Running a blog can be a wildly fulfilling experience; it can be an opportunity to meet with like-minded people and explore your love for a specific topic to the fullest.
Of course, it can also be a massive headache filled with disappointment because only one person is reading your work, and they might actually be a bot seeing as they’re leaving hyper-salesy advertisements in the comment section.
The following will explore several things that you need to know if you want to grow your blog.
Yes, this tip will be number one on every list that you read. Don’t ignore it. It’s critically important.
You can do all the search engine optimization in the world and develop a perfect release schedule, but none of the other tips are going to cultivate the audience that you want if your work isn’t high quality.
The internet is filled with blogs, and this means the competition is stiff.
You’re not only competing against every other website in your niche; you’re competing with every other activity a person could be doing online, including watching Netflix. Focus on quality first.
Learn about a writer’s voice and figure out how to use one that suits you and your message.
Hone your ideas and do further research if necessary. Run everything you write through a spelling and grammar checking tool.
Pay attention to blogs you like: how is their word choice? What makes one sentence flow into the next?
While you’re at it, think about language. Find synonyms for commonly overused words like cool or awesome.
Ask yourself which words create the emotion in your readers that you’re aiming for.
Learn About The Business Early On
In addition to the fundamental step of writing high-quality blog posts, you’re also going to want to develop an understanding of the business early on.
Too many bloggers realize far too late (often during tax season) what is legally expected of them if they’re making money writing.
Blogging can legally be considered working from home. Save yourself the trouble and learn about this as you’re beginning.
It will allow you to put aside the correct information and conduct proper accounting as your blog grows so that you don’t have any legal problems later on.
You should also learn about what is going to happen if your blog grows and you need to hire help.
This might mean an occasional contract hire to assist you during a particularly busy time, but it might also mean full-time employees.
You need to think about payroll taxes and benefits and work hours, and legal wage requirements in the country where you will be hiring. Remember, starting a blog is starting a business.
You might even want to look into outside help for payroll and accounting. You’ll need to create a schedule and stick to it.
Not only for your employee’s satisfaction but also to make accounting easier on yourself.
Now we get to the other end of the quality content spectrum. Yes, a handful of people will read the work of a genius even if the blog looks like it got stuck in the 90s.
Most people won’t. Take a few afternoons to really study the visual draw of different blogs. What is pleasing on the eye?
How is negative space used to cultivate a comfortable reading experience? Do you understand the rule of thirds for composing photographs?
What filters can you add to all your images to create a common feel between posts? Looks shouldn’t matter, but when it comes to blogs, they do.
Post On A Schedule
One of the best things you can do, especially early on when your domain authority isn’t stellar (it takes time to build good domain authority), is to post frequently at the same time.
This sends the message to algorithms that you are consistent, and this will help you rank higher than inconsistent blogs.
It also sends a message to your audience that you can be relied upon.
Avoid The Networks You’re Not Interested In
There are dozens of social networks, and each has its benefits and drawbacks. Commonly bloggers are encouraged to be on every platform at once, but in the long run, this just doesn’t work.
It massively slows down your posting schedule mentioned above and can really take the fun out of blogging, meaning you’re less likely to stick with it long enough to see results.
Pick two social media networks you like working with and leave the rest alone.
You don’t have to be everywhere, but you need to be present and engaging in the places you are posting.
If you have no preference as of yet, why not look into the impact Pinterest can have on growing a blog—you’re going to be impressed with the results.
Reach out to other bloggers in your niche. Offer to write for them. Record your conversations in podcast format or on another platform.
The accounts and pages that grow the fastest are the ones that provide people with genuinely interesting and new content.
By interacting with other people who love your niche as much as you do, you’re sure to have some interesting and thought-provoking conversations that will capture the curiosity of your audience as much as your own.
Of course, this also helps radically with backlinks which can further boost your domain authority.
Along a similar vein, mention other experts and influencers in your niche (tastefully, of course) as often as you can in your work.
Link to their work and then use this as an opportunity to reach out to them via a cold email.
Simply say hi, introduce yourself and let them know that you’ve written about their work and that you appreciate what they do.
These sort of reach outs can turn into a connection that can result in a group podcast or interview.
Study Your Results
It’s a good idea to regularly audit your work. Take note of the day of the week and the time something was released as well as any marketing tactics, hashtags, and keywords you used as well as the topic and style of the content.
Keeping a regular log will help you quickly identify which elements of your work speak most strongly to your audience.
It can also help you notice where you’re putting in a lot of energy and not getting a worthwhile response.
Always be ready to pivot and pursue what is resonating and leave behind what is falling flat.
Even though you’re a blogger and so working online and can, hypothetically, work around the clock, it doesn’t mean you should have to.
In fact, the more balanced your blogging is with the rest of your life, the more likely you are to continue working at it for the three to five years you need to see huge results.
Always Return To Audience Pain Points
One of the best things you can do to grow your blog is to continually return to your audience and ask yourself (and them) what they’re struggling with. Figure out how you can alleviate these struggles.
What questions do they have that you can answer? What sort of guides would make their lives easier?
Scroll through your comment sections and consider writing a post on each question posted.
If one person had the question and was brave enough to post it, chances are several people had the question too but were too shy to ask you about it.
The same applies to messages you get directly.
Be Respectful Of Other People’s Work
If your content was inspired by someone else, write that in your post and link to whoever inspired you.
If you’re using someone’s art or quotations, provide a link to them. Give credit whenever credit is due.
Not only will this mean your blog is respectful and friendly (and that is a vibe that people can pick up on), it also increases your chances that someone else will be respectful when inspired by your work.
It is worth noting that sometimes you’ll find something that someone has posted that isn’t their own. In these situations, always seek out the original creator of the work.
If you can’t find them, assume you don’t have permission to share it. You want to build an honourable reputation online.
Avoid Buying Support
Buying support is a nasty cycle to get into. You pay a little bit of money and then get lots of dopamine-boosting likes, comments, reads, and shares.
The only problem is, they aren’t real. All too soon, you’re going to be craving more validation, and quickly you can become addicted to buying online support.
Beyond messing with your psychological well being (and your bank account), these programs are pretty easy to identify if you know what you’re looking for.
Don’t be that blog with dozens of bot comments; this deters real readers from starting dialogues in the comment section.
The above tips should help you get your blog growing. Of course, none of these ideas are the sort of thing that can be done once and left alone.
Each of them requires regular revisitation to continue to be effective. It is worth noting that you need to be patient with yourself and your blog’s growth.
Most blogs take a few years to grow big enough to provide a full-time income and well over five years to have a massive audience.
Celebrate the little wins and learn from the mistakes and keep going!