|Writing a blog is a great way to connect with people|
Every time I publish a blog post, I make connections with people. I always have old readers that come back to share their opinions on writing and I always have new readers that do the same. The point is that writing a blog allows me to connect with people who share my love for writing and reading. Writing in the 21 century no longer has to be lonely.
But how do you get readers to care enough to read your blog and to comment about it? How do you even get the traffic your blog deserves? Well, I will tell you the eight things that I do and they are all easy to follow.
1. Useful Content
It isn't enough to just write about your current creative writing projects. When writing a blog post you have to consider the reader first. Think about what information readers in your niche find useful. An easy way to do this is by heading to Google Adwords Keyword Planner. It is free and simple to use. If you have a Gmail account you already have an Adwords account.
The keyword planner can be used to find what people are searching for in Google. I use it all the time to come up with blogging topics that I know people will find useful. For instance, people search for blog writing over 150,000 times a month. So there are people out there who will find this blog useful.
Another method that I use to create good blogging content is to think of a topic that would create conversation among my readers. A hot topic for instance is race. My last blog post was about race and fiction and of course it stirred up a lot of great conversations.
If you decide to blog about products and services. Let's say you want to share a post about your own product... your book. Always consider WIIFM for your readers. WIIFM or what's in it for me is what your readers will be asking themselves when reading about a blog post that centers on products or services. If you want a successful conversion rate you need to make sure your blog post offers something valuable in return. A great example is blogging about a free giveaway contest for your book. Another example is to share useful writing tips that you used to write your book.
2. Make your blog in list format
Social media marketing specialists have found that the most popular blog posts typically have a headline with a number and is formatted to read like a list. People like it. I don't even have to trust what others have found about this method, because I have proof myself. I started to see a tremendous gain in readership when I posted my headlines and blog posts this way.
People like online content to be easy to read and to understand. It has also been found that people are less patient when reading online content and tend to rush through it. So having a blog that quickly tells readers about the topic and delivers the information just as easy is what they want.
If you find yourself curious about what your readers want, you can simply create a survey for them to take. Most blogging software has a survey widget. The ongoing theme here is to always consider your reader.
3. Design and Layout
I have followers that can remember what this blog used to look like. It had a picture of an ink well in the background and the font was in yellow. There was not an easy way to find other popular blog posts unless you scrolled through my entire blog. In other words my blog was hard on the eyes and not easy to use.
Now I have a simpler layout and design. My blog is easy to read and to use. You can use the search box to find blog posts that have to do with your keyword. You can easily find my most popular posts by scrolling the top of the side column.
My blog isn't the prettiest nor is it the most complex, but it functions very well. I know I had mentioned that content is very important. It is when it comes down to creating a following. But, if your content comes in a horrible package it will not gain the readership it deserves. For instance, content with popular search topics will help generate web traffic, but that doesn't mean people won't leave if they don't like the way the blog looks and functions.
4. Add some pictures
When you post a link to your blog on most social media outlets a picture can be implemented with the link. I have found that my links that are accompanied by pictures that help describe my blog's topic generate more traffic. Using a great picture is like having a great subtitle for your blog's link. It is another method to engage with your targeted audience.
Also consider this... The picture will be indexed by search engines and associated with the keywords you used in your content. When someone searches using that keyword under the images database in let's say Google Images, they have a chance of finding your blog post. Another way I help this process along is by placing a highly searched keyword in the picture's caption box. Of course, the keyword has to make sense to the rest of the content.
5. Go where the crowd is
Publishing your blog on the right forums is very important to gaining readership. It isn't enough to just post a blog on your Facebook, LinkedIn or Reddit profile page. You need to to use these large social media outlets to find groups that have to do with your blog's niche.
You had to consider your readers to create a blog post that would generate great traffic. Now you have to do the same consideration when looking for where to post it. Who would find the blog post useful if it is about advice? If it aims to start a conversation, then who would find the conversation worth being a part of?
This blog is about creative writing. So it is safe to say you would never see it on a beer forum. Although I do like beer and maybe I could create a blog post that ties creative writing with drinking. Wink, wink. I could write about how I drink ( a little) after celebrating being published. However, to get the appropriate readership, I would need to center on beer and shouldn't expect to gain a following since my other posts aren't about beer. It is fine to expand your horizons, but don't let your expectations get the better of you.
Finding the proper place for your blog posts can be a challenge. Especially if you write about a niche that is very unique. You should then consider the demographics of who would find your blog valuable. This way you could find out where your readers hang out online. The best demographic in this case would be to start with yourself. Another method would be to consider how your blog post relates to other niches.
6. Respond to readers
I am not going to sit here and say that I respond to every reader's comment on my blog or on the online forums, because I don't. I look for comments that have either started their own discussion or one that has the potential to if I respond to it.
Another great thing about reader's comments is that I can gather new ideas for my next blog post or I could create a series of related blog posts because the comments had created a great conversation among my readers.
7. Guest Blog
If you are fortunate enough to blog about a niche where the other bloggers are friendly; you can easily ask them for a guest blog spot on their blogs. This allows you to reach new readers that have already been established as being interested in your blog's niche.
Another cool factor is that guest blogging will create a link to your blog, which will help generate more traffic. Of course, people who like your guest blog can click on the link to check out your blog, but search engines look at the number of links a blog has as a method to assign value to it. The more links a blog has the more likely a search engine will assign it a higher value and the higher the blog should appear in search engine results.
Guest blogging should always be free. You can also ask the person who allowed you to guest blog to do the same on yours. This will also help with generating new readership for your blog.
8. Blog Directories
I can keep going on and on about SEO techniques to help make your blog popular. I can even dive into SEM such as pay per click ads to help generate web traffic. I will leave you with blog directories since it is a popular SEO technique and I am sure your eyes are starting to dry out.
Blog directories can either be free or paid, either way they allow you to post information about your blog and a link directly to it for people to find it. The difference with a paid blog directory is that it grants you the ability to reach a wider audience. However, there are no guarantees. I have never had great success with blog directories, paid or free. Of course I know it mainly has to do with the fact that the readers of my niche don't typically find blogs that they like in blog directories.
I gave it a shot and I recommend that you do too if you haven't done so already. The worst that can happen is that you don't get much traffic. The good thing is that you would have a couple of links out there that would help search engines assign value to your blog.