One of the hardest things to do as a blogger is to get dedicated readers. Getting dedicated readers takes time and commitment on your part, but while you’re trying to build your fan base don’t forget about occasional readers, because you can turn occasional readers into fans.
In this blog entry I want to talk about some very simple ways to get your blog out in front of readers that you can accomplish in a few minutes.
First things first, write the best blog entry you can possibly write. Take your time with it, proofread it, read it to yourself out loud before you publish it. Correct those grammar errors, choose your words wisely. Also, keep it brief and skimmable—that means short sentences and you can try using bullet points.
Now let’s talk about some free tools that you can use to improve your visibility.
Headline Analyzer by CoSchedule. This is a tool that will help you to compose better titles for your blog entries. Again, take your time and play with this a bit. It will rate your headlines on a scale of 0-100 and help you make titles that are more eye catching but also more attractive to search engines. When I use this tool I take up to 30 minutes to craft my headline.
2) Google Analytics
The tool that I recommend you install first is a free tool called Google Analytics. This tool is vitally important, because you’ll learn a great deal about the visitors to your site. It’ll tell you basic things like how long they spend on the site, where they are from geographically and what browser they use. The best thing that Google Analytics can tell you is where your traffic is coming from. For example, my biggest referrer of traffic is Facebook, and StumbleUpon is also one of my best sources of traffic as well. I’ll tell you a bit about those as well. I check my analytics weekly, and spend maybe 20-30 minutes each week.
3) Your favorite social media tool
Use your favorite social media vehicles to promote your blog entries. The reason I recommend using your favorite ones first is that if you start with what you’re most comfortable with, you’re more likely to stick to it. Start out by keeping it simple, and then expand your reach as you get more familiar with the other social media sites.
I like to use Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus to promote my blog entries. But now you’re thinking “That’s three sites I now have to go to so I can promote my site. Ain’t nobody got time for that.” That’s why you should look into a service like Hootsuite. This service will help you schedule posts where you can promote your blog entries on multiple social media vehicles simultaneously. Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social media sites, but you’re probably wondering why you should bother with Google Plus. You should most definitely bother with Google Plus, because Google Plus is owned by a little company, you may have heard of it, GOOGLE! Google is the most popular search engine, and your posts on Google Plus will show up in search results on Google. I actually spend zero time surfing Google Plus, but when I google my name, BJ Knapp, I see results that link to my blog entries that start with the plus.google.com in the URL.
Hootsuite has a free version (which I use) that will allow you to post on up to 3 social media sites. If you get the paid version you get more features, like getting to post to more social media sites, and they even have a content generator in the paid version which will help you get ideas on things to post. But start with the free one and see where it takes you. I’ve been using the free one for over a year now and I haven’t felt compelled to upgrade to the paid version yet. Depending on how quickly I draft my tweets, I spend 5-10 minutes composing my post Hootsuite.
4) Browser Extensions
Now that you know how to easily post on multiple sites at the same time, let’s talk about a few easy ways to post to some of the other more popular social sites. If you use Google Chrome as your web browser, there are two browser extensions I want you to download. One of them is called StumbleUpon, and the other is for Pinterest. In the next steps I’ll tell you how to use these Chrome Extensions to further expand your reach within minutes.
StumbleUpon is a “discovery engine” that will find and recommend content to you based upon your preferences. You can add your blog entries to StumbleUpon, and then your entries will get recommended to readers searching for a specific topic. Once you have installed the Google Chrome extension on your browser, open your blog entry. You’ll see a black bar across the top of your blog entry that has a thumbs up icon, a thumbs down icon and a button that says “Stumble” on it. First, click on the thumbs up icon. On the next screen, the URL for your blog entry will show, and then you will be asked whether your content is safe to view at work. Once you answer that you can select keywords, and input your own keywords, about your blog entry. Think carefully about words that your readers may use to search to find your content. Once you’re done, save it and then your blog entry will become part of the StumbleUpon community. Later on you’ll get emails that will list the blog entries that were the most popular on StumbleUpon. I have also learned that a large proportion of the traffic to my blog comes from StumbleUpon. This takes me approximately 5 minutes.
Now that you’ve installed the Pinterest extension on Google Chrome, you can easily pin your blog entries to your boards on Pinterest. Remember, Pinterest is less social media and more idea search engine. (I use it all the time to find knitting patterns, for example.) Click on the Pinterest extension, and then it will allow you to select a board you want to pin your blog entry to, then click save.
Organize your boards into content types. For example, I have a board devoted to information about my book, another board called “Funny Blog Entries” and other ones for travel, my tendency to be frugal, and other things I blog about in my life. When you make those boards, write a description for them, as those descriptions will be used to feed that content to users when they search. Saving a blog entry to one of my Pinterest boards will take me about 2 minutes.
Another easy way to automate your social media posts is to use Missinglettr. Please see my other post on the advantages of using Missinglettr, but the basic idea is that you can set up a drip campaign on Twitter, where Missinglettr will automatically tweet your blog entries on a schedule that will last for a year. Reviewing and approving my Missinglettr campaign takes about 15-20 minutes to complete.
Getting your blog out there can be overwhelming, but it is not impossible to do in a short amount of time. Remember, most of your time should be spent researching and writing your blog post, the other steps I outlined above will take you around 30 minute to promote each post.