Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

3 Aspects to Consider to Grow Your Blog

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How do you make your blog or website grow? Do you have to coerce, cajole, or trick your visitors? Do you have to spend a lot of money?

Grow Your Blog

Photo credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)

It’s not as hard as you think.

There are, essentially, three important aspects to consider for any blog:

  • The Content
  • The Community
  • The Technical Side

If your blog isn’t getting the traction it deserves, then it’s probably because you’ve neglected one of these.

Content

You need to write good stuff. I can’t stress this enough.

Sometimes, it’s hard to have proper perspective when you’re close to your work.

If you’re unsure of the quality of your content take a step back and evaluate:

  • Do you have a focus?
  • Do people thank you for what you’ve written?
  • Do people share your writing?

Consider the number of comments, social media shares, and word-of-mouth reputation your blog has.

What do you do if your content is struggling? Try the following:

  1. Ask your readers. See what they want from you.
  2. Spend more time writing. If you only spend 30 minutes crafting a post, trying doubling it. See what happens.
  3. Work ahead. Give yourself time to edit your posts before they go live (this means not always writing a post the same day you want to publish it). Capture ideas to revisit later.

Community

To some bloggers, building a community comes naturally. For others, it’s a discipline.

Getting more than a group of random visitors to your blog is essential to growing your blog’s audience. Here are some questions:

  • Are the same people commenting on your blog each day?
  • Are people sharing your content with others?
  • Are people connecting with each other via your blog?

All of the above are indicators you’re building a community, not just a platform.

The bottom line? If conversations aren’t happening – if content is merely being consumed – then your blog needs work.

If you’re struggling with that, try the following:

  1. Write a blank blog post. Ask a question that your readers need to answer. Collaborate. Do something creative that turns readers into participants.
  2. Branch out. Connect with your readers elsewhere (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, real life, etc.)
  3. Reach out. Connect with other bloggers through email or by commenting on their blogs. Ask those who are building community on their blogs for help or advice.

Technical

The technical aspect of blogging is hit-or-miss.

Usually, a blogger leans toward one of two extremes: 1) all-out geek with zero social skills, or 2) completely oblivious artist. But if you’re going to leverage your blog to reach the most people possible, you have to consider some of the technical parts of blogging:

  • Do you know SEO, how to link out, write search-friendly titles, and focus on keywords?
  • Do you know basic HTML to correct a nasty formatting issue on my blog?
  • Do you know how to do simple formatting, like subheads, bold type, and italics?

For you artist types whose eyes just rolled back into your head, this is possible. You can do this. Here are a few next steps:

  1. Ask Google. Search a technical term or topic you don’t know and find a helpful tutorial. (In fact, there’s an SEO Guide on this site that I wrote to help beginners.)
  2. Find a mentor. Whether it’s a blogger you admire or the geek next door, find someone who can teach you the basics to maintaining the technical side of your blog.
  3. When in doubt, copy. Find a good blogger that you like and do what they do. Truth be told, that’s a lot of what I do. I don’t only watch what people say, but also what they do. I follow what I see, more than what I hear.

I’m not saying that you go back to school and get your Master’s in Computer Science; I’m just suggesting that you should be able to take care of your own blog.

Listen, we’re all works-in-progress. No one’s “arrived.” We all need to grow.

This shouldn’t intimidate you. It should encourage you to get better. Because anyone can do this. I hope you will.

Do you need to grow in one of these three aspects of blogging? Share your thoughts in the comments.

*Photo credit: EvelynGiggles (Creative Commons)

About Jeff Goins

I help people tell better stories and make a difference in the world. My family and I live outside of Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. Check out my new book, The In-Between. To get exclusive updates and free stuff, join my newsletter.

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  • http://robrash.us Rob Rash

    Great advice Jeff. I think my biggest struggle is creating and maintaining community. But with my FB page and better content, I’ve seen some slight progress.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Me, too, Rob. Glad to hear that, though. At the end of the day, I think it’s just about valuing people and making them feel appreciated. Thanks for the comment.

  • http://www.SammyA.com Sammy Adebiyi

    Def the technical area. I have no idea what SEO even means. Go ahead and point and laugh [Nelson Style]… but i will read your guide so thank you friend. 

    Did have a question Jeff. I noticed you use a lot of tabs, lists and indents in your posts. It makes it extremely easy to scan. Problem is it just doesn’t seem to fit my style. I usually tell stories/illustrations to make a point. I rarely write a ’3 ways to ___’ posts. Having a hard time making my ‘story’ posts ‘scannable’. Does that make sense? Any thoughts? 

    Thanks for your work bro. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Yeah, man. Total sense. And way to be true to your art form. I would recommend at very least breaking up your posts into smaller paragraphs, if you haven’t already done so (3-4 lines, max). You could also play around with a few bold subheads.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacob.hoyer Jacob Hoyer

    I can’t really speak to the community-building aspect of your blog as I haven’t been all that involved (irony?).

    I do appreciate how well-focused the content is.  If I click one of your links, I always know what I’m getting.

    I usually feel like I can grow in content focus. It’s hard for me to pin down what my blog is actually “about” sometimes.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks for the feedback, Jacob. I’m enjoying your blog; I’d encourage you to give yourself plenty of grace, especially since you’ve just recently launched. It takes time to develop focus. The more you do it, the more you’ll see certain topics resonate with your readership (and with you), and you’ll find what you’re looking for (cue U2 song). That said, you may want to go thru this exercise (if you haven’t already done so): http://goinswriter.com/blog-focus/

  • http://thewholedangthing.wordpress.com Ben Emerson

    Great advice. I think I need to grow in the technical side of things. I have been kicking around the idea of self hosting but I want to make sure I am as serious about my blog as I think I am. So I will probably wait a few more months to be sure.

    I do feel that in the few months I have been seriously blogging I have learned a TON about content and community. I do like it when people I know tell me they read my blog even though they don’t comment. It is like there are separate blog communities: The online one and the people I know.

    Your site has been super helpful in my learning process.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Ben. I’m glad. I definitely want to be a resource. One little metric to note: Most studies show that comments represent 1/10th of your readership/traffic, so it’s just one indicator that you’ve build a community. I have people comment on my blog via Twitter, Facebook, email, or even in-person that NEVER leave comments. You’re right — it’s interesting the different communities that emerge from our content and how they manifest.

    • http://allyspotts.com Ally Spotts

      Ben, you pretty much said everything I was going to say! I agree that blogging has taught me a ton about how to build community, how to develop meaningful content, and also how to be a little more tech-y than I am… although the technical stuff seems to be a steeper learning curve for me than the others.

      But progress is incremental. I think I have to remember that. And like Jeff said, “We’re all works in progress” (in life and in blogging). Besides, blogging is more rewarding than it is difficult, which I think is what keeps me doing it.

      And ditto, also, on learning a ton from Jeff’s site. Thanks Jeff.

      • http://thewholedangthing.wordpress.com Ben Emerson

        “blogging is more rewarding than it is difficult.”

        That’s a great point and a great thing to remember. I have to remind myself that I started this to complete a project, not get famous or tons of readers.

        So if at the end of the day I did what I set out to do then I succeeded.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        I like that, Ally: Blogging is more rewarding than it is difficult. Amen! Good reminder.

  • http://shawnsmucker.com Shawn Smucker

    Great post, Jeff. Thanks for your thoughts on this. I’ve made strides recently on the technical side but need to keep moving in that direction.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Me too, Shawn. I intend to write more about this, sharing what I’m learning in this area.

  • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

    I feel like I’m okay on the first two, but the last is where I’m the most lacking. I know that SEO is important, I just don’t really know how to DO that. One would think that this far into it I would be a bit more adept in it, but nope.

    Heading to read your post about it now!

    • Anonymous

      Alise, I totally relate. For me the idea of writing for SEO seems overly contrived. Can I borrow your copy of Jeff’s guide when you’re done with it ;-)

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Feel free to email me if you have questions. I’ll make it brief for you: 3/4 of SEO is learning how to write good titles.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Feel free to email me if you have questions. I’ll make it brief for you: 3/4 of SEO is learning how to write good titles.

  • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

    Great post, Jeff.  I struggle with “focus.”  It seems to be a moving target for me and my blog.  It started as one thing, then shifted, and has now shifted again.  It’s somewhat changing with me (and my stage in life) and somewhat with my readers.  As my reader base grows, I’m working to write stuff that impacts the majority of the readers.

    I go back and forth on whether my blog should be laser focused…or more of a reflection of me, my life, my calling, and my occupation.

    Thanks for helping me think through this.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You’re welcome, Ben. Voice is more important than focus, but it’s good to have at least a suite of ideas or topics that you tend to spend about 80% of your time writing about.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You’re welcome, Ben. Voice is more important than focus, but it’s good to have at least a suite of ideas or topics that you tend to spend about 80% of your time writing about.

      • http://www.benreed.net Ben Reed

        Good call. I like that 80% number. I’m all over that.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent info! I think I’m improving on points #1 and #2 (thanks to BlogRocket and guidance from individuals such as you) but I’m floundering on the technical side. Sooner or later I’m going to have to bit the bullet and migrate over to WordPress – that scares me…

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      It’s not that hard, Tor. Glad you’re improving – that’s the important part!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      It’s not that hard, Tor. Glad you’re improving – that’s the important part!

  • http://www.edwardpaz.com Edward Paz

    Thanks for providing such a simple grid by which to evaluate a blog Jeff.

    Content. Community. Technical.

    I’m gonna’ be keeping my eyes on these three aspects moving forward!

    Thank you.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You’re welcome, Edward. Your content is great, and you’re starting to build a nice community. Let me know if you need any help with the technical.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You’re welcome, Edward. Your content is great, and you’re starting to build a nice community. Let me know if you need any help with the technical.

  • http://movethemountains.blogspot.com Chad Jones

    Jeff, if you saw the post at my blog yesterday, 6 Reasons Why I “Hate” Bryan Allain, please be advised that I plan on giving you the same treatment next Wednesday. Chief among my reasons for “hating” you is your adeptness with all things bloggy, the wisdom you freely share, and your kindness here on your blog and elsewhere.

    Fair warning. ;-)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I “hate” you, too. Chad. ;)

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I “hate” you, too. Chad. ;)

  • http://www.marianneworley.com Marianne Worley

    It seems like many of us have trouble with #3. I’m a non-technical person myself, so I tend to rely on the advice of others. I’m constantly tweaking things on my blog and getting inspiration (OK stealing) from other bloggers. I am seeing a lot more traffic from search, so I guess I’m doing something right! Too bad I have no idea what it is… Thanks for the great advice Jeff, as always.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      That’s great, Marianne! I do the same thing. Way to “steal like an artist”!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      That’s great, Marianne! I do the same thing. Way to “steal like an artist”!

  • http://peterpaluska.com Peter Paluska

    Yes! It’s a true balancing act. And I feel like I am just getting started. That should be a good sign things are going well.

    Nice work here, Jeff!

    Peter

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thank you, Peter.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thank you, Peter.

  • http://popparables.com Keri

    Jeff…you’ve hit on “work ahead” a few times lately, and I’m really digging that idea.  I know that if I was ahead of myself it would allow me to be MUCH more creative.  The only hard part is that my blog is very reactive, since it’s about pop culture.  And, I have very limited and specific times for writing.  So, I need to think on how I can cultivate this a little more.

    I really have to keep up on the technical side, especially since I.just.don’t.wanna!  {stomps feet and walks away}  That is definitely the hardest part of blogging for me.  If I had the cash, I would hire someone to do it.  But, in the meantime, I need to devote specific time to working on the technical aspect.

    As for your growth…I really enjoy your blog.  But, one thing I could definitely use more of is a step by step guide for approaching technical things.  {The SEO series was awesome!}

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Glad you liked it.

  • Al Pittampalli

    Informative as always, Jeff.  Keep doing great work.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Al.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    You give practical “hey I understand this” keys to assessing where a blog and blogger are. I look at the three areas and recognize my weaknesses. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m a 1/2 on technical merit (I suddenly have a vision of judges holding up cards with numbers–ah, I expected a higher score from the Russian).

    Based on your specific questions, I’m on the right track in the other two areas.

    As for community, if that’s your weakest area (and it might be since I know your content is strong and you’ve got me convinced that you know the technical stuff), the comments suggest you’re doing well in that department too.

    By the way, I appreciate the fact that you do share your wisdom with others. I’m learning and the learning curve is accelerated thanks to folks like you.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Darn Russians…

  • Anonymous

    Great post Jeff. I like the way you’ve boiled it down to the three areas. 

    I’d like to think my content is not bad but there’s always room for improvement. 

    I’m working hard to build a community but if you have any additional advice in that area 
    I’m all ears. 

    I’m an amateur with the technical but my theme was purchased from http://www.elegantthemes.com and they have great forum support that has helped a lot.

    What helped you the most to grow your blog readership?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Hey Adam, I would say start by following some of the above tips for growing community. Find ways to include readers. Becoming more active on Facebook and Twitter translated to more visitors to my blog, but figuring out how to write content that was specifically geared towards them and finding ways to include them kept them there.

      That’s been my experience thus far. I’m still learning a lot.

  • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com/ Moonsn11

    Completely oblivious artist here. :P 

    • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com/ Moonsn11

      But this post was very helpful. I feel reassured that, while it has a long way to go, my blog is growing steadily. Thanks for the tips. 

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        Right with you, but I’m learning how to be less oblivious. You’re welcome! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        You’re welcome.

  • http://shelaughsatthedays.blogspot.com carrien-she laughs at the days

    Dude! I’m only through the first section, thanks to checking all the links, and I think this is by far the best little post I’ve read in a long time on this subject. No generic, “write good content and they will come” advice here which seems, to be the recurring mantra in so many places.

    thanks

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Right. There’s more to it than good content (although, that is important, too).

  • http://www.thedailywalk.net Adam

    I think my main goal  right now is bettering my content. I think there is always room for improvement in all three areas. My goal is to never stop trying to improve in all three of these areas. 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      That’s a good goal, Adam. Any particular area in which you’re going to concentrate?

  • http://www.shyjumathew.com Shyju Mathew

    Are people connecting with each other via my blog? Now how is that to be done :(? Any post on that Jeff?

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Try watching the comments, Shy. When people make a connection, you should be able to see it.

  • Anonymous

    I do get “thanked” for the content I write (mostly on FB) but my comment numbers are super low. I definitely need to work on the community part. (I like what you said about content merely being consumed) that’s how I feel.
    Great Advice, I will definitely be working on this stuff.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Let me know if I can help, John.

  • stephanie pridgen

    Can I say all three?! I’m such the oblivious artist that lives in her own little world. I’ve really been thinking about focus a lot lately, personally and in my blog world. Finding a way of not just rehashing what is happening here in Kyiv, but also connecting with people in the web world so that they don’t just stay informed but it somehow helps/challenges them too.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Sure, but you can only work on one at a time. No multi-tasking. (Seriously.) :)

  • http://www.myoneresolution.com/ Don McAllister

    This was very helpful to me as I am in beginning stages of growing my blog. Thanks!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      You’re welcome, Don.

  • http://www.jamiesrabbits.com Jamie

    According to the questionnaire, I think my content is the weakest link. I’m depressed. Therefore, I need some peanut butter. After the snack, I’ll work on your tips for fixing that.

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Mmmm… Peanut butter.

  • http://pbm2011.wordpress.com/ PBM2011

    I always gave up when I didn’t get as much comments and feedback as others with similar content have done. I have learned to just sit back and study what truly gets to the readers and what keeps them focused and interested. These tips will definitely help me out! 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      I’m glad they were useful. I used to do the same thing, as well. In my experience, people who aren’t getting the response they want are usually neglecting one of these areas.

  • http://davidcalves.com/ David

    Jeff. This post encourages me for multiple reasons. Just think of it. You wrote this June 9 (over a month ago). I just found it and it helped me to sharpen what’s happening at my blog. So not only did I get personal help with my writing. But I see how readers will come across our posts long after we published them. 

    Sometimes I look at the “hits” for several days following a post going out into the world. Then I get discouraged. But this post cured me. Big Thanks!!

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Cool!

  • John Drouillard

    Thanks Jeff. I will definitely take your advice about getting g a mentor. I think I have the ability to write some things people want to read but the technical part is greek. I am a carpenter by trade. Not much of a computer geek :-).

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Me neither. There are geeks who will help if your message is inspiring.

  • Lifecoachandrealawrence

    Just thanks. I love your posts. LOVE LOVE LOVE Them.

    YOUR blogs are making my blogs extra special! I think of my blogging, writing, coaching – whole career as baking. It feels like a cake in the oven. It’s starting to smell good – but I know it needs a little more time and work.  Just been baking a wee while now. 
    YOUR Posts – they’re like part of my secret recipe. I can just take the cake out and do something special to it right then – even if it’s just one thing – and it smells better already!Thanks, again! 

    • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

      Thanks, Andrea. Fun analogy here.

    • Ashley M.

      I agree….I am really enjoying your posts!!

  • James Prescott

    Good post Jeff, highlights some issues I clearly have. Defintely struggle in terms of building community (though always leave the end of each post with questions for the reader) and definitely with the technical side, where I have had help in a lot of areas but really don’t have a clue myself. Think I will be checking out some of your other posts on this, thanks. J.

    http://www.janesprescott.co.uk

  • http://www.herbalcoolingtea.com Ben Sanami (FB Liangcha)

    I think I do alright with the content part but it’s more a problem of how to be more compelling , branding etc.

  • Ashley M.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insight – I keep discovering new things, and I’m hopeful to put it into practice =) Your site is a great tool and resource - this article is timely for me as I am venturing into the blogging world…thank you so much!

  • http://twitter.com/theworld4realz Andi-Roo

    So glad I read this – just subscribed to your site & it’s already paying off. 

    I’m fortunate in that I do not have to worry over the technical aspect as my hubs enjoys taking care of all that for me – as in, he’s a super weirdo computer guy who figures things out on the fly. Thank goodness, cuz otherwise I’d still be writing the world’s longest MS Word doc as my private journal, ha.

    Been blogging less than a month so I know I have a long way to go in finding my voice. On the plus side, I am a couple weeks ahead in my posting schedule, as spouting off seems to be my forte. Wait, let me rephrase that: spouting off seems to be “something I enjoy immensely”… whether or not I’m skilled at it in any sense remains to be seen.

    Not worried currently about building community because for now I’m just focused on figuring out what I want to do & where I want to go. Is this a bad plan?  And would you be willing to take a look at my blog & offer some feedback? 

    (not fishing for you to donate to my comments section… just looking for your advice in general…)  

    Thanks for making my hobby a bit more easy to dive into. :)
    Andi-Roo, http://www.theworld4realz.com/ 

  • MCTheScribe

    THANKS FOR THIS!!! I’ve been toying around with a blog idea for … well, a very long time. And now that I finally have the courage to pull the trigger it, I am feeling quite overwhelmed navigating and finding my place in the blogosphere! This post nailed it for me, putting together all the thoughts that have been swirling in my mind. Thanks!

  • abhishek

    Very nice information. Thank you for sharing
    it. Thanks pmd

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