Wednesday, April 4, 2012

10 Ways to Grow Your Blog and Amplify Your Ideas

I’m often asked for ideas by current or future bloggers about how to draw readership to their blogs. I’ve just celebrated my four year blogerversary, picked up a few thousand readers and I’ve learned a few things. Well, ten to be exact.  Here they are.

1) Write for real
Because I write for real I know I’ve amplified my ideas when it comes to at least one person and maybe even gained a recurring reader. When there is the one most important person in mind for that particular piece, I know that my post will have an impact with that person and likely be shared with others by that person. When you write for real, you know there is always at least one person seriously taking a look at what you’ve written and if others benefit, that’s icing on the cake.  

2) Cross post / guest post
Share your ideas with others who write about topics that are of interest to you by cross posting on another blog.  This will get your ideas in front of a new audience with a link back to your blog for those who want to read more.  

3) Tweet
Set up a Twitter account that is associated with your blog i.e. share the link to the blog in your profile.  When you write a post, don’t just tweet it out. Do more and share it as a provocative question. Know which hashtags are used by those who are interested in your topic.

4) Write in other places
Find out how to write for other publications that cover the topics about which you write. When you do, have a link or two to a post in your blog. Make sure your blog name and url are in the bio. Some publications I write for include Huffington Post, Tech & Learning, T.H.E. Journal, ISTE Connects, ASCD Wholechild, MindShift, Leading & Learning.

5) Use HARO
Subscribe to HARO and offer yourself as a media expert in the topics about which you write. HARO is the acronym for “help a reporter out.” Thousands of journalists, authors, and reporters use HARO to locate experts for quotes, on air interviews, and more. Share your ideas with outlets and ensure they cite you as author/creator of your blog.

6) Facebook
Start a Facebook group for your blog where you and those interested in the topics you write about can have lively discussions.  While pages are a good way to simply share information from the page creator, groups are more conducive for discussions.  You can see what I mean by looking at my blog group verses my page. Having readers discuss and debate your writing is a great way to attract and maintain a following and have your ideas shared.  

7) Have a focus
When people come to your blog, they should know what they're getting. They will come to your blog to get more of that. In the case of my blog it is ideas about learning innovatively. That may mean incorporating the use of tech, digital resources, and social media or it could mean looking at education in a whole new way.

8) Be a person
I believe people like to know who the person is behind the words. Make sure you have an "About Me" page. Share a little bit about who you are and what makes you tick every so often. Be real. Let people into you world.

9) Show your popular posts and recent posts
When new readers come across your blog and find an article they like, they want to know if there's more. Share what is hot on your blog so they can read it and then decide if they want to stay. Also let them see recent posts. This lets them know what you're up to lately and how active you are.

10) Write a post about how to grow your blog
If you have a blog, share what has worked. Others will want to read all about it.  

Thanks to the Daddy’s in Charge blog for the idea to write this post. You can read his ideas for growing your blog by 8 billion percent here. Thanks also to Line Daly (a smart teen who is part of my professional learning network via Facebook) for asking for advice on how to a grow a blog. Our instant message conversation turned into this post. It is Line that is my one person who is in mind when I wrote this post.


  1. Your ideas probably work a little better than mine, but thanks for the shout out. Always glad to inspire ;-)

  2. I think another key ingredient is luck. I think I offer a decent blog if I say so myself but I have a fraction of what you have! Thanks for the tips though.

  3. @rfs,
    How do you think luck plays into it?

  4. I think there are many really worthwhile blogs ( I follow many myself) where the blogger is doing exactly what you've shared in your post but for some reason, they just don't draw the crowds. Some how, their blog just hasn't caught the targeted audience's attention. Of course, maybe if I wrote a guest post for your blog, (for instance,"How to Unschool") that would increase traffic to mine. We could try it and see what happens. Again, it would be my luck that you'd have invited me to write for your blog - hence garnering more readers over on mine!

  5. It is clear that one must be willing to commit significant time to growing their blog; thereby assuring regular updates. Regular updates to a blog assures return customer. Sporadic updates will kill a blog instantly. For example, back when I had more time, I would regularly post in facebook and get 10-20 comments regularly; per post. Nowadays, time is a commodity I do not have; hence I almost never post. Subsequently, when I do post, the comments are smaller in number. Finally, I think your use of varying network tools has been more effective.

  6. I think "luck" is maybe a bit vague. First you need to connect with people on a psychological level. They have to get it. They have to feel it. Your style and ultimately your personality has to resonate with them. It's not really luck, but like luck it's not something that you can control. you are who you are...but you can always learn tips to be more catchy and focused, and that is where you blend marketing with writing, like any good journalist does. It's a fact of life...
    The other bit of "luck" is how it resonates with search engines. Google is not a person but it kinds of acts like one in the sense that it judges and values things like a person does. If it "likes" your posts, it will present them higher than others. This is more under control than resonating with people, but it still may be better to ignore it and just think of your audience when you write.
    My two cents...