It’s a brand new year. Auld Lang Syne has been sung, President Obama has delivered his State of the Union address, and the Super Bowl has come and gone. But the most important thing about the turning of the calendar year is the opportunity to start anew by coming up with resolutions designed to make this year better than the last. And if your resolution in 2015 is to take your blog to the next level, you’ll be happy to hear that there are a number of ways to plan accordingly and meet your goal. Whether you’re interested in increasing your advertising dollars or you’re simply looking to spread your message to a larger audience, there are strategies that can help you to extend your reach and build a bigger following.
1. Build your brand
If your blog is supplemental to your business website, you already have a springboard from which to continue building your brand image, including guidelines for both the design of your blog and the content you post. But it will require some careful thought on your part. Your brand defines you and your business, and your blog can be a major contributing factor. It can express your views, uphold your ideals, and keep followers apprised of industry advances and new products or services. But it may also act as your brand’s first impression when readers are funneled to an article, so it needs to immediately tell people what your business is about with the way it looks and the topics it covers. If you do this right, it could help to increase your audience.
2. Don’t phone in your content
If you haven’t paid too much attention to Google’s rhetoric and changing algorithms over the last couple of years, then you could be understandably surprised to discover that content is king these days, and specifically blog content that is relevant, compelling, and up to reader standards for quality. It’s a tall order, to be sure, but if you want to court and maintain a readership, you need to step up your game where quality content is concerned. Rather than simply regurgitating information you read elsewhere on the web, you need to find ways to make your content fresh and engaging.
3. Make sharing easy
You can do a lot to bring in new blog readers, but it’s not hard to see how your current readers can do some of the heavy lifting for you. When people get links from a trusted source (family, friends, etc.), they are much more likely to click through than if they are solicited by strangers (and that would be you). So make it easy to share content by posting buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Think about swapping out text-heavy articles for infographics or videos and create a call to action that readers can follow.
4. Update your layout and design.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and if the layout and design of your blog seem outdated, cluttered, or otherwise visually unappealing, you could scare away interested readers.
5. Don’t forget: it’s a visual medium
Think for a moment about the blogs you like to visit. What makes them attractive? Most likely, it has something to do with the colors, fonts, and graphics used. It’s extremely important to grab visitors visually from the moment they land on your page. Creating a feast for the eyes could help you hold the attention of readers long enough to get them into the meat of your content. If you’re struggling to retain a robust blog readership, think about including more graphics with articles and reconsider the other visual elements of your blog. The Internet is a visual medium and your blog needs to reflect that.
6. Hone your SEO strategy
The quality of your content is important, and it can turn visitors into loyal followers. But it won’t do you any good if you can’t get people in the door. This is where search engine optimization enters the picture. While you may not be able to use strategies that worked in the past due to changing algorithms (keyword stuffing and shady link building will get you blacklisted on Google these days), that doesn’t mean you should give up on SEO entirely. There are plenty of strategies that will still serve you well when it comes to reaching a larger blog audience via search engines. Joining new search engines, focusing on ROI metrics, marketing via social media, and building diverse link networks can all help you to switch up your SEO strategy and earn a larger audience.
7. Optimize for mobile
So many people these days get their data on the go that it only makes sense to optimize your blog for use on mobile platforms. The added convenience alone could help you to trump competitors and draw an increased readership.