By Anisa A. Claire.
A blog or website is an essential tool for writers. Facebook and Twitter limit your ability to display things to potential fans and customers, whereas you have more freedom on a blog or page. They can also a big challenge.
The wonderful thing about Facebook and Twitter, and also the curse of them, is that people are already in the habit of checking in on these platforms regularly. As for your blog, well, you need to create a loop to get people coming back to check in. It takes a while to get people to form a different routine, no matter what it is in life, and a blog or website is no exception.
Here are ten things you can do to build your following and create more traffic…
1. Write GREAT Content – You’ve read that before, I have no doubt, but it’s true. You need to provide an ‘experience’ for the people visiting your blog. What you write needs to extend beyond your sales page.
2. Set up a Mailing List – This is a huge one. I think part of the problem in gaining ‘followers’ on a blog is that there are so many different platforms out there. For me, sometimes I am interested in seeing more from a blog I’ve stumbled across, but… and it’s a BIG but… they’re using a blog platform that I don’t have an account with. In order to follow this blogger, I have to set-up yet another account I will forget the password to and never use. That immediately sends me off the page, and on my way, UNLESS I see the option for an e-mail opt-in list.
With a mailing list, I don’t need an account in order to follow. I simply put in my e-mail address, and then receive email notifications for when they update. It’s a win/win. They get the opportunity to keep in contact with me and I get to follow them without having to physically follow their blog.
My personal website/blogs have ZERO ‘followers’, but they have combined mailing lists of just over 10,000. Those mailing lists have been crucial for sales over the years and an excellent way for me to keep in touch with fans and customers.
3. Work Within Your Platform – By this I mean, if you’re looking for the actual number of ‘blog followers’ to go up, work within your own pool. Be active within your own blogging community. Those people clearly already have accounts on that platform, so following you won’t be an issue. Seek out other blog posts. Read and comment. Get their attention.
4. Make Your Follow and Sign-Up Options VISIBLE – There is nothing worse than landing on a blog or website and thinking… Wow! This is great! I want MORE! And then searching for a way to sign up. Grab those people in the moment. Make it as easy as humanly possible for people to sign up or follow.
You can achieve this with bright colours, for one, but, also, big buttons. A top or bottom bar is good, too. Some plugins allow you to have your sign-up option pop up. Be careful with those options, though, because I don’t know about you, but for me, I can only handle so many pop ups when I’m trying to read an article.
5. Create a Hub – For the Maniacal Confessions website, which is a landing page for my colouring books, I have a few different things going on there. I post free pictures from other artists, video reviews on other colouring books, as well as my own, and other ‘cool colouring stuff’ which takes form as a mini-blog within a website. I write about all sorts of things that colorists find not only interesting but useful.
So, take a while to figure out what you can do, outside of your books, to lure traffic to your site.
6. Make it a Give and Take Relationship – When someone comes to your blog, make sure there is something for them to ‘take’ away from the experience. Be it advice, a free download of some sort, or tips and techniques. Give them something in exchange for their time in visiting your site because, in the long run, they’re giving you something, too.
7. Make Your Website or Blog Visually Appealing – You know, sometimes I go onto a website or blog after I’ve seen a cool post. When I land on said website or blog… I cringe. It’s sooooo ugly that I can’t help but think WHOA! What’s going on here?! And if the blog is this terrible… what will their book be like?! It’s a knee-jerk reaction.
Take the time to piece your blog or website together. Research! Go look at other sites and blogs. Find what you’re attracted to and go from there.
8. Use Catchy, To the Point, Titles – You don’t have much room in a post title, so you need to make it catchy AND informative. It needs to summarise what it is and be interesting enough that it doesn’t just blend in with all the other posts of a similar nature.
9. Edit! Edit! Edit! – You want people to be focused on what you’re saying and NOT your spelling mistakes. Make sure you edit your posts. It’s so important.
10. Have Fun! Create a Party Atmosphere – Make your site or blog fun and interactive. The more people can be involved and have a reason to be involved, the more likely they will be to return. Ask THEM questions. See what their opinions are. We’re all human and we all like to voice our thoughts. Give your followers a chance to do that. Invite them to be interactive in your space. And make sure you’re responsive.