These five tips for increasing your blog readership won’t guarantee that your blog will get more traffic, but they will help! They’re from a professional freelance writer and blogger – Susan Johnston – who has been writing articles and posts for at least a decade. These are the five most important things she did to encourage people to read her blog. Not only that, she has also built a strong professional reputation, and has written for The Boston Globe, Parade, Entrepreneur and more.
Asking if people will read your blog puts you in such a humble, vulnerable position, doesn’t it? It means you’re smart enough to realize people may not read your blog…and the truth is, you’re right. People might not care what you’re blogging about or what you have to say. But you can’t control how many people read your blog posts, or if they’ll like or agree with what you write, or how they think about you. You can, however, control what you’re blogging about and how much you care about your blog posts. And that’s all that matters.
What type of blog are you starting? At the end of Susan’s tips you’ll find a link “types of blogs” article. It’ll help you decide what you should blog about. If you’re a blogger of faith-based information or experience, read 8 Things You Need to Know About Starting a Christian Blog.
Another question for you: Are you starting a blog because you want to make money? Then you definitely need people to read your blog! “Making money from blogging requires you to do only two things: drive a lot of traffic, then maximize the income from that traffic,” says blogger and “dot com mogul” John Chow.
Ah, but doing those two things is harder than it looks. Monetizing a blog isn’t easy, but there are several proven ways to generate traffic and raise your blog’s readership, which covers Chow’s first step. Susan’s five tips for finding blog readers will take you many steps farther down the road…
5 Ways to Increase the Chances People Will Read Your Blog
~ a Guest Post from Susan Johnston
1. Link liberally to other blog posts. Every blogger should have a blogroll with links to other related blogs, but I’d take that even further and link to other posts or articles within the body of your blog. It gives your readers lots of places to get more information on the topics they’re curious about. It can bolster your own argument when you’re linking to research or experts. It encourages conversation because you’re pointing to a specific post. Often the original blogger will come check out your blog, leave a comment, and perhaps link to you in the future (but this should never be expected, it must be merit-based). Penelope Trunk wrote a great post on nine ways to think about linking in a blog post.
2. Contribute to other blogs or websites. Whenever you write a guest blog post or publish a new article, always try to include a link to your blog if you get a bio line, much like I’m doing now. I still sometimes get traffic from articles I wrote two or more years ago! In addition to article bylines, you could also include your blog’s URL as part of your profile on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites.
3. Comment early and often. Commenting on other blogs in your niche is a great way to gain readers who are already blog-savvy and interested in your subject. But only if you have something to add to the conversation. I don’t mind when someone leaves a quick comment like “nice post!” or “I completely agree with you,” but it’s unlikely that other readers will be tempted to click through to their blog. If you want people to read your blog, post an insightful, well thought out comment. It’s much more likely to spark the curiosity of the blog’s writer and other people who might read your blog.
4. Think about offline promotions. The most obvious way to get people to read your blog posts is through other blogs or websites, but it’s not the only way. You could attend blogging and social media events (and always bring business cards!), design a t-shirt with your blog’s URL, or speak on a panel about blogging or some other topic related to your blog. I’ve done all of these, and I’ll bet you could come up with many more ideas for promoting your blog in person. It works, because people like to see the person behind the blog.
5. Keep writing useful content. The single most effective way to get blog readers is to keep giving people what they want: content that gets them thinking, that informs, entertains, or otherwise draws them in. All the brilliant promotional strategies in the world won’t help if readers find your blog boring or if it hasn’t been updated for long stretches. If you’re stuck for ideas, you might take your cues from the comments section. Often readers ask a question that can spark a whole new post. Or look at what posts are getting the most traffic and/or comments and consider revisiting those topics.
Before you focus too much about people reading your blog, make sure you’re writing about something people actually care about. If you want to take it one step farther and make money blogging, read 10 Types of Blogs That Do – and Do Not – Make Money.
Bonus: 3 Ways to Get More Readers on Your Blog
These four SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tips are from me (Laurie, hello!). I figured out how to get people to read my blogs by learning search engine strategies. In fact, you’re probably here because of what I’ve learned about solving readers’ problems and helping them find the information they need 🙂
1. Use one or two specific keywords or short phrases in each blog post
I found an interesting research article from Columbia Business School on how to encourage readers to click advertisements (this is primarily for bloggers who want to make money, but applies to anyone who wants more blog readers).
The more specific the keyword or key phrase, the more likely a reader will click on the post title, links and ads. For example, a reader who wants to how to attract more blog readers may search for that term (how to get people to read my blog). It’s popular and easy search phrase. But, a high-involvement, highly motivated reader will use a less popular and more specific keyword or key phrase. Motivated people who use less popular, more specific search terms are more invested and closer to the product they are searching for. This makes these people more likely to click on titles and read blog posts.
2. Write blog posts that solve readers’ specific problems
Almost all my posts are tips-oriented articles that solve problems. I want to help people find solutions, comfort, inspiration, encouragement. Readers want to solve their problems, and they’re often looking for quick and easy solutions. Figure out what problems your readers have, and solve them. Even better: share stories and experiences that reveal how you yourself solved that very problem. For example, I wrote How Do You Make Money Writing for Your Blog? after I figured it out!
3. Blog the answers that people need to read
“I’m a 50 year old guy ready to start my second career,” says Adam on 11 Most Popular Types of Magazine Articles. “I’ve always wanted to freelance but don’t know where to start. I take pride in my freedom but that doesn’t mean I don’t take pride in working hard. Writing has been a natural niche for me since I was a little boy. I think know it’s time to start taking some baby steps to freelance writing and blog ownership. It’s a long road ahead of me but I’m sure with these nifty tips, I have a safe place to start. I have been worried that nobody will want to read my blog and that is holding me back from freelancing full on. But I’m getting there. Thank you for your words and kindness.”
This is the exact type of reader I’m writing for! Oops, and Susan – she wrote the tips for increasing blog readership 🙂 But Adam is asking “will people read my blog?” because he knows that part of a successful career as a freelance writer is blogging.
What about you? Are your blog posts focused on what people need and want to read? If so, you’re set! Just keep blogging, one word and one post at a time. If you love what you write and write what you love, people will read your blog.
Susan Johnston is a Boston-based freelance writer and blogger who has covered business and lifestyle topics for The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, DailyCandy.com, Yahoo! HotJobs, and many other publications.