8 Ways to Promote Your Blog - A Beginner's Guide
You've probably spent hours, days, maybe weeks setting up your site, fiddling with fonts and tweaking templates. Maybe you have even published a few great posts, but pretty soon you realise that you have next to no traffic and you start to wonder what possessed you to start a Blog in the first place. Here are eight things you can do to promote your site from the outset.
1: Interact with the Community
One of the fastest ways to build a readership is to visit and interact on blogs similar to your own that genuinely interest you. Don't shamelessly plug your own site in the comments, simply make genuine comments about their content and get involved in the conversations that take place in the comments. Be kind, be thoughtful and engage. Do not be disrespectful or rude! If people are genuinely interested in what you have to say, they will click on your username and find their way over to your blog.
Everyone is talking about it but whether or not Facebook will be responsible for the demise of mankind and take over the world is a debate to have elsewhere. The fact is it can be an incredibly useful marketing tool. You can choose to set up a separate 'page' for your blog or simply promote your blog to your existing 'friends'. Just bear in mind that it is becoming increasingly difficult to run a successful 'page' without paying for advertising. Given the difficulty in gaining a following for a new Facebook page it may be worth concentrating your efforts on your existing profile in the early days, assuming of course that you don't mind Uncle Bob or Granny reading your blog. Post a link to your blog with a bit of background if needed to start with and then post links to individual posts as and when you publish them. There are ways of setting this up to happen automatically.
Many people just starting out are confused by Twitter and either give up on it completely or fail to utilise it to their advantage. In some ways it works a little like Facebook but your potential audience is much more readily available as long as you keep your Tweets public. If you are on Twitter to promote anything then there is little point hiding behind a private account. Just don't post anything that you don't want the world to know or keep a separate account for personal use if you wish. Post links to your blog when you update it, but also make sure that you interact and become part of the Twittersphere. Some people take to Twitter like a Duck to water but most people who are in it to promote themselves in anyway find it hard work to begin with. Stick at it and eventually you will reap the rewards. Find people to follow who you think might be interested in what you have to say and with a bit of luck they will follow the link back to your blog.
You may already be a regular contributor to on-line forums that cover the same topics that you write about. If that is the case then all you need to do is add a link to your blog wherever the rules of that particular forum allow you to. Some are very restrictive about what links you can include and where, so just be respectful of the rules. You don't want to risk a ban! Most forums do allow links to relevant links in your signature (the space under your post) or in your profile, but it's worth noting that many forums do not allow any links to be posted until you have reached a certain number of posts. If you are only just joining new forums then you may need to keep this in mind and be prepared to put in the effort to interact properly. It is worth remembering that all forums hate spammers!
Email may have become one of the most unassuming aspects of modern technology but it still serves a purpose and is almost certainly here to stay. Use it to your advantage! Aside from offering your readers the option of subscribing via email, if you have a ready made contacts list then you can draft an email introducing your blog and simply send to all. Be friendly and informative and include subscription details. Try to include an image relevant to your blog, perhaps a logo or banner from the header to draw people in. The other way to use email to drive traffic to your blog is to include your blog's URL in your email signature so that it automatically gets sent out on every email you send.
There are a few options when it comes to feed readers but in my opinion Bloglovin is the place to go if you are serious about building up your readership. Once you have 'claimed' your blog on Bloglovin you will appear in their category searches. It's all very clean and easy to navigate round the site and you can add Bloglovin 'follow' buttons to your blog. This is worth doing as existing Bloglovin users are more likely to follow your blog if all they have to do is click the button for something they are already familiar with. Bloglovin works best when embraced as a community. Find blogs to follow and make sure you read and leave comments. You can have a daily email delivered to your inbox with all the new posts from the blogs you follow which makes it really easy to get into a reading habit.
Instagram has really taken off since it became available to Android users. If you use a mobile phone and enjoy taking photographs then you may find Instagram is a valuable promotion tool! Treat it as a sort of micro blog of your main blog and don't forget to put a link to your blog in your profile. Once again it's the community aspect of Instagram that makes it work so get involved! The only draw back of Instagram is that there is currently no way of uploading images from the desktop. However you can view accounts and comment on the desktop site and there are plugins available that allow you to display your Instagram feed in the sidebar of your blog.
Pinterest is a buzzing hub of images and information about anything and everything but at first glance it may be difficult to understand how it can help you get word out about your blog. It is worth familiarising yourself with it though as with time you will work out ways to make it work for you. As with all of the social networking sites, interaction is a must. Simply joining up and filling in your profile is not enough. Whenever you publish a post on your blog consider how you might be able to pin it. Is there an image within the post strong enough to draw people back to your blog if shared on Pinterest or do you need to create an enhanced image with some wording overlaid to draw attention to the post as a whole? What works for one blog genre may not work for another so it really is a case of finding your feet before it all clicks into place.