Whether your blog centers around your blossoming business or forays into the world of new candle scents, you’re probably always looking for ways to expand your audience. You may have a picture of someday making endorsements and receiving sponsorships, or you may simply want to feel like your voice is being heard. Regardless of your blog’s type, content, or purpose, there are some hard and fast rules when it comes to expansion. These tactics all take time, especially in today’s blog-saturated atmosphere.
But you can grow your blog by setting smart goals. Here are three that can make a huge difference.
1. Build Credibility
Imagine that you’re browsing the web and you come across a click-bait article. You know the kind–“12 Things You Didn’t Know About Wearing Glasses (Number #7 Will SHOCK You).” Sometimes you may click on these titles. But how do you choose the titles you feel are worth it? While you may not make a conscious decision, there are usually two factors in choosing one blog’s iffy content over another’s:
- Interest, and
For the most part, you can’t force your audience’s interest (though you can persuade readers that your content has the interest factor in other ways, which we’ll discuss in the next section). However, you can build your credibility. When you first start blogging, you’re no one online, regardless of your real life credentials. To get more readers and grow your blog, you have to convince people that they should listen to you and that your opinions are valid. Acknowledging your credentials can help. For example, if you have a degree in a relevant field, make sure it’s featured prominently on your about page.
But credibility is mostly about track record. Before you make a blog post, start fact checking yourself. You may even want to cite your sources if you commonly deal with news, finance, or other fact-based fields. It can feel like adding statistics makes your writing boring, but, in reality, when done right, proven facts make you seem more like an authority on the subject.
Even if you don’t write about trends in the stock market or medical procedures, you can still enhance your credibility by editing yourself. Before you post an opinion, think about what you said from the view of a reader. If you read your own blog post, would you be convinced? If not, nix that idea and move on to the next one.
2. Find Your Niche or Create One
You probably started your blog with a great idea. Most bloggers do. The problem is, because plenty of people have similar interests and decent ideas, some readers may have a hard time finding your blog in the sea of similar blogs. One of the best ways to set yourself apart and gather new readers is by doing something new.
Your perfect niche shouldn’t be so obscure no one else has thought of it, but it should be a little off the beaten path.
Let’s take a hypothetical mommy blog for example. If our hypothetical blog simply talks about the facts of motherhood, it’ll be drowned out, even among people who are very invested in the subject. However, if our mommy blogger in question has a passion for fine French cuisine or breeds toy poodles or sews intricate handmade quilts, her blog posts would resonate with specific audiences. In this case, mothers who want to be better cooks, women with a love of small animals, or old school seamstresses respectively. Sometimes your niche comes ready-made. You can take over for a blog that’s been deleted or a blogger who doesn’t post as much as he or she used to, for example.
But you can also make your own niche. Do some searching through blogs with content that’s similar to yours. What do you find lacking? Do you know enough about that niche to sound credible within it? And are you interested in claiming that niche? While finding or creating a niche may take some trial and error, when you find your place in the blogosphere, you’ll have an easier time gaining and keeping new readers.
3. Branch Out
Online, the most shared stories, whether they’re news or fiction, are unsurprisingly the ones that are most sharable. If you have loyal readers, but very few shares on social media each time you post, new fans will have a hard time finding or connecting with you. If you only have a Blogspot or other pre-made blog, don’t worry. You don’t have to develop a professional LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr overnight. In fact, you don’t have to develop any of those if they don’t suit your blog’s purpose and content.
Instead, start with the content you already are posting. Could you add more pictures? Do you include catchy or witty titles? Would a video sum up your point better? Certain mediums, like pictures and videos, often get shared faster and more often because they’re easy to take in. You can still include an in-depth analysis of the chemical makeup popular breakfast foods (if that’s your niche), but start with a compelling image or video and a sharable title.
Look at a few different platforms you’d like your work to be shared on. Then write headlines that are structurally similar to the ones you see there. Keep in mind that some platforms have word or character count restrictions, so create headlines that are punchy and concise. Then, go into your settings and add some links to the social media platforms you do have. Plenty of readers won’t share content if they can’t do so with one or two clicks. Pay attention to how your work gets shared–this information can help you decide which other social media platforms to branch out to.
As you work to grow your blog, figure out your long-term goals. Then come up with measurable, actionable ways to achieve the desired result. Remember, career bloggers and successful expert bloggers didn’t gain their followers all in one night. Use these ideas to increase your visibility and blog traffic.