As a marketing tool, blogs do it all – they tell your audience what your brand is about, they establish your authority, and they give you a free platform where you can pitch your products and services. Driving more traffic to your site means achieving these at a larger scale. It’s important to remember that increasing blog readership isn’t just about good content – it’s also about good marketing.
Start with Blog Appearance
Design your blog just as you would your website: it needs to look sharp and represent your brand well. It also has to display
properly in different devices, especially now that more people are using mobile to access online content. Make sure to check the following:
- Blogging Platform: Choose a blogging platform that gives you the functionality you need for your blog and allows customizations to the design. WordPress and Blogger are ideal because they are easy to use and easily customizable. They also feature widgets that add value to your blog. If you need more advanced functionality on your blog, however, Joomla and Drupal might be the platform for you.
- Blog Layout: As I’ve mentioned, mobile users are increasing, and you will need to factor them in when creating your blog layout. You could create several versions of your design, but this will take up too much time. Creating responsive blog design saves you time while allowing you to create just one version of your blog layout.
- Overall Design: This isn’t just about choosing the right color scheme, or incorporating your branding. First, think of what design will stir sentiments and emotions in your audience. This will increase your chances of being read by your target audience. Next, you need to design for site speed. Make sure your loading time is quick, and that your design elements are all optimized for web to make loading time faster. Finally, optimize your content above the fold. This is where 80% of the people stay on your blog. You’ll need to provide value in your above the fold content immediately (such as in the form of feature sliders, etc.) to get your readers to stay and read more.
Optimize both for Search Engines and for People
The second part of your marketing strategy is optimization. Make sure the following items are in order:
- Authorship and Author Rank: Create and optimize a Google+ account for authorship to show up on the SERPs, and then build up your author rank to boost your blog up the SERPs. I’ve previously written a guide on claiming authorship and boosting author rank that you can read here.
- Content Calendar: Establish a publishing schedule for your blog, and think of topics that are relevant to your niche in advance. Observe your analytics to determine the best time to publish your blogs. Ideally, you should update your blog every day. You may reduce this to three times a week if you are hard-pressed for time, and once you’ve established blog readership.
- Reputation Building: I say reputation building because you’ll need to do more than submit your blog to ping sites and bookmarks. To get natural and high-authority links, you’ll need to build your reputation. Guest posting, publishing online press releases and being featured in niche online publications are great ways of getting strong backlinks and improving your reputation, which boosts your blog up the SERPs and increases your readership.
Maintaining your presence and communicating with your audience to find out what they want to read is important in putting and keeping your blog in the spotlight. Community outreach serves multiple purposes: link building, reputation building, and brand recall promotion. Get started with the following items:
- Social Media: Establish your presence on major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to name a few. There are third-party apps that push your blog content towards these platforms, and your chosen blogging platform may have a widget that does the same. Set aside time to respond to the comments posted on each entry.
- Forums, Blogs, and Niche Online Communities: Participate in your niche online communities and start answering the questions of other users. Building your presence here and establishing yourself as a source of useful information helps promote your brand and draw in more readers to your blog. Be creative when leaving comments, and offer readers additional value.
- Email Marketing: Blog redistribution through email newsletters is a good way of drawing traffic towards your website. This strategy lets you deliver informative content to your mailing list, and makes your blog a free source of material for regular newsletters.
We’d be happy to help optimize your blog and come up with a blog marketing strategy. Talk to your account manager to find out how, or sign up for free to get started.