Today we’re breaking down all of the best ways to get more blog readers, turn them into avid fans, and the smartest ways to take advantage of social media to build an audience for your blog.
This is a rather extensive list of the 25 best ways to grow your audience in 2020, so if you wish to download the post, you can do so below:
The most common question I get from fellow bloggers is, “How do I get more readers?”
Honestly, I’d like to tell you that building a community around your blog is as simple as writing great content, the truth is that growing a blog is a bit more nuanced than that.
Getting more readers for your writing takes a lot of dedication, time, and energy.
It’s not just about content, but also about community.
The strategies I’m sharing with you are the culmination of 8 years of trial and error growing my blogs to over 180,000 engaged readers. These are proven tactics that I still put into practice myself — and cost little more than time, hard work, and a bit of creativity.
Without further delay, let’s get into the best strategies on how to grow an audience for your blog in 2020.
1. Develop a proper content strategy.
What is content strategy?
Simply put, it’s your ability to produce high-quality content at a consistent rate.
In order to attract readers, you need to be able to produce content that they find valuable. To keep those readers, you need to be able to create and publish content on a regular basis.
While on the surface this sounds simple enough, even the most successful bloggers often struggle to produce consistently.
Too often, bloggers tend to neglect the importance of a content strategy. The consequence of this? They eventually run out of topics and ideas to blog about.
Without a proper content strategy, you’re never quite able to plan beyond today and tomorrow. And how are you ever going to be able to grow a blog if you never gain enough clarity to see beyond the short-term?
A well-structured content strategy solves all of those problems by keeping your content organized, focused on the reader, and constantly being released.
Believe me when I say that your content strategy (or its lack) will be the one thing that makes or breaks your ability to grow as a blogger.
2. Collect email subscribers and engage with them.
Email is not only the best way to consistently bring visitors and readers back to your blog, it also allows you to reach out and communicate with your audience in a more personal way.
Even something as simple as a newsletter that provides updates on your latest content and what you’re working on will go a long way towards building trust with your readers.
Start exploring different tactics to grow your email list, such as mentions in the call to actions you add at the end of your posts, pop-ups, and offering them an incentive to actually subscribe (free e-books, templates, tutorials, etc).
3. Develop a web of content.
Your readers should rely upon your blog as the ultimate authority on a specific topic. And to achieve that, you need to create a web of content in order to really grow your blog.
Everything you publish on your blog needs to somehow relate to something else that you’ve previously published, creating a web of content that satisfies your readers needs and answers their most pressing questions.
Interlinking this content within each and every single one of your posts means that when someone finds a piece of your content, just by clicking on the links in your article, they’ll continue to stay on your blog—which is why this is such a great foundational strategy to grow a blog.
Whenever you’re publishing a new piece of content, whether that’s on your own blog or someone else’s in a guest blog post, you want to link back to previously written blog posts.
Not only will this help you grow your audience in the long run, but it’ll help you gain a better understanding of how all your content ties together.
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4. Know where your readers like to spend time online.
A common mistake I see new bloggers doing is the fact that they promote their blog posts on every social media platform that they can think of.
This kind of approach is highly ineffective; it’s both a huge waste of your time and energy.
Think of your ideal reader, the person who has most to benefit from reading your blog posts. What kind of sites they’d like to visit? What kind of social media platforms?
For instance, lifestyle bloggers should go on Instagram after readers. If, on the other hand, you have business blog, then LinkedIn is better suited to find potential readers. If you blog about interior design and decorating, then Pinterest is probably the platform for you.
Don’t waste your time sharing content with an audience that doesn’t care. Instead, figure out what social media platform is most suited for your ideal reader, and focus your time and energy on that.
5. Experiment with ads.
While there’s no traffic quite like organic traffic, there’s a great deal of potential in developing a set of particularly effective ads.
Experiment with ads on different platforms, from Facebook ads campaigns, Pinterest promotions, or Google AdWords to see which ones work best for your type of content.
6. Take advantage of Pinterest
Pinterest is quickly becoming a sort of secret weapon for bloggers looking to grow their blogs.
The average Pinterest post is 100 times more shareable than your average tweet. You also get a lot more exposure for a lot less money if you choose to pay to promote your posts.
Take advantage of Pinterest by creating eye-catching images of your blog posts, and share them to relevant boards and groups to grow your blog.
7. Add an email signature.
How many people do you e-mail on a daily basis? What about readers from your blog? E-mailing others in your niche?
Your email signature is not just there to share basic contact information, but also a way to actively grow your blog and promote your brand. I
Including a link to your blog is a great way to gain more readers among those whom you interact with via e-mail.
8. Find blogs to guest post on.
One of the best ways to quickly grow your blog is guest blogging.
The best part about guest blogging is that it allows you to share your content with someone else’s community.
Think of your guest posts not as sharing content you could post on your blog, but as offering free samples of your work to an audience you wouldn’t normally reach.
The key to effective guest blogging, though, is sharing your content on relevant blogs/websites.
Also, you should share your best content, not something you’d define as mediocre.
One more piece of advice: be willing to be rejected a few times. It’s the nature of the game.
Personally, I’d work on building at least a semblance of a relationship with the blogger you’re about to pitch: read their content, comment on their posts, link to their blog posts in your own content.
Most often, the folks who e-mail me asking to guest blog, and I have no idea who they are, don’t even get their blogs read. That is, if they bother to even send me the link to their blogs.
Don’t do that.
Show the blogger you’ve done your homework. Tell them what you like from their blogs, what content you most resonated with and why, and what exactly you’re bringing to the table. Pitch them an idea, something that feels palpable enough, don’t just tell them you want to guest blog.
9. Use Quora to attract new readers.
Quora is a question and answer forum that allows anyone to respond to questions across a wide variety of topics.
A great tactic to grow your blog is to find questions that are relevant to your niche and spend a meaningful amount of time delivering in-depth answers.
People are far more likely to visit your blog if you’ve just provided some sort of value to them.
10. Host webinars.
Another fantastic way to grow your blog is to host a webinar.
Hosting a webinar is a creative way to show your expertise and authority in your niche, while allowing your audience to see/hear you is a great tool to develop trust.
11. Use your content to mention other bloggers in your niche.
Another great way to grow your blog in 2020 is to mention other bloggers within your content.
The mention could be anything from including a quote by another blogger in your niche to using their story as a case study, or simply linking back to one of their articles.
The purpose is to build a relationship with them by providing value first.
Also, there’s no harm in e-mailing or messaging said blogger to let them know that you’ve mentioned them in your blog post.
They could link back to you, share your post on social media, or tell you they’d like you to guest blog for them.
12. Create images/infographics that your readers can share.
We humans are predominantly visual creatures, so your readers are far more likely to respond to pictures and videos.
Use tools like Adobe Spark or Canva to create social media-ready images of your blog content.
This can be something like a simple graph, a quote from your article, or an infographic.
Not only does using high-quality images within your blog content make your post more readable by breaking up large chunks of text, but it’ll also make your entire article a lot more engaging to read and far more likely to be shared on social media.
13. Make sharing your blog content easy.
The more effort it takes for someone to share your content, the less likely they are to share it.
Even so, there are a lot of blogs out there that don’t enable sharing of content on all social media platforms.
If you want to grow your blog, then make sharing your content as effortless as possible for your readers.
14. Experiment with different mediums.
Some people enjoy reading blog posts, while others might prefer watching a video, or listening to a podcast.
That’s why you must take advantage of different content types as a means to grow your blog.
For example, if you’ve already written an exhaustive article on a certain topic, consider turning that article into a pre-recorded webinar, YouTube video, or podcast episode as well.
Or, if your article is heavy with facts and figures, it could be turned into an infographic.
One very important thing to keep in mind before you start diversifying your content, is figuring out who your ideal reader is.
There’s no point turning your blog post into mini-articles on Instagram if your audience doesn’t even use Instagram.
Take a moment to think about what types of content your audience likes to consume and focus your efforts towards those specific types of content that stand a chance of helping you grow your blog.
15. Properly format your blog posts.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how valuable the information you share is, if no one can easily read it in the first place.
Take a step back from your blog and try putting yourself in your reader’s shoes. Objectively, ask yourself questions such as:
- Is my blog design too cluttered?
- Do I effectively break down content with the use of subheads, bullet points, etc?
- Do I use great images and/or videos?
- Do I vary sentence length, paragraph length as not to bore my readers to death?
Properly formatting a blog post is essential in this day and age. No one’s got the time or the attention span to work hard to read content.
If you’re content does not look great on the page, no one will bother to read it.
16. Be “social” on social media.
A lot of bloggers overlook the “social” aspect of social media.
Social media is not just a place for you to promote your content, it’s also a space where you can interact and communicate with your readers in an informal and personal way. And ultimately, it’s the type of relationships you nurture with others that will determine your success in terms of engagement/sharing/interaction.
It’s not just the numbers that count, but also the way you interact with those numbers.
Simply using social media to share content is not enough, no matter how good that content is.
No one cares what you know until they know how much you care.
If you care about them, they’ll care about you.
As simple as that.
17. Provide massive value to your readers.
If the content you share on your blog isn’t:
- the best content you are able to provide.
- the best content available on that certain topic that you can find.
… you should think twice before publishing it.
It’s as simple as that.
We live in a world of information overload. Content rated as a 7 or 8 out of 10 never, ever, ever gets read.
You need to provide massive value to your readers.
What this means is that you need to write your best ideas, give 100% every time, and never, ever rush when publishing content.
If the content you share on your blog isn’t the best content you are able to provide; the best content available on that certain topic that you can find.… you should think twice before publishing it.Tweet
18. Teach online courses.
Online courses are not just a way to generate income, but also a way to further connect with your readers.
Teaching an online course sets you up as an authority and expert in your niche. Anytime someone signs up to your online course, they actively acknowledge that they respect and trust you.
With an online course, you can dive deeper than you normally would into a particular topic and all its intricacies.
With the exception of doing one-on-one coaching/mentoring, an online course is probably the most engaging and personal way you can grow your blog and share your knowledge to your audience.
By regularly engaging with your students, answering their questions, and sharing advice, you can turn every single one that takes your course into a loyal fan.
19. Regularly ask your blog audience questions.
What do you want your readers to do when they finish reading your blog posts?
One of the answers should be, “I want them to engage with my content.”
You want feedback, comments, opinions.
Well, if you want all that, you’ve got to ask your readers questions that they can answer.
By regularly asking your readers questions at the end of blog posts you’ll also be able to better understand them, what kind of content they’re looking for, and what it is that they want from you.
As an added bonus, while regularly asking questions is an effective way to keep readers engaged, it also shows that you care about what they have to say and that you’re willing to speak with them, not just at them.
20. Make commenting as effortless as possible.
If you want your readers to keep coming back, then you need to make it as easy as possible for them to engage with you, and that means making it as easy as possible for readers to comment on your content.
One of the most important pieces of real estate on any blog is the comments section (on my main blog there are over 16,000 comments on my posts).
After all, one of the reasons you chose to blog in the first place was to connect with people, right?
By creating a thriving comment section for every one of your blog posts, you’ll be able to engage with your audience in a way that just isn’t possible through other mediums.
Consider making comments on your blog as effortless as possible (don’t, for instance, force your readers to register before they’re able to comment.)
21. Take advantage of our need for social proof.
One of the best ways to grow your blog is by offering first-time visitors the chance to see that there are others who trust you.
It’s as simple as adding the logo of a publication you’ve published on, or testimonials/reviews from those who have purchased your products/engaged with you.
Add a follower count on your blog, share your social media profiles.
Show others that you are indeed respected and trusted, and you will grow your blog.
22. Offer your readers the chance for more access to you.
The definition of a fan is not just someone who consumes every piece of content you release, but also someone who’d like to be your friend.
Once you see it like that, you realize that a lot of folks simply want more access to you.
From starting a podcast or YouTube channel to adding a simple contact form on your blog, the easier it is for others to have access to you, the more they will trust and appreciate you.
23. Don’t forget about first-time visitors.
The vast majority of people who visit your blog will probably only take a quick look around before leaving forever.
That’s why the content you share must be designed in such a way as to turn these first (and last) time visitors into followers.
If you share free tutorials/e-books, place a pop-up, a sidebar add, mention it at the end of your blog posts.
Interlink your blog posts.
Add related posts to all your blog posts.
Make it so that a first time visitor has to read more than just the blog post that they happened to land on.
Make your content addictive. Try to offer them as much content as possible right from the start. Entice them with free content in exchange for their subscription, show them that there’s a ton of content they’d like to read if only they’d spend more than just a couple minutes on your blog.
24. Listen to the feedback.
Statistics are not there for you to feel good (or bad) about yourself.
Statistics are there to let you know what works and what doesn’t. Which types of posts you readers prefer, what kind of content is most shared on social media (and on what platforms), what are your most engaging articles and why.
An essential part of growing a blog is being able to figure out what works and why.
This requires of you that you stop seeing your blog posts as successes or failures, but rather as feedback.
You adapt and change and overcome different situations by being aware that they are fixable. You can change the headlines of your posts, the introductions, add different images, format them differently…
You can change anything you want as long as you see the feedback you receive from your readers as your chance to fine tune and tweak your blog to be as close to perfect as possible.
25. Experiment. A lot.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, never be afraid to experiment.
Even those who enjoy great success today might become obsolete tomorrow if they do not adapt to the changes in their environment.
Thus, it’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive.
The blogging world is a constantly-changing landscape, and the ones that manage to stay at the top of their niches are always those that are willing to experiment with new strategies and tactics.
What started as a series of blog posts about the art of blogging on my main blog developed into a different blog.
What started as a motivational piece written some 5 years ago became the main topic for another blog.
You never know what crazy experiment might take your blogging to the damn stratosphere.
I hope that you’ve gotten a lot out of this guide on how to grow a blog in 2020, and that it at least offered you a few ideas that you’d like to try.
How will you grow your blog this year?
What strategies would you like to employ?