Everyone wants readers for their blog. Not everyone realises that it takes a good deal of effort. The key to grow your blog audience and turn them into loyal followers and readers comes from following certain important strategies.
Editor’s Note: Today, I have the pleasure of hosting one of the most prolific and long-term bloggers and brilliant writer and author, Damyanti Biswas.
She explains exactly what she did to grow her audience to 40,000 subscribers and sustain their interest over a decade of blogging. Over to Damyanti.
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Table of Contents
- Information that will give them value
- Information that will get them talking
- Write Good content
- Newsletter for subscribers
- Give away resources and information
- Create emotional resonance
- Have a Consistent Blogging Persona
- Interact with Your Followers
- Visit other blogs and leave comments
- Give support wherever possible
- Take part in the Occasional Blogging Event
- Make it easy for your audience to engage with your posts
- Posts need to be in your voice
- Get guest posting gigs on quality blogs
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Speed and Appearance of Your Site
In my eleven years of blogging I’ve discovered that blog audiences want two things and this is what you need to give them.
Information that will give them value
They would like information that they are searching for.
In an internet awash with articles, they are looking for fresh, useful content–something they can use or put into action, from a person who has knowledge in the subject.
Information that will get them talking
Most bloggers like to weigh in, and share their expertise. They love a good discussion, a safe space where they know their opinions are valued, respected, and protected from trolls.
Emotional resonance is important. If a blog speaks about struggles we all face, audiences react by providing advice, sharing their own struggles. This leads to the creation of a strong blogging community.
For all my blogging life, I have devoted attention to these, so I’ll divide the rest of the article under these two headings.
How to Provide Value on Your Blog
Write Good content
This is the backbone of a blog. If you want to be read, you must respect the time of those who read you, and provide value.
I’m a fiction author, so some of my efforts are to help those who are on the journey of writing. Writing advice is not my forte, so on my blog I interview and host established authors and publishing professionals who share their wisdom. Quality guest posts are a great way to curate good content.
Other author-bloggers share their own expertise, as does Shailaja here, on this blog.
I love her site because it has helped me with blogging-related information, more than once.
Newsletter for subscribers
I also run a writing gazette, where I send out collated resources: writing craft advice, call for submissions, articles on the writing life and building an author platform.
Give away resources and information
Whenever possible, make posts on your blog that lead your readers to good information on the internet.
Besides my newsletter, my effort has always been to post a few blogs a month that provide value in terms of the writing craft.
How to create a Blogging community
Create emotional resonance
This means being vulnerable. In today’s day and age of photoshopped images and lives on the internet, the genuine, the unvarnished, lands a connection.
This may or may not be for you. On my blog for instance, I don’t write about my personal day to day life, but I do share my honest opinions, my ways of thinking, my voice.
None of that is fake. This has led to friendships that are more than a decade old now, because my readers connect with me, and become friends.
Have a Consistent Blogging Persona
“Choose your Niche” is an opt-repeated mantra in the blogging universe. This helps in two ways: it showcases your passion, and it helps the search engines give due importance and placement to your blog.
I must admit I have ignored this excellent advice.
My idea is to connect with readers of fiction, and I’ve chosen to do that–they come to my blog to read me, my writing, my struggles, travels, causes. My blog is an expression of my brand as an author.
Interact with Your Followers
This is big. I’ve often visited blogs where the blogger does not respond to comments. On days I’m overwhelmed, I guess I miss out on a few, but I try to respond as much as I can.
For me, community is conversation, and conversation, community.
Visit other blogs and leave comments
I’m genuinely interested in my readers. I will go back to those who leave likes and comments, and have discovered some great friends that way.
Some days I can only leave a Like, or a social media share, but I try to keep up with as many friends as I can.
Give support wherever possible
In the blogging world, community support is a good way to get to know others, and to strengthen the following of your blog.
Support other bloggers on social media without any expectation of return—share content that is relevant to your platform, but sometimes those that are not entirely relevant, as long as it does not go against your blogging persona.
When you’re a genuine giver, people tend to take notice, and help comes your way even when you don’t ask for it.
Take part in the Occasional Blogging Event
I was one of the co-hosts of the A to Z Blogging Challenge for a few years, and that has created lasting connections in my life.
I run We are the World Monthly Blogfest, and take part in the Insecure Writers Support Group–both have led to close relationships, on blog, and off.
Too many can be detrimental to your search engine ranking, but having a positive community behind you is worth a few group events once in a while.
Make it easy for your audience to engage with your posts
Many bloggers ignore this, at their peril.
Sign out of your blog, and visit it like your audience would–on a desktop, on a mobile, attempt to leave comments when signed out of your blogging platform, and try and share your posts on social media.
When you see your blog the way a visitor does, its shortcomings will become obvious.
No faster way to kill organic reach than have a blog that makes the reader jump through hoops to leave a comment or share a post.
Posts need to be in your voice
Voice is an elusive thing–but it is important. Talk to your audience the way you’d like to be perceived: solemn, funny, indignant, formal, informal.
Of course there will be tonal variation, but unless you’re writing a technical blog (and even then) let some voice creep in.
Get guest posting gigs on quality blogs
Invite guests who can provide value to your audience.
Once your blog is established, you can begin pitching guest posts to other blogs, and also host established bloggers.
This helps in many ways , not the least of which is exposure to a new and wider audience, exchange of knowledge, and building a bigger community.
Search Engine Optimisation
This can be as easy as getting a plugin and following rules, knowing your niche to finding the right keywords. This is an entire universe unto itself, but if you take the time to learn it, it helps increase your reach.
Speed and Appearance of Your Site
If your site does not load fast enough, audiences will click away–we are very used to instant gratification, so anything longer than a few brief seconds will lead to loss of readers.
Same goes for the blog appearance–an established blog will look professional, easy to read, no flashy gifs or images, no strange fonts.
More the white space and the better the sitemap, the longer you can persuade a visitor to stay.
Check your blog today to figure out whether you are doing enough to increase its organic reach—in the long run, it is more effective to have a community of committed followers than thousands of page views without the engagement.
All of this leads me to why organic blogging reach is important, certainly for authors, but also other niche bloggers.
If you have managed to create a blogging community, it supports you in times of need.
My debut literary crime novel You Beneath Your Skin releases on the 17th of September 2019.
The blogging community came together to do a cover reveal, and over the next two months I have many posts lined up on different blogs, so that my book is seen by all audiences.
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Click here to place an order for your copy of ‘You Beneath Your Skin’ in India
ABOUT THE GUEST AUTHOR
Damyanti Biswas lives in Singapore, and works with Delhi’s underprivileged children as part of Project Why, a charity that promotes education and social enhancement in underprivileged communities.
*Featured & pin images courtesy Avantikaa M/Shutterstock