Writing a blog post and getting it published on a personal blog or social blogging site is not as simple as you may believe. While for some hitting that “submit” button may seem like the end of the blogging process, in reality, it’s only the beginning. Now your job is to promote the post and generate web traffic to it with your social media shares. You then need to follow up by interacting with your readers and also with bloggers who post on related topics. And later, you’ll return to repeat the whole blogging cycle again.
At least half of your job as a blogger is to promote your posts and to interact with your readers. If you aren’t sharing your posts and engaging with readers and other bloggers, you are losing out on valuable web traffic. And that translates into a loss of revenue.
Share Your Blog Post on Social Media
Regardless of where you write your posts, social media sharing is an important part of the blogging cycle. When your post first publishes, it will generally appear on the front page or at the top of a list of recent posts. This will tend to earn you a certain number of unique page views, as regular readers see the post when they visit the site and click through to read what you’ve posted.
But to improve traffic to your post, you also need to share it on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+. Using the sharing buttons on many blogging sites will insert a referral code that tracks the number of visitors who come to the site through your social media shares. You may be paid for the actual act of sharing or for the visitor referral. And on many sites, you will also earn passive income in the form of a page view bonus when there are unique views for your posts.
Social networking is founded on the idea of organic web traffic. That is, when you share a post with your social network, some of your followers will click through to read the post while other followers may share the link with their own network of followers. The act of sharing, retweeting or repinning what you originally shared increases the reach of your blog post.
When a follower shares a link to your post, it adds to the pool of potential readers and provides more page views for not only your current post but also those you will publish in the future and the posts that are already in your blog archive. The increased web traffic that results from the new readers and the additional social media links that point toward your posts can signal search engines to take another look at your blog. Both the unique views and the backlinks add to your clout, and can help to boost your search engine ranking – which of course, will result in an additional increase of web traffic to your posts. And so the blogging cycle continues.
Respond to Your Readers’ Comments
Encouraging readers to comment on your posts is the simplest way to engage the reader and encourage him to remain on your blog after he has read your post. Comments can add value to your post and can act as an update, triggering more attention from search engines as their bots crawl the page to record a change in the content and update their index entry for your post.
Staying to comment increases dwell time and may help to reduce your bounce rate, both factors that search engines look at when they rank your posts. So be sure that your visitors can comment on your posts, and remember to take the time to read and respond to the comments you get on the post – and also on your social media shares too! Interacting with your readers helps them to perceive you as a human being. It strengthens your relationship with those readers, and will tend to increase the likelihood they’ll return later to read your next post.
So never just drop a post on a social blogging site and run. You may think this maximizes the number of posts you can publish in a day, and therefore maximizes your earnings. But in the long run, you’re just working harder and not smarter. Like social media sharing, taking the time to engage with your readers will boost web traffic to your posts in subtle ways. It improves the performance of the current blog post, but also of others you’ve published on that site. So don’t rush off without checking the comments and taking a moment to respond
Read Posts on Related Topics
This is one blogging strategy that you actually use off-site. It’s a really simple approach, but it can be incredibly effective. All you need to do is to seek out other bloggers who post on related topics. You can find them on your social blogging site, in your social networks, and by searching the web. Search for keywords related to your blogging niche, look for other bloggers who use the same hashtags or who write in the same categories as you. Now go read their posts and comment on them and share them in your social media stream.
Why take the time to interact with other bloggers outside of your social blogging site? Well, because it affords you several opportunities you won’t get on that site. By commenting on a post and leaving a blog link or social media contact like your Google+ ID, you are helping another blogger to find you and maybe read your posts. That’s more traffic to your posts. They may also choose to follow you on social media and share your posts there. That extends your reach to include their social networks and can, in turn, bring you more page views and new readers.
If you are able to leave a link when you comment (use the “website” field in the comment form to share a link to one of your posts) then you’re getting another backlink to your blog. While a link in a comment on someone else’s blog post isn’t necessarily going to garner you much attention from others who visit that post, it will get noticed by the search engines – particularly if that blog has a high ranking. Those backlinks are sort of like a contagion magic: they help to boost your authority and rank by association with a leader in your field of expertise.
The best advice I can give to my fellow bloggers is to slow down. Take the time to plan and outline your posts before you write them. This will help you to focus and to write a much better quality post. Also, take the time to draft and then revise your posts. And for goodness sake, please proofread and run the text through a spellchecker!
Take the time to select high-quality, relevant images for your posts. And also to write a title that uses strong, descriptive language that will entice potential readers to click your link. One of the biggest mistakes the majority of bloggers make is to write a boring, generic title after they work so hard to write a really good blog post. That’s so counterproductive! Stop rushing to publish and move on! You might spend as much time to choose your images and your title as you did to write your 700+ word blog post. But that’s OK. You should know this is normal, and it’s worth the investment. It’s going to pay off in the long term.
Also, remember that blogging is a cycle. So you don’t just do things once and then check them off your to-do list. If you’ve written an evergreen post, at some point you’re going to come back to it to freshen up the images and maybe update some of the text. This is a good thing because it encourages the search engines to once again crawl your post. You may also need to return to your posts multiple times to read and respond to comments. Again, the repetition is par for the course.
While you may have shared your post on social media when you first posted it, don’t think that’s the only time you need to do it! Some social networks like Twitter require relatively frequent updates to account for the shorter lifespan of items you post there. So you might want to Tweet a new post about two hours after the first tweet. And then you can repeat in a day, a week, a month, and even two months. Links you share on other sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ have a longer lifespan. But you still want to repeat those social media shares after the first week or month to increase the reach of your posts.
Getting Real Results from Following the Blogging Cycle
Does that additional round of social media sharing work? It sure does! Just to give you an example from one of my posts, today I did a second round of sharing for my post, “Health Benefits of Ginger: How Much Do You Have to Take?” The post hadn’t been performing terribly well, but I knew it had the potential to be a top performer. It’s not quite a month since I published the post, but I decided to do a little sharing today to give it a boost.
I discovered an earlier pin had somehow been deleted, so I created a new one. I also reposted to Google+, scheduled a couple of Tweets in Buffer, and shared the link in a couple of different places on Facebook. The result in just a few hours has been enough unique views and comments to fill up 3-4 pages in my earning history. There were something like 5 dozen unique views and three new comments to the post, which of course prompted three responses from me. That second batch of social media shares took an almost neglected post and catapulted it to my number 3 spot in less than a day. So the 15-20 minutes I spent sharing the post on my social networks is really paying off already! Who knows where that post will be in a day or two? It could still be bringing in new web traffic then too.
So remember that blogging is about more than just writing a 400-word post – or even one that’s approaching 2,000 words, like this one! The blogging cycle includes a whole series of activities that start when you plan and outline a post, and it involves steps for revising, choosing great images and titles, and sharing the post on your social network after it publishes. If all you’re doing is writing the post and throwing it onto your blog with a generic title and an ambiguous photo that leaves the reader wondering how the image relates to your topic, you simply aren’t doing enough. Choose to respect the entire blogging cycle and see whether it improves your results. I guarantee you that once you start seeing the increased web traffic and engagement, you won’t want to go back to blogging the lazy way!
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Original content © 2016 Kyla Matton Osborne
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