Blog Basics: Writing and Promoting Your Blog

Lesson 5: Writing and Promoting Your Blog



Once you've gotten your blog set up and written a few posts, you can start thinking about attracting readers. While there's no single magic method that will guarantee more readers for your blog, there are a few things you can do to help people find your blog and encourage them to keep reading it.

In this lesson, you'll learn how to attract readers by making your blog readable and easy to find. You'll also learn strategies for connecting with other bloggers.

Improving your blog's readability

The most essential step you can take to get more people to read your blog is to improve your writing. The best blogs feature writing that is engaging, distinctive, and easy to follow—in short, writing that is entertaining and highly readable.

Having a well-written readable blog doesn't require that each post be a masterpiece—it just means you should think before you post. There are a few simple things anyone can do to improve their blog writing, regardless of their skill level or past experience as a writer.

Keep posts fairly short

As a general rule, your blog posts should be fairly short. This doesn't mean that long posts are necessarily bad posts. After all, sometimes you need more space to tell a story or argue a point. Still, you shouldn't make your posts longer than they have to be.

If you find yourself writing a long post, take a moment to examine what you're writing and see if there's anything that you can cut. Not only will this help you make your posts shorter and easier to read, it can help you polish your writing by removing parts that don't add anything to your overall message.

Another way to cut the length of a post is to break it up into multiple posts. Writing a series of posts can be a good way to tell a complex story or address a topic at length.

Use paragraphs and images to break up text

Dividing your text into many paragraphs is one way to make your posts easier to read and follow. Readers who are put off or intimidated by a screen full of text are more likely to read posts when you use paragraph breaks. Adding images to your posts is another way to make them more appealing.

Consider using a conversational tone

Using a casual, conversational writing style can be a easy way to let your personality shine through. Casual writing isn't just for personal or funny blogs; blogs on serious subjects can be written in this tone, too.

Whatever style you use for your blog, make sure it's consistent. Your writing style includes things like your vocabulary, the type of humor you include, and typical sentence length. If these things change drastically from post to post, your readers may be confused.

Proofread and edit your posts

Sloppy writing and obvious errors can undermine your credibility and distract readers from what you have to say. Before you publish any post, you should check it for spelling and grammar errors. All blog services include a spell check feature. You should use it every time you post.

You should also reread posts before you publish them. Once you've finished writing a post, take a break, then return to it later with fresh eyes. When you reread a post, check your writing to make sure it's clear and enjoyable to read.

Connecting with a blogging community

No matter what you write about in your blog, there's bound to be other people out there who are blogging about the same or similar subject. Becoming part of this community of bloggers is a good way to get more people to read your blog. People who know you and who share your interests are likely to read your blog posts and even recommend them to others.

Being part of a blogging community can also make writing your blog more enjoyable. When you're not sure who's reading your blog, writing can feel a little bit like shouting into a void. In contrast, when you're part of a community, you may feel like you're participating in an established discussion. Many bloggers like the feeling of writing for an audience of friends.

Find similar blogs

You probably already read at least one blog that discusses the same topic as yours. Many bloggers frequently post links to other blogs. Following these links can be a good way to find similar blogs with relevant, interesting content.

If you're not familiar with any other blogs on your topic, consider searching for blogs using a blog search service like Blog Catalog.

Finding similar blogs

Comment on other blogs

Engaging in discussion with other bloggers is a great way to get them interested in what you have to say. The best way to start doing this is to leave comments on the blog posts you find notable.

Many sites require you to register and create a profile in order to comment. When signing up, look for a field that lets you enter a link to your website. If you enter your blog's URL, people will be able to navigate to your blog from any comments you make.

You can also include links to your blog within your comments. However, be careful not to post too many links. If it seems like you're more interested in promoting your own blog than responding to someone else's writing, you'll seem rude—not a great way to get other people to read your blog. Only share a link to your blog if it adds something to the discussion.

Reach out with Twitter and other social media

Consider using Twitter to keep up with people who are interested in the same subjects as you. By replying to their tweets and posting relevant updates of your own—including links to each of your posts—you can build up relationships with people and encourage them to read your blog. (If you're not familiar with Twitter, visit our Twitter tutorial to learn more.)

This sharing strategy isn't just for Twitter. You may also want to try using Pinterest, which lets you share links with a broad audience of people who have interests similar to your own. (Review our Pinterest tutorial to learn more.)

Promote blogs you like

When you find other blogs you like, consider including links to them on your own blog. You can do this either by referring and responding to other blogs in your own posts, or by setting up a blogroll.

A blogroll is simply a list of blogs that you want to recommend to your readers. People usually add blogrolls to a sidebar on their blog, or on a special "links" page. Most blog templates include a space for you to add favorite links. This is a easy place to put your blogroll.

When you link to someone's blog, they may choose to link back to yours. However, linking back isn't required, and it's considered very rude to ask someone to include you in their blogroll or confront them if they don't.

Making your blog easy to find

Even if you write the best blog posts on the Internet, you'll never get many readers unless people can easily find your blog. The internet is a big place, and making your blog stand out from millions of others is a challenge. Still, there are a few things you can do to make it more likely that new readers will visit your blog.

Help search engines find your blog with SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a set of techniques you can use to make your blog more visible to people who are using search engines. The more visible your blog is, the more likely it will show up in search results.

Most SEO strategies are based on the way you write your blog. For example, including keywords in your posts can influence the search results your blog shows up in. For more information about SEO, review the Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide from Google.

Link to your blog elsewhere

A simple way to let people know about your blog is to link to it. For instance, you could send the link to your blog to people you think would enjoy it.

To reach more people, you can use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. You can post a link to your blog in your profile on these sites.

You can also use the networks' sharing tools to post links to individual blog entries which you think your online friends will find particularly interesting.You can create social networking accounts specifically for your blog— your blog's own Facebook Fan Page or Twitter feed. For people who want to keep their personal life separate from their blog, this can be a better choice than using your own Facebook or Twitter account. You can learn more about the pros and cons of linking your blog to your social networks in our lesson on Deciding How Much Personal Information to Share.

Make your blog easy to navigate

When people visit your blog, they should be able to easily find the posts they're interested in. There are a few things you can do with your blog posts that will make them easier for visitors to find.

  • Give posts descriptive titles, so that people can skim your blog and find what they're looking for.
  • Organize your posts by subject with tools like categories, tags, and labels.

Your blog's design will also influence how easy your blog is to navigate. Design elements like layout, color scheme, and text size will all affect your readers' experience, so you should consider these things carefully. The links below include design tips you may find helpful: