Five proven ways to get more people to read your blog

blog audience

Over the last few weeks I have been asked many times about creating an audience for your blog, especially when you are just starting out. This is a vital topic and one that is covered extensively in the book Born to Blog, but here are a few ideas that helped me in the early stages.

What is your approach?

First let me say a word about how your goals as a blogger may relate to your approach to building an audience.

Some bloggers may be seeking raw “traffic” for their blog. This does not necessarily build an engaged audience but it can result in the “social proof” of a big number (“I had 100,000 page views this week”) and it might help your cause if you are trying to make money through affiliate advertising.

My approach is not necessarily to build “traffic” who will probably never visit again, but to build an engaged audience who will directly provide business benefits of some kind. That will only come through relationships … and that only happens over time, consistent content creations, and tireless engagement.

The ideas I am presenting here are focused on building “strong link” relationships, not “weak link” traffic.

Five ideas you can use today

1) The content focus — I know this sounds like tired advice, but it is absolutely true. Your number one priority must be on creating content that adds value so people WANT to read what you have to say and come back again.

If you focus on creating content that is RITE — Relevant, Interesting, Timely, and Entertaining — over time, you will be creating content that is compelling, conversational, and shared.

2. Build a Twitter audience. This is the fastest way to build a relevant tribe. It’s relatively hard to “pull” people to your blog but it is fairly easy to build a connected Twitter audience in as little as 20 minutes day. Salt in links to posts among your daily tweets. If your audience is interested in you, they will be interested in your blog too! There is an entire chapter about audience-building in The Tao of Twitter, including strategies to use Twitter Lists and Twitter Chats.

3. Activate LinkedIn groups. There are more than 1.5 million LinkedIn groups for every region and topic imaginable Find some that are relevant to you. The best way to promote your blog is to use it to be helpful. When you see an interesting question in a LinkedIn group, answer by creating a blog post. Then paste the link to your blog post as your helpful answer. Some of these forums get thousands of views.

4. Build your own blog network. When I started out ,I found a core group of beginning bloggers and we all supported each other. I knew that whatever I wrote I could count on a few comments and tweets from my blogging buddies. Not only did this offer valuable emotional support, their audience became my audience. You can often find great new blogging friends in the comment section of your favorite blogs or you might look into a more formal approach through a service like Triberr.

5. Think about your blog like your email address. This is pretty simple but overlooked. Promote your blog URL everywhere you have you email address like business cards, PowerPoint slides, newsletters, email signatures, correspondence. Most of these sources are going to be high-potential blog readers, right?

I went through a lot of trial and error as I was starting out but these five ideas that seemed to work best for me. Any tricks and tips you would like to share in the comment section?

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  • Hey Mark,
    Great read as usual. I like the ‘RITE’ reference and will remember that one. I also believe that there is an ever growing advantage of contributing to Google+ communities. Of all the social networks I regard G+ as my most valued in terms of engagement and inspiration.
    OF course this may just be due to what I am interested in and blog about but thought it was definitely worth a mention! 🙂

    I’m glad you included the content quality note as well. Even though it is the first thing mentioned on any advice article it’s such an important element that it needs to be stated and stated again.

    I used to measure my blogs success purely from the ‘hits’, I now realise that the true worth is in the engagement (page views per visit and returning visits). That’s the way to gain true followers and push a website forward 🙂

    Cheers!

    Barry

  • Great tip on Google + Barry. Many thanks! And you are spot-on on the measurement. I think that is a good leading indicator of business benefits.

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  • useradvocate

    Mark, this post is certainly RITE for me at this moment as I usher in a new blog/YouTube podcast. I seem to have missed your book ‘Born to Blog’ so I’ve bought myself a copy. I’m also going to give ‘The Tao of Twitter’
    another read.

    I’m glad you pointed out so clearly, the different aims behind quantity versus quality of site traffic and how that relates to longer term business goals. It’s sometimes hard to sort out the various kinds of advice we hear about these things.

    Would love to hear more about how to harness Google+ someday.

  • Hi Mark. Great tips! I’d recommend utilizing social bookmarking sites like Delicious and StumbleUpon as well. It only takes a minute to add a new blog post to each site, and by optimizing it with targeted tags and descriptions, you can drive tons of new traffic. There is some notion that social bookmarking is dead, but both of these sites still attract millions of visitors.

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  • An additional way is to engage with other blogs of similar nature. Creating content need not be just through your own blog posts but in the comments section of other similar blogs.

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  • Holly McIlwain

    All leads back to authenticity, doesn’t it? You stress engaging with peeps in every aspect of social and not just collecting as many followers as possible. So when they are authentic and there’s a mutual interest, it is only natural that your followers would also find your blog interesting. My take-away, for building a blogging audience, don’t shoot for tons of hits, but for peeps who return. You’re truly the best at that, as I’m finding that a day without “grow” is like a day without sunshine. Thanks Y’all.

  • You may have to wait for that : )

    Like you, I have really limited resources and I don’t find Google Plus to have the broad and active audience that demands my time and attention. I have to prioritize and G+ doesn’t make the cut right now. Many would disagree but that’s how it sorts out for me!

    I love what you are doing with your content. Let’s look for a way I can help you get some exposure when the time is right!

  • Agreed Adella. For the small amount of time it takes, it is probably worth it. On the other hand, I find traffic from these sites has an extraordinarily high bounce rate so be careful how much time you invest in traffic that doesn’t stick around.

  • You are exactly right and I can’t believe I missed that in my original post. Certainly it was in my mind and I meant to write about that but it just slipped by! You added a great deal through this comment Kumara!

  • Awww. Thank you!

    “Authenticity” is a tricky word. I don’t know how “real” we are on the social web. We tend to present our ideal selves. But I do think we can be honest and that takes some courage. I think people are attracted to that. I don’t pretend to have all the answers and ironically, that may be why people read the blog : )

  • useradvocate

    That’s very kind, thanks Mark.

    Actually it also helps just to hear where you place G+ in your landscape, so I’ve already learned something 🙂

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  • Holly McIlwain

    That’s funny and that is part of the attraction your “tribe” has to you. You offer tons of expertise and experience, but you are also learning the new stuff and sharing with us your own bumps along the way. Back to “authenticity,” in sales I always had my “game face” on, even got an award for it, but the face I put forward was always honest. I kept my personal problems, divorce, disputes with boss, sick pets, all to myself. My customers mostly cared about how I could get them make the best I.T. decisions and get them promoted. So I was not “transparent,” another word tossed around willy-nilly, but I was authentic. One of my best moments was when a CIO of fortune 500 insurance company told my boss that I was the only person who called on him that he trusted. Wow, that was a big day. So I do not have the courage to be transparent and in fact that’s why I have completely avoided social media. My goal was to never have my photo on the internet and until I joined Twitter, I was on track. I have reasons for abandoning that goal which I hope to share with you one day. Thank you for your help with tweets, little comments and the two books I read.

  • An excellent post, Mark! I tried a variation of that LinkedIn tip, but I never posted the blog post in the discussion, perhaps a missed an opportunity there. I am finding #4 to be very helpful as I am slowly building a blog network of other bloggers.

  • awesome Holly. Thanks for sharing that. Your story might make a great guest post.

  • LinkedIn can be hit and miss. It really depends on the group. Some of them are crowded and spammy but some of them are really good. Thanks so much for taking your time to comment Adam.

  • You know I love Twitter! I’ve found LinkedIn discussions very interesting and engaging. I don’t spend as mush time as I probably should.

    Since I write more about travel and food I’ve been getting a great readership from Pinterest, pretty pictures never hurt.

  • Absolutley. Pinterest rocks although I do not use it much myself.

  • Holly McIlwain

    Thank you; that would be an honor. I’m keeping a diary of the journey and plan on writing about it when the timing is right.

  • Good tips Mark. Thanks. I just began working on building my twitter tribe. It’s been pretty cool making new connections with people who are interested in connecting, sharing and engaging. I know I’ll see benefits from my blog content with this growing group of twitter connections.

  • Hey Mark…great tips. I made a note to try the one about answering questions found on LinkedIn.

    The thing that I would add is to promote your content on other blogs. For example, I syndicate my posts to Business2Community.com, which, according to technorati is the #1 small business blog. Getting approved wasn’t difficult and the articles that I write get a LOT of tweets, which is helping to create more awareness for me.

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  • jennifer lehner

    Thanks for that tip, Trent. I just submitted a post. Fingers crossed!

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  • manutd lover
  • Jillian McCarthy

    Thanks for the tips! Did you (or anyone else who has commented) find that asking your blogger friends to comment on posts eventually brought in more consistent traffic? I’m wary of asking people to comment on the blog or follow it as a favor because I don’t know if it will result in higher engagement over time.

  • hema unnoop

    Great tips…just what I needed. Thank you

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  • Alan Reese

    Thanks, Mark. I’ll definitely give these tips a shot. I just created a funny/crazy blog at

    bgoodorbgoodatit.blogspot.com

    and am hoping to get some additional audience members. All my best!

  • Elect

    galaxyacer.blogspot.com
    i also have info about androids in general

  • rrambo

    Thanks for the tips! Here’s a link to my site: http://TheRamboReport.com

  • Poseidon

    http://troythisway.blogspot.in/ Let’s do this for each other!

  • J.R. Sorensen

    I’m rewriting the endings to my favorite movies in my new blog, Stool Transplant: An Enema for Alternate Endings. You can find it at stooltransplant.blogspot.com

  • Toronto Airport Taxi

    I loved the
    post really amazing great info thanks for the share.

  • thanks for sharing this is effective

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  • Excellent Post!

  • Natalie Sewell Reddell

    I just started blogging and am grateful for the insight. 😉 Thank you! nataliereddell.files.wordpress.com
    I’d love some feedback since I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING!

  • Ruby

    Thanks for the advice, if anyone could take a quick look at my blog and offer any tips i would be so grateful

    http://www.westfourteen.wordpress.com

  • inroom41.blogspot.com

    Quite insightful. Grateful for people who are willing to show others the way to success.

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