5 ways to expand your blog's audience

Mar 17, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Image: Westend61/Getty Images

Have you ever written a post you thought was your best work yet — and had zero shares? Have you spent hours trying to take that perfect shot of your latest baking mastery and realized only two people have seen it?

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When I first started blogging, I never felt lost. I thought all I needed to do was write a good article, hit publish and the readers would come. A few months in, I realized quality content rarely reaches a wide audience without a bit of help.

Today, I calculate shares and exposure in my head, and I can make an accurate guess on the number of eyes a given post will reach. Here's a few things I've taught myself about surviving in the wilderness that is the Internet.

1. Get into the trending crowd

Unless you're a newbie blogging wunderkind, the odds of your content turning some heads in the crowd will be rather slim. This is especially true if your blog focuses on a tight and not exactly wildly popular niche. In such cases, years can go by before you get discovered by a wider audience. Still, there is a simple way to avoid blog view arrest: Tap into trending topics even if you don't normally cover such subjects. This will help leverage your way to a fresh audience, who may or may not be immediately interested in your usual blogging subjects — but it is up to you to win them over by presenting your views in an engaging way.

2. Timing is everything for social shares

Not all hours of the day are ideal for attracting scores of views and shares. In fact, recent surveys show that people are more likely to click on tweet links early in the morning, while favorites and retweets come easier in the evening and late at night. If you want to handle your update timing like a pro, consider using automation tools and scheduling your updates for the times when your posts are most likely to get hundreds of clicks.

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3. A cool picture is worth a thousand clicks

Great pictures can boost your website or blog reach in several ways. Intriguing images command attention, and viewers may be swayed to read your article after seeing a cool pic even if they would normally skip it. In addition, the human mind processes images faster than verbal content, and pics are also more understandable and more easily recalled than words.

Pictures also play an important role in your blog’s identity, and if handled properly, they can get you thousands of new subscribers and followers. As for image sources, you can find great shots for various subjects in lesser known online photography communities such as EyeEm, ranging from pictures of books to cake images and coffee pics to more abstract visual masterpieces. In the blogging world, a good picture may be all you need to seize the limelight, so don't overlook the potential of visual elements if you are aiming for gold.

4. Don't fret the armchair critics

Let's face it: There will always be people who disagree with your opinions, and quarrels with such individuals can keep you awake at night if you let their criticism get to you. But should you sacrifice your peace and right to personal expression just because someone out there may not like what you have to say? Definitely not! Haters are going to hate, but long-winded arguments with armchair critics are never worth your time or energy. Let self-righteous critics bark all they want — they will fall silent once they realize you are unfazed by their negativity.

5. Multimarket your posts

Sticking to a single social-media channel was okay back when bloggers were few and far between and all were famous. Now, however, almost everyone has a blog — or a few of them — and the blogging sky is getting overcrowded with short-lived stars. For this reason, you need to seek your fame on multiple platforms if you want to get your name all etched in blogging stardust — and keep it such.

Whether Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram or Google+, the Internet is your playground, so use every channel you have at your disposal to attract new followers. Promoting your blog on various social channels at different times of day (or even different days) and optimizing each share for the target media can double your blog traffic or even help your posts go viral overnight.

Don't count your subscribers until they're hatched. The road to blogging stardom is thorny, but I hope these insights help you cross the first few miles more easily — and to greater success!

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