You’ve started your blog and waited for loyal readers to come running. But your readership isn’t taking off, or it’s growing more slowly than you like.

Don’t worry. We’ve got nine ways you can start growing your blog audience today.

Some of these are easy to fix right away. Others will take time to implement. But they’re all ways you can reach more readers and grow your blog audience. Let’s dive in!

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1. Write for Your Audience, Not Yourself

Most people are searching for information that meets a need, whether that’s how to train their dog to sit, what paint to buy for their fence or how to get more blog traffic. 

If your blog readership started small and got smaller, or if you have a lot of new visitors who read one or two posts and then vanish, your content may not give them what they’re looking for. Keep your posts on-topic and structure them with your readers’ needs in mind. 

For example, there are a ton of recipe blogs that make readers skim through 500 words on their fond memories of Aunt Sue’s pickle relish before they share the recipe those hangry, tired readers need to make dinner. Do that and your readers may vanish. Instead, serve the key info high up in the post and they’ll come back for more.

2. Use Keywords Wisely

Keywords are how new readers find your blog. What keywords and search phrases do people use to find blogs like yours? Try out a few and see what comes up.

Explore different tools like Keywords Everywhere and Soovle to find popular related search phrases you may want to include in your posts. 

For example, your post about setting up a home audio network could include the phrases “setting up a home audio system” (the top-ranked Google result from Soovle) and “whole home audio systems” (the top result from Keywords Everywhere). 

keyword research
Soovle results

3. Brush Up on Blog SEO

Search engine optimization can get complicated but setting up an SEO plugin on your blog is easy. Three of the most popular options are Yoast, SEOPress and All in One SEO Pack. They can help you set up your XML sitemap, meta descriptions, keywords, markup and all the other SEO tools your blog should be using to get found. 

Want to learn more about SEO? Check out our other articles:

4. Include Visuals with Every Post

The data on the use of images is overwhelming: content that includes photos, graphics and videos gets more views, more click-throughs and more shares than text-only posts.

Not a photographer? No worries. You can use PowerPoint or an app like Canva to make charts, graphic-designed quotes and infographics

create blog images with canva
Canva tutorial screen shot

And don’t overlook the power of a simple screen shot to illustrate your posts. 

5. Promote Your Blog Posts

When your blog has a small readership, it’s up to you to get the word out to potential new readers. That means sharing your posts on social media and updating your email list subscribers when you have new content. 

If you blog about something that you’re an expert in, you may want to set up a profile on HARO, an online tool that connects journalists and writers with the subject matter experts they need for interviews and stories. You can ask that they mention your blog.

6. Make It Easy for Readers to Subscribe

How easy is it for readers to follow you? Does each page on your blog include an opt-in box where readers can join your email list? Can visitors opt in to push notifications from your site? Do your posts automatically get shared with your email list, push subscribers and your social media followers? 

If not, head over to the WordPress plugins page. Hustle is one of the most popular options for email list opt-in forms and social shares. OneSignal lets you send push notifications to as many as 30,000 subscribers for free. 

7. Set Up an Email List

You do have your email list set up, right? If not, we’ll walk you through it.

You should let subscribers know when you have new posts. But you can also send them older posts when they’re relevant – related to something in the news or an upcoming holiday. You can also create exclusive content just for your email subscribers—and give them a way to share it with friends to build your audience.

8. Talk to Your Blog Readers

Are you building your blog community? Your readers, subscribers and social media followers are part of that community. The other blogs they follow can be, too, if you’re willing to follow them, too. 

The most effective bloggers have ongoing conversations with their readers and fellow bloggers. That’s how shares, guest posts and blog growth happen. It’s also how bloggers learn what their readers are really looking for, so they can deliver posts that serve their audience better and attract more readers. 

9. Work Your Comments Section

Your blog’s comments section is the cornerstone of community building. The comments section is like the lobby or patio of your blog where readers come to hang out, ask questions and share stories.

A good host makes sure the area is clean and neat (with moderation in place to keep out spam comments). A great host takes time to talk with visitors, learn more about their interests and see if they have blogs of their own. That engagement makes visitors want to keep coming back.

Remember to cultivate the comments on your social feeds, too. Comments on any platform can help you build relationships, find new stories to tell, discover opportunities for cross-posting with other bloggers and grow your audience. 

Want more audience-building ideas? Check out these 5 ways to drive traffic to your website from social media

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance B2B content marketing writer. Her specialty areas include SMB marketing and growth, data security, IoT, and fraud prevention