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? The average business person sends 105 emails a day. 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 just 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. We were featured on ShawTV last month 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 Smashing Magazine: The Art And Science Of The Email Signature. It’s a bit dated (2010) but Kat’s comments are still relevant, especially her belief that you don’t need to give someone 10 different ways to get in touch with you.
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 100 billion searches are done every month 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 a Hello Bar
Have you seen the bars at the top of websites lately? Those are Hello Bars, and they’re great for creating a prominent call to action.
Tim Ferris used his Hello Bar to drive visitors to Amazon to buy his latest book, and serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk uses his to take visitors to a landing page to encourage sales, tweets and links.
Why not use it to showcase your latest post? Or your favourite post each month?
You can set it up in 10 minutes and you don’t need to be a coder to do it. Plus, it’s free for up to 25 clicks. And if you don’t want to pay (roughly $13/mth for 500 clicks), you can set it to turn off automatically each month once you’ve reached your free limit.
p.s. Let me know if you add a Hello Bar to your website, I’m curious what you’ll say!
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 a great way to increase your readership. Neil Patel (serial online marketing entrepreneur who’s built blogs with 300,000+ monthly readers) says 13.9% of his traffic comes from emails that he sends to his readers. And 41% of his comments come from them as well!
There are a lot of free widgets and tools you can use to do this, and tons of posts online that will show you how.
If you’re stuck, comment below and I’ll send you a few of my favourite resources to get you going.
9. Use Google Authorship
Have you seen the author photos beside articles when you search on Google?
I love them. They’re personal, and I’m more inclined to click on posts with photos because they stand out. Is that the same for you?
Google makes this happen through their Google Authorship program by displaying your G+ profile photo.
But it goes beyond looking cool. Those photos will start to affect your search rankings because they tell Google that the content you created is verified. Aka you’re not an anonymous blogger – in this case, your blog is verified with your Google Plus account.
If you were Google, wouldn’t you favour articles written by people who belong to the social network you built? By setting up your profile photo on G+, you’re giving yourself the best chance of being ranked higher.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a G+ account, if you don’t want to use one, or even if you don’t know what it is. You don’t need to use G+, you just need a G+ profile so Google can display your photo in their search results. Check out their Getting Started With G+ Guide to setup an account.
p.s. If you use Spokal, it’s easy to connect your G+ account to your blog. Simply go to your settings tab, select “G+” and Spokal will walk you through the 2 steps. If you use another platform, check out these resources from KISSmetrics and Constant Contact to get started.
10. 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.
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.
You Might Also Enjoy
- Starting A Blog? Here Are Ideas For Your 1st 5 Bog Posts via Spokal
- 5 Creative Tips to Increase Blog Traffic and Boost Your Business via SocialMedia Examiner
- Should you pay for search ads on Google? Here’s how you can decide via Spokal
- 12 Things That Will Kill Your Blog Post Every Time via Neil Patel on the SEOmoz Blog
- 21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic via Rand Fishkin