When you look at your blog, what do you see?
Is it a hive of activity, with regular comments leaving thoughts and opinions for the world to consider and reply to, or does it sit, largely ignored? Do you have a good hit-rate but low comment count, or does a high comment count contradict how many hits you receive?
Most importantly, do you see a blog that is treading water, struggling to gain the kind of traction that your competitors enjoy, or are you marching ahead in your niche?
Whatever the case, one thing is certain: Being the top blog in your niche will reap dividends, either through reputation, through advertising revenue, as a personal achievement, or even all three. Plenty of bloggers have achieved offline careers and opportunities thanks to their online work.
There are hundreds of ways in which you can promote and boost your blog, depending on the topic and readership, but only a small number of methods can be used across all types of site.
Tip 1 – Identify Yourself
Probably the biggest problem for a lot of bloggers is finding an identity, both for themselves in their online lives and for their blog.
The term “blog” comes from a concatenation of the two words “web” and “log” – “weblogs” began in the late 1990s as online journals, but advances in server-side scripting support for browsers enabled an automated aspect to blogs, which soon became easier to write and update.
Currently, blogs come in two general forms of presentation: the traditional, journal-style blog and the more dynamic, magazine-style website. Being aware which of these you want your blog to be and understanding what your readers are looking for is key to progressing your blog.
Tip 2 – Be Aware of Your Competition
Getting an idea of who else is running blogs in your niche will help you to judge the competition, find out what they are doing and stay up to date with the expectations of your readers.
Understanding the tricks and tools of success of your online competitors will help you to adopt and adapt these methods for your own website. The best way of doing this is to spend a few hours reading through their site, looking for popular posts, reviewing the way in which the posts are written and how they inspire comments. Look also for their social buttons, which should indicate how often the posts have been read.
You can then incorporate these methods of post writing into your own blog. Don’t copy the competitor wholesale – you want to retain the integrity and voice of your own site – but embrace what makes their posts successful.
Tip 3 – Survey Your Audience, Understand Their Interests
Let’s get one thing straight: your audience is interested in what you write. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be reading your blog.
But there are ways in which you can get a good idea of what would keep your audience reading your blog for longer and more regularly.
The first is to write a post asking “what would you like to see?” This will enable audiences to leave feedback, giving you the chance to consider what is missing from your site and how to address this (if at all).
Following this (or instead of) you can take the suggestions and compile them into a survey. We’ve previously looked at survey plugins and any of these can be installed and used to gain further interest about your readers, their interests and their expectations.
Once the survey is complete, you will find that you have a vast array of article concepts and ideas that can be used and reused in many different ways. Depth is important for any blog – readers like to see that their chosen resource has an authoritative voice – and this is a great way of achieving this.
Tip 4 – Find Guest Bloggers and Regular Writers
Whether you have taken the step of declaring your blog an online magazine/webzine or you’re happy with the journal approach, there is still something to be gained from changing things around every so often and this is done with ease by introducing a new voice.
With a guest blogger, you can introduce a different pace and attitude to your blog. If you’re tied up with other projects, away from an Internet connection or simply want to take time off, this is a good way of addressing the problem. You won’t need to pay the guest blogger, simply give them the opportunity to promote their own website, perhaps in the final line of the article. Everyone benefits – you get time off, your guest blogger gets to share thoughts with a new audience and your readers experience a different voice.
Bringing in writers on a more regular basis is a little more complicated, as unless they are very passionate about their subject they will probably expect payment (exceptions being fans of certain TV shows, books, comics or movies). In this scenario you can turn your blog into a webzine with many different voices, all with different opinions and viewpoints, and either use an Adsense plugin for multi-author blogs to manage payment or use your blog’s existing advertising revenue to compensate the contributors.
Tip 5 – Social Evangelism
Promoting a blog is hard work. You might try commenting on other blogs or forums with a link to your website in your signature, carry a link in your email signature, sell branded items on websites such as Zazzle.com or CafePress.com, even advertise in print magazines… or you can let search engines and social sharing buttons do all of the work for you.
Remember, to gain traction and for your blog to develop, your content must be fascinating, engaging to the reader and fulfil the promise of the title. Once this is done, readers will be happy to share the link, either with friends via Facebook or the world at large through Twitter. Social sharing through Twitter and Pinterest can drive visitors to your blog within seconds of the share being published, and you can easily check how popular the article has been by checking the totals for each share on the post page.
Become a Market Leader!
As you can see, there is a lot to take in, but by following these five tips you can put your blog on the road to greatness, storming ahead of the competition and building your brand.
Recognisability of your blog and what it stands for (the best definition of “brand” in this case) can be developed by understanding your competition, recognizing what your readers are looking for and delivering it and by bringing in new voices.
Furthermore, if you have published something that readers find valuable, they will want to share it with their friends, family and followers – perhaps even on their own blog – a sure-fire way of building your blog into a market-leading resource!