Eight successful bloggers share their top tips for growing a blog and reaching more people
Becoming a blogger has been one of the best decisions of my life. Seriously, the feeling of pride in watching my digital real estate grow is only matched by the feeling of complete financial independence.
Nearly reaching a six-figure salary from the websites and products over the last year is nice also.
But growing a blog is frustrating sometimes…ok, most of the time. Besides the irregularity of income each month, watching your blog traffic bounce around can be hugely stressful.
If you aren’t growing your blog, you aren’t making as much as you could.
That’s why I reached out to eight bloggers from different niches to get their best tips and tricks to grow a blog.
Get Social to Grow Your Blog
Social media is usually the first or second biggest source of traffic for most blogs. I know bloggers that get hundreds of thousands of visitors from Pinterest every month and some that drive insane amounts from Facebook.
Crack the social code and you may never have to worry about finding new readers again.
Jennifer, Dancing in the Rain
I have actually taken quite a bit of time off from blogging over the past year and have lost some ground because of it, so I am currently in a position to work on regrowing my blog and my audience.
I know from seven years of blogging experience that personalized social media interactions are a tried and true way to build online relationships with both readers and fellow bloggers. Beyond that, posting regularly with at least one shareable photo in each post and replying to comments are other good ways to grow your blog.
Rachel from Bad Redhead Media had some great tips for participating in memes.
Provide content that helps others, so it's not all about you, all the time. The best platform is self-hosted WordPress. SEO optimize every blog post, including the headline and keywords.
Share each post on the major social media channels, but especially Twitter and G+, since they are immediately indexed by Google, and participate in blog-sharing memes like #MondayBlogs or #ThursdayWrites. It's crucial to re-share content using automated sites like Triberr and MissingLettr (both are free). Most importantly, build relationships with readers!
I know a lot of bloggers that have stopped sharing on Google plus. It doesn’t get a lot of favor but I still have to believe that it’s a good way to get new posts recognized by Google for ranking.
The memes idea is excellent. Watch Twitter and Facebook for when you see those weekly hashtag memes for participating.
John and David, the Debt Free Guys, are two of my favorite bloggers from the FinCon group. They’ve cracked the code on Pinterest and offered to share what they learned.
The best ideas for growing our blog was one we learned from Ruth Soukup of LivingWellSpendingLess.com. She shared, and we've experienced, the power of Pinterest. The goal of most social media platforms is to keep users on their platform.
While sharing your content on Facebook and Twitter will get your blog traffic, though not as much as a few years ago, Pinterest's goal is to direct its users to valuable content elsewhere. In fact, Pinterest sees Google as its primary competitor.
For that reason, Pinterest is making investments to appeal to a broader demographic. In 2015, Pinterest invested millions to attract more men and men are now Pinterest's fastest demographic for growth.
There’s two very important ideas in there to grow a blog.
- While other social media platforms are mostly used by people to share with others. Pinterest users are looking to discover articles and products for themselves. It’s just as much a discovery tool as it is a social platform.
- Pinterest is an image search engine. The better you do at growing your account and making your pins stand out, the faster your traffic will grow.
Get Google’s Help Growing a Blog
If social media isn’t your biggest source of blog traffic, it’s probably Google search. The world’s largest search engine accounts for between 40% and 80% of the blog traffic on my five websites and I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to get that Google love.
My favorite expert input came from Scott Alan Turner, Best-Selling author of 99 Minute Millionaire.
Buy Joseph's book ‘Google SEO For Bloggers‘. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you're probably thinking Joseph paid me to say that or I'm trying to get on his good side to be in this article. You can check Amazon and see my review of Joseph's book was written three months before this article ever came out.
The blog article I worked on today (as of when I'm writing this tip) used an SEO tip I learned from the book. You can pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a silly blog course or less than $10 for a great book.
The feedback on Google SEO for Bloggers has been amazing and is a reflection of the time I spent learning how to really rank a post on Google. Too many bloggers avoid SEO because they think it’s technical or unnecessary. Quality content is not enough, you have to know how to play the Google game!
- Put 15-minutes into keyword research for each post to find the keywords for which you can actually rank AND that will bring traffic ready to buy.
- Learn how to help Google recognize what an article is about with strategic use of H-tags, images and bullet points
- Get links, the currency of SEO, back to your posts with a process of sharing and link-building
Outreach to Grow a Blog
Outreach is another idea often neglected by bloggers. Simply sharing your posts on social media isn’t usually enough to get the attention you need to really take your blog to the next level. You need to strategically target certain people.
Bert from BertMartinez.com shares his four-step process for influencer outreach.
The fastest way to create fresh content while simultaneously growing your audience and your authority is to interview influencers that pertain to your niche. This one strategy will help you gain followers, JV partners, speaking engagements and be known for being cool.
- Identify your ideal customers or top influencers in your niche.
- Contact them via email and request an interview. You'll receive about a 20% positive response rate.
- Conduct interviews via email and then post it on your website, make sure you leave a bio and picture of the person you just interviewed.
- Share the link with your interviewee and ask them to share it with their contacts and social media.
You'll get tons of backlinks, shares and fresh content. You'll be able to build your authority, your traffic and your popularity.
Beating Broke says to, “Never stop reaching out. There are a multitude of blogs that start every single day, and a majority of them will fail almost as rapidly. If you want to truly grow a blog that gains a readership and will weather the storm, do what you can to reach out to other bloggers.”
Be a part of the blogging community that surrounds your subject. It's not a competition, but a cooperative game. The more you share other blogger's stuff, the more they'll feel they can share yours. Before you know it, it'll be the new bloggers who are asking you for a guest post.
I would not be blogging today if it weren’t for joining the blogging community around the FinCon conference. Looking for a community of bloggers in your niche should be the first thing you do when creating your blog and never stop participating in the discussion.
- You’ll get tons of advice that will save you years of fumbling around trying to grow your blog
- Blogger communities are a constant source of inspiration and motivation
- You’ll hear about the best affiliate programs and new ways to make money without having to test everything yourself
There are lots of blogger communities and Facebook groups. I would recommend looking for one built around an annual conference. Being able to meet these people in person helps to seal that bond.
Content is Still King in Blogging
All the social media sharing and SEO in the world won’t help you if you aren’t posting good articles to your blog. Most of the advice on producing quality content is trivial and cliché but I reached out to two experts that offered some great guidance.
Andy from Infinigeek brought up something that many bloggers lose sight of but will help you grow your blog and avoid burnout.
The thing that has worked for me in all of my years of blogging (going on 8 years now!) may sound cliche, but it has never failed me and continues to be my #1 tool in growing my sites.
DO WHAT YOU LOVE.
Write about what you love, create content about things you love. It's really that simple. If you want to make a ton of money then I don't think that you will ever be satisfied in your blogging efforts.
If you want to be completely free to do what you love, while making some good money, then you are on the right track. When you a growing a blog that centers around content that you are passionate about, it will show, and the site will just start to grow, because you are the expert when you are in that zone!
I was reminded of this first-hand when I bought a dating and relationship site last year. It was a good blog with lots of backlinks and content. I was able to double traffic within six months by republishing and adding some SEO.
I was making money on the blog but just could not motivate myself to write or create new products. I didn’t care about the topic and it had become just like every other job I ever had that I didn’t like.
Jim from JLCollinsnh.com reminds bloggers to focus on their content. My own blog was created as an archive for financial stuff I wanted my daughter to know: What has worked for me and what has kicked me in the ass. It now, to my amazement, has an international audience and is considered one of the most successful in the FIRE space. This without any other effort to build readership.
Every blog I read and respect, focuses on content and tends to ignore all the clever tricks. Deliver for your readers. Put their interests first.
Being a successful blogger is a lot like going on vacation. Not everyone will get to the same destination but you can go to some amazing places with a little planning. Even the bloggers that end up in the same spot didn’t get there through the same path so learn what works for you to grow your blog. It’s an amazing opportunity, don’t give up and you’ll be successful!