10 Ways To Grow Your Blog
So you've setup your site and wrote a couple of posts, now what? It's time to make the world aware that you have and grow your blog traffic beyond your family and close friends. While their support is much appreciated, it's no secret that you want to reach as many people as possible. Believe it or not, the process to growing your blog isn't as complicated as you may think, it just takes effort and patience. Here are 10 (FREE) ways you can increase your traffic and grow your blog.
1. Create Freebies and Opt-Ins
Who doesn't like anything free? If you're like me the moment you see the word free or complimentary, you begin to explore what it is and what you have to do to get it. I will give up my email address without hesitation for a free resource that I feel can help me, and so will your readers. Your opt-ins don't have to be extravagant; a simple guide, checklist, or worksheet that compliments your blog posts is more than enough. With these goodies your readers will feel as though they are getting even more value from your blog and will be more enticed to come back to see what's new.
2. Hold Contests and Giveaways
Contest and giveaways are a fun way to grow your blog and your online presence. Word about your contest can spread quickly once it's announced and promoted, especially if one of the guidelines to winning is that they must share your post. Don't stress yourself out about the prize, while it must be valuable it doesn't have to be expensive. Your prize could be a gift card, a free consultation with you, or a discount on one of your products. When developing your contest be sure you have a specific goal in mind. Do you want to grow your social media followers, your email subscribers, or increase traffic to your site. These goals will help you determine what the guidelines are and what prize is most appropriate.
3.Utilize Social Media
It's not a secret or a surprise that social media is the way of the world, so use it to it's fullest advantage! Each time you publish a new blog posts I encourage you to create at least five social media posts that complement it. However, I caution you not to flood your followers timelines with promotional posts. I'm a huge Forever 21 fan but I don't want to see 5 ads in one sitting. With tools like Buffer and Hootsuite, spread your posts out over the next couple weeks.
PS: If you post the same promotional post in multiple groups it will show in follower's newsfeeds that you have done so.
4.SEO is Your Friend
For those wondering what SEO is, it is an acronym for search engine optimization. Plain and simple, it is a strategy that can help improve your rank in search engines. The goal is for your site to be the first result that appears in a Google search. Some ways to improve your SEO are to tag any pictures in your posts with your keywords, be sure your keyword is used several times in your post, and that it is in the post url.
If you aren't familiar with SEO practices, I highly reccomend you install the Yoast plugin (if you have Wordpress), which ranks your post's SEO and suggests ways to improve it.
5. Design a Beautiful Blog
If you're just beginning your blog I understand that you may not have the budget to hire a web designer and have your site custom made. However, I have crowned myself the queen of budgeting and I have found plenty of sites that sell themes for less than $25 that are easy to customize. While your blog design shouldn't be your ultimate priority, it is important because it does play a role as to why your readers fall in love and continue to come back.
One practice that can cause your readers to disappear is inconsistency. All it takes is one post to turn a stranger into a loyal reader. Your followers and fans will be checking your blog frequently and the last thing you want them to see is that the last time you created a post was 3 months ago. Whether you're posting daily or bi-weekly just be sure that it is consistent. Create a schedule with deadlines for writing your draft, creating your social media, and publishing your post. If you plan to publish a post every Tuesday, don't wait until Monday night to try to draft something up really quick. Dedicate at least 1 day out of the month to spend on writing and scheduling.
7.Provide Your Readers with Valuable Content
Have you ever read a post expecting it to provide you with solutions to a particular problem, only to waste 10 minutes reading a bunch of fluff? Imagine the disappointment and frustration you felt, do you want your readers to leave your site feeling the same? I think it's safe to assume the answer is no, so provide them with valuable content. Answer questions your audience may have, provide them with solutions, and educate them about your niche. If you're not sure what exactly your audience finds valuable, research! Don't be afraid to ask; you can do this through polls and surveys or even scrolling through Facebook groups to read any vents and challenges that your audience is discussing.
8.Engage with Your Readers
If you want visitors to become loyal readers, you need to engage and build relationships with them. This can be done by simply responding to their comments, even if it's just a "thank you." This communication can lead to sincere relationships which will encourage your readers to support you any way they can. It's also important that you make yourself accessible, so be sure to set up a contact page so they can reach out to you.
9.Become Active in Facebook Groups
Facebook business pages are dying and Facebook groups are the newest trend. If used correctly they can really help increase your traffic and subscribers. Now this doesn't mean to join every group you come across and just drop your blog post links. You must genuinely engage with other members; let them know who you are, and show your expertise not by promoting your blog but by offering your feedback, opinions, and advice. You'd be surprised how easily candid conversations can turn a complete stranger into an avid reader.
10.Participate in Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a great way to gain exposure and increase your traffic, because you are able to promote your posts outside of your own audience. When guest blogging you can offer to cross promote other's content who are in the same niche, or they can post yours. Don't let the idea that you have your competitor's content on your site scare you. Their readers could easily become a fan of yours after exploring your site and blog.
I hope you found these tips helpful because they've definitely helped me on my blog journey. I truly believe that if you take the time to use each of these strategies you will see some growth in readers and traffic. But remember, this growth won't be seen overnight, it will take true dedication and perseverance, but in the end it will definitely be worth it!