5 lessons from a blogger with 500,000 readers
Editor’s note: Today’s guest post is from Ryan Robinson, blogger and podcaster from ryrob.com.
Interested in growing your blog’s audience? Over the past few years, I’ve built an audience of over 500,000 readers — and today, I wanted to share some of the best strategies I’ve learned.
With some repetition and a healthy dose of creativity, putting just one of these tips into practice could help you double (or even triple!) your readership.
Lesson 1: Use video to show your human side
Video is a great way to build an instant connection with new visitors — whether it’s an introduction video on your homepage, or tutorial videos within your blog posts. This humanizes you and helps you connect more deeply with your audience. Readers can actually hear your voice, see your body language, and get to know you better.
You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get started. You can use your smartphone to record a quick introduction of yourself and your blog. Host it on YouTube, then embed it on your blog’s homepage or “About” page to welcome new readers.
Lesson 2: Get featured in top publications
Getting featured in a top publication is a great way to bring in readers. It also shows that you’re a credible source of information. Take a look at the “Featured on” section on my blog’s homepage.
You might not be able to go straight to the top, so start by guest posting for larger blogs in your niche. Aim for websites that are just a few steps ahead of where you are today.
For example, rather than reaching straight for your dream publications when your blog is still relatively new, focus your guest posting efforts on sites that have somewhere in the tens of thousands of monthly readers. For more guidance and steps for getting published on larger sites in time, check out my guide to guest blogging.
Lesson 3: Create valuable content
To attract an audience, you need content that is valuable to your readers. And it's important for your content to not only be educational, but engaging too.
I focus on building content that is…
- Comprehensive: Going more in-depth than your competitors can help you win loyal readers and encourage people to share your content.
- Easy to read: Aim for short paragraphs, subheadings and lists so your readers are more likely to stay engaged on the page.
- Well-structured: A clear post structure carries readers along without them ever feeling lost or confused. Plus, structuring your posts first helps you create content consistently.
Lesson 4: Craft a great intro (hook)
You don’t have long to make an impression online — just seconds, at most. Sure, headlines are important, but the introduction is also crucial.
A great way to begin your post is with a question or a promise. This immediately shows the reader that you understand their problem, and you’re going to help them solve it.
Take, for example, my guide about how to name a blog. It begins with the headline, “How to Name a Blog (the Smart Way): 40 Genius Blog Name Ideas (and Examples) to Get Inspired.” Here’s where the introduction takes over:
“There’s both an art and science to learning how to name a blog that tells readers about who you are, the topics you’re blogging about and more. So, what are you going to name your blog? Let’s dive into this ultimate guide, then look at some blog name ideas and examples to inspire your decision.”
In this introduction, I start with the promise that readers will learn how to choose a blog name that explains who they are and gives their audience useful context. Then, I restate the question, before sharing how we’ll work through that challenge together.
Lesson 5: Write in-depth answers in online forums
I spend time finding questions that are relevant to my niche and writing in-depth responses. If the opportunity presents itself, I’ll include a link to one of my articles in my answer. This doesn’t draw tons of traffic overnight, but it adds up over time.
Ultimately, it takes time to build your audience. You may only have 100 monthly readers right now, but you can dramatically grow your audience with these tips. In fact, by this time next year, you might be well on your way to having hundreds of thousands of readers.