Four Free Ways to Grow Your Blog & Build Your Audience

Blogging

I frequently get emailed different questions about blogging, business, and web stuff. I’m happily to answer these questions. I realize that people are not so willing to email someone, but they might be more likely to ask questions in a group. Today, I wanted to share a few of the most frequently asked questions I get!

Four Free Ways to Grow Your Blog and Build Your Brand!

1 | What plugins do you use that are not must-haves?

I outlined my must-have plugins that I use on every single install, but there are few other plugins that I use personally.

  • Comment Reply by Admins Notifier: When I made the switch from DISQUS to WordPress Comments, I wanted a way for commenters to be notified about follow-up comments, and thus, I’ve opted for this plugin. It sends an email to the commenter when I’ve responded. They do not need to subscribe to comments to get notified, and they only get notified about my follow-up response.
  • Coschedule by TodayMade: For the longest time, I hesitated in using Coschedule to promote my posts (because it is not free). However, I’ve been trying to promote and grow the blog as a way to grow my business. Therefore, I needed to invest in tools to help me. Coschedule is fabulous way to schedule your post for the next day and several days in advance.
  • Reduce Bounce Rate: Just by installing this plugin you can see significant updates to your bounce rate. Every ten seconds, this plugin notifies Google that the user is on the page. Typically, Google uses user interaction to evaluate bounce rate and page time, and if the user does not click a link, it counts as nothing.

2 | Do I need a newsletter?

Yes and no. When you are ready for a newsletter, you should have one. However, right now, you should be collecting emails. You can do this in different ways. Setting up a simple RSS campaign is one way to get subscribers use to receiving email from you. The Blog Newsletter Guide teaches you how to set up different campaigns and integrate sign-up forms within your website and social media platforms. So, if you don’t have one, sign up for a Mailchimp account (free) and checkout my blog posts on email newsletters.

3 | What theme works best for my blog?

I find that I get this question surprisingly often. Several different factors determine what theme features work best with your content. If you are considering a blog (re)design, then make sure to download my Brand Identity Questionnaire. I use this questionnaire for all of my custom brand and web design projects, but I’ve had multiple people tell me that they’ve found it extremely useful for their own brand identity. The Blog Content Planner has also been helpful for people struggling to organize their content effectively.

Click to download the Branding Questionnaire!

When trying to find a blog theme that works for your content, there are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What should be the central focus of my website (visually)? What do I visitors see when they arrive at my home page? For example, should your site feature high quality photography or showcase your breadth of posts?
  • Is my content clearly and effectively organized for the reader? Blog post can live longer than the day you pressed published. Organizing your blog categories is essential to optimizing reader engagement.
  • Does my blog display high-quality photographs? Will blog photographs be a challenge for me? If photography is not your focus, you would opt for small photographs and a design that emphasizes the text, like the premade theme Olea. If you have great photographs, you might prefer a theme like Elm + Pine or Zelkovia.

4 | How do I grow my blog?

Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question. If there was, we would not see so many Pinterest pins trying to encourage bloggers on how they can do it. A lot of factors impact the success of your blog. I firmly believe that success is a product of both hard work and talent. Working hard is not enough, and talent is not enough either. In order to grow your blog, you need to know where you are. I have cleaned up the tracker I use for my own website and social media growth for your use. This free download comes in PDF and Excel format, and it includes metrics on website traffic, subscribers, social followers, and monetization. When I started tracking my growth, not only did I become more invested in the content I created, I also had a stronger basis for what is working and not working.

What’s a successful percentage? From my own personal experience, I’ve found that anything above 20% growth means that you are growing at an above average rate. If you are growing between 10-20%, you are about average for general trends. Meaning that most blogs and websites grow at that rate. I would consider less than 10% growth per month below average. This percentages are specifically for sessions, users, pageviews, newsletter and bloglovin subscribers, and social media followers.

Click to download the blog tracker!

I’ve written extensively on different components that can help you grow your blog. Most people have found these different post helpful:

Want more Blogging tips? Check out these posts! If you have any questions, leave a comment below.

Four Free Ways to Grow Your Blog and Build Your Brand!