Are you trying to grow your blog?
In the era of TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, it might seem like blogging has had its day. But when it comes to building your business—blogging is just as relevant as ever.
Done right, your blog can be a powerful tool to connect with your target audience. Here’s why:
1. You create valuable free content that’s easy to access.
2. Your content attracts targeted search engine traffic to your site.
3. This helps you build trust.
Perhaps you’ve already created a blog for your business but you’re not seeing the results you’d like. Your blog gets very little traffic – and it certainly doesn’t seem to be doing anything to build your brand or your customer base.
So how can you turn things around?
First, you need to make sure that you’re actually ready for an influx of traffic to your blog. We’re going to run through three fundamentals that you need to have in place. Once you’ve taken care of these, you can follow our six tips to grow a successful blog.
Fundamentals to Have in Place So Your Blog Can Grow
There’s no point in growing a blog following if your visitors don’t stick around — or if they don’t buy from you.
Before you turn to blog promotion methods like social media, guest posting, and SEO, you need to have three fundamentals in place:
- A clear understanding of your audience
- Engaging, well-written content for that audience
- A blog that’s easy to engage with
Understanding Your Audience
Do you have a clear idea of your target audience (or ideal customers)?
Whatever product or service you sell, some people would love to buy — and others simply won’t be interested.
You might define your target audience in terms of:
- Age. Are you marketing to teens, seniors, or a group in between? The type of content you’d create for an audience of 20-somethings will be very different from the content you’d create for 70-somethings.
- Gender. If your brand is strongly targeted at men or women, this is likely to influence your design choices as well as the topics you cover on your blog.
- Income. Are your customers broke students or families with young children managing on a single income? Or are they affluent, well-educated empty nesters?
- Values. You might have an audience that encompasses a wide range of ages and income levels … but with shared values. Perhaps your audience highly values eco-friendly products, for instance.
- Interests. Are you targeting sports-mad 20-somethings … or geeky 20-somethings who’ve seen every superhero movie out there? This could influence not only your choice of topics, but also the pop culture references you use in your content.
If you don’t have a strong idea of your target audience, that could be because you’re not clear about your brand. If you feel like you’ve lost your way with your brand, don’t worry. Our guide to rebranding can help.
Writing Compelling Content for Your Blog
Once you’re clear about who your target audience is, it’s time to start creating compelling they will want to read.
So what exactly does that mean?
You need to pick topics to write about that match up with what your target audience is interested in. Think about the questions they might type into Google or the kind of information they might be searching for.
When you write these blog posts, you also need to make them as useful and attractive as possible. Ideally, you should:
- Outline your posts before you start writing them, to ensure you’re covering everything you need to cover in a logical order.
- Write in a conversational, informal style. Your blog posts shouldn’t read like an academic paper or a business document.
- Use short paragraphs and subheadings to break up your post and make it more visually interesting.
- Add images to your post, both to catch the reader’s eye and to help get across key points or pieces of information.
- Give your post a title that makes a clear promise. “Parenting Toddlers” isn’t as useful as “10 Secrets That All Parents Should Know About the Toddler Years”.
Making Your Blog Easy to Engage With
Finally, your blog needs to be a hassle-free experience for your readers.. You could have exactly what your target audience wants, in the form of well-written blog posts — and you still won’t see consistent growth if the blog is a confusing mess that takes forever to load.
For your blog to be easy to engage with, you need to:
- Have a fully functional mobile version of your blog. It should work just as well on a phone as it does on a computer. (and it should look great, too).
- Get your blog to load as fast as possible. This also helps your site rank better in Google and other search engines.
- Avoid having lots of ads on your blog. These distract readers (and they’re unlikely to bring in much money unless you already have a huge amount of traffic).
- Use alt text (alternative text) for your images. This is a simple way to make your blog more accessible to visitors with a visual impairment.
- If possible, give visitors a way to comment on posts. This might be through the commenting feature on your blog, or through Facebook or another social network.
Once you’re confident that your blog is well-targeted to the audience you want to attract, and that it’s easy to engage with, you’re ready to start growing your blog.
6 Ways to Grow Your Blog’s Audience
We’ve narrowed this list down to the 6 most impactful ways to grow your blog so you can get started ASAP.
1. Guest Post on Similar, But Larger, Blogs
One of the fastest ways to grow your blog in the early stages is through guest blogging.
Guest blogging means writing a post for someone else’s blog. You won’t normally get paid for this (though a few blogs do pay guest bloggers).
Instead, your compensation comes in the form of your guest post “bio” – a sentence or two about yourself, with a link back to your own blog.
This can be a fantastic way to bring in targeted traffic. You’ll be guest posting on blogs in the same broad niche as your blog, so you know that the readers there will be interested in the topics you write about.
To get the most from guest posting, you’ll want to:
Look for blogs that are larger than your own.
While guest posting on small blogs can be useful for networking (and potentially for SEO), it’s not likely to bring in significant amounts of direct traffic. Ideally, you’ll pick a blog that you already read regularly.
Make sure the blog you’ve chosen actually accepts guest posts.
Some blogs never publish guest posts; others might only publish guest posts by invitation only. If there’s a “write for us” or “submissions” page, that generally indicates the blog is open to receiving unsolicited guest posts.
Review your target blog and pay attention to the details.
How long are the posts, on average? What sort of topics do they cover? Are they aimed at total beginners or more advanced readers? Is the writing style lighthearted or more serious?
Follow any guest post guidelines provided by the blog.
For instance, if you’re asked to pitch ideas to begin with, don’t start off by sending a finished post.
Make the post as good as you can.
Remember, you’re not just aiming to impress the host blogger (though that’s important). You want to impress readers enough that they’re keen to read more content from you — even if they’ve never heard of you before.
Include a related link to a post on your blog.
Simply linking to your homepage doesn’t give readers a compelling reason to click on your link. This will also show readers even more of your valuable content.
2. Use Social Media as a Promotion Tool
Another effective way to grow your blog is through social media which gives you access to a potentially huge audience. Even if your social media posts only reach a relatively small number of people, it can still bring in a significant bump in traffic.
So what are the best social media platforms to grow a blog?
That very much depends on your target audience. If your product is aimed at teens, then TikTok might be the place to be. If you’re marketing to 30-something moms, you might find them on Instagram.
And if you’re aiming to engage locally in your community, Facebook is sure to have plenty of groups perfect for you.
Instead of spreading yourself thin across dozens of different platforms, pick just one or two to focus on. Then:
Come up with a regular schedule for posting content.
You don’t need to post constantly: once or twice a day is generally enough.
Don’t just talk about your blog content.
It’s easy to end up only posting to social media when you have a new blog post or product that you want to promote … but that can rapidly become boring for your followers.
Instead, have several types of posts.
You can share content by other bloggers, ask questions, and engage with your customers and prospects on social media. You might mainly post text with an image, but you could sometimes create a short video instead to introduce your blog post.
Include an image where possible.
Pictures and graphics tend to get more views and engagement on social media (and potentially more visibility).
Don’t let social media become a time suck.
3. Optimize Your Content for Google
Even if you’ve only recently launched your blog, you’ve probably heard of SEO – Search Engine Optimization. It sounds intimidating and you might not be too sure what it involves.
While there’s plenty to learn about SEO, the basics are easy to understand.
SEO means creating content that search engines can easily index and that matches what people are searching for. Google and other search engines want to give users exactly what they want — so if you can deliver that, your content has a good chance of ranking well.
Here are some basic SEO principles that you should apply to your blog content:
Choose a keyword (search term) to base your blog post around.
Short keywords like “gardening” are much too competitive — instead, you want to aim for something specific like “gardening tips for beginners”.
Use your keyword in the title (headline) of your post…
And at least a few times in the post itself.
Craft a compelling meta description for your post.
This is the two-line summary that appears in search results, just below the title of your post. If you’re using WordPress, you’ll need an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or All in One SEO to add a meta description.
Make sure your post loads quickly.
Resizing and compressing images before uploading them will help. Avoid using too many gifs.
Use your keyword in your blog post’s URL.
In WordPress, you can edit your post URL in the Post settings under the Permalink section.
Add subheadings to your post.
You can use your primary keyword in them or secondary keywords.
4. Build an Email List
Your blog can help drive people to your email list … but your email list can also help grow your blog.
It’s wise to send out a link and teaser when you publish a new blog post. This means you don’t need to come up with extra content for an email newsletter — and it encourages people to click through and read the blog post.
Since your email list subscribers are already keen to hear what you have to say, there’s a good chance they’ll want to read your posts. Even better, they are targeted leads who’ll hopefully buy from you at some point.
Emails can also be easily forwarded to friends and family — so you may find that you end up getting new readers in this way.
As you grow your email list, it’s a good idea to:
Create a “lead magnet” to encourage email sign-ups.
This could be a free, short eBook, printable, spreadsheet, or any other tool or resource that your audience would find useful. You could even create several different lead magnets to promote on different blog posts.
Establish the right email cadence.
Once or twice a week is probably fine: once or twice a day is likely far too much unless it’s very occasionally during a big launch or sale. If you publish blog posts several times a week, you might want to email once a week with a summary of all your recent posts.
Find out what content your audience is most interested in.
You can also encourage email subscribers to reply with their questions or with topics they’d like to see you cover on your blog.
Give them early access.
Giving email subscribers early access to new products, services, or freebies can be a great way to boost sales (especially if you have a discounted “early bird” price) and also helps create a sense of exclusivity and urgency.
Craft engaging (but clear) subject lines.
Emotive and misleading subject lines like “Where were you?” or “Well, this is goodbye…” might get opened, but they could end up annoying people and you’ll see your unsubscribes go up.
Be intentional about onboarding new email subscribers.
Use an autoresponder to create a “welcome” series of emails. to go out to new subscribers. This is a great opportunity to introduce yourself and promote some of the best content on your blog.
On your blog, you want to make it really easy to join your email list. That usually means having a sign-up box in your sidebar or somewhere prominent on every page, or using an exit-intent popup so that your email sign-up appears when a new visitor is about to leave your website.
With these strategies you should see your email list growing fast — and you’ll have plenty of subscribers to promote your blog content to.
5. Network With Other Bloggers (Big and Small)
Newer bloggers often overlook the importance of networking. Building up relationships with other bloggers can hugely accelerate the growth of your blog.
If a big-name blogger tweets about you or mentions your blog in their email newsletter, you might get thousands of visitors in a matter of hours — and at least some of those will stick around for the long term.
But networking isn’t just about getting to know big bloggers. Striking up friendships with up-and-coming bloggers can also be very useful. They likely have more time to chat with you and can share the tips and tools they’re using as they are in a similar blogging stage to yours.
When you network with fellow bloggers, aim to:
Don’t mass-email lots of bloggers saying “I love your blog” if you’ve never read it. Instead, reach out to a smaller number of bloggers who you truly admire.
One good way to start getting on the radar of a busy blogger is to share their content on social media and retweet their posts. You could also try offering a guest post — which has the additional benefit of making you more visible to other bloggers too.
Whether the person you’re in touch with has 100,000 readers or 100 readers, they likely have a busy life. They may take a while to respond to emails or they might never get back to you at all. Don’t keep following up if they’re clearly busy or uninterested.
Make a small, clear request.
Once you’ve gotten to know a fellow blogger, you can ask, “Would you share this post of mine on social media?” Even better, you could make an offer: “I’d love to share some of your posts on my Twitter account” and there’s a good chance they’ll reciprocate.
6. Keep Up Your Blogging Momentum
One crucial part of growing your blog is to simply be consistent. Your blog won’t grow if you publish ten posts one month then no posts for the next three months.
You need to find a posting rhythm that you can stick to, consistently. Most bloggers find that it’s easiest to be consistent if they get ahead with their posts and have a content calendar so they know what’s coming up next.
To keep up your momentum, you might:
Set aside time for ideation.
It’s hard to get started when you’re staring at a blank page and wondering what to write about. Making time to develop a list of content ideas and topics can help.
Use themed days or weeks to help you write consistently.
For instance, each Monday you might publish an in-depth How To, and each Thursday you might publish a shorter, more inspirational post.
Take breaks from blogging.
Aim to get ahead during weeks when you’re not too busy and take time off if you’re starting to feel burnt out.
Consider outlining a batch of posts at a time.
If you plan and outline all your posts for a month, it’ll be much easier to write them week by week.
Lower your blogging frequency if you’re struggling.
Dropping from three posts a week to two posts a week could make it much easier for you to keep up with your blogging.
Update and republish older posts on a regular basis.
This is a great way to get more from content you’ve already written — and it won’t take as long to update a post as it would to write a completely new one.
Invite guest bloggers to write posts…
For times when you know you’re going to be unavailable (e.g. if you have a new baby on the way). This can also be a great way to network with fellow bloggers.
Growing Your Brand As You Grow Your Blog
Simply getting more traffic to your blog won’t make it successful. While it’s nice to have traffic, it’s a lot better to have paying customers!
So, as your blog grows, keep a close eye on how traffic is converting to leads, and how leads are converting to customers. If you seem to have a lot of traffic but very few customers, then there could be issues with your branding.
To get help with rethinking your branding, check out our ultimate rebranding strategy guide.
If you don’t have much of a brand yet, then our how to create an effective brand strategy post is for you.