The other day I was on Pat Flynn’s blog Smart Passive Income site ogling over that
tiny GIANT number in the top corner of his blog. I absolutely adore his site and he is one of the most valuable bloggers I follow. Between him and Fizzle, I am inspired on a daily basis! Anyway, I was listening to his podcast on How to be everywhere and I just sat there with my jaw on the floor listening so intently sucking up all of the info I could.
Let’s take a second and do a little homework. Grab a paper and pen. I want you to write down all of the ways you promote your blog. Anything you do to grow your blog’s reach. IE. social media, link parties…. make a list real quick before we continue.
Do you have things on your list that I didn’t add? I hope so because I missed a few things…ok TONS of things!
If you just stick to your blog you’re going to limit your reach – Pat Flynn
When Pat said that I was struck with a thought. That is so true! If I am only promoting to MY blog and MY social media networks then I am limiting my reach. I am not going to gain more followers and I will come to a stand still with growth. So what did I do? Research, of course! And here is where the fun starts! Are you ready!? This post is jam packed..and LONG so bare with me!
Let’s begin with these few things first…
Do you know that you only have 7 seconds to hold someone’s attention when they first come to your blog! That is like 1, 2,3,4,5,6,7 like it, hate it, leave, stay…hmmm. My main advice on this is that you need to have direction. You need to tell your readers what you want them to do. Do you want to them sign up on your email list? Do you want them to enroll in a course, do you want them to read a specific post? Show them what you want by making it front and center and making sure your colors, text, sidebar are all cohesive.
TIP: Have a “NEW START HERE” section on your menu. The easier you make it for people to figure out what your blog is about the better your chance is that they will stick around.
SO what do I put in my “New Start Here” section? That is up to you really, but think about what you want your readers to do when they get to your site. What is the best content you have that you want to make sure they find?
For me I want them to read my About me section so they get an instant connection to me, then I want to show them what all they will find on my blog. So I may link a few DIY posts, a craft, recipe and blogging post..but walk them through it and help them get a good sense of you and your blog. (plus this will help with page views…bonus!)
Another great thing to do is go to Peek User Testing and get a free test done. They review your blog and give you feedback on things like the first impression, how easy it is to navigate and so on. Now I will say that they might not be 100% great, but it’s a good start to hear someone talking about how they view your blog. Apparently mine is flowery??
You HAVE to make your content so easy to share! If readers have to search for share buttons, you are decreasing your chances that your post will get very far. If you do not have a PIN IT button that pops up on your images…good luck with the Pinterest shares.
The harder you make it for them to share your content the less likely they will, and as a blogger you WANT them to share your shit…it makes it sooo much easier for you to get your content into the world..the more your name/blog shows up the more people will remember you and think you are a great source of content..even if you are new!
Ok with that out of the way lets start talking about how we are going to grow our blogs and extend our reach and back to our list we made.
How to extend your blogs reach…
When we look at our list I am sure the majority of what you wrote what is on my list. Social media sites, link parties, HomeTalk…if you are a DIYer, or if you are a foodie then you may have some food related sites on there as well, emails..and maybe a few others. But what happens when your blog starts to come to a stand still and growth just poops out on you?
One of the most important things we can do to grow our traffic is to grow our blogs reach.
Build your brand and expand. But how do you do it?
Here are some more ideas: (I will discuss each one in detail below)
- Submission sites
- Forums for your niche
- Facebook blogging groups
- Google Communities
- Comment on other blogs
- Guest posting
- Start/join a Tribe
- Link Parties
- Sponsor other blogs
- Reach out to Brands
- Blog Networks
- Email Marketing
Do you utilize Youtube? I have a few videos up and I have a few in the works to post too. Google owns Youtube, so you know it’s good for SEO! Did you know Youtube has over 1 billion users? Holy Guacamole.,.that means if you don’t have at least one video you are missing out on a billion chances for new readers!
Plus you can monetize your videos and the profit loads directly into your AdSense on the 15th of every month.
I will go over a few keys here but go HERE to check out a GIANT list of places I have found and want to share with you!
So what are submission sites exactly and how can they help? Its quite simple really. They are sites that you can submit your blog posts too in hopes that they will feature your post. The best thing is that it does not have to be new content, you submit posts that are already on your site. Most sites ask for photos and descriptions and some only ask for a link and description but it just depends on the site.
Not every site will choose to feature your post and don’t be bummed. Some are really picky and you have to have great photos, great grammar, great content and so on. It just gives your reason to try harder and better yourself.
But when you do get featured…BINGO you will see traffic pour in from those sites. Some more than others of course, but these sites already have a great readership and they are sites that focus on just one niche. So their readers know what to expect and they know that they have to go to your blogs to see the full post. I love these sites because it puts your name in front of tons of readers whether they come over to your blog or not.
stop back next Tuesday for a HUGE list of sites you can submit your content too..and if you use these sites already leave them in the comments so we can find more sites for everyone!
This is one thing I never thought about until I became a member over at Fizzle and started interacting with members in the forums. I found some great people to network with, get ideas from, bounce ideas around with, and just find people like-minded to talk to. But if you aren’t a member at Fizzle (you should be!!) start doing some searching for forums you can join in your niche.
Suggestion: Try one forum at a time. Test the waters for a week or two and see if you are getting what you are putting into it. If not, move on to another one until you find the right fit. Bloggers are busy bees so don’t overload yourself trying to join too many, you won’t be able to put enough effort into them to see the rewards.
Facebook Blogging Groups:
These are an amazing asset to bloggers. There are so many groups to join, too many to list. There are social sharing groups, better headline groups, niche groups, inspiration groups, and the list goes on and on.
Just do me a favor. If you are linking up to them please for the love of god do your part to promote the other bloggers linking up. Like I said above, we are busy all of the time promoting our blogs, writing content, working on back-end stuff…if you put too much on your plate you will end up burning out and if you are on these groups and leaving links and not promoting the other bloggers, you will get a bad rep fast. They notice when people link and run.
Suggestion: Join as many groups as you want. Test 2-3 out for a few weeks and see how well they do for you. Leave groups that are not doing much for you and add new ones to try. Once you find a few groups that you really like, you can dig in and spend time getting to know the other bloggers in the group. It is a great way to network and make close personal friends in the bloggy world. I only have a handful that I love after sorting through the groups.
For me, these are hit or miss. Take the advice I gave you for the Facebook groups and apply it to the communities. I joined a bunch when I started blogging and am thinning them out every week trying to find ones that have active bloggers. You can always start your own and invite bloggers you know and love, same goes for Facebook!!
Comment on other blogs:
Yes, odvi much!? But it is sooo worth the effort. Don’t just say thanks, love it, awesome..you get my point..say something meaningful. Find something in the post that you can talk about in the comments to build the convo. AND remember to click the box to receive email notifications so you can reply back and interact. Remember how I said we are trying to grow our reach so that our name becomes a staple in the minds of EVERYONE…well this is a great way to do it.
Example: Say you leave a comment on my blog. Most everyone who reads my post will see your comment..and your name. If you leave an interesting comment or even add something valuable your chances of them reading your comment goes up. The more they see you’re leaving comments on other blogs, the more likely they are to remember your name and face!
I have been reading a lot about guest posting lately and how it is not what it use to be. How you don’t get much traffic from them and so on. BUT if you are trying to grow your reach, then guest posting is still a gold mind in my eyes. You are getting your name out there and in front of other audiences. Your best bet is to try to do more than one guest post on the same blog to build up your reputation with the readers. It will increase the chances that they click over to your blog.
Start or join a Tribe:
Maybe you have heard of this, or maybe not. But a tribe is a group of like-minded people in your niche that you can talk to and network with. You share each others content, talk about the struggle of blogging, if anything awesome happens to you, bounce ideas, get personal..you name it. They are like your online besties and it is SO nice to have the support of online gals going through the same things in life.
So think of blogs you admire that are in the same boat as you..if your new look for new bloggers, if you have been around the block for a while then find others in that same situation. It doesn’t have to be people exactly the same boat as you, but it really helps because you learn with each other as you grow your blogs.
Link parties can be a gold mind for new followers for your blog. Find a way to keep track of where you link up and what times the parties start. You can stop by this page..and see a list of parties I attend and I tried to list times with them too. If you have a party feel free to add it to the list.
When you go to a link party there are a few things you need to do to ensure your reach is growing. Read the post..the rules, the intro..EVERYTHING. Leave the right amount of links or the right type if it is a theme party. THEN leave a thoughtful comment. The reason I am telling you to read everything is because the host may have some important info they are sharing and your comment could be really thoughtful if you know what’s going on.
After you leave your comment, visit a few links and leave comments on their blogs. I love letting them know you stopped from a certain party. The hosts of that party will notice, the blogger you’re giving some love to will notice and in the end YOU and that party will get attention! Us hosts love when we see people sharing info about our parties!
Sponsor other Blogs:
This is a super easy way to get more exposure to your blog and your name. A lot of blogs offer some great pricing on side bars..but don’t stop there. Look for blogs who do a lot for your money. After all it’s about growing your reach and not just your traffic. If you check out my advertising page you will get an idea of what to expect from blogs you sponsor.
Look for a chance to guest post, or have your blog info shared to their readers. Look to see if they promote you socially and so on. If you have a specific way you want to be promoted on their blog but don’t see the option, feel free to ask. 9 out of 10 bloggers will be willing to make adjustments so that you are both satisfied.
Reach out to brands:
As you will read on most blogs, be picky with who you work with. Make sure you BOTH get what you are looking for out of the arrangement. Honestly, I have just started working on this area because the first year of my blogging was focused on learning as much as I can and getting posts up and so on. BUT I have a great book for you that has opened my eyes on working with brands.
It discusses how to engage them, what to do when you hook one, how to figure out what to charge, contract info…seriously everything you wanted to know and then some! I highly suggest checking it out. It’s not a long book, but it’s packed with great content and works as an amazing reference to keep in your back pocket!
Check out Bloggers & Brands HERE
These are great to be a part of. But like I said pick a few and stick with them so you get well known inside the group. There are a ton out there like Blog Her, SITSGirls, Weave Made and SOO much more. Just do a google/Pinterest search and tons will pop up. I signed up for a TON of them when I first started blogging but now I only use a few of them. Find ones that you can share your content with, have blogging opps for you, and make friends!
Now that you did all of this work and figured out a way to brand yourself and BE EVERYWHERE we need to keep the newbies you just brought to your site. This is where setting up an email system is so important. I suggest making your “subscribe to email” info super easy to find and on a few different spots on your site.
Hint hint..where is a dang down arrow to make you look below..there should be a key on my board for that!
Anyway, this is one area I would spend some time on. You can offer something for signing up, or you can just be awesome and get people to WANT to sign up all on their own. Either way, make it epic so they stick around. If social media goes to shit like Facebook is slowly doing for bloggers, then your email marketing is the one thing you will be able to rely on when all else fails. I don’t care if you are two days into blogging, get an email list started!
I use MailChimp and I love it. It’s free up to 2000 subscribers and you can send 12,000 emails a month..then you can get a paid plan when you grow out of it, but for now this is where I would sign up at. They have a ton of options and there are hundreds of blog posts on customizing links and so on. I also use the widget to have my email bar at the top of my site.
UPDATE: Recently I switched to Convertkit to help make email drip easier and cheaper plus they give you landing pages with their service! I still say go with MailChimp when you are just starting out.
I just gave you a boat load of information to swallow and I hope you made it through it in one piece. PIN IT so you can come back to it later when you need to get a refresher.
Growing your blog’s traffic is amazing, but growing your reach is what can really make your traffic take off. I know this first hand!! Start with one option and then add more as you get use to using them. DO NOT TRY TO DO ALL OF THESE AT ONE TIME! I also know this first hand. I am a go getter and I have zero patience but overloading it can hurt you in the long run.
I highly suggest you check out these other blogging resources HERE. CoSchedule is a life saver when it comes to promoting your posts and setting up an editorial calendar…when you are trying to grow your reach you will NEED a schedule for sure!
BONUS TIP: By adding your logo or website name to pinnable images…TONS of people see it whether they pin your image or not so make sure you include that on your images!
Check out these other great posts…
Happy Blogging friends!