How To Grow Your Blog and Build an Audience

How To Grow Your Blog and Build an Audience

build a better blogHow many of us post away to our blogs and then feel like we’re in a ghost town? I can almost see the tumbleweeds gathering around a couple of my blogs!

By the way I’m not talking here about niche blogs in the marketing sense ( ie slap up 10 posts in a targeted niche, monetise it, drive traffic, rinse and repeat). I’m talking about blogs where you are building a reputation, authority and expert status.

So I’ve been looking into improving that situation and here is what I have found.

1. Have a theme or purpose to your blog

This is all about knowing why you are blogging in the first place.

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • What message are you wanting to get out?
  • What’s the point and purpose of doing it at all?
  • Who are you trying to influence or help?

Like in business, nicheing your blog makes it easier for you to focus and build a site of authority, AND makes it easier for people to seek you out. The clearer you get, the better.

As an example, this blog was set up to help “the little guy” build an online business but I now realise that was way too broad. I can focus in further so I am clearer about what to post and how. With my current broad theme, my blog has become like licorice allsorts or a hotch potch blog. There’s lots of great and practical information but no pattern.

If you have a similar multi-personality blog, fear not. That can be improved. Work out your clear purpose, niche it down and start re shaping and moulding.

2. Plan out your posts ahead of time.

This achieves a few things:

  1. it clarifies what you will be blogging about to tie in with your purpose
  2. it helps you be consistent in posting, and search engines like that
  3. it gives structure and predictability to your blog, and people like that

In terms of 1), we’ve discussed that already.

Regarding 2), by using an editorial calendar you can decide how frequently you want to post – keep in mind this is a quasi-commitment so be realistic in how much content you think you can produce. It is better to start less frequently and increase it than intend to blog daily and find you’re struggling to fit it in.

I have attempted a daily blog challenge twice. Challenges are great for getting you on track, developing new blogging friendships and bringing in comments but it’s a big commitment to post daily.

Here’s my tip if you do it: sit down in one sitting and prepare a batch of posts for a week. Then when it comes to daily posting you’re content is done – you just notify challengers and go comment on others blogs to encourage them to comment on yours.

I digress.

Decide to post weekly until you get into a rhythm and then increase to twice a week. It’s better to produce less and spend more time on building traffic and offers. Think about it: much more sensible than producing lots of content that no one ever sees!

Now, for 3) – that editorial calendar comes into its own. Map out post types for your posting cycle. So, if you are posting weekly, week one may be a video blog, week 2 – a review piece, week 3 a curated post and week 4 a tutorial.

How you theme your posting cycle is up to you but doing so makes life much easier for you, because you don’t hit a blank page thinking “what will I write about?” – you’re already focused by the theme. It helps you decide the topic. If you know you are doing a review post for example, you are now focused on what you can review.

You can also predetermine the topic for each week. If my blog is on Product Creation for example, I may post Podcasting for week 1, ebook creation for week 2, video for week 3 and product creation week 4.

Alternatively, predetermine a theme for each week – ‘lessons learned’, motivational, research review, etc.

Deciding a framework ahead of time means you’ve done half the work before starting your post. Your brain is engaged in seeking specific content so there’s time to produce a post. And your blog looks more cohesive.

Your readers like it too. Because your blog has a pattern they know what to expect. If they like what you post they are likely to come back.

And isn’t that what we’re doing this for?

 

 

15 thoughts on “How To Grow Your Blog and Build an Audience

  1. I recently started a few challenges and I jumped from not posting to daily posting. What I notice is that it gets easier as you warm up. As for narrowing the focus on your blog, I agree and it’s something I’m working on right now. You can’t be everything to everyone.

  2. Great post Mel!

    You hit the nail on the head. I think a lot of sites are unstructured so to speak. Just as you did, I thought too broadly. I agree that it’s very important to focus on one specific thing for a certain amount of time.

    In the future, I intend to fine tune my message and purpose. There are so many assets to blogging and wanting to help others that it becomes overwhelming and soon you find you’re out of ideas of what to even blog about.

    It’s nice to read posts like this that really make you think about what you’re doing right as well as wrong. Thanks!

    Cynthia

    1. Absolutely! We’re too busy doing sometimes to step back and reflect. You’re doing great now so refining will really help. Keep at it!

  3. These are all excellent ideas. I have tried writing out a calendar and theme my posts. Then I forget or get distracted.

    I will try this again so that things are properly focussed – most likely after the completion of this 30 Day Challenge. 🙂

  4. I just started my blog, so these are really helpful. I like the idea of planning posts ahead of time. That sounds great. Thanks for the tips!

  5. I think it’s also a good idea to publish longer articles like around the 1,500 word mark. I have no idea who started the rumor that 500 word posts are good for search engine optimization.

    One thing that I used to do is write a few hundred words, take a break, and then write some more. Right now the content on my website has been a bit weak because I’m focusing on other projects, like, creating a new website.

    When I make my new website, I’m going to make it a point to never publishing anything less than 1,500 words.

    Anyways, thanks for the article, it was quite informative. Good luck with your business.

    1. Funny, I actually don’t count, I just write. Some camps argue people only want to read quick and short; others argue longer posts are better. It’s going to depend on your target audience and what they prefer. Appreciate your thoughts, Timothy, thanks.

    2. I never purposely check. My view is that the length should only be as long as it needs to be. Why say something in 1,000 words when 500 is more than enough? Some topics don’t need the long posts.

      There’s also the fact that more people are now reading from smart devices, which have smaller screens. I know I prefer reading shorter posts on those devices, and I’m sure many other feel the same way. The only time I don’t mind longer pieces is when there is the need for them for all the relevent content.

  6. I love your idea about the editorial calender. I definitely need to create one of those for a couple of my blogs. Others aren’t too bad, but there are a few that could really deal with it. Oh and yes, sometimes I can see the tumbleweeds blowing too 🙂

    1. Good luck with the calendar, Alexandria. There’s at least one plugin for WordPress or a physical calendar can work too.

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