Blogging typically starts out as a hobby for most amateur (or not so amateur) writers, but in many cases, as blogs begin to grow and develop a larger than expected audience, blog owners start to see the value in investing more and more time into their blogs. In many cases, businesses even end up being built around popular blogs and vice versa small businesses have created international followings through blogs offering expertise (i.e. Buffer).
For every successful blog though there are ten blogs that didn’t manage to scale and grow beyond their small audience. Why? Well, it’s often not for lack of effort but lack of focus when it comes to choosing the right paths, tools and tactics when it comes to marketing, content production and growth enablement. So here are nine things you should focus on doing to break through that growth barrier and successfully scale a blog.
1. Improve your writing skills
Writing skills are often overlooked when it comes to thinking about growing a blog but it is an important factor if you want to expand your audience, for several reasons:
- Grammar and spelling mistakes annoy readers, in many cases causing them to leave a post immediately and in some cases never return to a blog (investing time in properly editing and improving your literacy skills will help to keep people reading and keep them coming back).
- Style and progression of your writing is key to establishing yourself as an authority in your given blogging area (as your blog grows your readers will expect new and better insights and content, investing in developing a solid writing style will pay a dividend in making you a blogging authority which readers return to).
There are tons of courses on places like Udemy, Youtube and many more platforms you can access from world-class writers and bloggers on every aspect of writing. If you need some help with spelling or grammar, there are also a bunch of more developed tools to improve your writing skills (beyond Microsoft word).
2. Send a newsletter and keep sending it
Building up a mailing list of readers who are interested in your content and regularly engaging this audience via newsletters (emails) is a great way to build a loyal following of readers who keep coming back.
You can quickly set up a template on a platform like MailChimp or Sendgrid and regularly email subscribers exciting content and commentary on a particular area. Remember, the key with newsletters and building an audience via email is relevance and consistency, meaning you always want to be providing them relevant content and engaging with them on a frequent basis (this can be daily, weekly or monthly depending on your niche and level of content production).
3. Search engine optimise (SEO) your content
SEO is all about tuning your content, so the search engines (like Google and Bing) can easily find it, index it and rank it for relevant search terms. SEO is a vast area, but bloggers who are looking to grow their blogs should expect to become fairly SEO fluent and spend some serious time optimising content. Key areas you should focus on for on-page SEO include correct markups for headlines, meta titles and descriptions, internal/external linking and readability. If you’re starting a new blog, you should also consider using a blog name generator to come up with names that are unique, that will stand out in the search engines and are not overcrowded in search.
4. Promote your content in relevant conversations
Often one of the best ways to get an interested audience (other than search engines or social media) is to find people who are asking questions about the topics you are writing about. Then engage with this audience by giving answers to their questions and providing a link to your site (or an exact post you’ve written if it answers their question).
You can find people asking relevant questions to your niche by checking out Quora or googling for comments/queries related to your content topic.
5. Take to Twitter, Facebook and the social media sphere
Being relentless and being your biggest promoter on social media is critical to scaling a blog. If you write a new piece of content make sure you have profiles on relevant social media platforms and are promoting your content or carrying out social media marketing campaigns. This will help to grow your audience across social media and create a group of interested readers whom you can reach out to again and again.
You should also actively look to engage with large influencers in your area on social media; this can help you to grow your following as you get promoted through their channels if they engage (this could be done by asking questions or sending links to compelling content).
6. Build links and your site’s authority
When it comes to search engine rankings having a website with authority and many high-value links coming in from trusted sources is critical to any success. Link building is a tedious process but necessary if you want to build relevant links into your blog, you’re going to need to carry out much outreach via email, comment and social to reach relevant sites in your area. It’s still the most fundamental factor in how Google and other search engines rank your content and thus control the number of readers you’ll get, therefore it’s worth investing time in.
7. Syndicate your content
It’s an old concept even when it comes to digital but having other large blogs feature your content and link back to your original blog piece can generate much traffic (readership) and also the added benefit of authority in the form of links for your site.
Although the focus of Google and others is on unique content generation, syndication, if done correctly, can offer you a way to reach a much broader audience and in turn grow your blog.
8. Convert your written content into video content
As the video blogging universe continues to explode, so has the demand for content in video format especially for a younger audience. Given this, if your generating written content, it’s worth considering converting your content into video via a platform or by learning a bit of editing (if your blog has a “how to” focus this is an absolute must).
9. Invest in equipment
Finally, when it comes to blogging if you’re serious about the growth, you need to invest in the right equipment, why? Because having the correct number of screens can increase your productivity massively, having the right light can affect your focus, having the proper keyboard will affect your word output per hour and using an ergonomic mouse can save you from debilitating and nasty repetitive strain injuries.
Particularly if you’re building a blog to build a business around it or vice versa, it’s worth investing in the right and best equipment from the start.