5 Awesomely Easy Ways to Make More People Read Your Blog!

Everybody wants more people to see their blog.

picture of diaryIf you really didn’t care if someone saw what you wrote, you would use a journal and just write for yourself. Which is fine really –  although I never succeeded in doing that – did you?

Even if you are not planning to make money from your blog, blogging is much more fun if you know that you inspire people and especially if you get to have a conversation with your readers.

Now that we have that out of the way, here comes the question of my qualification for adding another post to the 2.760.000 articles I found on Google with the search phrase:

how to get more people to read my blog

I am a hobby blogger. I don’t make money directly from my blog (although I wouldn’t mind that 🙂 ) and I don’t create posts often enough to list “blogger” as one of my main occupations. I’m neither an SEO expert nor do I have the magic formula to get rich blogging overnight. However, I do monitor my web stats every day and get a kick out of seeing some posts doing really well.

What I am is an avid blog reader. I read a lot of posts, mainly in my area of digital media use and its impact on our lives. I read blog posts and

  • Discuss questions I have in the comments
  • Share the posts I like and that are relevant for my network
  • Curate the best of them

So when I joined a Facebook Group that my friend Keri Jaehnig (Idea Girl Media) started and agreed to participate in the #likeableblogs blogging challenge I thought about ways I could contribute to the success of other bloggers.

5 areas you should watch if you want more people to read your blog:

1. Blog design

First impressions count! As I wrote in a recent post “24 ways to help your friends online” we “pay” with our attention online. There is so much material out there – if people don’t like the way your blog looks they will move on. I try to use my time wisely – don’t waste my time.

  1. Don’t use pop-ups!  I know your “make money blogging” guru said the opposite and apparently you can get more people to sign up to your mailing list but I tell you this little secret: if you force me to close your huge pop-up before I can read your post, I will already have a negative impression. If you serve me one of those pop-ups that cover my whole smartphone screen and I have to figure out how to close it – I won’t. Unless you are famous or a big shot blogger…. pop-ups do more harm than good
  2. Get a responsive theme! I have chosen WordPress as my platform of choice and after making many changes on my site and building websites for other people I know how easy it is to make my site look good even on smartphones. A responsive quality theme makes sure my posts are easy to read on every screen size. Have a look at your analytics and you will be surprised how many people get to your site on mobile.
  3. Make it easy to read! Unless your readers are teenagers, font size matters! Many blogs are very pretty and a lot of thought goes into what background colour and font colour you should use. Amost no WordPress theme uses black writing out of the box. Readers don’t want to squint or increase the zoom on their browser just to read what you have to say. Make the font big enough and make sure you have enough contrast.

2. SEO

screenshot - more people read your blog
screenshot

Search Engine Optimization is not a bad word and you don’t have to hire somebody to do it for you. You don’t even have to spend too much time learning about it (although it helps). I love using WordPress SEO by Yoast mainly for two reasons: 1. Out of the box the settings are just fine for most applications. 2. It has a little traffic light system that tells me if all the right words are in the right places. So if the light is not green, I can decide if I want to make changes or not.

While traffic from Social Media sharing and referring sites is becoming increasingly important, search traffic is still a major part of how readers find your content. Please don’t start writing for Google bots but make sure they find what you want them to find.

 

3. Sharing

You know how in most stores you can pay in whatever way you like? Cash, debit, various credit cards…. are made to make it as easy as possible for us to pay for the goods and services we need and want.

Well the same goes for your blog – if you want people to share your post with their network or even make it go viral: Make it easy for us!

It surprises me how many blogs have no easy way to share the post. If I have to jump through hoops to share your blog, I probably won’t (and I’m a pretty hard-core sharer). I am collecting a list of good WordPress sharing plugins – have a look:

Headline for WordPress sharing plugins
 REPORT
BlueBird BlueBird
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9 items   12 followers   4 votes   1.73k views

WordPress sharing plugins

Adding sharing plugins to your blog is a must if you want your content shared.
This list is a collection of plugins I have tried and either use, have used or will use. Feel free to share your favourites

Source: http://tweet4ok.com/5-awesomely-easy-ways-to-make-more-people-read-your-blog/

Jun 30, 2013 by Michael Volkmann - wordpress.org - 202
Flare WordPress Plugin

Flare is a simple yet eye-catching social sharing bar that gets you followed and lets your content get shared via posts, pages, and media types.

Jul 23, 2013 - wordpress.org - 189
WordPress › Floating Social Bar " WordPress Plugins

Social media share buttons are a must have for every site, but they can significantly impact your site's speed. At WPBeginner, we created the floating social bar to maximize our social media visibility without impacting our site speed. Floating social bar is a light-weight WordPress plugin that adds a horizontal floating share bar to your blog posts, pages, and other post types.

Nov 12, 2013 - wordpress.org - 220
WordPress › Shareaholic | share buttons & related posts " WordPress Plugins

Increase pageviews and engagement by highlighting relevant content from across your site to your readers who would not otherwise encounter them. Shareaholic is not just yet another related posts content plugin. It involves a simple installation that's easy to update and tweak. You'll be using well-engineered and optimized code that won't slow or block your pages from loading.

Dec 24, 2013 by Mitchell Abdullah - wordpress.org - 234
Sharing Buttons & Analytics by AddShoppers " WordPress Plugins

This free plugin installs smart social sharing buttons that allow your visitors to easily share content on your WordPress site. These sharing buttons are tied to powerful analytics that allow you to track sharing activity and identify the influencers that are sending you traffic.

Jun 30, 2013 by Michael Volkmann - wordpress.org - 199
"Digg Digg " WordPress Plugin

Display all popular social sharing buttons with count, such as Twitter, Buffer, Facebook Share, Facebook Like, Digg, LinkedIn, Google +1, Reddit, dZone, TweetMeme, Topsy, Yahoo Buzz, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us, Sphinn, Designbump, WebBlend, BlogEngage, Serpd, Pinterest, Pocket and Tumblr.

Jun 30, 2013 by Michael Volkmann - wordpress.org - 247
"Slick Social Share Buttons " WordPress Plugin

Add facebook, twitter, google +1, linkedin, digg, delicious, reddit, buffer, stumbleupon and pinterest pin it social media buttons to your website in either a floating or sliding panel and see summaries of all your social metrics in the admin social statistics page Button Panel Options To access the plugin settings go to WordPress admin -> Social Buttons -> Social Buttons The button panel can be fully customised on the plugin settings page in WordPress admin: Type - Select either a "floating" button or a "Sliding" tab Location - Select the position of the button panel.

Jun 30, 2013 by Michael Volkmann - addthis.com - 260
The Largest Sharing and Social Data Platform. We Provide Twitter and Facebook Buttons, Custom Audience Targeting, and...

AddThis is the world's largest sharing platform. We use big data to help site owners and brands build digital audiences and use data to personalize experiences. We provide easy-to-use sharing buttons like the Facebook button, Pinterest button, Twitter button, and Google+ button. We also provide a trending link box, welcome message tool, and share plugin for your browser.

Jun 30, 2013 by Michael Volkmann - wpsocial.com - 247
Social Review Engine

The Social Review Engine is a powerful and feature rich website and product review plugin built for WordPress powered blogs. Simple to use, easy to setup, and installs in minutes. Getting Customer Ratings and Reviews, building trust and community, sharing content through social media, and increasing traffic and sales has never been so easy.

Jan 04, 2015 - warfareplugins.com - 213
Social Warfare: The Ultimate Social Sharing Weapon

Studies show that fewer options to choose from actually increases the number of people who take action. By focusing on the 5 biggest names in social media, rather than plastering dozens of social networks icons, we have seen a drastic increase in activity on sites that use this plugin.

Make sure you customize the sharing options wherever you can. Most of the tools let you set your twitter handle – you want to promote your own @Twitterhandle instead of the one of the tool or developer.

 

4. Embedding outside content

While blogs are mostly text based they don’t have to be only text based. Make it more interesting by embedding outside material into your posts. I have just started a series of blog posts about this – find the first installment here:

Blogging

Tip: Make sure you have control over the content you embed – because as soon as the site owner takes it down it disappears from your site too.

5. Be easy to reach

A blog is a Social Media tool – communication goes both ways and should open a door for interaction with your readers. Make it easy to get in touch with you!

  1. Enable commenting (you would be surprised how many blogs have no way to comment). Consider dropping the need to approve comments. The fact that people can see that they successfully commented outweighs the danger of someone spamming.
  2. Respond to people’s comments! Remember, we “pay” with our attention and time. If someone spends the time to write to you – write back otherwise they will not come back.
  3. Make it easy to contact you in as many ways as you can:
    1. list your main Social Media channels – I’m really happy about the author box below this post (it also shows on mobile!)
    2. Place an email link right in your sidebar because some people like to address you privately

 

[box type=”alert” style=”rounded”]Everybody wants more people to see their blog.[/box]

I know there are many more things to do in order to make more people read your blog but for me as a reader and someone that builds blogs for other people these 5 areas are the most important. I also know that some of my suggestions might set other experts off and that’s just fine.

What are you going to change on your blog after reading this?

What do you think is the most important thing that makes more people read your blog?

[hr]

photo credit featured image: Creative Commons CC with special permission by the artist Krisina Alexanderson to use here

photo credit: andres.moreno via photopin cc

32 Replies to “5 Awesomely Easy Ways to Make More People Read Your Blog!”

  1. Frithjof,

    Congratulations – You received permission for your graphic – Yippeeee!! 🙂

    Yes, everyone wants more people to see their blog. They want more comments, and they want people to share. In my opinion, too many people wait to hop onto blogging, and this desire is then increased, as there ends up being a “catch up” phase in the marketers’ minds.

    You’ve used your media well here – List.ly list: Really cool! And nice tour of Yoast. This plugin alone has changed my success with blogging.

    Thank you for hosting our #likeable blogchat, and for your enthusiastic sharing throughout this summer.

    Really appreciate you!!

    ~Keri

  2. What a great wealth of content here, and easy to read.. Those are two things that make a blog readable, and something one wants to return to time and again..

    I am very impressed with how broad and deep your knowledge is, Frithjof.. Thanks so much for sharing it with us..!

    My plan is to keep on being a little more consistent with regular posting, and stay open to the many good ways there are to improve.
    #LikeableBlogs

    1. Thanks for your kind words Sheryl!
      Posting regular quality content is one of the biggest challenges if you are not a full time blogger. The funny thing is that after a while blogging became a form of recreation for me. It’s almost like an indulgence in a busy work schedule..

  3. Thank you Frithjof for these 5 tips for our blog. I have been very lucky to have my blog designed professionally for me so it included the SEO by Yoast plugin and the sharing buttons as well. WP is a great platform and very intuitive. I’m also enjoying blogging not to profit but to drain my thoughts and my desire to transfer knowledge.

    It’s been a pleasure to get to know you from Keri’s group and I hope we stay connected on the social sphere.

    Cheers,

    Veronica

    1. Thanks for stopping by Veronica!
      Having your site set up well saves you a lot of time and helped immensely to get more readers.
      The initial expense might seem high but it’s like getting higher quality sports equipment: the increase in performance and fun is well worth it.

  4. I have to admit to making it necessary to approve comments because I get so many that are truly spam and I wouldn’t want people who read my blog to have to filter through those spammy comments to find and see REAL comments. I do have the email sent instantly to my phone so I can approve them in a very short time though.

    Love Keri’s group and have learned so much from everybody.

    Debbie

    1. Hi Debbie! Thanks for you comment!
      I know, turning off comment approval was really scary to me but with a good commenting system like the built in GASP by CommentLuv I realized that I get very little real spam. I might have to change that policy when my blog grows up.
      Right now CommentLuv let’s me specify how long a commenter has to be on my website before commenting, how many words they have to type at a minimum and how many links they can add.
      All of these safeguards catch most of the spam and the suspicious comments get into the moderation que.

      Thanks for coming over from the Likeable League!

  5. Thank you for this post. The timing is wonderful as I get closer to the time of officially launching my new website. I will certainly use some of the suggestions that you have listed. I think the sign of a great post is one that inspires the reader into action and yours has certainly achieved that milestone.

    I love all of the sharing tools as options 🙂

    Naturally Yours,
    Elise Cohen Ho

    1. Thanks for your kind words Elise and good luck with your launch!
      My main advice for the sharing plugins is to check the installation on mobile and different browsers (may be ask your friends check on their phones.

  6. Frithjof,

    Thank you for sharing these useful tips and also showing how they work in real time behind the scenes on your back end. I like how you use List.ly in your blog post. This is a new way to use list functions in a blog post and not have to worry about manually linking to each item in a list. Great time saver. I am going to have to give Word Press SEO by Yoast a second look. Now that you have explained it better I think I am willing to tackle it again. Also I couldn’t agree more on social sharing buttons. I get so irritated with blogs that may have a great post I want to share but then I have to go through my own work around’s to share it and by then I just get frustrated.

    Well done.

    Oh and I love your graphic I am so glad you got the approval to use it. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment Joe!
      The co-founder of List.ly is a friend of mine. Considering all the comments here we should possibly arrange a hangout so we can do a bit of a Q&A
      What do you think?

      Frithjof

  7. Excellent post – especially the point about offering ways to connect. I, too, have visited many sites with no clear communication option, so that should be a priority for all bloggers – both individuals and big brands.

    1. Thanks for your comment Debbie!
      The most surprising tip I got early in my time as a blogger is the piece about making yourself available by email. Seems like a no-brainer but often you have to digg for a way to connect privately.

  8. Hi Frithjof!

    Excellent tips in an awesome post! Thanks so much for sharing this information!

    I do moderate my blog site comments. I realize it is a bit of a bother, but a fair amount of spam manages to slip by my Askimet. Not only do I not want the stuff cluttering up my comment stream, I am afraid that not removing it immediately will cause Google to penalize my site for unrelated inbound links. I do find I only have to approve a person’s comment once. After that he/she is automatically approved. The best I can do, like Debbie, is to have the moderation notices go to my phone. At least that way I can tend to them quickly.

    I have to admit the tip that resonated most strongly with me is your advice to do away with those website pop-ups. Even though I am in the field, and understand the rationale, I cannot STAND those things! Yes, they probably do increase sign ups to our mailing lists. And if a client wants to use one I comply. But I bristle when I try to read a post, only to be interrupted by a big ol’ pop up. If the x out area isn’t plainly visible immediately I am out of there. And the x out is rarely visible when the pop up invades my smart phone screen.

    For MY website, I treat my audience the way I want to be treated. Even if it means my list grows more slowly, I refuse to use pop ups.

    Best,
    Jeanine

    1. “I treat my audience the way I want to be treated” exactly my guideline in the way I do things in my business and life in general.

      Thanks for your insights Jeanine!
      There are ways to make pop-ups less obtrusive and time them to come up after the user is on the site for a while (Like the contact tab that comes out of my footer. But I’m with you: no pop-ups

      1. I agree, Frithjof. The contact invitation that comes from your footer is tasteful and out of our direct line of sight. Invitations to connect like that are fine. It is the ones that cover the screen that turn me off. I once clicked a link to visit a website and was greeted with a “gate” that forbade me from entering unless I surrendered my name and email address. Needless to say, I beat a hasty retreat and never went back.

    1. Glad I could help! Sharing plugins are a constant reason for hunting for me. Often they either use up a lot of resources or don’t play nice on mobile.
      Which one did you choose?

    1. Good news Jen: The SEO stuff is getting less and less complicated all the time. Publish quality content on a consistent basis and nurture the relationships you are building online.
      Google is moving towards focusing only on that stuff and less of the really techie things.

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