Image credit: Watercolor Peony by Jessica Illustration
You’re serious about using your blog to market your business. You want to provide value to your readers, to craft a community around your brand, and to build an engaged audience of loyal followers, but…
You aren’t getting many visitors to your blog.
You’re getting even less comments on your posts.
You’re not getting any social shares.
What to do? Where to go? What’s the problem?
If you want to make your blog work for your business but you aren’t sure how to get there, then pay attention.
1. Attractive Design
Your blog design is important!
First of all, people are visually oriented and we all like looking at things that are pleasing to the eye. I’m talking about colors, fonts, and graphics. Your blog design should reflect your business design especially if you’re using your blog to market your business.
Secondly, it needs to reflect your brand. I’m talking about feelings and values here. Think of your blog as a home… an online home. What feeling do you want your readers to have when they come to your home? Do you want it to be a cozy, comfortable place where your reader wants to hang out at like TheFlourishingAbode.com? Maybe you want it to be fun, exciting, and colorful like JessicaSwift.com. No matter what feeling you’re going for, make sure it’s the same feeling your business is resonating too. Keep things consistent and cohesive, and you’ll be off to a great start!
2. Keep it simple sweetheart
When it comes to keeping things simple, there are two areas to look at.
When you’re blogging you need to have focus and a clear point. Obviously you’re going to talk about your business from time to time or you may throw in those beautiful photographs you took last week, but if you want to build a loyal following then you need to provide something more for your readers. Something of value to them. It may not be very interesting to hear about your business or your family all the time. Sure your readers want to know more about you and how your business works, but what else do they want to know? What problems are they facing and how can your business help them with those problems? Work those things into your blog posts.
Is your site easy to navigate? How easy is it to get from one page to the next? Can readers easily search for past posts or topics or do they have to scroll back one post at a time? These things matter!
Think about the most important areas of your blog? Your “About” page, probably a link to your Etsy shop, your “Press” page even. Make sure these pages are included in your navigation bar as well as any other ones important to your business.
What things do you want to highlight on your blog? Your newsletter, maybe a monthly special, or a digital product you sell. Include those things towards the top of your sidebar so they’re always seen.
3. Know your ideal reader
Just like you know your products aren’t for everyone, but someone in particular, your blog isn’t for everyone. It’s for one type of person… aka – your ideal reader.
Who wants to know what you have to say? Who’s interested in knowing more about you or learning from you?
If you know who you should be writing your posts to, it will really help direct your posts. You should be writing to that person, that one person, in every post. Think about them and what they want. Know what they would find helpful or valuable. What is relevant to them? Once you know those things, deliver it. This is one of the most important factors you can focus on in order to build a loyal following.
4. Promote, promote, promote
If you want to see an increase in people reading your blog, then you need to promote your posts. No one else is going to do it for you.
First, you have to know who your ideal reader is. Second you need to know what they want from you and you have to deliver that with insain amounts of value to them. Lastly, you have to know where they hang out at online, go there, and promote your great stuff!
5. Engage readers
The last piece of the puzzle is to engage your readers once they’re there.
People start reading blogs because something draws them in… typically the content. Over time, if the content remains valuable and worth taking the time to read, the reader sticks around and gets to know you more. They come to like you and eventually trust you. Somewhere along the way, they will open up to you and want to engage with you, talk to you, ask you questions, and get to know you.
Two ways you can interact with your readers is to:
- ask engaging questions
- give them opportunity to connect with you
When you start off writing a post, you need to try to have one specific thing in mind for that post. What is it you want your reader to walk away with? Is there something you want them to do? Maybe you want to ask them a question and hear their response. If so, ask the question, and be sure to tell them to leave a comment. Maybe you want them to share your post with their friends. If so, tell them to share, and be sure to provide some share buttons for them to use. This is called a “call to action”. You calling your reader to action… you’re asking them to do something and in the process of doing so, you’re engaging with them.
You can also interact with them by making sure you have a page that provides your contact information such as your email address and even links to find you on social media. That way if someone isn’t too keen on leaving you a comment, but they want to tell you they liked your post or ask you a question, you’re good to go!
So there you go… 5 ways you can make your blog bloom by building a tribe of loyal readers!
What do you do to encourage loyal readers? Leave your tips in the comment section below!
Editor’s PS: Want more community building ideas? Join our #omhg chat today from 1-2EST to talk about how to build community around your brand & business!
Great information Meagan! This was just what I needed to read. I actually just recently closed my blog for the very exact reasons you stated in the beginning; it had gotten really sad! Ironically since closing it I’ve found so many things I want to share and no platform to do it on (those 140 twitter characters are just not cutting it). This post really made me want to get back on it and do the one things I wasn’t before; PROMOTE it. Your audience doesn’t magically find you, you have to get out there and grab them and that’s what I want to start doing!
Great suggestions Megan. As a new blogger I’m finding it difficult to get new readers and I’ve realized I need to step up the promotion. After all, how can people read my blog, if they don’t know it exists. Then the challenge is to keep it interesting and engaging.
@Shae – I’m so glad that this has inspired you to get back at it! That’s fabulous! If you’ve got something to share that is valuable to your readers, promote the heck out of that baby & stick with it! It will pay off!
@Paula – It can definitely be frustrating as a new blogger trying to figure out where you fit in and what you want to say, especially if you feel that you aren’t getting a lot of people reading or commenting on your posts. Just be sure you’re giving them something that relates to them in some way, ask them questions so they can answer you in the comments, and above all, be patient and never stop learning and trying new things. Good luck!
Great article! This post really made me think about how much more my blog can offer – though I’m still struggling with #3. I have an idea of my ideal reader, but without many readers it’s hard to know if my gut instinct is right… It’s something I’ll definitely have to continue working on! Thanks!
THis post is fantastic and so timely for me! I’m working on profiling my ideal reader (who may not be the same as my ideal customer….yes or no?) do I want my ideal reader to also be my ideal customer?
I tend to ask lot’s of questions in my posts, but maybe they aren’t targeted well enough to my ideal reader, OR maybe I need to get even more specific in my calls to action! I also think that it takes TIME to build your audience…connnecting with people doesn’t necessarily happen overnight!
@Katy – Thanks for your comment. When it comes to figuring out who your ideal reader is, I think it’s important for you to decide first of all what you want to do with your blog. What is the purpose of it? What topics are you focusing on? Once you know why you’re blogging you can ask yourself who would be interested in reading what you have to say. Create a reader profile and every time you write something, write to them. Imagine them sitting there reading your post or watching your video. Over time, if you’re providing value to your ideal reader and promoting your blog in the places your reader is at, your numbers will increase. It takes time to get there, but you can do it! Good luck and I’m glad you liked the post!
@Alison – So first off you asked if your ideal reader should be the same as your ideal customer. Well, in my opinion, it depends on why you’re blogging. Are you blogging to give customers an inside glimpse into your business and your craft, to establish your expertise, to share new ideas, etc. If so, then yes, your ideal reader is most likely your ideal customer. But, if you’re blogging to teach something that is related to your niche or if you have some other reason for blogging then your ideal reader may be different than your ideal customer.
Now to answer your other question about asking a lot of questions to your readers, if that’s not working and you’re not getting much interaction from then, try focusing a bit more. Ask yourself what one thing you want your reader to walk away from your post with and then use that to form your call to action. See how that goes for a while.
Thanks for your comment! I appreciate it!
What a great article, thank you for sharing! I clicked on Jessica Swift’s blog and instantly fell in love…I too, struggle from time to time with my blog (going from super optimistic to down in the dumps). I like to think I have a good, simple design, but it’s hard to know what other people think! One of my keys to keeping loyal readers has been to build a close-knit local community of blog friends. We have regular meetups and get togethers and creating real life friendships keeps people close and helps them to know you better (and in turn, they like to read your blog). Plus, you get wonderful friends you may not have otherwise had! 🙂
Good stuff!! I really do need to identify my ideal reader. Thanks for the nudge.
@Emily – Thanks for sharing how you create your community. That’s a fabulous idea! As for your design, the only way to know if your readers like it or not is to ask them. You could write a post stating that you’re thinking of doing a design change & see what they think of your current design & site navigation. Pay attention to their suggestions & incorporate them into your change. And yes, Jessica’s site is awesome… so energizing!
@Diane – Thanks so much for your comment, and good luck identifying your ideal reader! It’s one of the best things you can do for your blog!
My blog is in severe need of being updated! It’s been YEARS!
Great post, Meagan! To be honest, I have no idea who my ideal reader is (I don’t they do, either 😉 ) because I don’t really know what my blog is for! I started it as an adjunct to my new online shop (Etsy) ’cause I read that you should have one… I started out chronicling my journey, but that got boring, so now I just random stuff that’s somewhat related to what I do and what my shop’s about.
Hmmm… seriously need to think about what you’ve said here! Thanks for the direction 😉
@Wayfaring Wanderer – Thanks so much for the comment! Good luck with your blog if you decide to get back with it. I’d love to see it!
@Geri – Oh my goodness, I just checked out your blog before I saw this post and thought to myself, “I like this blog. I really feel like I can get to know this girl… she’s so honest.” Well, there’s one thing you’ve got going for you. Your personality seems to be coming out so far and that’s a good thing.
I checked out your shop too, and it’s apparent that you like paper, design, and color so why not teach your readers more about those things. You could talk a bit about combining colors or prints, you could include DIY projects and tutorials, you could let your readers choose a new color palette for a new product, you can talk about different things you can do with paper or about how to make snail mail fun again with pretty stationary… I’m just trying to think of some random things off the top of my head. What I tell clients when they’re struggling with blogging is to first figure out what they want to do with their blog. Obviously you’re blogging about your business, but what else do you want to do with it. Establish expertise, educate, inspire, what. Then go from there. Make sure every post you write has roots related to what your “why” is behind your blog’s existence. Then brainstorm at least a months worth of posts and start writing! Hope that helped and let me know if you have any other questions!
Meagan… that’s just… awesome! Thank you so much for taking the time to post such a helpful & informative response to my befuddled random comment! You’ve really given some great tips and steered me in the right direction of coming to grips with what my “why” is behind my blog – what a great way to put that, btw!
And, I’m so pleased that you like my blog and that the “me”‘s in there 😉 I shall continue in that vain and work hard at creating more engaging posts & figure out what I want it to do!
Thanks again, Geri xx
@geri – You are SOOOO welcome!
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