Building a blog's audience?
August 2, 2017 10:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm starting an online blog. I want to grow its readership. How can I do this?

I'm not so much interested in SEO advice (though it's welcome) as I am about things like, are guest posts a useful thing? If so, how do I get them / arrange to do them? Advertisements -- where and how?

And, um, everything else.
posted by Nonce to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
It might be helpful if you were a little more specific about the content of the blog, or its focus, and the type of audience you're trying to reach.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:41 AM on August 2, 2017

Adding a link to your MeFi profile would be a good start.
posted by flabdablet at 10:53 AM on August 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is a HUGE question. I found this website the other day while looking for something else, and it seems like a good starting resource for FAQs, post ideas, etc. I'm not sure where you are in the process, but it looked like it covered a lot of great information.

It seems to me like you might be jumping the gun a little bit re: guest posts and blog advertising? Depending on the focus of the blog, the process would usually start with sharing regular useful content, making a name for yourself, growing your brand and content archives, etc. before ads or guest posts would even enter into the equation. I might focus more on building a foundation of quality content and establishing yourself as an authority before actively seeking sponsors or soliciting guest posts.

That said, you can start laying the groundwork now for later sponsors/guest posts. Become a regular reader of other blogs that cover similar subjects and comment on their posts, share them on social (and tag the blogger), and weave other mentions of their content into your posts where appropriate.

Build a relationship with other bloggers so that later on when you ARE in a position to solicit guest posts, you're not asking a random blogger out of the blue, but someone you already know from social. And the process probably wouldn't look too different re: sponsorship, tbh, but check the websites for potential sponsors to see if they have a blogger's toolkit or sponsor program or something. Some of them do!
posted by helloimjennsco at 11:02 AM on August 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

You should have some content before you worry about bringing people there. If they come to a blog with one post, they aren't coming back anyway. I'd wait until you've got some stuff up that will give people an idea of whether or not they want to follow you.

I started a blog short-lived when I broke my foot, and I happened to link to it in my AskMetaFilter thread about it, and that's been the main thing that has gotten it traffic, along with Google searches. I think sharing your blog link places and in your bios would help.

I'm not really much of a blogger, but I do think if you use Wordpress or something similar, following and commenting on other people's blogs will help get some people to return the favor and check out what you're doing.
posted by AspirinPill at 11:48 AM on August 2, 2017

Content is king.
posted by humboldt32 at 12:10 PM on August 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Not to threadsit, but the below may be helpful / has been asked for:

re: content -- Of course. I'll be publishing 3 - 5 posts per week from a backlog of around one month's worth of posts (hopefully).

re: focus of blog / audience -- A financial independence lifestyle blog, with a bit of humor and meta commentary on the financial independence blog genre woven into the fabric. Hopefully the audience overlaps with existing financial blog audiences.

re: linking to it in my profile -- It's not public yet. I'm creating the first month's content at the moment, and finalizing details about its layout, structure, etc.
posted by Nonce at 12:35 PM on August 2, 2017

It used to be possible to write good stuff and just let people find it (more or less). Now I think you have to use social media in concert with the blog. I wouldn't use paid adverts unless this is a commercial enterprise.

You still have to write and post good stuff, though. Regularly, persistently. After a year of great, daily posts, people will begin to take you seriously. ;)
posted by Segundus at 12:56 PM on August 2, 2017

Don't worry about readership right now. Just post good, consistent content. Find other blogs with a similar subject matter and start becoming a part of their community in the comments. Don't ask people to check out your blog yet.

After a few months, once you've established yourself as an actual human with interesting things to say on these sites, you can start *very* occasionally mentioning an article you wrote on a similar topic to the one you're commenting on. Eventually some of the readers (and even the writer!) will probably start becoming your readers as well. This is also how you build strong enough relationships with other writers to ask for guest posts later on.

You'll need to leverage social media here as well -- post other content (not just links to your newest post) that is tailored to each site specifically. While you're creating your blog content, also create at least a month's worth of Instagram pics, Twitter blurbs, and FB posts and schedule everything on Hootsuite or something similar. Follow as many people in your niche on each platform as you can find. Like and repost their stuff. Comment often.

Building an engaged following is a marathon, not a sprint, so be patient :)
posted by ananci at 1:30 PM on August 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Read Its author is well respected in the industry, and his blog and podcast have tons of good, actionable insights.
posted by cgg at 1:55 PM on August 2, 2017

I've been blogging since 2004 either as pro or at pro-level. You need content — and many months of solid content — before you can start worrying about all the other stuff. Plenty of people have said this already and I'm adding to that chorus. Find your core audience before you start thinking about growing your readership. Create killer content first.

Oh, and, yes other social media too. Don't just post a link to your latest blog post (nothing will make me unsubscribe from your feed faster) but build rapport and network.
posted by kariebookish at 4:01 PM on August 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yes, as everyone is saying, you do need content. But that's no reason to not look ahead and plan for what happens down the line, which sounds like what you are doing now.

For starters, I would get clear on 'why' you want an audience. Recognition, dialogue, affiliates, product sales, just not speaking into a void? That will help to focus on the type of growth that will help you best.
posted by Vaike at 4:32 PM on August 2, 2017

It's not public yet

Then I'm sorry to have to tell you that you're counting your chickens before they've hatched from those eggs in that one basket in the cart you've put before the horse you haven't been gifted yet.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that getting your ducks in a row works a lot better if you first find out whether what you're starting with is ducks.
posted by flabdablet at 5:29 AM on August 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

I guess what I'm trying to say is that getting your ducks in a row works a lot better if you first find out whether what you're starting with is ducks.

Right! Start the business first, then research and plan later. Recipe for success duly noted.
posted by Nonce at 7:30 AM on August 4, 2017

I would put the blog online as soon as you can even if it is not perfect. This way search engines will start to index your blog earlier. But it isn't very likely that someone is going to just stumble upon it.
posted by Melsky at 8:43 AM on August 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

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