Picture it: you’ve been slaving over your latest blog post for hours. You’ve perfected the images, you’ve proofread the text, and you’re absolutely sure you have yourself a killer blog post which just can’t fail.
But then it does.
Look, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? It’s a horrible feeling when you’ve worked really hard on a post, only to get zero response at all, but the fact is, writing a blog post is only half the battle. After you hit “publish”, you still have work to do – because now you have to make sure you promote that post so that people can, you know, actually read the thing.
Promotion is something many bloggers struggle with, and if you’re new to blogging, it can be hard to even know where to start. While there are many different ways to promote your blog posts, however, today I’m going to get you started with 20 of the sites and methods I’ve used myself, plus my thoughts and advice on each of them: as always, if you have any other recommendations, I’d love to hear them!
20 places to promote your blog posts
I know a lot of bloggers shy away from the idea of promoting their blog via their personal Facebook account – either because the people they know in real life don’t know about it, or because they’re worried that they just won’t be interested. I have to admit, I fall into the latter category: my friends all know about my blog, but I know the ones who are interested in reading it are all following its fan page anyway, and I don’t want to annoy those who aren’t with constant links to it, so it’s only very occasionally that I’ll share something there.
I should probably try to get over my reticence, though, because when I DO share blog links on my personal page, they tend to get a good response. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably find that your real-life friends and family will be your biggest supporters (assuming they know about your blog in the first place!), and I also find that they’re more likely to share my content to their own networks than the people who follow the blog’s own page are. If you’re just starting out, your personal Facebook page can be a particularly useful tool in the getting the word out about your blog, and you never know: that friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend could end up becoming one of your most loyal readers. (They COULD also end up becoming a scary online stalker, though, so take care, kids! Always Facebook responsibly!)
Your blog´s Facebook page
I remember feeling a bit silly when I first set up a “fan page” for my blog: I mean, seriously, who did I think I was, with my dedicated place for “fans” to follow me?! I could not cringe hard enough, seriously. These days, of course, a dedicated Facebook for your blog is nothing to be sneered at: in fact, it’s a really good way to harness the power of Facebook by allowing people to follow you there and get notifications of each new post you publish. I use a WordPress plugin called Jetpack, which automatically shares a link too each new post to my Facebook page (because I’m lazy, and secretly hate Facebook: shh!), and I know there are some readers who rely on this notification to tell them when there’s something new to read.
Facebook can be kind of tricky, though, in that its algorithm is set to only show your posts to a small percentage of the people who follow your page. The more “likes” and comments you get, the greater your audience reach will be, so it’s a good idea to occasionally share other stuff, too, to keep people interested, and to make sure as many people as possible get to see your posts.
(Anyone want to follow me on Facebook?)
No matter what it is you’re interested in, I can almost guarantee there’ll be a Facebook group to cover it. Yes, even you with your inappropriate interest in leather gloves. I’m a member of a number of different blogging-related groups (no glove-related ones, though, so back off, glove-fetishists…), and almost all of them allow members to share links to their blogs, either on a certain day, on a dedicated “share your post” thread, or on the group’s wall. When they’re used correctly, these groups can drive a huge amount of traffic to a post: the trick is to use them correctly – by which I mean following the rules, joining in as much as possible, and not just spamming people with your blog link!
Not just for goading Donald Trump, Twitter is also another really good way to promote your blog posts and, again, I use the Jetpack WordPress plugin to make sure that each new post is tweeted when it’s published. The trick here is to make sure you tweet your links more than once: if you only tweet the link to each post once, then the vast majority of your followers will miss it. By scheduling your tweets (I use Buffer, plus yet another WordPress plugin to do this), and posting them more than once, you’ll maximise the opportunities for people to see your links – and hopefully increase the chance of them re-tweeting them, too!
(Oh, and you’ll also increase the chances of people complaining about the fact that you’re always tweeting links to your own posts, obviously. The best way to avoid this is to mix it up, space out the promotional tweets, and make sure you’re sharing other stuff in between them. I’ll confess to not doing this, because I’m not much of a Twitter fan, and never seem to find the time for it, but feel free to learn from my mistakes…)
Pinterest is a huge source of traffic to my blog (follow me here for cookies. Or for lots of photos of closets, rather…), and easily outstrips most of the other methods I’ve ever used to promote my posts. It took me a while to get there, though, and a whole lot of trial and error. I’ve written a couple of posts on this subject, which I’ve linked below, but the key points are to treat Pinterest as a search engine, rather than a social network, to make sure each post contains a pin-able image, and to pin your best images more than once. It does take time and effort to really get to grips with Pinterest as a promotional took, but it’s well worth the effort: trust me on this.
Because Instagram (follow me here, you know you want to…) doesn’t (yet) allow users to insert clickable links in their posts there, it can be a tricky place to promote a blog. It can be done, however – and it can be done surprisingly effectively, too. I promote my posts on Instagram by making sure I have a blog link in my bio (the only place you can actually click on a link!), and then uploading images from new posts, with a caption letting people know there’s a new post on the blog. It’s not the most effective method I’ve found, but I have been getting a growing amount of traffic from Instagram lately, so it’s definitely worth paying some attention to.
I’m going to hold my hands up here and admit that Google + is my least-used social network. I just never really got to grips with it, so while I do share posts there when I remember, I… don’t often remember. I know some bloggers who get tremendous results from Google +, though, and particularly from the Google + Communities (Which are like Facebook groups, basically), so give it a shot, and if it works for you, don’t forget to come back and teach me your ways!
Google search (SEO)
I’ve said it before, but if you’re ignoring Search Engine Optimisation, you’re missing out on a potentially HUGE source of traffic. Not only are Google search visitors responsible for a large percentage of the traffic to my blog every day, they’re also the most likely to click on the adverts, which is how I earn a living: so if my posts weren’t showing up in the Google search results, I’d probably be in the workhouse by now, basically.
Search Engine Optimisation could take up a full blog post on its own, so it’s lucky I wrote one for you, huh?
I love Bloglovin’: it’s one of my biggest addictions, right up there with chocolate and online shopping. Bloglovin’ (you’ll find me here, and I’ll be your BFF if you give me a follow) is also a decent source of traffic to my blog, so I highly recommend making sure your own blog is listed there, if you haven’t already. The key to getting traffic from Bloglovin’ is to make sure your blog only publishes a partial RSS feed, rather than a full one. This is a somewhat controversial topic, and I know some people start spitting blood at the very thought of truncated feeds, but the bottom line is that if people are able to read your entire post in a feed reader like Bloglovin’, then they don’t ever need to visit your blog. In my case, if no one ever visited my blog, I would earn exactly zero cash from it, and back to the workhouse I would go. So I truncate my feeds, I use Bloglovin’ to promote my posts, and if anyone wants to tell me off for that, I will politely remind them that they read my content for free, and that if actually visiting my website in order to read the (free) content I provide is too much to ask, then so be it…
If your readers aren’t following you on social media, and don’t use a Feed reader, then how on earth are they going to know when you’ve published a new blog post? Easy: they’re going to get a notification by email, that’s how. Despite the popularity of social media, some people still prefer to get an email every time there’s something new to read on your blog, so if you haven’t started building an email list, make a resolution to start NOW. Then actually DO it. (Oh, and subscribe to my email list, too, obviously…)
StumbleUpon is a social bookmarking site that allows you to stare your content, and discover new posts to read. By submitting your blog posts, you’ll allow other users to “stumble upon” them (see what they did there?), but be careful: Stumble doesn’t like people who simply promote their own stuff rather than sharing other people’s (I mean, who DOES, really?), so if you want to do well on the network, you’ll have to use it regularly, and make sure that for every post of your own you share, you’re sharing at least a few from other sources, too. I find StumbleUpon a bit hit and miss, really, although a lot of that’s probably down to my inconsistent use of it. I have a bad habit of forgetting Stumble even exists, but even although I don’t put in much effort there, it will occasionally send me a giant wave of traffic, which is always welcome. I’m sure that if I spent more time on it, but then again, when I have gone through periods of motivation with it, I’ve still found it hard to predict which posts will do well, and which won’t. Maybe I’ll make this a project for this year. Or maybe I won’t.
Like Instagram, Snapchat isn’t a great way to promote blog posts, because there are no clickable links there. If you have a decent Snapchat following, however, you can still promote your posts there, either by snapping a screenshot of your latest post, or simply filming a short video telling people there’s a new post on your blog, which they should check out. This also works for Instagram’s ‘Stories’ feature, which is growing in popularity, so while I don’t personally find this type of promotion particularly effective, you never know where it might lead you.
Remember forums? They’re what we had before Facebook, and a whole generation of internet users grew up with a bunch of friends they only knew through regularly interacting with them on forums. Those were the days! Actually, though, those still ARE the days: forums may have fallen slightly out of favour with the advent of social media, but there are still plenty of them around, and some are still hugely popular. A link from a busy forum can create a huge spike in blog traffic (If the forum in question is either GOMI or Mumsnet, though, my best advice to you is to NOT LOOK AT IT…), but as with most of the other methods I’ve discussed here, you have to be careful not to be seen as a spammer. Instead of just mindlessly posting links to your own blog, you have to join in the conversation, post links only when it’s appropriate and maybe link your blog from your forum signature, if you want to use this method with any success, and avoid getting banned.
I never really got into Tumblr, but I do have a page there, which my Jetpack plugin automatically publishes links to my blog posts to. [Edit: I’ve just this second realised that, no, Jetpack has NOT, in fact, been doing that. Which I guess shows you how much attention I pay to Tumblr, huh?) I don’t get much in the way of traffic from this, but I’m guessing that’s because I put absolutely zero effort into it: if you’re a regular Tunblr user, and you have some followers there, I’m sure it’ll be much more effective for you!
While most people use LinkedIn for job searches and networking, you can also promote your blog posts over there by joining groups and sharing blog posts with your connections. This is another network I don’t really use, so if you want to know more, I’m just going to let you Google it: sorry. I will, however, say that although my own LinkedIn page is sadly neglected, I know other bloggers who swear by it as a means of promoting their content, so horses for courses. Or something.
Blog comments sections
If you’ve read anything about blogging at all, I’m sure you’ll have heard the sage advice to comment frequently on other people’s posts in order to drive traffic to your own. That advice is good, as it happens, and casually dropping your blog link into the conversation CAN be a good way to get yourself some new readers, but if you’re thinking you can just write, “Great post! Check out my blog!” then you, my friend, are WRONG. And you’re also not my “friend” either, because I HATE IT when people do this, and so does every other blogger I’ve ever met. PLEASE don’t view other people’s blogs purely as a free way to promote your own: it’s super-tacky, super-annoying, and every time you do it, a kitten dies. Yes, really.
If you’re going to use commenting as means of blog promotion, then, do it subtly. Leave comments which are sincere, and which actually add something to the conversation. Actually read the post you’re commenting on. (There’s nothing worse than writing a heartfelt post about something really serious that’s just happened to you, and having some airhead blogger go, “LOVE UR SHOOZ! READ MY BLOG PLS!”) (OK, there are SOME worse things, granted. Not many, though.) Put your blog URL in the box designed for it: there’s no need to add it to the bottom of your comment, and doing that can look a bit spammy. Just… don’t be a bit spammy, OK? Because then no one will like you, and you’ll be all alone in the world, forever… and all because you just couldn’t resist spamming your blog link all over someone’s post about their dead cat, or whatever.
First of all, link parties are not nearly as fun as they sound, unfortunately. There’s no booze, for one thing, and there’s not normally any dancing either, so why bother, I ask you? Well, luckily, link parties CAN still be fun, in the sense that they allow you to find new blogs to read, as well as giving you a way to promote your posts. In case you’re not familiar with the concept, a link party is a post on someone’s blog, which they allow other bloggers to “link up” to, normally by submitting a post they’d like to promote, which is then displayed along with all of the other submissions to that partiucular “party””. I’ve had bad experiences trying to host these, and I generally find that a lot of the people who use them will tend to just “link dump” (i.e. they’ll post a link to their own post, but not bother sticking around to check out the other submissions, or take part in the conversation), but if you find a good one, they can be a good way to connect with other bloggers in your niche. Just remember that you get out what you put in, so you do need to make an effort to interact with the community if you want to get the same in return.
Your email signature
Add a blog link to your email signature. Email people. Job done.
Social bookmarking sites
I’ve already mentioned StumbleUpon, which is particularly good for bloggers, but there are tons of other social bookmarking sites, such as Reddit and Digg, which will allow you to post links to your content. I’m kind of terrified of these sites, which tend to have quite strict rules and etiquette (and which will turn on you horribly if you happen to break any of them), so I have no advice for you here, but then again, if you already hang out on these sites, I’m sure you don’t need it, do you?
Finally, one of the best ways to promote your blog posts is… in your OTHER blog posts. Deep-linking, as it’s known, is not only great for SEO, it also allows your readers to discover older posts they might have missed, and to view more pages on your blog. You’ll notice that, throughout this post, for instance, I’ve been linking back to other posts I’ve written, which will give you more information on what I’m talking about: if I’m lucky, some of you will click on those links, and if I’m REALLY lucky, some of you might even Pin or share the posts you land on, all of which helps promote those posts, without much effort on my part.
As a final note…
While all of these methods will undoubtedly help you promote your blog posts, it’s worth remembering that you can’t be everywhere at once, so you’re probably not going to want to use ALL of them for EVERY post. What you might find is that some methods work better for certain types of content, while some might not prove particularly effective for your blog AT ALL. The most important thing is to experiment, find out what works for you, and then concentrate on those methods. As you can tell from my lack of knowledge about some of these methods, while I HAVE tried all of them at some point, not all of them have turned out to be worth my time, so I now concentrate on the methods that work best for me (Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, SEO and email), and don’t worry too much about the rest. I recommend you do something similar, because unless you’re Wonder Woman, you’re probably not going to have time for all of them… and if you ARE Wonder Woman, you probably didn’t need this post at all, did you?