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You’ve officially started your website, but what do you do next? How do you get people on your website and listening to what you have to say?
If you want people to read your blog, you’ll need invest time in learning how to grow your blog. You can write to your heart’s content, but if you don’t learn the ins and outs of marketing, SEO, and how to write winning content, then you won’t be successful.
In this post, let’s talk about 9 things you must do to grow your blog.
*This blog post is a lesson from our free course, How to Start and Grow Your First Blog. Join the free five-day course here!
1. Publish high-quality content.
The first 50 blogs I ever wrote are no longer on the internet. I’ve deleted them from the web to never be found again. Why? Because they were TERRIBLE.
In addition to the fact that I was 21 and wrote like I was writing a text message, I had no focus. I blabbed about the most random topics and was shocked that no one read my totally insightful thoughts.
Your blog posts should be more than just whatever’s on your mind on a particular day. It should be useful, informative, and inspiring. Readers should walk away having learned something new and feel equipped to take action.
One of our most popular blog posts, 21 Questions Everyone Asks Us About Living in an RV, is a good example of this. This post is over 3,000 words and covers the most common questions people ask us about RV life.
We format this post by looking at the questions people consistently ask us. (I just used this same method to write my book, A Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV).
Your blog posts should have a clear focus (in this example, living in an RV) and should have a clear takeaway (the answers to those 21 questions). Blog posts can also be stories or anecdotes and do not always have to be a clear “You’re going to learn these 21 things.” But each post should have a clear purpose that ties into the theme of your website or brand.
As you’re thinking of your blog post topics, keep a running list of the most common questions people ask you about your niche. This will be a great resource for developing future content and ensure that you’re serving your audience to the best of your abilities.
2. Write good titles.
You’ve written amazing content that will surely change people’s lives…but if your title sucks, no will ever click it.
Titles should be informative, intriguing, and make the reader think “Hm, I really should read that. For reference, here are two blog titles I clicked on today:
How to create sponsored content and reinforce trust in your brand
Changing button colors won’t save your business
The first one cuts straight to the point: I know I’m going to learn about writing sponsored content without sounding spammy.
The second one goes for intrigue (and hits at something many bloggers and entrepreneurs are guilty of wasting time worrying about). If changing my colors isn’t going to help me get more clicks, what will?! I have to know.
Scroll through your Facebook feed or Twitter feed and look at what ads or sponsored posts jump out at you. This is a great way to get ideas for what types of titles perform well. Take this one by my friend Michelle:
Since I’m a blogger, I know increasing my affiliate income is important and Michelle is going to give me 10 easy tips! She got me to click instantly.
Learning how to write good titles is super important for getting traffic to your site. Okay all 9 things on this list are super important, but this one especially! For more examples and tips for writing better titles, check out this article by Copyblogger. I recommend creating a list of title ideas you get while reading through the Copyblogger article. One of the best ways to prevent writer’s block or feeling a lack of direction is to have a running list of possible blog posts!
3. Share your posts online.
I know, the horror! Five years later and I still get nervous sharing my blog posts.
But if you want people to read your stuff, you’ve got to share it! Publicly and often.
This means posting links on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and of course emailing all your posts to your email list.
You have spent hours learning about blogging and publishing your content. Now’s the time to share it!
4. Make your content shareable.
Of course, you don’t want to be the only person sharing your posts. You want your readers to share them too! That means using a (free) social sharing plugin to make it easy. We use two: Mash Share and Sumo.
I like using both because you really can’t over-encourage people to share your posts!
In fact, you SHOULD try to over-encourage shares by adding text to the beginning or end of your posts and emails that says “If you liked this post, why don’t you share it with friends?” The more shares, the more traffic to your site, the more your blog can grow!
5. Make friends with other bloggers.
No one understands the stress and work of starting your first blog like your fellow bloggers. Make friends with a few fellow bloggers to help encourage you as you start your blog.
Your fellow bloggers can give you tips on growing your blog, creating your first incentive, or even let you guest blog on their site to help grow your reach. Many of our RV Entrepreneur Summit attendees have created mastermind groups to create accountability and collaboration for their blogs.
We’ve met most of our blogging community through our Facebook group here. Instagram, Twitter, and commenting on blogs you love are other great ways to connect with others.
6. Post regularly!
The more you post, the faster you’ll grow your blog. In fact, many successful bloggers start by posting every day!
When you’re starting out, I’d recommend writing a minimum of two posts per week. On any given week, we post 2-5 pieces of a content on HeathandAlyssa.com.
All posts should be 500 words at the absolute minimum and include at least one photo. 500 words may sound daunting, but I assure you that you can do it! If you want to grow your blog quickly, challenge yourself to post 500-1000 word blogs every day for one whole month.
I did this once during my first year of blogging and my traffic that month was INSANE. Plus, I learned a lot, refined my writing, and could easily glean what posts did well since I was posting content regularly. (People loved my day-to-day life stories from the RV best, and that’s what I still write about today, 3+ years later!) This will build your writing habit and make you more comfortable with sharing your thoughts with friends, family, and total strangers.
The best way to stay on track with posts is to keep a content calendar. You can download our content calendar template as part of our free course on How to Start and Grow Your First Blog.
7. Create and share pinnable images.
A sample pinnable image from our website
I mentioned earlier that you should always share your posts. One place where you must start sharing your posts is Pinterest. Sharing on Pinterest is a little more complicated than just copy and pasting the link or clicking the “Share” button. You need to create pinnable images.
You can use the Pinterest template at Canva.com (free) to create your first pin. Images should be vertical, bright, and colorful. Canva has templates as well as royalty-free images to help you get started. Since we started using Pinterest six months ago, it now refers 1,000 visitors a week to our blog.
For more on Pinterest, listen to our podcast episode all about Pinterest and download our free Pinterest Starter Guide to walk you through the ins-and-outs of starting your Pinterest.
8. Take better photos.
Unless you’re a photographer, there’s a good chance you don’t have great photos for your blog. The better your photos, the more shareable your posts will be.
You can always use stock photos, but real photos are more authentic and give your readers a better sense of who you are. We use our own photos 99% of the time. And while we aren’t the best photographers, our photos improve year over year. We’ve taken time to invest in learning more about photography each year.
We mostly do this by watching Youtube videos (free) or taking free photography courses on Creative Live. Creative Live is an online school offering courses in creative arts, including photography, video, graphic design, and more. It’s my go-to when I want to learn more about photography or videography mostly because they have a ton of free courses available.
Taking better photos will make you look more professional and will get you more clicks from sites like Pinterest and Facebook where images rule content. Take a free course or use Youtube to up your photography skills. If you’re looking for a new camera, you can peek at our film kit here.
9. Learn SEO
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a big confusing mess.
You’ve likely heard this term a couple times, but to be clear: SEO is the process of making sure your website ranks with major search engines, like Google or Bing.
This happens through setting keywords, writing good titles, posting regularly, a few other good habits.
Once you learn SEO and optimize all your blog posts, you can start getting organic search traffic to your site. I was always nervous about learning SEO because it sounds highly technical, but I assure you, it isn’t! If I can figure it out, you can—trust me! We use the (free) Yoast SEO plugin on our website, which makes SEO a million times easier.
To help you learn the ins and outs of SEO, here are a few blogs you should read by my friend Jeff:
The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization (for Humans)
SEO Basics for Bloggers & Beginners (But Not Bots)
12 Important SEO Tips for Your Website
If you already know the basics of SEO, I highly recommend this book by fellow RVer and friend Teresa on 5 No-Cost Ways to Boost Your SEO.
Those are the first nine things you’ll need to master to grow your blog. Then you can move onto more complex strategies like backlinking, guest blogging, and affiliate marketing. Start with these nine, and watch your traffic grow!
Our Top Plugins and Apps for Growing Your Blog
How Much Money Can You Make Blogging? Our 2017 Numbers and Strategies
Came for the tips (I’m working on my blog big-time). Didn’t realize I’d get a mention – thanks, Alyssa!
Just wanted to point out something about 5 No-Cost Ways to Boost Your SEO. It is actually very basic. I do try to explain anything important but mostly it’s a “go here, add this, change that” kind of manual.
Your book is the first resource I’ve found that both totally explains SEO and shares exactly how to execute and optimize your posts. Definitely great for beginners!
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