Whether you've just started a blog or have been in the blogosphere for quite some time now, learning the ins and outs of growing your blog can put you on the path to success.
Here, I'm going to cover twenty different ways to grow your blog.
1. Leave meaningful comments on other, relevant blogs.
By leaving relevant comments on blogs that are similar to your own niche, you're showing other bloggers that you're interested in what they're saying while also leaving a link back to your own website (these are typically no-follow, but they're still fantastic for referral traffic). If you're lucky, people will like what you add to the conversation and may even swing by your blog for a look around.
2. Join blogging groups.
There are lots of things that I wish I had known before I started blogging, like how joining blogging groups can be a game changer. When I first "broke into" the blogging world, I was only averaging a few hundred visitors per month. After joining blogging groups and getting involved with these wonderful bloggers, my stats skyrocketed. They taught me so much about blogging! We all helped one another and it has been a very successful group, to which I am still a part of today. These groups can be found on Facebook, as well as Yahoo! and there are even some blogging forums available.
3. Submit your blog to search engines.
This one isn't extremely necessary, but it certainly does help. Submitting your blog to all of the different search engines allows you to be seen when someone looks you up. Most of the time, your blog will be picked up by bots, so it is automatically listed. However, if you're a new blogger and want a little recognition right away, you may want to go the extra mile and manually add yourself. Alternatively, there are people who will do it for you, although it'll cost ya.
4. Interact with your readers.When a reader stops by and leaves a comment on your blog, don't leave them hanging. Even if they swing by to say that they like your new picture, a little thank you goes a long way. It makes you more personable and approachable, which is exactly what you want. Same thing goes for all social media. If someone is trying to speak with you, engage them. This, my friends, is how you create a loyal readership and following.
5. Send out a newsletter.
Sometimes people don't have time to visit your blog every single day, even if it's bookmarked on their browser. However, most people who use their computer on a daily basis take at least 10 minutes per day to check their email. This means that they'll see what's going on, without having to visit. If they really like something they see, then they'll click on it.
If you have an email sign-up list and people are signing up, you better be sending out newsletters. If not, creating the sign-up form was a waste of your time and having them sign-up was a waste of their time. Time is not made to be wasted. Get started on that newsletter so that your readership is getting what they want.
6. Offer giveaways and contests.
Contests and giveaways have boosted my traffic significantly. Even if the giveaway is not hosted by me but instead hosted by someone in my blogging group, simply promoting it still brings me visitors. This is one reason why blog groups are so incredibly important. It's kind of a "you scratch my back, I scratch yours" thing. They host a giveaway, you promote, and you get a link back to your blog.
7. Give something to your readers.
Contests and giveaways will attract "sweepers" (the sweepstakes-loving bunch), but what about those who don't care about giveaways and contests? Well, that's when you create something else to give to them. Tutorials, infographics, informative articles, and discounts codes are only a few content ideas that offer something to your readership.
8. Share your blog posts on social media.
This one is a no-brainer. If you don't already have social media accounts for your blog on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, and Pinterest, then you need to create them now. Whenever you publish a blog post, you need to share it across all of these platforms. A lot of times, you'll notice that most of your referral traffic is from social media.
9. Use Pinterest.
As mentioned above, social media is crucial to your blog's success. Pinterest may not seem like it's an important social media marketing tool, but trust me, it is. Most bloggers find that a ton of their traffic comes from Pinterest alone. With that said, there are things that you need to do to help attract these Pinners to bring traffic to your blog, which brings us to number 10.
10. Use stunning photographs.
We are visual creatures and in the digital age, our attention spans have become shorter. This means that if you want people reading your content, you better catch their attention first and foremost with their eyes. Creating stunning photographs may seem like a difficult task, but with all of the tools at your disposal, it's really quite simple. Learn how to improve your food photography and how to create "pin-worthy" images.
11. Work with brands.
Once your readership and stats start to rise, it's time to start reaching out to brands so that you may work together on a collaboration. This might be product reviews, ambassadorships, or even giveaways. It might be all of the above. Learning how to pitch will help you land brands and companies to work with, which will attract their clientele so that they can see what others are saying about their favorite brands.
12. Create an eye-catching design.
As mentioned earlier, we're visual creatures and people won't stick around if they don't like what they see. If your blog is a cluttered mess with all kinds of clashing colors, you can bet that no one is going to stay for long. Make sure that your design is eye-catching, simple, and relevant to your blog's niche. Choose colors that are easy on the eye, and don't forget about the importance of "white space."
13. Update regularly.
Consistently updating means that you'll have more content for your readers to sift through. This shows that you care about your blog and your readers, which is not only a respectable trait, but also a trait practiced by some of the most successful bloggers in the world. If you land a loyal reader and she comes back to check your blog but doesn't see anything new, she may just stop coming around. Keep posting high-quality content on a regular basis (at least 3 times per week), and you'll soon see your stats increase as a result.
14. Use catchy, intriguing blog post titles.
Grabbing a reader's attention is the first thing you must do to keep them around. Boring, cliche titles such as "I Like Peas" are not going to make someone click. People want to know how the content will benefit them. Reword your title a bit and add some excitement. For example, "Why Peas May Help Extend Your Life," is a much better title than the aforementioned.
15. Have business cards made and hand them out.
Treating your blog like a business is one way to ensure success. And if you're blog is a business, then you should have something that says so. Business cards are an excellent way to show everyone that you mean...well...business. Business cards should include your blog's name, your name, contact information, and a link to your website. If you offer a product or service, you may also include that information, otherwise, include a small tidbit about your niche. For example, "Craft Blog," may be all you need.
16. Offer a product or service for sale.
If your blog is built around your talents and hobbies, then you may be able to implement a shop into the blog to sell your goods and/or services. For example, if you're a craft blogger, adding a link to your Etsy Shop is not only an excellent way to showcase your talents, but it's also a great way to make a little money.
17. Check out trending topics.Twitter and Google are excellent resources for finding out what is popular right now. This information can help you create content that has the potential to go viral. Stay up-to-date on trending topics relevant to your niche and try to write about them.
18. Create high-quality, original, evergreen content.
Giveaways and discount codes expire. While they may be excellent for short-term traffic during the duration of the event, they don't really bring regular, on-going traffic. For long-term traffic, you're going to want to create high-quality, original, "evergreen" content. Evergreen content means that the content never expires. It is always relevant. For something like a hotel review, to make the information "evergreen," you can include words such as "As of 2015," etc. This lets others know that some aspects of the review may not be current. It is recommended, however, that you update often in situations such as these.
19. Collaborate with other bloggers (guest posting).
Search for blogs that are relevant to your niche or that fall in your area of expertise, and see if the owner is interested in a guest post. Guest posts allow you to share your expertise on the blog of another, and often include a backlink to your website. This gives you the chance to establish yourself as an expert and get your blog seen from other parts of the internet.
20. Put a spin on old, popular topics.
If you're reading through blogs and happen to see a blog post that really interests you, why not put a different spin on it? For example, I came across a recipe the other day for a homemade egg roll. As I skimmed through the recipe, I started thinking about how delicious it would be stuffed with shrimp (instead of chicken) and a little red pepper for a more cajun-inspired dish. Linking back to the website of the original post may make the author want to check out your blog as a result.
It's up to you whether you decide to implement one, several, or all of these techniques. No matter what you choose to do, just remember that blogging is an art and marketing strategies are a science. When you combine the two, you help build the bridge to success.