Congratulations! You started a blog! So now what….?
If you are like many new bloggers out there, you may be under the impression that “if you build it, they will come“. After all, you’ve worked hard to produce your content. Why wouldn’t people be reading, sharing and commenting in droves?
Well, not so fast. Let me put this in perspective for you.
The world wide web is a HUGE place! There are millions of people online everyday. And the sites and blogs they visit and read all have one very critical thing in common. People know they exist. Starting a new blog is very much like giving birth. You labor for many hours, experience many growth pains, and put in a huge amount of effort to give it a start in life. Once it’s started, you nurture it and baby it and give it lots of attention. Eventually, if you do it right, it grows up and, in a way, takes on a life of it’s own.
As a new blogger, your biggest hurdle will be letting people know you exist. And not only do you need to tell them you exist, you have to prove to them again and again that you will consistently give them something to read and something they can use. That you will give them a reason to come back. After all, it’s one thing to get them there, another thing entirely to get them to return.
SO WHAT’S A NEW BLOGGER TO DO?
These days, social media is a blogger’s best friend. Please do not take social media lightly. I have been blogging for 5 years this month and I can tell you that actual blogging is a very small part of what I do in my day. Marketing will be at the top of your to-do list for many years to come if you want to build your blog, regardless of whether you are doing it for money or not. You have to scream from the rooftops that you are there and that people should come check you out. And even then, the majority of people won’t hear you. So you have to “scream” continuously until people start to pay attention. I call it the “Marketing Banshie” because once you start screaming about your presence, you’ll never be able to stop as long as you want to continue to grow your blog. Marketing is your life’s blood as a blogger. Otherwise, you’ll have to settle for little to no traffic.
SO WHAT DO I MEAN BY “SCREAMING”?
Please understand that as a career, blogging is a desk job with long hours. That’s just the reality. You may eventually get to do some cool things and visit some awesome places because you blog, but that’s only because you first put in many, many hours behind that desk of yours. So make sure you have a comfy chair!
When I say “scream about your presence”, I am not referring to walking up to your neighbor and screaming in their ear (although some folks might like that particular idea).
No, what I’m talking about is promoting your blog constantly and consistently in a way that your readers will appreciate.
Does that mean that if you have a sale on an ebook you wrote that you should post that sale on Facebook 10 times per day? Absolutely not! (That’s a fast way to get your page shut down as well!) What I’m talking about is giving readers, both new and current, a friendly and consistent message. But make no mistake, you will feel like you are endlessly screaming into the vast, marketing universe. And often, you will feel like nobody hears you.
KNOW (OR GET TO KNOW) YOUR AUDIENCE!
Utilize your social media accounts, but don’t post the same thing on every account. If somebody follows you on both Twitter and Facebook, believe me, they don’t want to read the same post in both places. I learned that one long ago. Each social media platform will want a different message. But that doesn’t mean you have to generate new ads constantly. Here are some examples.
“My new restaurant ebook is on sale for 20% off! Interested? Check it out here: <link>”
If you’ve ever dreamed of opening your own restaurant, then this is the ebook for you! Find out if you’re meant to be a restaurant owner with my simple, 3 step plan and quiz. I’m even offering a Readers-Only discount of 20% for today only! <link>”
Image of your ebook and a description that says, “20% off! Find out if owning a restaurant is for you!”
See how you are delivering the same message three different ways? You have to know your audience and figure out the best way to present your offer to them on each platform.
All that being said, you can’t post a sales pitch every 20 seconds. Social media is about connections and being…… social! Get to know people! Chat with them! Laugh with them! Cry with them! Connect with them! There is nothing worse than a social media account owner who isn’t social. I mean, what’s the point of having the account if you aren’t going to talk to people and answer questions? There is simply no better way to position yourself as the person to come to with questions on your niche. So get social! But do it correctly and appropriately, following each platform’s user guidelines.
So no, people will not flock to your blog the moment you open it. It just isn’t going to happen unless you are already well known in some other way. Take Gwenyth Paltrow for example. I’m not crazy about her, but a celebrity of her caliber starting her own blog/web site? Ummm…. ya. People are going to check that out.
But for the rest of us common folk, we have to build our traffic the ol’ fashioned way. Through time and hard work. It’s not easy, but when your numbers start to grow, you’ll see it’s worth it.
There are a few methods you can use to start getting your name out there. Some I used when I just started, and some I’ve only read about, but they make great sense.
Commenting on other blogs is a great idea and will definitely help you…. a little. However, if are comment 347 out of 2000, you can forget getting any real benefit from that. In order for this to work, you need to be one of the first 2 or 3 comments. Not only that, you absolutely MUST contribute to the conversation. You can’t stop by and say, “Hey. Great article”. I don’t know too many food bloggers worth their own salt that will actually publish a comment like that. They will usually go in the trash.
Also, please, please, please!!!! Do NOT put your url or other links in the actual comment you are leaving. Simply add your name, email and web site in the required boxes and leave the comment area for comments. Not promotions. Putting links in a comment in that way is often flagged as spam. And if it’s not, it will probably end up in the trash anyway because the blogger thinks it’s spam.
So the moral of the story is, the early bird gets the worm. But only if he/she contributes to the conversation with a quality comment.
One fantastic way to find new readers is to join a forum on the niche you blog about. So, following my example above, if you are selling an ebook on opening a restaurant and you also happen to have a blog that helps new restaurant owners, then you need to find a forum or two that deals with restaurant owners. Forums allow you to have your blog information next to your comment (most of them anyway), and if you become active and *helpful* to the members there, trust me. Those members will click your link!
SUBMIT YOUR SITEMAP TO GOOGLE!
If you haven’t done this already, you need to. Submitting a site map is a great way to get google to index your site. That means, that when people search for something similar, your site will actually show up in some search results. Grant it, there are other factors involved, but it’s a start and it puts you on the proverbial google map.
IN THE END
The truth is, I grew my other blog from no readers to about 1.5 million page views per month. But it also took me 5 years of daily, hard work and long hours to achieve that. It didn’t just happen. I didn’t get lucky and hit the traffic jackpot.
Along the way, I was grateful for every single new reader I got. I was thrilled when I went from 1 subscriber to 2. It may have only been 2 subscribers, but it was 2 more than I had when I started. Of course I wanted more, but I appreciated what I had too. I think that helped to take the edge off of wanting more.
I took the time to comment on other blogs. I got the SEO right after much trial and error. I built up a core group of blog posts that I could expand off of and refer people to. I paid attention to reader questions and turned them into blog posts. After all, if one person is wondering, chances are there are 50 more people out there wondering the same thing. They just haven’t asked yet.
Please also realize that while your blog is your space, you also have to take your readers into account. What they want and what they will return for is something you have to continuously give them. There are a million blogs out there. So if you want people to pick yours over somebody else’s, you have to give them something that other blogs are not giving them. YOU! But you have to give them that in a way they can use. People use recipes. I’m convinced that is one of the reasons my blog has grown so much. I consistently post recipes. That is the majority of what you will find on my blog. People use them, they talk about them, they come back to print them for friends and family. A recipe blog is something people can actually use on a daily basis. So keep them interested, and keep them coming back with more recipes! Let their questions become supplemental and follow-up posts to fill out your blog’s content a little more. In the end, you’ll have grown a huge resource.
Remember that word: Resource.
If you want to make money at this, you have to build a resource for people. Not just a blog that revolves around you and what you ate for breakfast. Make your blog useable and reliable, and your traffic will inevitably grow.
And above all else, it’s a process of passion. You have to want to do this as much for 1 reader, as you would for 1 million readers. You simply have to love it.
Here are some helpful article I found that will help you further on this subject.