Whenever I come into contact with bloggers there is always one common question:
How can I get more readers and subscribers on my blog?
Blogger, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace users – they all want to know the answer to this question. I’d even bet all of the life-savings in my teenage mutant ninja turtles piggy-bank (I’m 30, don’t judge) that you would like an answer to this same question too. It even got mentioned in the comments on my initial post.
In my experience, it’s not for the want of trying that you might be struggling to gain more followers. You might be posting regularly to your blog but not seeing the traffic you think you should be getting.
A friend of mine recently asked me this exact question.
On the face of things their crafting blog looked great (after all, I had designed the site 😉 ). The blog had decent graphics and images. They were posting regularly. They had links to their social accounts and ways for readers to share their content.
So why were they struggling to draw in more crafty readers and get them to subscribe?
Unlike a good friend, I hadn’t visited their blog for a while. In my defence, if they wrote about drums or photography I’d have no doubt been a regular reader. But I’m not really handy with a glue gun and until recently thought decoupage was a form of martial art.
I pulled up their site in my browser and after clicking through a couple of posts, I started to get an idea of what might be stopping this crafty
martial arts blog from reaching it’s full potential.
Here’s an insight in to my answer and the advice (plus a few bonus bits I’ve thought of since) I gave to help them gain more readers and blog subscribers:
1. You’re writing for the wrong audience
Who is your ideal reader? It’s almost vital that you know who you are writing for. Not on a personal level but it’s beneficial to have their general persona in mind. Age range, gender and profession are all things to consider when writing your post. Make a note of these reader aspects as a reminder.
Audience over peers: Make sure you’re writing with your target audience in mind. It sounds like a given but it’s crazy the amount of posts I come across where a blogger is blatantly trying to impress other bloggers or influencers in their niche. If it leaves a bad taste in my mouth then it certain will for your peers. Instead, concentrate on writing for and helping your audience. That will speak much louder than a look-at-me or brown-nosing post and your audience will reward you for it by coming back for more.
Comments from fellow bloggers & peers can be an ego boost, but interaction with your target audience can have a huge impact, on you and on them.
2. You’re taking the publish and pray approach
There’s life after clicking publish: You can spend so long crafting the perfect post that after hitting publish you breathe a big sigh of relief, then go and make a cup of tea and take a nap. You’ve nailed it and your new blog post is out there! But wait, you can’t just sit around waiting for it to be discovered.
Actively promote your blog: Don’t just broadcast it, you need to share it around and engage with the people that would be potentially interested in it. Go beyond your social account pages and post the link in related Facebook groups and share in G+ circles. Don’t forget to email your subscribers to let them know about your new post. These are tried and tested ways to get your content out there.
Follow the 80-20 rule: It’s based on the Pareto principle that’s used a lot in business. It’s basically is a great formula to blog by. For the best use of your blogging time for actual results, spend around 20% of the time writing your blog post. Then spend the other 80% of your time promoting it.
I also try and apply this rule to my social sharing. As a general rule, 1 in 5 posts will be self-promoting. The other 4 posts will be statuses, images or links to other people’s high quality content.
Engage with the popular bloggers: A good way to create a buzz about your own blog is to respond to a post published by a leading blogger in your niche. (Known as Contextual blogging). Get your post up on your own blog and make sure you link to the original article you’re responding to. Then let the popular blogger know you’ve written this awesome response post via a friendly comment or tweet.
3. You’re not being you-nique
Realise what you can offer your readers: As a blogger you’ll be interested in reading other writers blogs. I do, and it’s sometimes hard to not get lost in their style of writing or experiences, especially if they are in your niche.
For that reason it’s good to realise your unique selling point and find your style early on in your blogging career. What can you offer your readers that no one else can? Use your individual experiences or point of view to make your blog posts unique. I do believe it develops naturally over time, but it doesn’t hurt to have it in your mind from the start.
Dare to be different: There’s nothing worse than being boring. And sitting on the fence is very boring. There are times when you need to be diplomatic and PC, but always try to offer your own opinion. Don’t jump on the bandwagon of what everyone else is saying if you feel differently. If you want to write about a taboo subject, just go for it! Readers will appreciate the honesty that much more and you’ll usually generate far more comments, shares and subscribers.
4. You’re writing too broadly
Don’t limit your potential: There’s nothing wrong with writing about a variety of subjects and topics, but 9 times out of 10 you’ll be limiting yourself and your blogs potential reach.
A lot of blogs start out like this and it can be a great way to find your writing style and figure out your target audience. But I’d encourage you to find your niche and where you fit in.
Do limit the fluff: Make sure your content is decent quality. If you fill your posts with fluff your readers are not likely to come back. Make sure you’re giving them some food for thought, solve their problems, help them out and they’ll keep on coming back for more.
Optimise your posts: I’m trying to keep this post practical and not technical, but I’m gonna let this one slip through the net.
You’ll usually find that if you keep your blog covering a broad range of topics and subjects, it’ll be harder to really drive high volumes of traffic through your site using social sharing and relationship building alone. You’ll need to utilise some of your promotional time to optimise your posts for search engines, as you’ll need to harness search traffic to keep building your blog traffic and readership.
5. You’re chasing the numbers
Quality over quantity: It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game. We all do at some point. It’s not all about how quickly you can get to that Facebook ‘like‘ milestone or achieving the magic number of twitter followers. Paying for a boosted/sponsored post on Facebook may seem like a good idea. But you’ll soon find that 10 genuine followers gained naturally are worth far more than 1k fake profiles or paid-for likes.
Be patient: Remember why you’re writing and who you are writing for. Keep at it and keep improving. It takes time to grow a blog naturally but you will get the readers and subscribers you want and deserve.
Have you been doing any of these things? Is there anything you would add? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments: