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How to Get More Readers for Your Blog
In theory, getting more readers sounds simple. Create compelling content and share it on relevant websites. But as you may know, that is easier said than done.
Even if you create the perfect blog post, you will have to find someone to read it (besides your mother). Have you ever hit a hole in one when no one was around? Well, that’s sort of how it feels when you have great content but no one reads it.
And once you get an audience, you need to deliver in order to avoid losing them, which takes consistent effort. This post has some resources to help you find sources of readers for your blog.
You will find links to resources (tutorials, guides, and tools) that will help you find your target audience and promote your content.
Site visitors wouldn’t have anything to read were it not for content, so it would behoove you to learn how to create good content. Here are some key resources to check out:
- Google’s Quality Guidelines: these guidelines make a great reference for anyone that is interested in online publishing. You will find easy to understand explanations of how Google rates the quality of content.
- SEO Copywriting: this is a gentle introduction to the basics of publishing and writing online.
- Tips for Creating Irresistible Posts: go here to get some advice from the pros on how to create engaging posts.
- Creating Content That Converts: A Step-by-Step Guide: anything by Neil Patel should be considered a bloggers’ bible, and this guide to creating content that converts is no different.
- The Nine Ingredients That Make Great Content: Kissmetrics is another reliable resource when it comes to content creation tips as they tend to only recommend tips that are based on proven techniques.
SEO for Organic Traffic
Once you have something to share, you will need people (hopefully) to read it. SEO (search engine optimization) is a great way to find your audience, and get links back to your site. “Organic traffic” is traffic on your website that comes from the search engine results pages, as long as it is not from a paid advertising spot.
SEO is especially effective if you are dealing with a subject that is highly specialized, such as discrepancies in the development of fungal taxonomy from the years 1845-1907 — or some other equally arcane topic that probably won’t trend on social media. But SEO also works for everything else. Furthermore, it is a necessary component for anyone serious about publishing online. There are tons of ways to optimize the pages on your website to improve organic traffic.
This set of guides and tools will help you understand link building strategies through a variety of different media.
- Google Analytics: Google Analytics is the most popular analytics software on the web. There are number of free and premium services available with a Google Analytics Account.
- Free tutorials on Google Analytics: a bunch of free tutorials from tutsplus.com. They range in difficulty from beginner to advanced.
- SearchEngineLand: one of the most popular blogs on digital marketing, SEO, and web analytics. They publish fresh, useful content regularly.
- Accessibility: this article from the Google Webmaster Blog goes over some key concepts involved in making your website accessible on mobile devices, which can help your SEO efforts.
- SEO Starter Guide: this SEO starter guide was first published in 2008. Since then it has been updated, and it is full of helpful information.
- SEO Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide: another guide written by marketing expert Neil Patel. This covers everything you need to know to get started in SEO.
- Search Engine Journal: this digital publication has an entire section dedicated to “SEO” that’s worth subscribing to. You can learn something new about the state of SEO every day.
Improving a certain aspect of your site, like page loading time, can have an impact on your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs), which can mean more visitors to your website. Analytics can help you measure your efforts in a granular way, so you know exactly what to focus on in order to make an improvement.
The following tools can help you develop an audience through niche research and competitive analysis. You can do things like analyze your backlink profile in order to determine the quality of links to your site. Or you research trends to find relevant communities and websites to secure links.
- Google Search Console: this is a collection of tools and resources to help you improve performance in the search engine results pages. Here you will find tons of educational resources, as well as tools to help you manage your websites.
- Mobile Friendly Test: here is an example of one of the tools available free from Google Search Console. Follow this link and place any URL in the form to check if the page is mobile friendly.
- Moz: Moz also has a suite full of analytic tools to help you carve out your SEO path. You can get started for free with their tools for keyword research, on page metrics, and more.
- BuzzStream: offers a set of tools for Digital PR, link building, and content promotion. This popular service is used by companies such as Rackspace and Razorfish.
- Ahrefs: another benchmark in the industry, Ahrefs offers a full set of tools to monitor your traffic and carve out a promotion strategy.
- SEMrush: many SEO professionals swear by SEMrush. The company is known for their search engine expertise. These tools are used by Disney, HP, and Ebay.
- Google Keyword Planner: this is part of Google AdWords. This keyword planner can help you find words and phrases to target.
- Emarketer: go here if you are looking for stats on things like SEO, mobile device usage by country, and other geeky insights that can help you take over the world.
- SEO Spyglass: this is a tool you can use to “spy” on the competition. Find the backlink profile for your competitors or for your own site.
- QuickSprout: a quick search using the QuickSprout website checker will analyze the key areas of your site’s home page (and other pages, if you want to check them). It will tell you if you’ve created the ideal metadata for search and provides suggestions if there are any issues detected.
- Yoast: this is a plugin that gets directly added to the backend of your WordPress website (if that’s the CMS you use). It analyzes the content you’ve written and lets you know when changes should be made in order to improve readability and search ranking.
There are a number of ways to grow your readership, from syndication to guest posting. Below are some links that show you how to connect with a network of like-minded people, engage your audience, and build links.
- Content Syndication Networks: this infographic explains content syndication networks, which are networks like Facebook and Twitter — except they are used primarily for things like blog promotion. There is also a list of content syndication networks that you can join.
- OutBrain: this is one of the many different content syndication networks. It can do things like guarantee you an audience for your niche, so you can focus more on keeping traffic than finding it.
- Hootsuite: this is a “software as service” product that helps you manage all of your social media from one place.
- TwineSocial: this is a social media aggregation service. You can use it to create custom social media displays and engage your audience.
- Dialogfeed: here is another social media aggregator. It’s a lot like TwineSocial. It helps you build custom social feeds where you can promote your brand on multiple platforms.
- Guest Posting: here is a guide on guest posting that teaches you how to safely funnel traffic back to your website.
- About.me: this is one of the easy ways to grow your audience. The free version gives you a simple one page website with sections for a picture, biography, and a link button.
- MailChimp: Mailchimp is the biggest email marketing platform in the world. Features include automated mass emails, analytics, and other services like automated receipts for your e-commerce customers.
- Ultimate Guide to Running a Giveaway (PDF): this document provides detailed instructions on how to run a giveaway.
- Run an Online PR Campaign: this demonstrates nine ways to publicize yourself. It’s annotated with examples, and there are resources for further reading.
- Using Facebook Groups for Bloggers: this is a helpful post from someone who grew her group of 11,000 people from scratch.
- Easy Advanced Research Marketing for Facebook: this guide shows you how to find your target market with Facebook ads.
Social Bookmarking Sites
Social bookmarking sites have waned in popularity due to the ubiquity of social media juggernauts like Facebook and Twitter. Despite this, there are still tens of millions of readers on these networks. In fact, many social bookmarking sites have evolved into social curation services. They are great for personal learning and sharing, and provide a more unique cross segment of content. You will most likely want to consider your niche when choosing a social bookmarking service.
- Alltop: this is a link aggregator that builds dynamic lists of links. You can use search terms to get lists or create your own custom lists. If you submit your site to Alltop, you are sure to get a spike in traffic. Checkout the guide on How to Submit Your Site to Alltop.
- HARO: Short for “help a reporter out,” HARO was created for journalists and reporters, but it’s also great for anyone who is interested in current events. HARO is comprised of a network of over 35,000 journalists across the world. Through HARO, you can build contacts, meet experts, share your expertise, and do keyword research.
- How HARO Can Boost Your PR: learn about different ways you can use HARO to make connections online.
- Evernote: millions of people use evernote each day to get things done. You can bookmark sites, make notes, share with others, and collaborate.
- Pinterest: as one of the most successful social bookmarking sites, Pinterest is a place where you can share, buy, and keep track of all your favorite things. It’s popular for sharing recipes, blogs, infographics, and art.
- Diigo: this social bookmarking site has over 9 million users you can connect and share with.
- Newsvine: this network is powered by crowdsourcing. Users can post articles and syndicated content from news outlets is also posted.
- Pocket: with 20+ million users, you have lots of content to explore. Manage articles, share, and connect with others with ease.
- Reddit: reddit was once dubbed as, “the front page of the internet.” This is a useful place to explore anything related to tech, gaming, politics, or any other topic under the sun.
- Feedly: there are a number of ways in which Feedly can be used. As a blogger, you can use it for inspiration on upcoming topics. As a reader, you can use it to aggregate all your favorite blog and news sources into one place.
- Medium: another news and blog aggregator site, Medium is a fantastic source for readers and bloggers alike. In fact, Medium now enables bloggers to write and publish stories on this platform.
Social Media Sites
For most bloggers, finding a way to leverage social media will be the cheapest and most effective way of finding more readers. These days, you can do so much more with social media than ever before. It’s a good place for market research, inspiration, network building, and brand awareness. While everybody knows about the benefits of Facebook and Twitter — there are at least a dozen other lesser-known social media networks with a large number of users. Below is a short list of some of the most popular sites you might want to consider securing a presence on.
- DeviantArt: for bloggers who write about art, create their own art, or are just really enthusiastic fans of art, this social media site is the perfect community to get involved in.
- Dribbble: this is a platform for designers to share their work with others. Whether you create web, mobile, or graphic designs, or you simply find inspiration in the work of others, this is a social media site worth hopping on.
- Flickr: if you need photos to go with the content you’ve written for your site (and you do), this is a fantastic resource from which to get them.
- Foursquare: want to ensure that your brick-and-mortar business is found on the most relevant platforms? Foursquare is for the establishment that wants to expand their online presence to those searching for them locally.
- Google+: although Google+ isn’t as well-known (or utilized) as a social media account, it’s really no different than the other major players. As an added bonus for using it, you’ll have another way to feed up-to-the-minute information about your site directly to Google.
- Instagram: Instagram is a platform meant for people who enjoy taking, sharing, and looking at high-quality imagery. For bloggers wanting to make a strong visual impact, this is a good platform to look at.
- LinkedIn: this is the social media site for professionals, so if you’re looking to connect to like-minded individuals, find new writing opportunities, or join a community that shares your interests, LinkedIn is the place to do it. You can also publish content here.
- Pinterest: similar to Instagram, this social media site is all about visual content. That’s why you’ll see a lot of food and design bloggers on here as their products and content translate really well to this platform.
- Snapchat: think of Snapchat like the social media site for silly video content. You can share and watch other styles of video, but there is a heavy reliance on filters, emojis, and other image customization tools here.
- Soundcloud: a music streaming site, you can use Soundcloud to listen to an inspiring soundtrack or tune in to an interesting podcast related to what you write about.
- Tumblr: Tumble is a website where users can create their own “blog” and then upload whatever content they want to it, including photos, blog posts, gifs, music, and more.
- Vimeo: this is a video sharing platform. You can upload your own video content here for more lightweight embedding on your blog. You can create your own channel to drive viewers to. Or you can spend your time watching others’ videos.
- Vine: this is a platform through which anyone can upload short, creative videos. This is often where the next strange/funny/heartwarming viral content comes from.
- YouTube: YouTube, like Vimeo, is a video sharing and viewing platform. It’s the biggest one around.
A Little Elbow Grease is All You Need
If you want to increase the readership of your blog, you have to put in the effort, plain and simple. That means putting in effort to create excellent content, optimizing it for search engines, and promoting it regularly. Only then will you see a boost in organic traffic, backlinks, and social traffic.