One of the most disheartening experiences for a newbie blogger is the realization that nobody's commenting - or even reading - what you're putting out there.
The vast majority of blogs are abandoned after a few short weeks, but it doesn't have to be that way. Don't assume that people will instantly start reading your sterling prose; some PR and outreach are required. After all, how are readers even supposed to know about your blog in the first place?
Even the apparently simple blogs that are successful have a done a lot of marketing work behind the scenes. It takes more than great writing and high-quality pictures to be a success. Here are six ways to get attention for your blog. Ideally, you should use them all to get off the ground floor. Proper blog management requires at least one hour per day apart from the writing.
1. Link exchanges
The best way to increase your following is to exchange links with other bloggers. Look for blogs that are complementary in content, but not directly competitive. The best bloggers receive endless requests for link sharing, so don't get discouraged if your initial requests are ignored or rejected.
Keep seeking out different bloggers, and make sure to explain how a link on your blog will help them. They're not into blogging for charity, so make them a sweet deal.
2. Social media platforms
Showcase your blog on all possible social media platforms, such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Don't post a straight advertisement or a demand to "Go read my blog!" Show potential followers how they'll benefit from your posts, and include a teaser about what your latest article is about. What's in it for social media friends? Time is precious, so make them want to click on your blog.
3. It's nice to share
Make it as easy as possible for people to share your blog by making social media buttons readily available. Be careful to choose the right sharing buttons, however. Too many can be overwhelming: most blogs are good with three options. If people really want to share the information, they'll put in the effort, but it's better if you keep it simple.
4. Great content
There's absolutely no alternative to great content that's original, well written, entertaining, and/or informative. A blog should fill a need - otherwise, it will fail no matter how outreach you do. Choose a niche that isn't too segregated, and make sure your topic(s) is genuinely interesting. Bloggers should also have an inviting character, or at least be entertaining, because a positive personality shines through in writing.
5. Email newsletters
This one can be tricky, because as a blogger you don't want to bombard readers. A weekly email is usually best, and it should include information, videos, or photos that aren't found on your blog. Video marketing is becoming increasingly popular because it's a great way to reach readers on a different level. Invest in a quality production, and make sure an opt-out option is clearly available.
6. Guest blog
One of the best ways to gain new followers is by guest blogging on sites that are complementary to yours. Guest blogging gigs are rarely paid, but they all guarantee better exposure. Only participate in guest blogging where a byline and a mention of the original blog - if not a direct link - is allowed. Most blogs that allow guests are hungry for new (free) content, and will be happy to work with bloggers.
Monetizing a blog or simply maintaining a popular one is no easy feat. Even the best bloggers stumble from time to time. However, with motivation and the right tools, it's possible to make a living as a blogger. Don't give up, set realistic goals, and check Google Analytics daily for direction.