So you’ve started a blog. Congratulations! You’ve joined roughly 74 million others, and that’s just counting those who use WordPress.
(If you still haven’t started a blog, we highly recommend heading over to Bluehost to set one up right now!)
Many people believe starting a blog is the most challenging part of the process.
And believe me, I know starting a blog is nothing to sneeze at.
But when you start a blog, you feel excited and motivated. In your early days of blogging, the momentum of trying something new and different keeps you going.
The most difficult part of blogging is what happens (or what doesn’t happen) next: Getting people to actually read your blog.
“If you build it, they will come,” some say.
In order to create a blog that will last for the long haul, build community, perhaps even make money and help you achieve your goals, this is where the hard work begins.
You need to get people to actually read your blog. Here’s how to do it.
1. Write amazing content
First and foremost, your content needs to be amazing. There are way too many blogs out there with mediocre content. Yours needs to be better.
There are several different ways to write blog content — and some may prove more effective than others. Consider these types of posts to provide value to your audience and keep them coming back for more.
- Content roundups: A content roundup — an authoritative post that lists the top 100 or another number of your choice whatevers (people, products, pieces of advice, podcasts, photos, websites, etc.) in your industry or niche — is an excellent tactic to send traffic your way, create authority and build lasting relationships.
- Weekly or monthly features: Developing a regular feature, whether weekly or monthly, is a great way to let your audience know what consistency they can expect from you.
For example, every Sunday I post a feature on my blog called “Start Your Week Right Sunday” where I highlight five to seven awesome links I found throughout the week and share my goals for the week ahead. It gives me the chance to highlight other awesome bloggers (like the content roundup idea above) and gives me at least one post idea per week to keep the content flowing.
- Personal posts: When it comes to blogging, don’t be afraid to get personal. When you open up and allow yourself to be vulnerable, you show your audience you’re human. It will be easier to develop true relationships with your audience if you are willing to share it all: The good, the bad and everything in between.
- Massively useful guides or how-to posts: Creating a tell-all guide or an epic how-to post is a simple way to gain credibility and help your audience by giving them information they need to know at the same time. These types of posts tend to do well over time because they usually rank high in search.
2. Spend just as much time marketing your content as you do writing it
Once you publish a blog post, the work is far from over. The only way people are going to know you have new content is if you tell them!
Time to put on your marketing hat.
Follow the “rule of three”: When you create a piece of content, promote your new piece of content in at least three different places, at minimum, to make the writing worth your while and to ensure your content is actually being read.
Here are some places you can share your content:
- Facebook: Share your post on your personal page, on your brand page if you have one, and in relevant Facebook groups where sharing is allowed.
- Twitter: Draft several different versions of tweets to promote one post. Use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule tweets far into the future to ensure your post is being promoted over a longer period of time.
- Instagram: Post a relevant photo or blog graphic on Instagram and change the link in your Instagram profile to the link of the blog post you’re currently promoting.
- LinkedIn: Create a status update or consider republishing part of the post using LinkedIn’s powerful publishing platform. Include a link back to your site at the beginning and end of the post to let readers know where the content originally appeared.
- Pinterest. Include a photo or graphic with each post so that your content is Pinterest-friendly. Pin your posts to a specific blog board or other relevant board within your Pinterest account.
- Snapchat: If you’re active on Snapchat, take a photo of your blog post or create a short video talking about your latest post and encouraging viewers to check out your blog.
3. Start building your email list, now
The best thing a new blogger can do is start building your email list from the get-go. Even if you don’t plan to use it right away, starting to collect email addresses is crucial for building a community that trusts and allows you into their precious space: Their email inboxes.
I recommended getting started started with Mailchimp. It’s relatively user friendly and free for up to 2,000 subscribers.
Begin collecting email address on your website by adding call-to-action boxes with HelloBar, an awesome lead generation tool that appears at the top of your website. Include an invitation to join your list at the end of each of your blog posts.
Want to get even more people to join your list? Offer them a freebie, commonly known as an opt-in or lead magnet. Your lead magnet can be as simple as a one-page PDF checklist or as complex as an ebook, course or video series.
Think about it this way: Your audience likely spends a lot of time in their inboxes already. When they share their email addresses with you, you increase the chances of them reading your content because you’re reaching them in their own personal space, rather than through a social media account or RSS feed.
4. Figure out simple SEO
I’m no SEO expert, but knowing basic principles can help you think differently when crafting blog post headlines and content to help your post rise in search rankings.
There are easy things you can do to help your SEO, like choosing a keyword, crafting straightforward headlines, adding images to your post, and using numbers, subheads or bullets for easy reading.
If you’re using WordPress, add a plugin like Yoast SEO to help your post perform better in Google’s eyes. Yoast allows you to preview what your post will look like on Google and allows you to select a keyword and change a post’s meta title and description to help boost your post on search.
Yoast uses a handy traffic-light image (green=awesome, yellow=getting there, and red=room for improvement) to show how well your post is prepped in terms of SEO before you publish.
5. Consider guest blogging on sites you admire
Guest blogging is perhaps one of the top ways to get people to actually read your blog.
When you write a guest post for another blog, you’re opening yourself up to a whole new audience of people who don’t yet know who you are, but will likely head over to check out your website if they like your guest content.
Be smart about where you pitch a guest post. Naturally, you want the blog you’re pitching to have a larger and more established audience than your own. When your pitch is accepted, make sure you write an awesomely useful post and if allowed, link back to your website or relevant posts you’ve written.
Once the post is published, be sure to share it as diligently as you’d share your own content and get to know that community by participating in the discussion in the comments section.
Similar to guest posting, consider pitching your already-written blog posts to other blogs and websites that are open to republishing or syndicating content. If you write a post you’re proud of, seek another home for that post on a blog that may introduce your work to people who are good candidates for your own community.
Have other ideas to get people to read your blog? Let’s hear them in the comments!
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