The most significant challenge that bloggers face is attracting visitors. For new bloggers nothing can be more frustrating than trying to figure out how to get people to see the content that you’ve spent time preparing.
Getting visitors to your blog is possible and quite realistic if you’re willing to put in some effort to get the exposure that you need. If you’re spending hours on blog posts and you feel like that work is being wasted because not enough people are seeing the posts, we’ll take a look at some things that you can do to get the right exposure.
Here are some things that you can do to get your blog posts in front of more people and to get more impact from each post.
1. Offer Email Subscriptions in Addition to RSS
Many bloggers only offer subscription via RSS. If you’re not also offer subscription by email you’re cutting out a portion of your audience, and you’re missing out on the continual exposure to people who would subscribe by email. If, like most bloggers, you’re using FeedBurner to publish your feed, offering an email subscription is easy. Just go to “Publicize” and “Email Subscriptions” in the FeedBurner dashboard to activate it.
2. Be Active on Twitter and Facebook
When I started blogging several years ago Digg was the social media site that almost every blogger was targeting for traffic. In recent years Facebook and Twitter have raced ahead of sites like Digg in terms of their potential for sending traffic to a blog.
In order to get the most out of Twitter and Facebook you’ll need to be active on those sites and establish a following. Once you have done so, each time you publish a new post you can get some easy exposure by sharing a link with your followers. Hopefully it will get passed around by others, and before you know it you can reach hundreds and even thousands of people consistently.
3. Submit to Other Social Media Sites
Although social news and voting sites aren’t as popular as they were a few years ago, there is still an audience waiting to be reached. In addition to major sites like Digg and Reddit, niche social media sites can also be highly effective for getting exposure to a targeted audience. For those of you who blog in the design niche, we’re fortunate to have a number of sites like DZone, Design Bump, Design Float and The Web Blend, among others.
4. Put Relevant Buttons on Your Posts
Some bloggers cover their posts in voting buttons, badges, and widgets, and others use none at all. From my experience voting buttons can be effective if they are used in moderation. I’ve never seen it work very well to have buttons for every social media site imaginable, but having a couple buttons may encourage readers to share or vote. Currently Twitter, Facebook and Google +1 buttons are the most common. Simply including those buttons at the beginning or end of your posts may help to get you some extra exposure with each new post.
5. Build a Network
One of the most critical aspects of building a successful blog is the need to establish a strong network. Every successful blogger is well-connected to others in the industry, and so it should be a priority for you to do the same if you want to also achieve that success.
In terms of getting exposure to your posts, having a network can help in a few specific ways. First, many bloggers share tweets, likes, and votes with their friends. So when one of your friends has a new post you may get an email requesting a tweet or votes, and you may be able to make a similar request when you have a post that you want to promote. Also, a network can help to attract more links to your blog, open up guest posting opportunities, and provide other possibilities for promotion and collaboration.
6. Offer an Email Newsletter
In the first point we looked at the need to offer an email subscription to your blog in addition to just the RSS feed. Aside from your blog posts that will go out to email subscribers, building a separate mailing list for a newsletter can provide even more exposure. A growing number of bloggers are now offering newsletters as a way to stay in touch with readers, and of course the newsletter presents another opportunity for you to get your blog posts in front of your audience. Most bloggers link to their recent posts somewhere in the newsletter so subscribers can quickly see what has been published recently.
7. Practice Writing Compelling Headlines
If you want your posts to be shared more on social media, to be linked to by more bloggers, and to be read by a higher percentage of subscribers and visitors, headlines are critical. Compelling headlines that get the attention of your audience will have a drastic impact on the amount of exposure that the posts receive.
Writing effective headlines is something that doesn’t come naturally to most of us, but it is worth the effort to learn more about how to do it. Copyblogger has an excellent resource, How to Write Magnetic Headlines.
8. Use Keywords in Titles
Page titles are one of the most significant on-page factors in determining search engine rankings, and therefore having keywords in your titles can help to improve the amount of exposure that your posts receive on an on-going basis. In most cases the blog post title will also serve as the page title, but you can use also a WordPress plugin like All-in-One SEO to have more control over your page titles.
Before you publish a post give some consideration to what people will be searching for, and even do some basic keyword research if necessary. The Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a free resource that will show how many people are searching for various phrases.
9. Link to Posts Internally
One easy way to get more exposure for posts in your archives is to add links to them from your new posts. If you’ve been blogging for any length of time you probably have a wealth of information built up on your blog. These old posts probably aren’t getting much traffic unless they are ranking well in search engines, but by including links to relevant posts you can increase the exposure to these old posts while helping your readers at the same time.
Get in the habit of reading through your posts before publishing just to look for opportunities to link to posts in your archives. Of course, you don’t want to go overboard and have posts that are completely filled with links, but readers will appreciate when you link to something that is related so they can get more information if they choose.
10. List Related Posts at the End or Beginning of Posts
Related posts lists are used by many bloggers and in some cases they can be effective at helping visitors find other content that they may be interested in. For WordPress users there are a number of plugins to choose from that will get the job done, or you always have the option of manually creating the list of related posts. Doing it manually will take a few extra minutes but it gives you more control to promote the posts of your choice, rather than relying on an automated process to determine which posts to promote.
11. Exchange Links
Link exchanges can be a sensitive topic. I’m not suggesting that you go out and get hundreds of link exchange partners for your blogroll. What I have seen to be more effective is a limited use of link exchanges to build links for specific posts.
A lot of bloggers publish weekly or monthly roundups that include links to posts of interest from other blogs. If you currently do this, why not contact other bloggers about the possibility of exchanging links in these types of posts? Focus only on blogs that produce quality content and those that regularly publish similar types of link posts. If you’ll link to each other you’ll both get some added exposure.
Another option with the same basic concept is to exchange tweets. So if you have a friend that blogs on a similar topic you can each send out a tweet with a link to the other’s most recent post.
12. Create a Series of Posts with Other Bloggers
This is an idea that I used in the early months of this blog’s existence and it worked out pretty well. The idea is to get a small group of bloggers together and agree to each publish a post on a specific topic so that each post will compliment or build on each other. Then each post will link to the others in the series, building more exposure for each. So if you have a group of 5 bloggers participating in the series each blogger will publish a post on his or her own blog and link to the other 4 posts in the series (or add the links once the other posts have been published). This will give you a link from 4 other blogs and instant exposure to their audience. If the posts are published at separate times it also creates anticipation for those that come later in the series.
13. Build Links to Specific Posts
When bloggers look at the subject of link building they usually consider social media marketing for specific posts, or building links from other blogs to their front page. Social media is certainly an effective way to gain exposure for your posts, but your other link building efforts don’t have to be limited to getting links to your front page.
If you have posts in your archives that have potential to draw significant traffic or to have a big impact on readers, consider making an effort to build some links to these old posts. If you have an existing network of blogging friends in the niche you may be able to find some related posts on their blogs and ask them to consider adding a link to your post. You could also go back through your own archives and look for places to include links to your key posts. Another option is sharing links to older, but important, posts via social media.
14. List Popular Posts in Your Sidebar
Many blogs link to their most significant content in the sidebar, and this can be an easy way to get more exposure for certain posts. For example, our sidebar includes links to our posts Learn Web Design, Learn Photoshop, Learn Illustrator, and Learn Photo Editing because they are good starting points for visitors who arrive at our blog looking for educational information. When new visitors arrive at your blog it can be helpful to them to find some of your best content or a starting point from your sidebar.
15. Write for Other Blogs
Writing guest posts for other blogs is often recommended because it is a great way to build your name recognition and to get links to your own blog or website through the author bio. In addition to linking to your blog’s front page in the bio, depending on the post you may have opportunities to link to other posts on your blog in the body of your guest post. Of course, this should only be done in situations where you are linking to highly relevant content that enhances the usefulness of your guest post, but in the right situation it can be a great way to get more exposure for a specific post on your blog.
16. Find Unique Topics and Post Ideas
A significant challenge that bloggers face when trying to increase exposure is simply getting people to care about your content. If you’re blogging in a crowded niche this will be even more of a challenge. If you’re able to come up with unique ideas for your posts and stand out from other bloggers it will be that much easier to grab the attention of your readers and visitors. Having this type of content will make all of your other efforts easier as well. For example, people like to share unique and interesting content, so once it gets a little bit of momentum with social media other people will do most of the work for you.
17. Keep Key Posts Updated
Most likely you have certain posts on your blog that tend to draw the most pageviews month after month. If you have been blogging for a while and if your site is fairly well established with search engines, you will almost certainly have posts that are a key to your traffic numbers on an on-going basis.
Most bloggers don’t update posts after they have been published, but by keeping your key posts up to date you will increase their usefulness. Pages that you keep up to date provide you with opportunities to share them once again. For example, if you have a post on your blog that is one year old but consistently brings in a lot of new visitors to your site, consider updating it (depending on the nature of the content). After it’s been updated you can share a link on Twitter and Facebook and mention that it has been updated. Since you know that the post topic is already in demand it’s likely to be of interest to a number of your followers.
What’s Your Experience?
What methods do you use to increase exposure to your blog posts? Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject with our readers by leaving a comment.
For more on blogging please see:
- 10 Ways to Extend Your Blog
- 5 Common Blogging Problems and How to Overcome Them
- 7 Essential Things All Bloggers Should Be Doing
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