Welcome to the LAST installment of this free, on-the-blog series “Blissful Blogging.” This series includes tons of great tips and strategies on how you can create a blog that you can feel happy about, that doesn’t stress you out(!), and that meaningfully connects with others so that you have excellent content, authentic readers, better traffic, and overall happy vibes. Here are our posts in this series —
- PART 1- How blogging can help you live meaningfully
- PART 2 – How to tell stories about your life, work and passions on your blog
- PART 3 – How to use photos, images and creativity in a meaningful way on your blog
- PART 4 - Growing your blog readership authentically and meaningfully.
For this last part, we’ll be talking about growing your readership (i.e. getting traffic!) and how to do it in an authentic, non-sleazy way!
If you’ve been following this series, you would have figured out by now that I am not going to give you any tactics or techie tips about blogging. Yes, those things are important, but they aren’t the most important things about a blog. More than the tactics and how-to’s to blog growth, the single most important thing to growing a blog (both in traffic and in readership) is to be meaningful.
One of the things I love about blogging is its power to connect me with other like-minded people. Whether they’re my readers, people whom I’ve met because of my blog, those who’ve attended my workshops, or those whom I’ve only met online, the people who have come to Make it Blissful (or Dainty Mom in the past) have all stuck around because we tend to believe in and value the same things: happiness; finding joy in life; seeing the good things amidst the not-so-good; positivity; chasing our dreams.
You’ll notice I didn’t say anything about having the correct social media tactics, or the best media kit, or even the most popular blog. That’s because these aren’t what make up an authentic and meaningful blog readership. So what does?
Well, here’s my take on it.
1. HAVE GREAT CONTENT.
OK, OK, you’re sick of hearing this, but you will never stop hearing me say it. The saying “Content is king” has never been more real than it is today, when authorities like Google are looking for quality-rich, person-centered content that is actually useful to people. While in-content SEO is great (i.e. using keywords within your content), this will never get you the audience readership that you want if the bulk of your content is just fluff.
How do you come up with great content? Just remember these points:
- Be real. People love authenticity. This doesn’t mean having to share the private parts of your life or your family’s life. It means showing people who you really are, what you’re about, what you believe and how these beliefs are “lived out” through what you do, the things you engage in.
- Be helpful. When your content helps someone do things better (e.g. a “how-to” post, or a “tips” post); when your content gives useful information (e.g. a product review written in a creative or helpful way); when your content inspires or is aspirational (e.g. a “before & after” post of your diet or workout, or even of your home renovation or DIY project); all these are content that helps others. When you put effort into a great post by offering as much help as you can — and you do it consistently —, people will start coming to your blog because they know they will always find something meaningful in it.
2. GET OUT OF YOUR OWN SPACE.
Your blog won’t magically appear in people’s browsers. You have to make an effort to get it out there! There’s no special social media tactic that I’m going to share here, just the same thing I’ve been saying for most of this post: Be meaningful.
- Use social media meaningfully. You don’t have to be on every social media network there is. Just find the one that works the best for you, build up your connections and relationships there, and see how you grow. With me, for instance, Instagram is working well. I am an “IGer” because I love taking snaps of my life, and I love sharing these pics. Since I started Instagramming and connecting with others there, my blog readership has grown quite significantly. I just make sure I keep posting the stuff that I find interesting and “blissful,” and people respond to that. Since it is natural for me to use photos as a way to connect with people, I don’t feel stressful about using Instagram as a social media platform. Because it is natural, people also appreciate that and respond to it.
- Spend more time getting yourself (and ultimately, your blog) in front of other people by being social. This is a strategy of one of my blog heroes, Derek Halpern of Social Triggers. Derek has an 80/20 rule when it comes to growing your blog: He advises that we spend 20% of our time creating content that is “share-worthy,” and 80% of our time promoting it on various platforms, not just social media. In fact, Derek states that he built a list of almost 27,000 email newsletter subscriber, ergo, actual blog readers while writing no more than two to three blog posts a month from March 2011 to April 2012. And he doesn’t need to write more than that because his blog posts are always, always king, always packed with something helpful that will keep his readers learning.
- Write for other people, other websites. Sometimes we obsess so much over our own content that we get stuck in a narcissistic trap of “blogiosis”, i.e. A paralyzing state of obsessing over our own blog that it prevents growth. Notice how everything I’ve told you about blog growth is about being others-oriented? Well, one of the ways to grow your blog readership is to write content for others, other websites that are closely related to your niche, your target audience? When you write something meaty, something of substance on another website or blog, you have the opportunity to leave your blog link on that article, and can eventually lead people back to your site.
3. SPEND TIME WITH YOUR TRIBE.
When you have great content, and when you get that content in front of the people you want to reach, the next important step you must remember is to spend time with these like-minded people. You can do this by holding a meetup of the people you meet on social media or on your blog — just like I’ve done with my own blog readers. You don’t need to have a massive readership; even if you just meet with a handful of people reading your blog, you can already make a big impact in growing your blog’s “tribe.”
What’s a tribe? That’s basically a group of people who share similar ideas and beliefs, and find themselves uniting because of these beliefs. Case in point: The Make it Blissful Workshops, such as the one pictured above. These workshops (which I hold regularly) are when MiB blog readers come together to learn about and talk about a common idea, that is meaningful blogging. I’ve met some of the most quirky, unique and talented women I’ve ever encountered, simply because of these workshops. And to think they all started through connections I made through blog comments, a Tweet, or even an Instagram “like.”
Great content. Getting social. Spending time with your tribe.
For me, these are the three components of growing an authentic blog readership. It’s not about using tactics to get more traffic or more page views. It’s about getting the pageviews of real readers who have a true interest in your content, your brand, your unique message. It’s about using your blog, your stories, your opinions and your reflections as tools to help and inspire others. It’s about forming real connections with people who can eventually become your friends, not just your fans or followers.
In the comments, tell me: Which of the points above do you need to improve on? Or, which of the points above do you feel you’re doing quite well?
Write a blog post on how you will use your blog to help others. How would you do it? What kind of changes will you make on your blog so that it will add value to those who come and read it? When you write the blog post, remember to link back to this Blissful Blogging post as well.