Blogging in 2015 is not for the faint hearted. With so many blogs out there in cyberspace, the naïve approach highlighted in the 1989 baseball movie Field of Dreams (namely, ‘If you build it, they will come’) no longer holds true. Bloggers of the past were assured a readership almost by virtue of the medium’s novelty. Today’s blogger has not only to write blog posts, but must know how to maximise the chances of those posts being seen by the right people.
So how can you, blogging in 2015, increase the number of readers discovering your content?
- Write great content: This almost seems too obvious to mention, but it’s vital that your readers feel that time spent on your blog is time well rewarded. So whenever you publish a post, make sure your ideas are worth broadcasting. That’s the bottom line on how to build a loyal audience.
- Go mobile: A 2014 report by InMobi revealed that 60% of all internet access was carried out on mobile devices, a trend – especially concerning mobile ecommerce – which looks set to rise. If your blog isn’t optimised for smartphones and tablets, you won’t get your share of this expanding market.
- Make your readers a promise, and keep it: Take a leaf from the book of one of Britain’s most popular bloggers, The Gentle Author. Tell your readers when they can expect your blog to be updated, and stick to the schedule.
- Share your backstory: An evolving story is irresistible. New York-based writer Gretchen Rubin found that out when her blog The Happiness Project (detailing her experiments with techniques aimed at building a happier life) became a massive hit. Involve your readers in your own unfolding saga and you’ll find their number grows exponentially.
- Know your niche: Even if you don’t have a backstory to unify your posts, you can still captivate your audience by catering for a well-researched niche. Celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton knows what his readers want and isn’t afraid to give it to them, assuring his appearance on almost every list of top bloggers published since 2005.
- Give to get: The blogosphere is bigger than you, so it makes sense to get to know your peeps. Through leaving non-spammy comments on other blogs you like, you can naturally build awareness of your online profile. Guest posts on other, related blogs are an even better showcase, but you need to make sure they’re more amazing than those you publish on your own space.
- Be active in other online communities: Do be an active participant on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Quora and others, but don’t fall into the trap of only promoting your own blog posts or products. Behave online as the ideal party guest would, by promoting or showing support for other interesting content and contributions.
- Optimise your page layout and content: If your blog pages are cluttered with banner ads and widgets that take an eternity to load, you’re likely to lose rather than gain readers. Additionally, take advantage of the human tendency to pay special attention to the first and last words we read by making sure every blog post opens with a catchy headline and closes with an effective call to action.
- Mix your media: Podcasts, videos, photographs and infographics not only speak louder than words, they also connect you with new traffic through iTunes, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.
- Make every post shareable: Social sharing is the lifeblood of blogging, so make sure your readers can share each of your posts with a single click or tap. Coming right out and asking for social shares is a great way of improving your success rate.
- Syndicate your content: Paid content discovery platforms such as Outbrain and Taboola are a tried and tested method of dramatically increasing the traffic to your blog. For a certain cost per click, your best posts will be presented to readers of high-end online publications such as Cnn.com and The Guardian Online. Some of them may even turn into regular visitors to your site.
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