When I first started my blog, I had no idea what I was doing. I loved writing (which I still do!) and I was a full-time copy writer; a blog seemed like the most practical thing to do!
I hardly had any followers during the first few weeks (aside from my best friend and my mom who would leave positive comments all over my articles!), but then I started implementing a few tricks I learnt from work and picked from expert articles I read; what do you know, visitors started flowing in!
Today, I have over 1 million monthly visitors!
So I’m writing this post to share the tips and tricks I implemented to get this far and the lessons I have learnt on the way, hoping that it will help you get your blog up and running.
Let’s dig in!
Pick a Niche!
My first post on my own blog was about content writing; I basically shared everything I knew. The post had over 3000 words. Then I started writing my second blog post; it was on climate change and how I felt about it.
I was about to publish it, when it hit me that there is no absolute connection between my first post and the second.
When I published my first post, I hadn’t decided on a niche, or a target audience; I simply wanted to share my knowledge on what I’m good at. Then there was it; content writing! My target audience could simply consist of those people who want to know information on what I am good at. So I based the next series of articles on content marketing. It was an effective move, for I was able to attract a few curious visitors.
A target audience is a crucial element in blogging, for without one you cannot even begin to think of promoting your blog, let along generating traffic. Pick your niche first, and pick one that you can genuinely share your knowledge with.
This is something I learnt at work. I maintained our company’s blog and our senior editor had advised me not to publish more than two blog posts per week; so I published one every Monday and Friday. I never broke away from this routine.
I implemented this strategy on my personal blog as well, publishing only two blog posts a week. This was easier for me as well, for it gave me plenty of time to write my blog posts. Most importantly, it helped boost traffic to my blog. Plus by now my followers know when exactly to expect the latest post from me.
Consistency is key to driving traffic to your blog. So, it’s important to create a schedule for your blog posts and stick to it.
Use Social Channels!
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that social media literally saved my blog from getting buried in the sea where all other unsuccessful blogs go to die!
I vigorously promoted my blog posts (sometimes even publishing the same post 2-3 times a day) through all my social channels (Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook etc.). It generated a significant amount of traffic to my blog; plus it helped me gain a lot of new followers who have stuck with me through out time.
- Make sure you add social share buttons to your blog!
- Include images or videos when you share your posts on social media platforms
- Add click to Tweet links in your blog posts
- Publish your updates during times when your audience is most likely to be online
These are some of the tips I used when integrating social media channels to my strategy and they worked like a charm!
Listen to Your Audience!
The lifeline of your blog is your audience! I would like to emphasize it even though it is obvious.
It is important to listen to them, understand them and give them what they want. I used my social media channels to figure out what my readers were interested in. If I find something that sticks out, I would start writing about it the very next day. This way I was not only able to cater to the satisfaction of my current followers, but was also able to get a plenty of social shares for the articles.
Now, while you focus your energy on bringing in new visitors to your blog, you shouldn’t abandon the existing followers. I regularly engage with my followers by replying to the comments they leave on my articles and on social media platforms. This practice has helped me gain quite a lot of loyal followers who regularly visit my blog.
Guest Posts on Other Blogs!
Guest posting is a great way to promote your blog. In the middle of the second year, when I had already published a little over 100 blog posts in my own blog, I started reaching out to other sites that accepted contributors.
Now, I made sure that these blogs I reached out to, targeted similar niches I catered to, and this helped me both create exposure to my blog and gain new readers.
When writing guest posts, I did my best not to violate their guidelines, and by creating truly unique pieces that I really put an effort to, I was able to get them published without a hassle.
This is the trick to getting your post accepted by another blogger; avoid spamming your article with links to your blog, simply write an original and informative post and use the author byline to add the relevant link.
Note: make sure the blog you reach out to allows do-follow links to your own website or blog!
At first I had a very hard time wrapping my head around all the SEO mumbo-jumbo. But I did a little research, and found a ton of SEO guides for writers of various proportions. I might have read all of them, and the key points I memorized were;
- Do thorough keyword research before every post
- Use the primary keyword (s) in the title, meta tag, meta description, beginning of the article, (a few times) in the body of the article, subheadings, at the end of the article and the slug
- Make sure the article is always more than 300 words (the longer the better!)
- NEVER plagiarize content!
- Use short paragraphs and include bullet points
- Don’t ignore meta descriptions
- Link to relevant resources (always make sure the sites you link to are trusted!)
- Add images and optimize them (remember to add the primary key word in the Alt Tag!)
- Do a lot of link building (via guest posts on other blogs, leaving comments with a link to your blog on question-and-answer sites like Quora etc.)
Build the Email List!
I did not have an email list during the first 4 months; I didn’t even have a call-to-action on my blog asking readers to subscribe to my blog (let alone a newsletter!). In many articles I read on promoting blogs, I saw how creating an email list was repeatedly emphasized. It wasn’t until I added an email subscription form on my blog, did I realize the true power of an email list.
It wasn’t easy getting readers to sign up at first, but I, with the help of a designer who happens to be my best friend, created a unique and attractive subscription form that soon was able to gather email addresses from plenty of readers. I used the list to promote new posts I write to my readers directly. It had quite the impact on boosting traffic to my blog.
I admit it, finding readers for my blog was a very slow process. It took me more than a year to get a little more than a thousand readers. But by practicing these methods on a regular basis, I was able to increase traffic to my blog eventually. I hope these lessons I have learnt in my journey would guide you to instant success with your own blog!