Creating a successful blog with dedicated followers – well, that’s not so easy.
Every single day, there are thousands upon thousands of new blogs that spring into creation, and most of them will never be seen by anyone.
Remember a sentence ago when I said it’s not easy? Well, it’s really not “hard” either, but it does take work and dedication to build a blog with a solid following. The good news is that once you get it going, you’ll find that it does get easier!
Here are 10 of the most basic things you should be doing to get started:
1) Make Sure It’s Easy to Share Your Posts
In this world of social media, people love to share things with their friends – but it has to be easy to do. So make sure that sharing is as easy as a click by installing share buttons on your blog. I’m always surprised by how many people don’t do it – or have buttons that are hard to find.
There are all kinds of plugins out there that are easy to install on your blog; I use the social share buttons that are included in the JetPack plugin – they show at the bottom of my posts. I like the way they look, and there was no need to install another plugin. Since they’ve removed the option to include StumbleUpon, however, I’ve included the plugin Hupso Share Buttons for the buttons that show at the top of my posts.
2) Make Sure It’s Easy to Subscribe
Getting people to come to your blog is hard work. Once they get there, you want to do everything you can to make sure they come back again. One of the best ways to do that is to get them subscribed to your email list or newsletter.
There should always be at least one subscription option on every post and page of your blog. Give people an incentive in exchange for their email address – a free email course or an ebook; I wrote a whole post about things you can giveaway to subscribers.
Make sure that you let them know what your blog and newsletter are about so they know if it’s a right fit for them – it’s better to have 1000 engaged subscribers than 10000 that never open your emails!
3) Include A Call to Action in Every Post
A call to action is where you quite literally tell the reader what their next action should be. Every single post should end with some sort of call to action. For example, nearly all of my posts end with another invitation to subscribe to my newsletter. You might also tell readers “Grab your copy now!” or “Tell me your opinion in the comments”. Anything that gets readers engaged – it makes them more likely to share, more likely to return.
4) Make it Easy For Readers to Follow You
I believe that your goal as a blogger should be to get your readers to subscribe to your email list. Your subscribers are going to be your most valuable asset. However, these day people often prefer to follow on social media, so make sure you’ve got those options available for them. Let your readers know they can subscribe to your Facebook page, Twitter feed or whatever social media you’re most focused on. Put follow buttons out where they can be easily found.
5) Optimize Your Posts for the Search Engines
As social media has gotten more prevalent, it seems like people are forgetting about search engine optimization (SEO). Don’t let yourself be fooled – SEO is just as important as ever, but you’ve got to do it the right way. It’s all about using your keywords naturally in your posts, and optimizing your pages so it’s easier for readers to find your blog organically.
Of course, you also need people linking back to you. Writing good content and making sure people can easily share your pages will help with that, but you also want to be proactive. Brian Dean from Backlinko has built THE definitive guide to building backlinks – you should check it out. If you never listen to any other advice from me, listen to me here – you need to read this!
6) Link to Your Blog From Other Content
Link back to your own blog any chance you get. Your friends and family may not even know you blog – make sure you share it on Facebook when you have a new post to let them know. You can also put a link in your email signature.
It’s also a great idea to link to your blog from other content you put out there; any ebooks, videos, or reports – make sure it links to your blog. When someone is already looking at your content, they’re more likely to be interested in the other things you have to offer, so make it easy for them to find.
7) Network with Other Bloggers
No matter what business you’re in networking has always been a part of getting ahead. And it’s more true than ever when you’re a blogger. It’s not hard to start getting noticed – here are few things you should be doing regularly:
- Pick out 5-10 popular blogs in your niche. Visit them every day to look for new content, and leave a comment. This doesn’t work if all you say is “Nice post!” You need to leave a thoughtful comment to get noticed not just by the blogger, but by the other readers. Try to add value to what’s being talked about in the post.
- Share those other bloggers on social media. There are two important reasons for this: First, it lets your followers see you as an expert in your niche who always has helpful content to share. Also, when you tag the blogger in your share, it lets them know you’re sharing their content – and they’ll be more likely to return the favor.
- Don’t be shy – you can send an email directly to another blogger. Let them know how much you appreciate their blog. It helps to mention a specific post that you found helpful. This is a great way to start building a relationship that can be mutually beneficial to the both of you.
- Create the occasional curated post – say once a month – that links out to all your favorite posts from that time period. Write a short blurb for each link, then link directly to the post. Share it on social media and mention the bloggers whose links you’re sharing.
8) Guest Post for Other Bloggers
One of the most powerful strategies for growing your blog traffic is guest posting. A good guest post – not a spammy one – can be a great source of a backlink, which not only helps with SEO, it also helps put your blog in front of new readers who may never have been exposed to you before.
It’s also a great way for you to connect with other bloggers in your niche, as I mentioned above. Send an email to your favorite blogger to ask if they accept guest posts. You can also search Google for “your niche + guest post”. Of course, you should build a bit of a relationship with a blogger before you ask for favors, as I mentioned in Tip 7.
9) Create A Blogging Content Strategy
One of the biggest reason bloggers fail to attract a following is because they don’t have any kind of consistent posting strategy. Even people who love your blog will find it hard to follow if you post 5 times in one week then nothing for the next month.
Readers want consistency – but it’s not just that. A consistent schedule means you’re popping up in their radar – in their email, on their Facebook, in their tweets – on a regular basis. And there’s also the added-value bonus – regular posting brings the Google-bots to your blog more often, which can be helpful for SEO, because Google does like fresh content.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to post every day – I’m just saying create a schedule that works for you and stick to it.
10) Write Epic Shit
What do I mean? Write quality content. Write content that begs to be shared. “Write Epic Shit” comes from a blog post by Corbett Barr, which you can – and should – read right here.
It doesn’t matter how awesome your social media promotion is, how good your ads are, how many guest posts you do – if your content sucks, people aren’t going to follow you. Content is why people will visit your blog – they want to be entertained or educated. They want problems solved. And when they get what they came for, they subscribe so they can get more.
While all of the other nine tips are important, they’re all for nothing if you don’t do this one.
Building a following for your blog isn’t something that happens overnight. Here’s the thing – the number one question I get from you guys is how to get more traffic and readers. Honestly, this is it! This is how you do it. But it’s got to be consistent and you have to be in it for the long haul.
Sure, there are times when someone manages to hit all the green lights and their blog takes off right out of the gate – but that’s not the norm. Generally, it takes around two years before people start seeing a real return on a blog. But whether you blog takes off after a month or 18 months, it’s going to be because you were putting the work in and not giving up on it.
You can do this – you just gotta keep taking action!