Today, readers have several options to choose from when it comes to blogs.
And with so many choices, it’s up to bloggers to separate themselves from the competition. The goal is to build a readership that believes in your values, shares your content, and engages with your community.
“If you want to build a better blog, you need a thriving audience based around your blogging community. And you can only build a great community around your blogs when you have active readership,” states Harsh Agrawal, founder and CEO of ShoutDreams, Inc.
Increasing your blog readership is possible. Here are five ways to get started.
1. Create Quality Content
Creating remarkable content is one of the top priorities for bloggers. Without it, your blog will lag in comparison to others in your industry space.
But what is quality content? And how do you produce it?
The best content speaks directly to your audience. It will address their interests and provide solutions to their problems.
When writing blog posts, make sure you avoid jargon and convoluted details. Stick to telling stories that will earn and maintain the person’s attention.
“Quality content is easy to read and understand, and matches the preferences of the audience for which it’s intended. Using a tool like the Readability-Score will help you ensure your content matches the reading level, expectations and preferences of your audience,” writes Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers.
Research shows that “40% of people will respond better to visual information than to plain text.” So, experiment with adding photos, infographics, and even GIFs to your posts.
[bctt tweet=”40% of people respond better to visuals than text, so add photos, infographics, GIFs to your blog.” username=”hostgator”]
Joy the Baker blog is very effective at including mouthwatering pictures along with its recipes. Readers not only receive step-by-step directions on how to prepare meals, but also see enticing images to encourage them as they cook.
To grow your audience, first focus on producing quality content. Give people a reason to scroll through your posts.
2. Ask Readers to Subscribe
One of the reasons why your blog readership isn’t increasing is simple. You’re not asking readers to subscribe.
Avoid falling into the trap of thinking people will do something without a distinct call-to-action. Offer readers the option to subscribe to your RSS feed or to sign up for your email announcements.
[bctt tweet=”One reason why your blog readership isn’t increasing? You’re not asking readers to subscribe.” username=”hostgator”]
There are several ways to persuade your casual visitors to become devout readers. You can insert a subscription call-to-action within the post. This tactic makes it unavoidable for the individual to forget to sign up.
You also can include a static sign-up form on your sidebar, so no matter what page the reader lands on he or she can take the necessary steps to subscribe.
In the example below, Ramit Sethi of the I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog takes a different approach, he uses pop-up boxes that offer readers a small gift to convince them to take action.
How can you lure more people to become active readers? Try giving away a free ebook, a quick checklist, or access to an exclusive event.
If you want more readers, then start asking. And give your subscribers something in return for their loyalty.
3. Host Creative Contests
You get a prize! You get a prize! And you get a prize!
Contests are the hallmark of active community participation. People love competing in competitions with the chance to earn cool rewards.
Think about the last time you entered a contest. The anticipation drives you crazy. And if you’ve ever won a contest, you probably were ecstatic and told all your friends.
[bctt tweet=”Contests are the hallmark of active community participation. Use them to draw people to your blog.” username=”hostgator”]
When hosting a contest, create rules that are simple for everyone to understand. Tell readers what they need to do to participate and how prizes will be determined. It’s also wise to post deadlines in bold, red font.
Rewards should appeal to the readers’ interests. If you’re a food blogger, a cookbook or a private cooking lesson would be perfect. If you’re a sports blogger, try a team jersey or an autographed cap.
Protect your blog from any legal action. To ensure you’re adhering to local laws, contact your legal team or hire an attorney to discuss online contests.
Use competitions as a tool to draw people to your blog. It’s an added perk to building relationships with readers.
Contests really work to increase readership. When we hosted our HostGator Holiday Weekend Giveaway during Black Friday, we saw 4 times as many blog signups than we typically do in a similar timeframe.
4. Build a Social Media Community
Your blog isn’t just a conversation between you and the reader. It’s also an opportunity for readers to meet and talk with one another.
As you build your brand, invest time in creating a social media community for your audience to share and discuss topics together. This engagement will bring camaraderie and expand your blog’s reach.
[bctt tweet=”Your blog isn’t just a convo between you & the reader. It’s also for readers to talk w/each other.” username=”hostgator”]
Select one to two social networks that your readers love. Then, observe how they use the platforms in their everyday lives.
As you gather this information, focus on how your blog can add to the conversation. For instance, if you’re a fashion blogger, you might post weekly polls about what’s hot and what’s not.
And don’t feel like every social media interaction needs to be about your brand. It’s actually better to focus on the reader’s interests.
“Build a personal communications plan that will enable you to stay engaged with your community. You don’t need to be the center of the conversation, but your community members need to know you are there and that you CARE. Ongoing, reliable communication is vital in helping you build and maintain long-term relationships,” says Ravi Shukle, the community king at Post Planner.
Aimee Song, a Los Angeles-based interior designer, engages with her readers on Instagram. With more than 4 million followers, she posts inspirational images around her apparel and jewelry lines.
Take advantage of social media to jumpstart your readership. Community building leads to an active audience.
5. Partner with Brands
You can’t accomplish your goals alone. Therefore, it might be time to enlist the help of others.
Partner with brands that already engage with your targeted reader. From clothing retailers to local bookstores, your audience can be found interacting with various brands.
Find out where people shop, play, and eat. Then, contact those businesses to learn about or propose partnership deals.
But before you take the plunge, make sure the brand fits your values and represents a positive perception. You don’t want to be attached to a partner that devalues your readers’ goals and lifestyles.
“Taking ‘vanity projects’ that aren’t actually a good fit for your readers doesn’t help anyone. Look for opportunities to find a brand that’s an ideal fit for your readers, regardless of the name recognition the company already has,” states Jeni Elliott, founder of The Blog Maven.
Also, decide how you will collaborate with brands. You can focus on advertising space on websites. Or you may want to host a Facebook Live event together.
It’s essential to discuss the stipulations of the agreement. Your blog and your partner should both benefit from the relationship.
Take your blog to the next level. Team up with a brand to increase your blog subscribers.
Boost Your Readership
It’s time to get more people interested in your content. So, adopt a plan to grow your audience.
Create quality content that connects to the reader. Ask people to subscribe with easy to find sign-up forms. And host contests that engage people to visit your blog regularly.
Build your blog community to increase your readership.
Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.