How to Grow Your Blog in 9 Simple Steps
Blogs. They’re one of the key ways of growing your business in 2021. 86% of marketers write them. 409 million people a month read them. And 7.5 million of them are being published every day. So how do you stand out in a crowd like that? If you want to know how to grow your blog audience and become one of those successful companies that earn a 13x higher ROI from blogging, we’ve put together nine simple steps for you to follow – so let’s get started!
1. The Basics
Before you start worrying about how to grow your blog traffic, you first need to make sure that you’ve ticked off all the blogging for business basics. These include identifying what makes you unique, really thinking about your target audience, and choosing the best topics to write about.
Choose Your Niche
The importance of narrowing down your niche is akin to the “Jack of all trades, master of none” concept. The more specific you are in what your business blog focuses on, the easier it will be to become an authoritative voice on that subject.
Of course, you shouldn’t narrow your focus too much as this could make it difficult to find new things to write about. According to marketing expert Neil Patel, there are two crucial questions you should ask yourself when deciding a niche for your business blog:
- Do I enjoy learning about this topic?
- Are others interested in the same thing?
Whatever niche you choose, you should have a passion for it, and ensure that like-minded people have a passion for it, too.
Create Personas for Your Audience
When we say “think about your target audience”, we don’t just mean you should figure out their age, gender, location, and interests. We mean you need to practically become them – wear their skin for a moment (not literally, of course).
The best way to do this is to write buyer personas. These are detailed outlines that describe exactly what your ideal customers look like, how they think, typical behaviors, and so on. The kinds of information that can be included in a buyer persona are:
- Personal information
- Company information
- Their challenges and goals
- Online behaviors or shopping habits
You can create as many buyer personas as necessary using these categories. The point is to identify which blogging tactics will make your blog more relevant and attractive to the people you want to target the most, whilst also giving them a personalized experience as you address their exact needs.
Use Content Research Tools
The last of the blogging basics is to create killer content that fits into your niche and speaks to your buyer personas. If you want to grow traffic to your blog, good content is the be-all and end-all.
The key is to provide real value. Your content must answer your readers’ burning questions, provide solutions to their problems, and keep them engaged. Writing about topics that your audience actually cares about and will find helpful is probably the most important step to growing your blog traffic, so don’t just think about what you would like to write about or read – take to the internet and do some good old research.
Here are some of our favorite content research tools that will help you find the best topics to blog about according to your industry and audience:
2. Write 10x Content
With the basics out of the way, it’s time to talk specifics. When looking at how to grow your blog audience, one of the key things you can do is write 10x content. This means writing content that is 10x better than the highest ranking result for that topic or niche.
Here’s some criteria for creating 10x content for your blog:
- The content must be responsive on all devices and offer exceptional user experience (UX)
- It must be high quality, trustworthy, relevant, useful, and engaging
- It has to offer more detail and a larger scope of information than competitor blogs. This is why you should always be aiming for long-form copy over short-form copy
- It should try and elicit an emotional response, whether that’s joy, anticipation or surprise
- It must offer a solution to a problem or an answer to a question, and be supported by comprehensive, accurate information and resources
- Its style has to be unique, enjoyable and refreshing to read – basically, it needs to stand out
3. Diversify Your Content
If your blog only consists of articles, it’s time to change things up. Videos are an excellent way to diversify your content. In fact, 68% of consumers prefer to learn about a product or service by watching a video, rather than reading an article. Similarly, blog posts that use videos generate more inbound links than those that don’t.
This doesn’t mean you should stop writing articles. Instead, you should offer a variety of different content types on your blog. Video content is the key player here, but you can also consider infographics or even interactive quizzes. You don’t even have to create brand new content in order to diversify your blog. Instead, you can simply reuse older blog posts.
Repurposing Existing Content
Repurposing existing content is a really easy way to grow traffic to your blog because it not only gives you more content to work with, it also offers more variety to your audience. The best thing to do is identify your best performing blog posts and then transform these into a different format, such as a video.
For example, a “how-to” article can be easily repurposed into an instructional video that offers the same information in a more entertaining format. Similarly, content from list articles looks great when presented as a colorful, dynamic infographic. You could even turn one of your blog posts into an interactive quiz that helps visitors find the perfect product or service for them.
The point to all of this is to offer the same information in a more digestible and engaging way. This gives your readers greater choice when they use your blog – not everyone wants to read big chunks of text!
4. Make Your Posts Readable
Like we just said, not everyone wants to read big chunks of text, even in an actual article. So optimizing your blogs for readability is crucial if you want people to read all the way to the end and keep coming back for more.
Here are a few ways you can make your blog posts more readable:
- Think about your column width: Text that spans the entire width of the page is off-putting and looks daunting. No one wants to feel like they’re reading a giant wall of text, so limit your content width to between 480 and 600 pixels.
- Keep your opening snappy: To avoid people clicking away, keep the beginning portion of your posts short and snappy. You can then get lengthier the further down you go, when readers are already invested in what you’re writing about.
- Short sentences and paragraphs: No matter how much detail you’re going into, try to keep your paragraphs short. This creates more whitespace and breathability for the reader. Also, 73% of consumers tend to skim blog posts, so use short sentences so they can glean relevant information quickly and easily.
- Break up the text: There are many ways you can break up the text in your blog post. Lists, images, bullet points, and lots of subheadings are some of the most common methods.
- Font: No one wants to be squinting at their screens when reading an article. This can happen easily if you use a font size that’s too small, or a font type that’s too difficult to read – so keep your blog easy-on-the-eyes with a sensible font!
5. Optimize, Optimize, Optimize
To grow your blog audience, you need to optimize it for search engines. If you’re not doing this, you may as well just delete it. Employing a good SEO (search engine optimization) strategy will help boost organic traffic, improve your rankings on search engines, and increase your overall revenue.
Creating a killer SEO strategy takes a lot of time and planning, but here’s a quick overview of how you should optimize your blogs if you want to grow your audience:
There are two types of keywords: short-tail keywords, which are phrases consisting of around three words, and long-tail keywords, which contain four words or more.
Short-tail keywords are general phrases that are searched for quite regularly, like “best email templates.” Because they’re more general, they have very high search volumes and are harder to rank for.
Long-tail keywords are more specific, like “best email templates for small businesses.” These have comparatively lower search volumes and are easier to rank for as a result. This also means they convert at a much higher rate, which is why they’re crucial to use in your blog! So make sure you research which long-tail keywords are best to target for the topic you’re writing about.
Title tags, header tags, and metadata
Once you’ve identified your keywords, you need to use them throughout your blog post. This not only means expertly weaving them into your copy, but also using them in your title tags, headers and subheadings, and metadata, like image alt text and meta descriptions.
But don’t overuse keywords! They need to sound natural and make sense in the context you’re using them in. Even though they’re an SEO tactic, the content still needs to make sense to the reader first, not the search engine.
Ultimately, keywords help search engines identify what your blog is about. If they’re used strategically, your content will then be suggested to users searching for those key phrases.
6. Network With Bloggers and Influencers
As the old adage goes, it isn’t what you know, but who you know. While this isn’t 100% true for blogging (you definitely need to know what you’re talking about if you’re trying to become an authoritative voice in your industry!), having connections in high (or popular) places certainly won’t hurt.
Building relationships with bloggers and influencers and creating an influencer marketing strategy will help to grow your blog traffic by giving your voice extra mileage. There are a few ways you can approach this kind of networking:
- Guest blogs: Choose a site that’s in a similar industry as your own, and think of a post idea that would work well on their blog. You can then approach the relevant person about the potential of featuring your post as a guest blog, with a link back to your own blog. This is a great way to get in front of new audiences and boost traffic – and it’s usually free!
- Engage on social media: Follow other bloggers on social media and share their content, leave thoughtful comments or even message them personally. Your aim should be to develop a genuine relationship with them that becomes mutually beneficial in the long-term.
- Quote industry experts and email them about it: You can reference industry experts in your own blogs and send them an email to let them know you’ve featured them in your content. Follow this up with a good call to action (CTA) and they may even share the post!
- Join online communities in your niche: To connect with more bloggers or influencers in your field, join some popular online communities so that you can connect with them on a personal level. Subreddits, Facebook Groups, and forums are great places to start, and, if you play your cards right, will help to divert more traffic to your blog.
7. Encourage Social Sharing
In 2021, social media traffic is the most targeted traffic out there. To take full advantage of it, you shouldn’t only create profiles on the most relevant platforms so that you can share your own work, you should also encourage social sharing on your blog so that others feel compelled to share it for you.
Adding social share buttons to your blog posts is the easiest way for people to share your content. If you isolate a snippet from your blog as a quote on the page, you can also include a ‘Click to Tweet’ button that will allow people to share it directly to their Twitter. Similarly, Pinterest ‘Pin It’ buttons can be added for images.
8. Offer Content Upgrades to Supercharge Email Subscriptions
Another way as to how you can grow your blog traffic is through email marketing. For this, you need visitors to give you their email address. But how do you get people to hand over their personal information on a blog?
One tried-and-test method is by offering content upgrades. This is a strategy where visitors are able to access additional resources or content by joining your email list. Examples of content you could offer here include:
- Comprehensive guides
- Whitepapers or eBooks
- Visual assets, like infographics
- Video content
Alternatively, if you don’t have the resources to create extra content, you could hide a portion of a long-form blog post and add a paywall that requires an email subscription. The key thing to remember is that any content accessible via subscription must provide legitimate value that’s worthwhile. Otherwise, if the content doesn’t meet expectations, you’re likely to lose subscribers.
Growing your email list in this way will allow you to promote any future blog posts, product updates, or company news to more people. Plus, because your subscribers chose to give you their information, your emails will have better engagement and a higher open rate as people will already be familiar with your brand.
9. Keep Promoting
Speaking of promoting your blog through email marketing, the final step of how to grow your blog audience is to promote the living daylights out of it. The more you promote it, the more mileage it gets, and the more people see it.
Aside from email campaigns, there are several ways you can promote your blog. It’s best to do a handful of these, rather than just one, because different audience demographics will use different channels. If you want to maximize traffic, then promoting your blog across multiple channels will give you the best chance of success.
Social media is the best way to promote blogs because it’s fast, easy, and doesn’t cost a thing. To figure out which social media platform to post to, research where your target audience spends most of their time so that none of your efforts are wasted – you don’t want to be focusing on LinkedIn if most of your audience is on Twitter, for example.
To ensure your posts stay regular, and so that you can plan ahead, sign up to a social media management platform like Hootsuite or Sprout Social. These allow you to schedule posts in advance so that you have a clear overview of what’s going out and when.
Paid Social Ads
You could also take advantage of the paid advertising opportunities offered on social media, especially if you’re still trying to gain traction for your account. Paid social ads combat the decline in organic engagement on social media by putting your content in front of more people than a ‘free’ post would reach.
Paid social ads are fairly inexpensive to run, and allow you to specify which demographic you want to target and for how long.
Tools like Google Adwords, Adroll, and VWO can be used to retarget consumers who’ve already shown an interest in your blog or website. This type of promotion is effective because it’s aimed at people who already have an affinity with you, making them far more likely to return and consume more content.
You can even use the Custom Audiences feature on Facebook to run retargeting ads on people who already know your business. Similarly, Facebook’s Lookalike Audience feature lets you target people who are similar to those engaging with your brand, giving you the chance to grow your blog traffic by getting in front of the relevant audiences.
Additional ways you can promote your blog include:
- Posting in content communities
- Reaching out to those you’ve featured in a post
- Building genuine relationships with other bloggers
It may take some trial-and-error before you find the right combination of blogging tactics that works for your business, but once you’ve got the ball rolling, you’ll quickly see your blog audience begin to grow!
And one final thing…there’s no way your blog is going to grow if you don’t post regularly and consistently!