One of the biggest concerns you might be faced with after deciding to start a blog is: how do I make it popular?
There’s no one surefire way to make sure that your blog gets the attention it deserves, but there are a few things you can do to help attract more readers. There’s a lot of good advice out there to help you, and I’ve compiled the things I found most helpful into this post.
The first way to give your blog a shot at stardom is to choose the right blogging niche for you. There’s a ton of information and tips on choosing a profitable niche, but if you’re just going to blog about something because you think it’ll make you money, it’s probably not going to go well. You’ll be less interested in the topic, so you’re not likely to put in the work and passion that is necessary for a successful blog. What you really want to consider is this:
- What skills do I have that other people need advice on? As amylynnandrews.com says, your readers want you to solve their problems. Be it wanting to know how to start a blog or wanting to stay updated on the current on-goings in celebrity lives, there’s something your readers want to know. What do you know that you can help them with? What are you exceptional at? Are you qualified for a particular job? Share your expertise.
- What do I love talking about? What can you talk for hours and hours about? Knowing what you love to talk about will help because that’s basically what blogging is: talking about stuff! Lifewire says you should make sure that whatever you’re talking about, you aren’t too sensitive about the subject, because people will probably want to talk to you about it and maybe even debate you on the topic, so you’ll have to have tough skin to run a successful blog.
- What’s my passion? Bloggingbasics101 has some great questions you should ask yourself to find your passion: “What are your hobbies? How do you spend your free time? What types of classes did you enjoy in high school or college? If you could do one thing for the rest of your life regardless of salary, what would you do?“
- Is my life entertaining? Amylynnandrews says sometimes people just want to be entertained. Or they can live vicariously through you. If you’re hilarious or if you do fun things like travel a lot, or meet celebrities all the time, this route might be the one you want to take. However, this one is apparently much harder to gain a following through.
Make sure to choose something you know, something you love talking about and researching, and something you’re not too sensitive about. You’ll be spending a lot of time every week, maybe every day, on this topic, so you’ll want to choose something you can actually put the effort into. That way, you’re less likely to give up on your blog and more likely to want to make it successful. That’s also why choosing a niche solely because it’s profitable is a dangerous path to take. It probably won’t yield the results you want. Plus, readers can tell when you don’t care about something! But if you love what you do, everyone says it’ll shine through your writing.
Once you actually start your blog, you may realize that not a lot of people are reading it. That’s okay! There are ways to bring traffic to your blog to (hopefully) make it more popular.
Goinsblogger has a lot of great advice about this topic. To see his full post, go here. I’ll lay out the things I found most important, so you have a condensed version.
He says guest posting is actually the most important thing that you can do to get traffic onto your blog and I agree with him. Guest posting on another blog helps you reach someone else’s audience. If they like what you wrote, they’re likely to check out your blog.
Goinsblogger also mentions that guest posts are great for search engines. He says this: “The host blogger must include a link to your blog in the post somewhere (usually at the beginning or end). Over time, these backlinks will raise the value of your blog to search engines, making your content easier to find via Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others.”
Allowing others to guest post on your blog is important as well. This builds a mutual relationship with other bloggers, and sometimes they’ll blog about their guest post and link to it, which gets traffic to your site! To learn how to guest post, click here.
Search engine optimization is also important. I really like goinswriter’s definition of it because it’s simple and easy for anyone to understand: “SEO is a series of actions you do to make people find your stuff online more easily (for free).”
It’s basically about using the same key words over and over again in your content until search engines eventually start linking to your site. I don’t really understand how that works (it goes over my head no matter how much I research it, I just know it works). Goinswriter has a wonderful series of posts about how to optimize your site for search engines, so check the first one out here!
Goinswriter also brings up the interesting idea that public speaking is a skill you must possess. He says public speaking can network you with other writers and can gain you more influence. I had never thought about this, but he’s right, writers must become public speakers, for more reasons than just to gain followers on their blogs. This is how you really get your voice and ideas heard. Check out his post on public speaking.
And, finally, he says you have to be funny, clever, and remarkable. You have to keep readers entertained. This is harder than you’d think. You have to know how to be funny and clever (yikes!). I’m sure this doesn’t come naturally to everyone (certainly not me). Luckily he provides a post on how to do those things too, so check out how to be clever and how to be funny.
Another blog I appreciate is moz.com. This blogger gives 22 great ideas on how to get more traffic to your blog, but I’ll only relay the ones I found most interesting and helpful. To see his full post, go here.
Moz says you should participate in communities where your audience already gathers. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, or a blogging forum, find people who want to read what you write. And then as frequently as you can, but without spamming people, reference and link back to your own posts, so that maybe some of those readers will become new followers.
The most interesting point he made was that you should participate in Q & A sites, like Yahoo!Answers, Answers.com, Quora, and any others you can find. Don’t answer every question; answer ones where “the question quality is high, and responses have thus far been thin,” and questions that are getting a lot of attention (like if a lot of people are searching for this particular question), and a question that you can answer “in a way that provides remarkable value to anyone who’s curious and drops by.” You can even answer a question in-depth in a blog post and link back to it. Moz says he actually does this a lot, because these questions are a good source of inspiration for posts.
Wordstream suggests that you write content that will last forever. What they mean is that you should write something that time won’t make irrelevant. So blogging about what a certain actress wore on a certain day won’t withstand the test of time, but writing things like helpful tips and tricks probably will.
Those are the most helpful tips I found for improving your blog’s popularity! I hope this helps!
Photo courtesy of Joe the Goat Farmer.