Do you purposely hide the number of social shares on your blog…because there aren’t any?
Is it hard to remember the last time you got a comment that wasn’t spam?
Don’t feel bad about it – you’re just one fish in a very, very large pond.
It’s tough to get bandwidth today. Google tells everyone they need to have fresh, relevant content on their websites in order to get to the top of the search rankings, so hundreds of millions of blog articles are getting published each year.
Why might your blog not be getting the attention you want?
Here are a few possible reasons and what you can do to build your readership:
1. You Don’t Promote Your Blog Enough
Blogs are no longer the novel thing they used to be. 10 years ago you could just throw up a blog and people would be interested simply because they knew it was the new thing to do.
Now, blogs involve tons of hard work. And some of that hard work involves promoting your blog. You can try to rank your site organically in the SERPs, but that can take 2-3 years before you rank well enough to draw an audience.
The best way to promote is by (surprise) guest blogging. You have to hit the A-list blogs too (no simple feat). In just the time span of a few short months, you can have an active, thriving reader base.
If you want to get on the A-list blogs, make sure you have a compelling selection of articles to publish. Then, research people like Danny Iny who learned how to compose e-mail templates to get the best response rate from big-time blog owners. There’s a ton of luck involved in the process too, so don’t be intimidated if your blog doesn’t shoot off like a rocket immediately.
2. Your Content Lacks Originality
It’s easy to compose attractive headlines. Just check out the ones big blogs use, and then use them on your own blog. That will get people to read your posts.
To write content that really knocks your audience’s socks off, make sure you have 1) passion and 2) (ideally) experience in your blog’s subject. Passion motivates you to learn everything there is about your subject and share it with your audience. Experience makes it easier to develop ideas and share very specific insights.
You see, mediocre blogs regurgitate the same ideas other leading blogs offer because most writers develop content by researching the first 3-4 results that appear in the search rankings. (Hint: If you’re starting yet another internet marketing blog, it’s going to be tough to be original.)
So, whatever you choose to write about, make sure you enjoy writing about it A LOT, and be willing to research every minute detail possible to share with your audience.
3. Your Design Isn’t User-Friendly
You don’t have to use a fancy design to get your blog to stand out (although that can help with engagement). Check out SocialTriggers.com, run by Derek Halpern.
That blog has 200,000 subscribers, maybe more, and you’d never use the word “fancy” to describe it. But, it does everything a blog needs to do by:
Making navigation simple
Presenting the content in a clear, compelling way
In terms of using the design to allow for focus on the content, no site is more simplistic and effective than this one. If you’re running a blog, you don’t have to be this simple, but you should:
Make sure it’s responsive and looks good on all devices
Use a font size of 14-16 to accommodate for mobile readers
Have it load as fast as possible (ideally in 1 second, but 2 or less will do)
Avoid using ads excessively
Use graphics and videos to break up the written word where possible
4. You’re Not Learning from Your Existing Audience
So your current audience isn’t exactly massive, but that doesn’t mean you have no data from which you can learn. Assuming you have Google Analytics, you can go into your data and view key metrics like bounce rate, exit rate, and time spent on-page.
That allows you to recognize which content your audience likes and why. So, that could mean you change up the length of your blog articles, the topic, the depth, or you add new types of media to your blog articles to make them more interesting.
Then you can start producing content that fits your reader’s interests even better.
If you have social media, you can also share your own stuff. Watch closely to see which posts people comment on and how often each is shared. Now, you have even more cues to see which content works best for your audience.
5. Your Writing is Too Stilted/Formal
What you really want to do these days when blogging is to write like yourself, just like you are talking to someone standing next to you.
This takes more skill and practice than you think, but it’s a great way to stand out on the web. Don’t be afraid to crack jokes, take controversial stands, or even be a bit edgy.
Once you’ve found your “voice,” as pros call it, continue to refine it to meet your reader’s interests.
One mistake I consistently notice across many newbie bloggers involves the use of long, uninterrupted blocks of text. Usually, the writer uses that to make themselves look smart.
…it doesn’t work!
When in doubt, go casual, uses the word “you” to form a connection with the reader, and you’ll be okay.
6. You’re Not Treating Your Blog Like a Community
Okay, so I’m somewhat guilty of this one! But, the purpose of my blog is to make myself come across as an authority on copy-writing so clients decide I’m the best person to do their copy. So, I don’t look to build relationships with other bloggers quite as much.
But, if you’re looking to grow a community, you have to put a lot of work into developing relationships. Some things you can do to build relationships include:
Inviting other bloggers to guest post on your blog
Linking to blogs you find particularly useful/interesting
Set up an e-mail newsletter (make sure you give your readers something free in exchange for their contact information)
Always be reaching out to guest post on other larger blogs
Ask your existing readers if they would like to contribute to your blog
Sharing the content of other bloggers and websites that you like
So, yeah, if you’re struggling with a small readership and you’re looking to grow yours, follow those tips to get going in the right direction.