Grow Your Audience
I’ve never met a blogger who wasn’t at least a little interested in their blog traffic, especially those who blog for business.
A higher number of visitors has the potential to open doors down the road, whether it’s a sponsorship opportunity, collaboration, job offer, book deal, client booking - the possibilities are endless.
But it isn’t always easy to find an audience and appeal to them. I remember the struggle all too well.
Here are 12 strategies that have proven to be effective for growing a large blog following.
1 | Implement great design
Says the designer. But before visitors read a word of your content, they first notice the design of your blog.
Their first impression, purely based on visuals, could make or break their confidence in your site and either validate or call into question your expertise.
I recently read an article by Derek Halpern on the power of great design, and it highlighted a study that sought the answer this very question:
What causes people to trust some websites over others?
The study focused specifically on health websites, and a surprising 94% of the participants cited design-related issues as a determining factor in whether or not they trusted the website.
While high-quality content is crucial to the success of any blog, the design of your website and your blog graphics is often just as important.
People do judge a book by its cover and they appreciate good design, whether they realize it or not. They’re also more willing to share your posts on social media when your website and blog graphics are visually appealing.
Make it easier for new visitors to trust you and return to your site by pouring more thought and intention into design.
"If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design." Dr. Ralf Speth
2 | Put a greater emphasis on your headlines
According to Copyblogger only 8 out of 10 people actually read your headlines.
First impressions are made through your blog post titles.
You can create an eye-catching graphic, but it won’t interest potential readers who stumble upon it on Pinterest if the headline hasn’t been thoughtfully considered.
Use attention-grabbing words (“effortless” instead of “easy,” “tremendous” instead of “great”) and if you’re having trouble, use a thesaurus.
Pay attention to the article titles that grab your attention, consider the strategy the author used to grab readers’ attention, and think of how you can implement a similar strategy for your posts.
Consider your audience and the words that would appeal to them.
And if you’re still struggling, visit this helpful post that we shared a few months ago on creating catchy headlines.
3 | Guest post on other sites
Guest blogging not only affirms your expertise, but it allows you to reach a larger audience and drive more traffic back to your site.
Danny Iny was able to take his blog to the next level simply by pouring more time and energy into guest posting. Here’s a look at his stats:
If you’re interested in increasing your blog traffic, seek out other blogs who share your ideal audience and reach out to them about guest posting.
Brainstorm topics that would benefit their readers while highlighting your expertise, and shoot for sites that have a high volume of traffic.
You may not be able to get in with large sites right away but set big goals, come up with a strategy, and set action steps to help you get there.
4 | Seek out the places where your audience gathers
Another simple way to increase your blog following is to target the places where your ideal audience congregates.
Social media makes this easier through groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and Twitter chats are also becoming increasingly popular.
I never understood just how many business owners and bloggers were active on Twitter until I started pouring more effort into the platform a few months ago.
To engage with my current audience and appeal to other potential Elle & Company readers, I started a weekly Twitter chat and focused on helpful topics that would interest them. The results have been better than we had hoped:
In fact, my Twitter following has increased by 700%!
Granted, I did have a small Twitter following but I attribute much of my success to the Twitter chats.
Linkedin groups are another powerful way to drive traffic to your website. One Sydney-based PR firm saw their readership climb from 212 to 736 by posting in Linkedin groups (source).
Although they don’t have a huge following, their large increase in readership is impressive.
Also, Facebook groups are another great place to find your audience.
Once you find the right Facebook group, regularly participate in it and share your blog posts when you think they would be beneficial to others in the group.
Are you unfamiliar with the places where your ideal audience hangs out? Do a little research and reach out to others in your industry.
5 | Make connections with others in your industry
“Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend." Mark Zuckerberg
Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising.
When your blog receives a shoutout on a social media account or another trusted blog, it increases the likelihood that more people will visit your site and begin following along with you.
Not only is networking helpful for spreading the word about your blog, but it also opens doors to partnerships and collaborations down the road.
Whether it’s a shared blog series, project, or exchange of services, you never know the opportunities that could come from it in the future.
Related post: 12 Ways to Network Authentically
6 | Focus on shareable content
Pinterest and Bloglovin’ are always at the top of our blog referral list, and we attribute the shares and likes to our goal of creating shareable content like infographics, how-to’s, and guides.
We’ve discovered that the key to creating shareable content lies in creating value.
Readers don’t want to share posts that are focused on the author; they want to share posts that are beneficial to them.
When they find a helpful post, they’re more likely to share it with their friends on social media. And the more your content is shared on social media, the higher your blog traffic.
7 | Write longer posts
Many bloggers underestimate the potential they’re missing by skimping on the length of their posts.
While the substance of your article is most important, studies show that the longer a post is best.
According to the Buffer, the ideal post length is around 1,500 words. But SerpIQ noticed that the top 10 articles to show up in Google Search results are typically over 2,400 words.
By writing longer posts, you’re able to go more in-depth on your topic and give a more comprehensive view than you would be able to offer in a shorter post.
Longer, detailed posts also engage readers for a longer period of time, give you a greater opportunity to showcase your expertise, and add more organic keywords to your site to help with SEO.
8 | Increase your post frequency (without skimping on the quality of your posts)
Aside from increasing the quality of our blog posts and narrowing in on our niche, we would attribute a large part of Elle & Company’s blog growth to posting consistently each weekday.
The high volume of posts set an expectation with our audience and encouraged readers to check back in each day for new content.
The high number of posts also gave our audience more content to share with their blog audiences and social media followings.
If you’re able to increase your number of blog posts without sacrificing quality, I’m 99% certain you’ll increase your blog traffic.
This chart from Hubspot explains it simply:
The more you post each month, the greater amount of traffic you’ll receive.
Granted, I recently cut back on the number of new Elle & Company posts each week. But we wouldn’t have been able to increase our following as rapidly if it hadn’t been for our post frequency at the outset.
You can read more on that in this post: Can Your Site Survive with Fewer Blog Posts?
9 | Give things away for free
Everyone loves free stuff.
But even more than giving away items and products for free, people love gleaning tips, ideas, wisdom, advice, and tricks of the trade.
After all, isn’t that how blogging started to begin with? Free content, right at your fingertips. Let your readers have a field day by giving away information at no cost, and you’ll be stunned at how many people will begin to “stumble upon” your blog.
Related post: Share Your Secrets
10 | Get on board with Bloglovin’
This simple site has played a large role in the growth of Elle & Company readership without hardly any effort on my part.
Bloglovin’ users are able to see each new post in their feed and save it to refer back to later, as well as discover new blogs through their search features.
When Bloglovin’ highlighted one of my posts on their homepage a few months ago, it doubled my readership overnight.
It’s easy to underestimate the potential of this tool because it seems far too easy, but take my word for it.
If you aren’t familiar with Bloglovin and how you can utilize it for your blog, this previous Elle & Company post is a must-read. And if you aren’t following along with Elle & Company on Bloglovin’, visit this link and start keeping up with our latest posts!
11 | Create a social media strategy
Social media is a great tool that can be used to not only drive traffic to recent blog posts, but to old blog posts as well.
And while many of the platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter probably seem like second nature to many of us, it's important to approach them strategically for blogging and business, especially if you hope to utilize them to increase traffic.
In case you've missed them, here are some helpful Elle & Company posts that focus on social media marketing:
- 6 Simple Ways to Increase Your Instagram Following Organically
- How to Create the Quintessential Instagram Feed
- A Simple Solution for Instagram's Greatest Dilemma
- How to Brand Your Pinterest Boards
- This One Site is My Largest Blog Referral (and how to make it yours, too)
12 | Pare down on post topics
Elle & Company remained unsuccessful until I cut down on the wide range of topics I covered and started to zero in on a more focused audience.
By trying to appeal to everyone, I left a large majority of my audience uninterested with every new post. I was all over the place.
Cut back on confusion and retain readership by narrowing down your blog topics to appeal to your ideal reader. Make a habit of considering how each and every post you share will benefit them.