As a blogger, you need to work and work to become well-known and to start being successful. Through my own hard work and determination (and scouring the web for some other I am giving you the gift that keeps on giving: views. This post will give you the perfect guide on how to grow your blog quickly, without stress, and completely for free. Sit back, grab a coffee and relax, because this is going to be one post you can’t miss.
Create an attractive yet useful site
You need your blog to be both beautiful and easy to work. I’m talking pretty colour schemes, attractive fonts, bold text, spacing, format, headers, uncluttering your sidebar, aesthetic photos and relevant posts. However, it also needs to load quickly, not be crammed with photos, direct the reader to your other posts without being link central and be easy to navigate. If you install three million plugins and seven thousand widgets, your blog will be slow and also very untidy; I would recommend having no more than seven widgets in the sidebar and four at the footer of your blog if you are using WordPress.com (the free plan).
However, some bloggers make the mistake of creating a stunning, accessible and easy-to-use site, and then not posting any quality content and going straight on to promotion, then being surprised when their bounce rate is sky high and people never leave comments or likes under their posts. You want to have at least 10 blog posts when you start promoting your blog, and once you have written several posts and started to allow people to find your blog on social media and through Google, then is the time to fiddle around with the Customise section and create an aesthetic web page.
Reach out to other bloggers
This is so important! Follow lots of other people who share similar content to you, and have similar ambitions to you. Talk to people and secure a few friendships with other bloggers who may be interested in your blog, and possibly vice versa. Scrolling through any social media I have for my blog, my WordPress Reader, BlogLovin’ or my suggested Safari sites, you will see 90% of this is other bloggers, influencers and blogs. I recommend doing this as soon as you start a new social media platform or start blogging; if you’re a WordPress user like me, simply head over to Reader, enter a few keywords you’re interested in and that match the niche of your blog and start following! Reading the blogs of those you have followed means you can also see what other people are up to, be inspired and snatch other readers! Leave likes on relevant posts and interesting comments to generate more views back to your own page.
Another way you can do this is through emailing other bloggers. If you have written a blog post that contains a link to someone else’s site, whether that’s because you’ve chosen to do a roundup post or because you wanted to add in extra useful information for your readers, email them to notify them and leave a link to the post and your blog in the email. It’s a quick way to get some social shares, another blogger friend and some extra traffic if you do it right.
Social media is key
To start, try creating an Instagram account and a Pinterest account. Social media can be incredibly daunting if you have limited time, no schedule and little views. Instead, start by getting popular on two of the best sites for driving traffic. They both use pictures to create themes and feeds in which you can leave links back to your site, other social media and any external pages you choose. Social media is also an amazing opportunity to connect, support and find other bloggers that can boost your following and be a great asset to the blog.
Expand by beginning to use more and more social platforms; here’s a list of the major ones that most bloggers use for traffic generation:
If social media is daunting for you, I have a lot of experience with both Pinterest and Instagram and have written guides just for you, packed full of useful tips and tricks to generate traffic through the platforms.
Decide on a Design
Having an attractive site with clear text, personalised designs and a colour scheme increases the likelihood of someone liking the design of your blog and revisiting and potentially becoming a frequent customer or subscriber. It also means you will get 56% more shares if you have an aesthetically pleasing or themed blog; add in some crisp photography and receive 113% more shares on Pinterest. You should also have a trademark logo for your blog, enabling readers to identify that the site is yours quickly and make the connection through the image. It also makes your page more businesslike and professional, earning you an 11% higher chance of companies contacting you with business collaborations.
Define Your Niche
Use the subtitle for your blog to describe what you focus on and a little about yourself, if possible. For example, use it to inform potential customers that you blog about beauty and lifestyle, travel, food, blogging, whatever you wish. If you can expand on this and write a snappy subtitle such as “travel encounters written by an adventurous 20-something” it tells the visitor a little about you, as well as describing what your blog content will be. Further, having an accurate blog subtitle leads to 21% more engagement from other bloggers.
Once you start your blog, you may decide that you want to change niches. That’s fine; the nature of your blog will change or develop as you go along, so go with what feels right and write from the heart.
Start a Schedule
Create a simple blogging schedule and then either upload content on these days or write in advance and use the Schedule tool in WordPress or Blogger to post at your chosen time. This means any readers will know which days you will post and are more likely to revisit; make sure that any other followers you have on social media are informed of your new posting schedule by uploading it to social media. It also helps keep you organised, on track and able to plan ahead so you can post at the correct time.
Inform Family and Friends
This is a very quick step that can ultimately result in hundreds of page views, but getting your supporters such as family and friends to share your blog on their personal Facebooks, Instagrams or whatever mean you get even more exposure, and from personal experience I know this method will result in a gain in traffic, as well as email subscribers and engagement on your blog.
A super simple way to get extra exposure via your family and friends is to send out an email or text to everyone you know well and just ask them to either forward the email or just spread the news of your blog; if 10% forward it to 10 more people and then 5 out of those 10 forward it, you could end up becoming viral overnight (more on that later!).
Start Tracking Your Views
Use Google Analytics if the platform allows it or install the WordPress app that shows you more basic stats and study these; find out where your views are coming from, who from and when. Use this to your advantage! Work out the audience of your blog from these statistics, then aim your next blog post at that age and gender and see if it is more popular. If so, use keyword research to continue posting quality content that would be of interest to people within that category.
Submit to Directories
Simply search blog directories, web directories and business directories and start with the first ones that come up! Admittedly this isn’t my favourite thing and is sometimes only gives a few views in return, but it is a good way to gain exposure and put your blog out there. If you are going to go on a submission spree, my advice is to copy and paste your URL, blog name and short descriptions or tags so you can save time with each submission.
Guest Posts Are Good
Ever been told guest posting is a waste of time? Not useful? No. And for a very good reason as well, because guest posting can give you exposure if you post on a top blogger’s site, as well as backlinks, traffic and 16% higher engagement rates. Write a few in advance covering a few subtopics within your niche, then email top bloggers who you’d love to guest post for (around 20k-100k subscribers is a good starting point) and wait! This got me several hundred views and only half a day of planning and writing, so doing this is a guarantee you will get back what you put in. There are also sites specially created for people to submit guest posts to, so do a bit of research and start entering your work to these, too.
If you’re interested in earning commission via blogging, this is a quick way to do so. Guest posting can bring in quite a bit of money if done well, so research a little and then start typing!
Hold Contests and Giveaways
These are a foolproof way for bloggers to gain followers and pageviews. Advertise a giveaway with a link to your blog on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter (preferably all three) and get thousands of views to your blog in return. Contests can give the same amount of views; team up with another blogger and do a two-way contest that will work in your favour and in theirs. Social media is key for contests, so make sure you have a following before announcing one!
Many bloggers also have a YouTube account that not only boosts their following but also creates another media article to share. If you’ve got several high-quality posts, convert these to videos and then upload them for an unexpected spike of traffic.
Create Artistic Business Cards
These do require a little fee, but the reward you get in return is worth it. Using a similar colour scheme and layout to your blog means company recognition, and results in more exposure. Try ordering a smaller pack to start with and give these out at any conferences or events you attend. You can also give a handful to friends or family who are within the target audience and ask them to hand them out to other friends.
Online forums work so well for promotion and exposure; there are hundreds of them out there, but finding good ones that will work for you and also for others is a little harder. If you’re stuck, use Pinterest to generate lists of useful online forums for bloggers. Remember to abide by the rules set by each individual forum to keep you in their good books! However, if you do use these forums correctly, you can direct hundreds of other bloggers and readers that are part of your target audience back to your blog.
This may be a little more time consuming than other traffic generating techniques you can use to grow your blog, but the results are amazing! I do this a lot and will have an hour slot to find as many bloggers who are of similar – or identical – niche to me and then look at their recent and most popular posts and leave an interesting and useful comment, with the link back to my blog underneath. I often choose a bigger blogger to do this with as they will have dozens or even hundreds of other bloggers doing this exact same thing, which is definitely pleasing; go down the list and find more bloggers to connect with. Only do this with people who are likely to be interested in what you write, don’t follow food bloggers if you’re a beauty content creator and have never published anything to do with food.
Use The Reader Function in WordPress
Using WordPress has its definite advantages, one of them being the engaging tool Reader. It allows you to compile a list of bloggers you have followed on WordPress (only WordPress sites can follow them using the Follow button, but anyone can subscribe using an opt-in form or subscription form). Without using Google to search anything, you can easily comment, like and follow any blogs you find using titles and keywords in the search feature.
The more blogs you comment on, follow and engage with, the more people will begin to recognise your blog and do the same. Make sure that the blogs you follow are in the same niche as yours, or the effort you put into engaging with them could be to no avail.
Create Interesting Posts
Studies have shown posts with over 4000 words get significantly higher share and engagement rates, as well as a higher number of opt-in followers. If you want to attract a large number of people to a certain post, create a super snappy and keyword-rich title (31 Mindblowingly Amazing Tips To Grow Your Blog In Seconds, Your Guide To Growing Your Blog Tenfold Overnight In 31 Easy Ways). They should also be longer than the average blog post published, so aim for 1500 words at least and around 4500 maximum, if you are informing the reader of something.
Create A Social Media Schedule
This is vital! Don’t waste hours of your precious time downloading dozens of apps and creating account after account on social media and then spend five minutes on each before becoming bored. Instead, choose a few big platforms (I recommend Pinterest and Instagram for starters) and write out a schedule, then stick to it. You can also use apps like BoardBooster and Tailwind to pin images and your links to different boards for you, so try using a free trial before you commit to either site.
Always Have A Featured Photo
Using a relevant yet crisp and professional-looking picture with each post increases pretty much all your rates; 77% more people will share a post on social media if your post includes an attractive photo. It also massively increases the chance of your post being shared on Pinterest, as the platform relies on pictures to be shared and repinned. Having brighter, minimalist or images with graphics also increase the rate of your post being shared, so aim to capture photos in brighter light!
If photography isn’t your thing, I wrote a blog post on how to improve your photography with little effort, plus some starting tips and a little run through of any equipment you might need if you want to seriously pursue blogging.
Use Pinterest For Everything
Honestly, this is so useful; I started properly pinning and promoting on Pinterest several months ago and my stats have gone from around 13,000 viewers a month to 170,000.
This is massive growth in a relatively short space of time, as I was able to achieve around 3k monthly viewers on a good day at the start of the year and although the same hasn’t quite happened on my blog, it definitely contributes to the views. I’m talking pinning manually each day, creating new boards, adding to group boards, creating a group board, linking to your blog, etc. Creating graphics on Canva and using these to link directly back to your blog is one way I skyrocketed my own traffic, so I would really recommend that if you have a lot of good content and only some visitors, get creative and put those images on your three most popular boards.
I have a post dedicated to how I increased by pin impressions by so much and also how you can drive traffic to your site using Pinterest which is useful for anyone getting to know the social media platform:
This is another one that some bloggers may not do as it can be time-consuming and a little risky. However, if you use keywords and create a compelling title, this little trick can give hundreds of visitors back. By writing about a current craze or political decision, you can invite anyone who searches that trending topic up, and gives them immediate access to your blog, which is good news for you!
Local Resources Work Too
Instead of going all out and working on huge social platforms of millions of people, aim a little closer to home and start applying for a feature in local magazines or newspapers; this will open up your blog to a whole new audience, let people you know hear about it and spread it on from there, and also be a place to promote yourself without spending hours on social media.
Word Of Mouth
This is a simple and completely free technique I’m sure hundreds of people overlook because it isn’t powerful enough, or doesn’t generate direct traffic. However, by telling your circle of friends and relatives, it can explode your traffic if they all tell their circle of friends, and etc. You can also use business cards like mentioned above for more secure links and definite reminders of your blog, which is an advantage.
Ask For Features
You might already need to have a relatively modest following to ask for features and have a solid chance and getting this, but they are one way to attract more readers from people who have very similar target audiences to you. Further, other bloggers may notice you and you have more secure links and relationships, all of which adds up to getting more exposure and growing your blog.
Social Media Shoutouts
Similar to the last tip but equally as effective. You may require a larger following on social media, but having pods for comments and likes are also really useful – make sure to join a few, mainly on Instagram or Facebook. Once you have a decent following, contact blogs with both larger and smaller followings to make sure your shoutouts not only reach a lot of people but the right audience. In a shoutout swap, gain trick or S4S as it is commonly abbreviated, you may need to give the person you are asking a shoutout in return; on Instagram, use the story feature as it allows you to post shoutouts and link back to people’s accounts without clogging up your feed.
Create Backlinks With Submission Sites
Submit your blog to submission sites, directories and web directories to gain free backlinks, some of which will result in both exposure and growth. However, the distinct advantage of having your blog listed and links created is that it means Google and the power of SEO can find you, bringing floods of visitors and creating a defined spike of traffic to your page. Again, most are free and just a little time consuming; spend some time each month or two and submit your page to a few. Pinterest has good ideas for sites that you shouldn’t miss, so definitely check them out as well – little self-promo but you can follow my Pinterest here and gain access to thousands of blog growth tips, resources for beginner and expert bloggers, traffic tips and blog design downloads as well as beauty boards, makeup tips and links to beauty related posts from hundreds of bloggers.
Quora is a crazily useful site for anything you want or need to know ever. By converting your blog posts into solutions for commonly asked questions, you can divert hundreds of people searching the most typical things to your blog PER DAY. Yep! Use Quora frequently and check your stats, but I recommend uploading around 10 blog-converted questions every month to keep engagement rates and exposure high. Keywords are essential to getting traffic, so Google the best ones and use those!
Create A Slideshow
Sites such as Slideshare can literally bring 90% of your viewers back to your site within hours of creating a post. Simply create a slideshow featuring the same text as your blog post and then add design and graphics and upload to as many slide sharing sites as you can find; amazingly, you can direct over nine out of ten people who view the slideshow back to your blog! It’s a win-win, as well as a clever way to reuse and recycle your content, gain exposure and find other bloggers who convert their posts.
You Need SEO
Search Engine Optimisation is one of the quickest ways to gain traffic. With a fast Google search, you are immediately faced with professionals who can help you achieve your SEO goals, or you can do some research yourself and try it out the hard way. Add categories and tags to each of your posts and make sure to add keywords to your content to rank higher on Google and be listed more frequently. It may cost you some money to get started or to improve your website’s SEO rankings so your site is more easily findable, but the money is worth it as the extra exposure to many millions of eyes is very desirable – plus, not only will your blog be more searchable for people to find, but they’ll also be able to find your individual blog posts if the correct Google searches come through. My biggest tip for trying SEO and beginning to figure out how things work is to be
After all, people are visiting your blog because they like reading what you have to say. Remember you can’t promote a blog that has no posts because you’d simply be putting out a blank page to your fans, and not providing the high quality that is necessary to gain engaged followers. Posting content frequently also results in a 29% higher chance of having your post or blog shared, so write often!
Be as passionate as you can about what you write about; if you don’t feel interested when writing it, why would people be interested when reading it? It’s so obvious when people are not genuinely passionate about their blog and it shows through their writing, so choose a topic you love and stick with it.
I hope this was useful to anyone, and if you have any questions, queries or blog post suggestions please either let me know in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.