Nurturing a blog into a busy and regularly visited mine of information and discussion is not an easy task. You are not going to be able to post two blogs and then sit back and watch the visits pour in. Equally though, it’s not impossible, and if you do the right things and offer appealing and useful content, you can attract regular readers to your corner of the internet.
So how to go about this? For the purposes of this blog post, I’m skipping things such as good blog/website design, SEO, a good topic that you know you can deliver quality content around, and regular updates. All this can (and should) be in place and without reaching out and marketing your blog you will still find yourself typing into a vacuum.
Find Your Audience
Simple enough – your potential audience are all already out there, and the type most likely to be easily attracted to reading your blog are those already reading other related blogs. So the first step is to start searching online for as many excellent blogs you can find along the same subject as yours. If your area is baking, search on Google for ‘bakery blog’ and trawl through all the results, listing any that have a good amount of comments on each post (of quality, not just spam). If your blog topic is fashion, search for other fashion blogs, etc.
You may have to think abstractly if you are blogging about a service or obscure product that doesn’t already have a following online – put yourself in your customers shoes and work out where they will be and what they will be reading.
Comment & Link
Now you have your list of blogs, keep a keen eye on their updates and start commenting on their posts. Make sure you add something of value of course – a committed audience on a blog will soon spot someone who is just commenting for the sake of marketing, so make sure your comments are genuine. If you write in their field anyway, you should be able to find something interesting to say.
If possible, work hard at being one of the first commenters (purely because if a post has over 100 comments yours is more likely to be seen right at the top than it is on page five). Make sure that your blog name and link is in the comment name/link box (most blogs allow this).
This way, other commenters will be reading your comment and you’ll be getting lots of visibility on your site name and link – people will come through to see what you offer, especially when they haven’t seen your site name before.
As well as commenting on posts and engaging in conversation that way, start using your blog posts to ‘comment’. If someone posts a blog you strongly agree with, disagree with or have a completely different perspective on, post on your blog as a response and link to the original blog. If you offer an interesting response the original blogger may sometimes link to you, and you will gain a lot of traffic from their visitors.
Incidentally – make sure your Trackback monitoring is on in whatever blog software you use. This enables your blog to tell you when another site links to one of your posts, and vice versa.
So don’t just focus on writing lots of quality content (although that is your incredibly important foundation), you have to then also let your audience know that you are actually there – find them and then comment, engage in discussion and respond and you’ll be able to build a loyal following that will start bringing in new readers on your behalf.
About The Author: Camilla Todd manages Search Engine Optimisation, social media campaigns and brand awareness for WNW Design SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 01395 542 569. You can also follow WNW Design on Facebook here.