“Good things take time,” as someone once said. And it’s true — even in this era of disposable products and Pokemon Go.
I am a content writer. And part of what I do is write blog posts. So, as you might expect, I am often asked for advice about blogging. And that’s fine; I like to help.
A question I'm often asked relates to blog traffic. Or, more accurately, the lack of it.
Everyone wants people to read their blog, which is no easy feat.
So, what does it take to cultivate a community of readers?
Here's what I think.
The word quality has become something of a cliché. What does it mean? Well, when it comes to blogging, I reckon it means two things:
- Well-written — this is obvious. Of course you should aim to get spelling, punctuation and grammar right. This makes posts easier to read, more enjoyable and better understood. It’s not the main element, though.
- Add value — this is where most amateur bloggers let themselves down. Blog writing is no longer about producing 'vanilla' content just for search engines. Instead, it is about answering questions, informing and entertaining real-life readers.
What I’m saying is this: How can you expect to get readers if your blog posts are dull, difficult to read and don’t add value?
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Bloggers don’t function well in isolation. They must be part of a community. What communities are you part of? In my case, I am active on Linkedin. I also attend regular networking events.
Why are communities important? Well, through them you can promote your blog. After all, the chances are that those within your community will care about what you have to say.
Here’s how I promote through my communities:
- Social media — when I publish a new post, I copy the URL and paste it into the status update on Linkedin. I also promote my post on Twitter. The goal is to let people know I have written something new and drive them to my website to read.
- Subscriptions — I ask readers to subscribe to my blog. So, whenever I publish a new post, they are the first to know.
- Email — I have a list of prospects whom I feel may be interested in what I write. So, I email them a link to my new post. Don't over do this, though. More than once a month can be annoying.
- Networking — when I meet people at networking events, I suggest they read my blog to find out more about what I do.
Google loves fresh content; it is a good indicator that your website is relevant. So, the more often you publish, the better. Most bloggers publish anywhere from once a week to once a month. As a rule of thumb, the least often you publish, the longer and more informative your posts should be.
Regardless of how often you blog, be consistent. This way your readers know what to expect.
Building a community and accumulating a body of quality blog posts takes time. So, be patient; don't expect things to happen straight away. In reality, it will probably take several months to gain traction. As I said at the beginning, good things take time.