Is your blog traffic growing slower than you want, or not at all?
Everyone says you should spend as much time promoting your posts as you do writing them. But sometimes you just don’t have time. So, what else can you do?
Here are 10 obvious ways to increase your readership that you might not be doing.
1. Start with your offline relationships
Starting a blog can be overwhelming, especially if you’re trying to build a social following to increase your reach. But you’re not starting from scratch.
The easiest way to increase your readership is to start with the relationships you’ve built offline. Move those relationships online to kickstart your growth. Invite them to read your blog, comment on it and let you know what they think.
Even if you’ve been blogging for 6 months, how many of your customers, business partners, colleagues and other people you know in the industry have heard about your blog? How many have read it?
This may seem small, chances are you only have 20, 50 or 100 people you can invite. That’s enough. The goal isn’t to make them customers, the goal is:
- To get used to building relationships online so it becomes natural.
- To get honest feedback from people you know, which will help you create posts that people want to read.
2. Put recent posts in your email signature
How many emails do you send? According to this report, the total number of worldwide emails sent daily has been estimated to reach 269 billion in 2017. Imagine if every email you sent had a link to your most recent blog post.
While it’s hard to find stats on how effective it is to drive traffic from post links in your email to your website (you can measure direct traffic, as that includes links from email signatures, but from other places as well) if you talk to entrepreneurs, they’ll tell you it works.
Nikki and LeighAnn from Christian Mommy Blogger have blogged about how it’s helping them grow their readership. And Unilever went from 40,000 subscribers to 235,000 in just 10 months after putting a link in their email signature.
How can you add a link to your most recent post in your email signature?
Don’t do it manually.
Try using a free app like WiseStamp. It works with all big email providers (including Gmail and Outlook), and chances are you’ll forget about it until you get a comment from someone who read your post because they saw it in your email.
You can also include a link from press about your business, or links to customer reviews. When we were featured on ShawTV with one of our customers talking about how Spokal was helping them grow online, I included the YouTube video link in my email signature, and was surprised at the number of people who sent me a follow up email commenting on the interview.
Want to know more about marketing in email signatures?
Check out this great post by Email Monks: Best Practices of Email Signature Marketing. It has useful ideas accompanied with real examples that will help you choose the design for your own signature. And as they say in the conclusion of the post, a well-designed email signature has the power to increase the traffic to your website.
3. Create a post for your customer
If someone asks you a question and you think it’d make a great post, turn it into one!
You’ll be amazed at how important they’ll feel when you send them an email saying they inspired you to write something. (That’s how I came up with the ideas for Will keywords hurt my business? and It’s not about being perfect.)
Plus, if one person is thinking it, chances are they’re not alone.
Over 4 billion searches are done every day on Google. If your posts answer their questions, you have a higher chance of being found when they’re looking for you. (This is the heart of inbound marketing, which is how you attract people naturally online and build relationships with them over time, so when they’re ready to buy you’re top of mind.)
Creating posts for an existing customer may sound counterintuitive – aren’t you blogging to get new customers?
But even though the purpose of your blog is to generate leads, write for existing customers as well. Your goal is to build a community, and sometimes we forget the easiest place to start is with people who are already members.
One more idea.
If you’re having a conversation with someone and they ask you a question that you’ve written a blog post about, send them that post after your discussion. Bosco Anthony, a marketing expert who was voted one of the top 3 bloggers in Vancouver, does this on a regular basis. He told me that it makes people feel special and continues to establish himself as an authority. Plus, it lands customers.
4. Finish by inviting people to join you
Every time you end a conversation, invite people to join you on twitter and interact with your blog to keep the discussion going.
Be careful not to sound like you’re being too pushy. Just say “you can stay in touch with me here” and that you’d love to hear from them.
5. Add Calls To Action to your curated posts
Have you seen the CTAs at the bottom of a blog post that invite you to read a related article? Those are calls to action that you can add to your curated posts to increase visits to your own articles.
It’s easy to setup and customize with appealing images, text and links back to your site.
Why not use it to share one of your posts that readers will find helpful?
Attention Spokal users! You can create these kind of CTAs from your Spokal account and add them to your curated content. Read this tutorial on how to set it up.
Another similar way to showcase your latest post or offer – are notification bars. There are plenty of plugins you can download for WordPress and it’s easy to set up. Plus, most of them are free (like the WordPress notification Bar), but if you want to pay, you can always upgrade to get advanced features for a low price.
6. Use facts
Does it feel like the same person writes most of the blogs online?
Someone mentioned that to me the other day, and I realized it was true.
A lot of us don’t say anything or give solid advice. In fact, that’s what drove me to create The Complete Guide on How Often to Post, Tweet and Facebook for Your Small Business, because no one was giving small business owners a clear answer.
That post was the start of a shift in our blogging strategy.
It was the first one I spent time researching and adding relevant facts, and it was the first one that spread organically. Now I’m adding facts to almost all of our posts, and those posts are getting shared more, generating more leads and more importantly, I’m proud to share what we’re creating because we’re adding to the conversation.
So, why not use facts to back up your thoughts?
It sets you apart from the crowd, gives you credibility and increases your chances of people learning something and coming back for more.
Don’t worry – you’re not writing a research paper.
Blog like you normally do, and when you’re done, see if you can find 1 or 2 stats to supplement your post from reputable sources. Even if it’s not 100% related, it will go a long way to establish yourself as an authority.
7. Invite people to leave comments
90% of us are lurkers, according to Neilsen’s recent study.
We read without contributing.
In fact, only 9% of us contribute “a little” and only 1% of us contribute “actively.”
So, 1% of your blog’s community are engaging with your blog, the rest are occasional observers. That means for every 100 people who read your post, only 1 will comment on a regular basis.
But comments make a blog come alive because that’s where the real discussion happens. How often do you come across a blog no one has commented on and feel like no one is there? Few of us want to stay at a party when everyone is somewhere else. And few of us will go back.
Your readers can’t see everyone who read your post, they only see what other people left. Since it’s easier to comment after someone else has crossed the “Leave a Comment” bridge, ask for comments.
Two easy ways to do this:
- Finish your post with a question.
- Get a blog commenting buddy.
What’s a blog commenting buddy?
Find someone who is starting a blog in a similar field and commit to commenting on every post they write, and get them to do the same for your blog. It takes about 3 minutes a post, and will encourage discussion. Some bloggers even have commenting circles, where they comment on 5-6 of each other’s blogs on a regular basis.
The blogging community is very supportive, and getting a commenting buddy is an easy way to join the community and start building your reach.
ProBlogger also wrote a great post on 10 Techniques To Get More Comments On Your Blog. Check it out and let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
8. Do you have an email optin box?
This may seem obvious, but I still see business blogs without them.
Emailing people your latest post is still one of the great ways to increase your readership. As this statistic from 2016 shows, almost 50% people prefer to receive promotional emails from companies on a weekly basis.
There are many different types of opt-in forms that you can add to your posts and website, which gives you the opportunity to test each one and find the form that works best for you.
If you do use sign up forms, but your email list shows no growth, maybe you should improve your copy or design. Here are some great examples of what you might be doing wrong and how to fix it!
(Spokal users! Check out this article to see what kind of sign up forms you can add to your site).
9. Consistently write less
If you have the resources to create 2 blog posts a week, do it.
But what’s more important than blogging 2x a week is blogging consistently.
If you publish 2 posts this week, 3 posts the next week, 1 the next and keep flip flopping, it will hurt your search results because Google loves consistency.
Check out Neil’s case study on how not blogging consistently resulted in a 21% decrease in his monthly traffic, and worse, it took him 3 months of consistent blogging to recover.
Plus, consistent blogging shows commitment, which will help you gain trust and build a loyal readership.
So, if you’re deciding between doing 1 post a week that’s well-thought and researched or 2 light ones, go for the solid post. You’ll add more value, and because of that, your post will have a higher chance of being shared.
10. Repurpose your blog posts
There are numerous ways to repurpose your best performing posts. If you wrote a helpful article and had great feedback for it, why not make it accessible to even more readers out there?
According to this statistic, 41.5% marketers stated that infographics get most engagement.
Why not turn your own posts into infographics? Or videos? Or podcasts?
Check out this article (and infographic!) for more ideas on how you can repurpose your blog content.
Despite everything we’ve said, if you don’t believe in your post, you won’t share it.
And if you don’t share it, no one will read it.
The best way to increase your blog readership is to have confidence in what you say. Not everything will be your opus, but if you try to add real value every time you post, you’ll be in a great position to grow organically.
So, what do you do to increase your readership? I know our readers would love to hear, so let us know in the comments below.
This post was originally published in July 2013 and has been updated with new research information and links.