Anyone canstart a blog, but how do you get traffic to your blog once its published? All bloggers have their little tricks for attracting readers, but until you've tried a few, you won't know which ones work best for you.
At first, you may not have a huge blogging budget or a lot of extra time for building your blog, so today I am going to focus on ways to draw readers to your blog that are both free and easy enough that you can start them right now:
1. Share Your Blog Posts to Social Networking Sites
Naturally, social media is the best place to start building an audience. But it is not as easy as dropping a link on people all of a sudden and expecting them to flock to your domain.
First you have to choose which sites you want to use most often. You may be thinking "all of them!", but that's not really a good idea.
It may seem like the more places you post, the better your chance of getting seen, but building up a good social media following takes as much work as your actual blog. Spread yourself too thin, and you can't build a reputation of being consistent and reliable.
Here is just a small sampling of the places you can share:
All of these sites will have pros and cons, and you may find yourself having better luck with two or three. If that's the case, then focus on the ones that seem to bring more visitors.
For me, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon have brought better views than Twitter or Facebook. By better, I mean that the visitors from those sites stay a little longer and browse more pages. That is important too.
2. Join Blogging Groups and Communities
Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ are some of the social networking sites that allow groups or community pages. You can join these (and follow the rules) to connect with other bloggers.
You can join as many as you want, but you will be expected to share, like, or otherwise promote the content of other members as well as sharing links to your own blog.
3. Brand Your Images
Your blog post images are very important to readers. That's why bloggers spend so much time creating, tweaking, resizing and experimenting with their blog photos to find a style that is just right.
There are as many opinions about the "right way" to make a post image as their are bloggers. But one of the easiest ways you can start branding (even before you have officially found your style) is by adding a watermark of your URL to the image. (Or just your website name.)
Why does this help? Even without clicking an image and following it back to your site, the reader can see where it goes.
This is useful when they browse places like Google images or Pinterest. The reader can simply say "Oh! I know that person!" and click through (or pin for later) without worrying about ending up on some weird website.
The number of repins on my own posts more than doubled after I started making pin images with my website name. Not because my blog is super-famous either. I'm guessing it just feels more legit to savvy pinners.
I would definitely make this a priority if you blog in certain niches that attract lots of spammy blogs (health, technology, etc.) so that you can stand out as a reputable voice.
You can easily add your site title and URL to an image using PicMonkey.
4. Post to Your Blog Regularly
There are millions of blogs live at any moment. That means that if people land on your blog and see that it hasn't been updated in months, they will simply leave and not come back.
How often should you update your blog? That depends on how much time you have. Lots of new bloggers make a commitment to blog every day, or even several times a day.
Not many can keep up that pace eternally and still have time to take and edit images, do keyword research, maintain social network relationships, sleep...
Set a reasonable goal based on your time constraints. It may help to set up a blog binder or use a custom planner to help you get an idea of what you can manage per week.
Try to stick to some level of consistency, whether that is posting on the same day every week, posting the same number of posts per week, etc.
5. Comment, Comment, Comment
Commenting on other blogs can help you gain attention of readers that haven't heard about you yet. Plus, you build a relationship with another blogger.
To get the most out of commenting, read the entire post first, then try to create a thoughtful, polite comment that mentions highlights from the post.
Other bloggers will be interested because your comment shows that you fully engage, and non-blogger readers will be intrigued about extra knowledge or perspective you can offer on your site.
6. Be Interactive With Other Blogs
Here are few ways you can interact with other blogs to help promote your own:
- Writing a guest post
- Joining links or swaps
- Hosting a giveaway
- Hosting a contest
- Curating other blog posts in an article (then tagging the authors on social media)
You can also offer to do something such as design a logo or provide images for a blogger, in exchange for a shout-out and link back to your site.
7. Offer Free Stuff
Everyone loves a freebie. So what can you provide? Many bloggers offer free printables (lists, templates, planning pages, etc.) to entice their readers. You can also whip up a short guide, ebook, or course.
Creating a monthly or weekly freebie can encourage readers to return to your site. Just devote a day every month to creating a stockpile of stuff to give away. Then you are never under pressure to create something when it's time post a freebie.
8. Advertise Your Blog Offline
Are you telling people you have a blog? You can spread the word by chatting to your beautician, mentioning it at a meeting, or leaving fliers in the grocery store. Although its not "clickable", offline advertising shouldn't be ignored, especially if you blog on a topic of general interest.
People are bombarded every day with ads, commercials, billboards and links. Sometimes we all tune out and ignore the noise in front of our eyes...but our ears may be more willing to listen, especially when the "advertising" is coming directly from someone we know.
(Kinda like how you are more likely to eat at a place your friend recommends.)