can’t find the answer in under 5 minutes, I immediately think about turning that into a blog post. This increases newsletter signups and also creates some great conversations from readers, as most likely they haven’t come across the content anywhere yet.”
Jackson feels the #1 way to grow your blog is through consistency and discipline.
There is no fast track to success with a blog, you have to put in the time and effort and eventually you will see the return. And if you are just starting out, stick with it for at least 6 months. I have found on new sites, the 6 month mark seems to be the sweet spot where things start happening.
Harleena Singh advises taking a multi-pronged approach in regards to growing your blog readership. She said, “You can leverage the social media promotions and build relationships, use blog commenting and contribute guest posts at high traffic sites, join blogging communities, and conduct interesting events on your blog.”
She adds that all you need to do is be creative and produce quality content that is helpful to the readers – give value and make the readers valuable.
If you focus on the CRUX of blogging, that is, content+relationships+user experience, you’ll definitely see a surge in your blog readership.
David Hartshorne points to one key thing to start: “You need to promote your blog post. Yep. Publishing is only the start.”
Organic traffic from search engines will take a long time to materialize on a new blog, so advertising can be vital.
So here are a few things you can do right now to get some traffic to your blog according to Hartshorne:
- Ask Your Friends – There’s nothing wrong with emailing or tweeting your mates and asking them to ‘Like and Share’ your post. Every bit helps.
- Email Your List – If you have people on your email list, then let them know about your new posts. If you don’t have an email list, then start building one.
- Post On Social Media – Post to each of your social media accounts to get the ball rolling there. Then add to Buffer so that the message is repeated a few times over the coming hours/days.
- Notify Influencers – If you’ve mentioned a person or company in your post, then let them know about it. And ask them to share it to their audience.
- Blog Promotion – Try these channels for starters: JustRetweet, CoPromote, and Triberr.
- Blog Commenting – Last, but not least, try and keep commenting on relevant blogs. This is a great way to build relationships in your niche and attract readers to your blog.
“I hope these tips help you to grow your blog readership. Be patient and persistent. It takes time. But it’ll be worth it in the end,” he encouraged.
Amanda Menzies feels the best advice she can offer is to interact with people on social media. By showing an interest in other people they will start to show an interest in you and (hopefully) your blog.
“For the type of blogs I write, I find connecting with brands an excellent way to get your name/blog seen by a much wider audience. I always tag a brand I’ve talked about in my blogs and hope they like it, comment on it or share it on their social media, it then gets seen by their huge audience and because they’ve interacted with you, people will think that must be worth looking at.”
I had a brand pin one of my blog photos to Pinterest and that increased my blog traffic by a huge amount just from one photo.
Jasper shared his thoughts on growing a readership.
The best way to grow your readership is to be interested in other people. Be the first to reach out, build relationships with your readers and other bloggers. Yes, it is a lot of work. But it’s also fun and very lucrative.
What can you expect if you follow Jasper’s advice?
This all comes from consistently networking online. “I highly recommend blog comments as a starting point. Even in 2016, blog commenting is still a very powerful way to build and sustain relationships,” he shared.
Stuart Davidson has a simple strategy for growing blog readership and that is search. “People must first find your content before being able to consume it and ultimately, act upon it, so traffic is the first element of readership.”
So many people use search engines like Google to find content. Undoubtedly, your ideal readers do, too. By ranking articles high in search results for keywords that have large search volumes made by your ideal prospects, you can attract consistent and sustainable levels of traffic to your content.
Davidson advises that once prospects find your content, that content must also convince them to take action. “Great quality content will retain attention and create authority and credibility, while clear and attractive call to actions are needed to translate readership into results.”
Mike Allton actually has two (very different) techniques for growing hs audience.
The first is to create great content and ensure that it’s shared everywhere. Sounds simple, but of course it’s a tremendous amount of work. I’ll spend time creating the article, publishing it, and then going through my 30+ Point Blog Promotion Checklist to share it to all of my social networks, email subscribers, and other mediums. As readers come into the article, if they like it, they’ll share it with their own audiences and thus grow my readership.
The second technique he uses is to leverage other people’s audiences through guest blog posts, podcasts and live video broadcasts.
“This was particularly effective a couple years ago using Google Hangouts and the weekly shows that many broadcasters set up. I’d develop a relationship with a broadcaster, usually by attending their shows and leaving smart comments, get invited to join a future show, and then do as good a job as I could as a guest. Those opportunities to demonstrate my expertise, live, had tremendous impact on viewers (and my business!).”
If you want to increase your blog’s readership, Tereza Litsa states that you should start by analyzing your existing content and the current level of engagement with your audience. Which topics work better and what makes a reader share your posts?
“Once you have a clear understanding on the best performing content, the next step is to create a simple content calendar to organise your ideas into a plan. This helps you write more consistently and it can improve your motivation while thinking of your initial goals.”
She adds that the quality of the content is always important, but it’s also distribution that matters.
How will the prospect readers discover your blog? Which channels should you use for the promotion of your content? Smart and consistent distribution can help you attract a wider audience. Moreover, it’s always a good idea to think outside the box and experiment with new content types, formats, or even distribution channels.
Litsa stresses that the most important thing though is to keep in mind that your personal voice and your authority serve as the best tools for your blog. “There’s no need to sacrifice these for the sake of increased traffic!”
Cent Muru points out that gone are the days where you can simply create amazing content to grow your blog’s readership. “Great content is a must, but it simply won’t cut in the modern world without some additional help.”
Muru offers a 3-punch combo to grow blog readership:
“Simply creating great infographics and publishing on your blog won’t do it either; you have to reach out to get it published in major sites like SocialMediaToday, Inc, Forbes or Entrepreneur to get recognition and build your own blogs readership,” Muru said.
Kathryn Trainor shared: “I really don’t remember how it all started but when my blog readership really grew when I did the following 4 things.”
- Post more than one in more than one way – You can use your website but use your social media to help you too. Keeping them active and posting a few times a day can give you a few extra viewers.
- Know your audience – Do you have a bunch of busy moms who are only checking online at 5pm while making dinner? Do you have business minded people who are focused all day.
- Be real, be a person – Interaction is a key way to gain readership. If they know you are real and you talk to them they WILL come back . They see you as a person not just a person putting up words to put up words.
- Have fun – If it is not fun it won’t work! Your reader can see it too!
For Chris Makara growing blog readership can be done a number of different ways. “One of my favorite ways is to leverage evergreen blog content into recycled social media posts.”
That method allows Makara to continuously promote his content again and again on social media channels. He added: “A good portion of your social following aren’t going to be avid readers of your blog. But if you are able to consistently share your content on your social accounts, you’ll start to generate clicks to your content.”
Within your blog posts, it’s best to have some sort of content upgrade to grab their email address. Additionally, you can use overlays, exit pop-ups, etc. (as annoying as they can be, but they work) to build your email list for your newsletter.
Marina Barayeva advises that when you work on your blog you should start by creating valuable content before you worry about anything else. Focus on content that people read and can implement in their work or life and get results. “When they see that something work, they will go back to the site for the new updates. Optimize your post for SEO, but still keep it readable.”
Barayeva also advises promoting your own work as much as possible:
- Share through social media networks.
- Connect with other bloggers and build a relationship with them; later you can share each other’s content.
- Include influencers in your posts. Ask for their opinion or permission to add their quotes. It can be a roundup post or just a quote inside your article. After publication, write them an email and thank them for their help. Some of them will share your post.
Also, Barayeva says to look for opportunities to guest post on sites where your target audience hangs out. “Go to a site like helpareporter.com and see if someone is looking for advice in the area of your expertise and will credit your site with the answer.
“In short, the blog growing formula: create content, promote everywhere and stand out on the popular platforms.”
Bill Acholla has some methods that have worked well for him to grow his own blog readership. He shares:
“These methods work. They have worked for me, and they’ll work for you too.”
Patricia Weber advises that new bloggers should make growing a readership their top priority in the first 90 days and then keep on monitoring readership growth from there.
Over the 7 or 8 years that she’s been blogging, there are a few tactics that remain her favorite:
- Collaborate with other bloggers by sharing their posts, commenting on their posts and being with them in communities.
- Publishing high-quality content on my blog, so readers keep wanting more and other high profile bloggers to ask me to guest post for their similar topic blog.
- Continue to strengthen my self-promotion muscle. These days I engage more with live-streaming because as more of an introvert, it allows me to speak as if I am talking with a small, intimate audience. I have a webmaster to do all the blog technical tweaks with little things like plug-ins to help with SEO. But something I am incorporating, more these days and number
- Hashtags in my post titles, to take advantage of organic reach. With a little research to find the strongest, my experience so far is more engagement and more page views.
I spend a lot of time promoting my content. I use mostly free methods like these because of the long term ROI and the relationships built. I typically do a lot of email outreach as soon as I publish a post. Then I work on building links to get it ranked. It’s a little more complicated than that, but I’ve condensed it into a 7-step process that can be downloaded here.
According to Jason Quey, there are multiple ways to grow a blog readership.
My recommendation is to focus on one marketing channel that is sustainable (for a blog that is primarily SEO, PPC, word of mouth, and large partnerships).
Then, Quey suggests learning how to use 1-2 other marketing channels to reach that end goal. “Only once you’ve mastered those channels should you consider anything else.”
Lorraine Reguly consistently provides value to her readers and lets them know she understands their struggles.
“By treating them with respect and helping them, I have grown my readership. I also share relevant information on my social media platforms with them. That way, they know I’m not spammy and NOT promoting ONLY my own content. They know I am consistently thinking of them and what they’re interested in.”
As a result, they respect me a lot.
“I run blog.automizy.com and we started our journey in 2016. Today we have 3k sessions monthly on our blog that is not huge but still, it is highly targeted and not bad as we started with 100 sessions in February 2016.
Getting started with a blog is challenging, consists of lots of components. If you miss something you will have a difficult job:
- Ideal reader profile (buyer personas of your business)
- Contents that truly help them (good content strategy)
- Frequent posting
- A good and measured content promotion process
Our process looks like this:
- Collecting topics and inserting into content calendar
- SEO research for the upcoming article
- Writing the content with the keywords in mind
- Adding “bonus contents”, downloadable free contents to the article
- Posting always on the same day at the same time
- Promotion: Generating UTM tags, sharing the content with subscribers, in forums and communities where our readers are, sharing on social media using CoPromote
- Analyzing channels’ performances in Google Analytics
Dante Harker points to some software that can help you grow your blog readership.
I do lots of things to grow my blog readership but one of the more overlooked ones is using the software Massplanner. This is excellent scheduling software that can do more than pretty much any other. One of its great features is sharing your blog across various Facebook groups that are in your niche. It’s well worth checking out.
When it comes to building an audience, Susan Payton likes to work smarter, not harder.
One way that requires very little effort to increase a blog’s readership is to use the WordPress plugin Revive Old Post. Not only does it pepper your social media stream with useful content that will attract new readers, but it also shines light on older content that you might not be actively promoting. Just set it up and forget about it! It’s consistently one of my biggest referrer of traffic to my blog.
Justice Mitchell stresses that building a readership is about creating content that has a position, or opinion, with a willingness to evolve it with your audience. “I loath guru’s that sit on the soapboxes and browbeat conversations that don’t fall in line.”
I come from a creative place where ideas get bigger, and better (or trashed), the more they’re refined. If your content doesn’t leave doors open then you’re attracting an audience type that wants to be told — “sheeple” if you will. That’s fine for narcissistic sycophants that need to be right all the time, but there’s no challenge, or growth in that. Audiences want to learn AND contribute; if you’re not a student of your own game — you’re just drinking your own piss.
I came across Julie’s post on 7 ways to grow blog audience when I was doing research on this topic. I found it useful and decided to share one of her tips here.
Syndicate your content to third party publications – It is one of the easiest and quickest ways to increase the audience and exposure of your content. These sites are frequently cited by a wide variety of people, and your content posted there will likely get many more social shares. These sites can also expose your name, links, company and thought leadership to a much larger audience, and can in turn steer more people back to your own site.
There is a lot of valuable advice in this post from bloggers in the trenches. These are the common themes that seemed to come from that majority of successful bloggers:
A big thank you to all our friends for taking the time to share their tips on how to grow blog readership.