So you have the design, you have the content, you have the name… now where to get some subscribers?
The answer is blogging actively.
When it comes to gaining popularity and traffic, we’ve often stressed interacting and networking with readers and fellow bloggers. Forming networks helps you throughout your blogging experience, and being an active online marketer builds relationships with customers and referral sources. It all sounds like a lot of marketing, but it’s true what they say—it’s all about networking. You can have a gorgeous blog with amazing content, but if you don’t know anyone and no one knows you, where does all that effort go?
In the end, building those relationships is just another difference between any run-of-the-mill blogger and a successful one.
So what constitutes “active blogging”? We haven’t grouped it all together in the past, but chances are you’re already doing it.
TARGETING YOUR MARKET
First, you want to know where your target market hangs out. This could be a social network like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn… or it could not. If you’re a book blogger, chances are you’ll want to sign up for GoodReads and link to your blog in your reviews. It’s up to you to hang out where your niche does and start conversations relevant to what you write.
USING CALLS-TO-ACTION (CTAS)
What’s the easiest way to encourage your readers to interact with you? Simply asking.
Whenever you’re finished with a post or newsletter, ask a question or seek out an opinion. CTAs serve as pointers for readers, like you’re putting out your hand and (if done right) gently pulling them along. Even if your goal’s as simple as wanting someone to stay on your blog for a tiny bit longer, make that clear to them with some visual or written direction.
Essentially, take it upon yourself to tell your visitors what to do next—where to go, how to get there, and what’s in it for them. Otherwise, they might just end up closing the tab.
Of course, something you miiiight want to ask for with a CTA is a comment.
When you’re talking about active blogging, you can’t leave out comments. Comments are definitely one of the best ways to measure the engagement level of your blog, since that section is where your readers are actually talking to you. Well, hopefully. If you feel like you’re blogging at a wall, ask yourself if your blog invites visitors to comment—both at a technical level (make sure you’ve enabled comments under the hood) and an emotional one (which has to do with your tone and voice).
One thing we stress is to ensure that you have multiple ways to leave comments. Sites are becoming increasingly dependent on users signing into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., but we’re personally fans of the “name, email, and blog URL” method, which accommodates readers who don’t use social media or are just plain lazy.
Don’t forget to reply to all the comments you graciously receive—or to leave comments on other blogs yourself!
TRACKBACKS AND PINGBACKS
Speaking of other blogs… underneath the comments of a post, you’ll occasionally find another section for “trackbacks.” Trackbacks are “pings” from other blogs that you get if someone links your post in a post of their own. Which is pretty awesome, especially from bloggers you don’t personally know.
Trackbacks mean that your content was good enough to be shared by another blogger, and not just on social media. When someone gives you a ping, it’s generally polite to head to the source and comment, thanking the blogger for linking out and acknowledging you. And it’s also a great way to network and build relationships with bloggers who already know of you! Or maybe to build relationships with a blogger who doesn’t yet know of you…