Promote your blog!
Starting a blog is the easy part. Getting readers is a little bit harder. For that, you need to promote your blog. This is where social media and search engine optimization (SEO) are important.
Social media is a term used to refer to all those social sharing platforms that anyone who spends any time online knows about. They include websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and others. There are approximately 50 different platforms to share on, not including the numerous message boards, forums, email groups and chat rooms available.
Which platform is best?
Deciding which platform to share your blog on will depend on what your blog is about and who your target audience is. You really need to know your audience in order to promote effectively. If you have a blog for moms, you’ll primarily focus on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Or if you talk about things of interest to entrepreneurs, you’ll want to promote on LinkedIn and Twitter. If your blog is all about fashion, Instagram and YouTube will be your second home on the web. It all depends on your niche.
Most blogging platforms have a way to automatically share your blog posts. Depending on the platform you choose, you may need to add a plugin to do this. For example, on WordPress-powered blogs, JetPack is a popular automated social media sharing plugin. No matter what you use to automate this, you’ll still need to make some adjustments to your posts for best results. The “metadata” of your site and posts can be tweaked so that you can pick the image and description that gets shared. You don’t need to know how to code to do this either. Often, it will simply be part of the theme you’ve chosen for your blog, and sometimes you just need another plugin or add-on.
Customize your social media profiles.
Once you’ve figured out what platforms you need to focus on, you’ll want to customize profiles and pages for your blog. On Facebook, for example, you’ll want to set up a page for your blog — especially since using your personal profile to promote your blog is expressly against Facebook Terms of Service. Setting up a page isn’t hard, and will allow you to use a lot of tools on Facebook to maximize your efforts.
You need to make sure your page or profile appearance is similar, no matter what platform you’re using. Choose user names or profile names that match your blog domain name. For instance, on Facebook, you can find XeraSupport at www.facebook.com/xerasupport and on Twitter, the handle name is @XeraSupport. When you click on the profile or page, you’ll find that the descriptions and bios are similar in wording. And the images used for profile pictures, cover photos and headers are also very similar in style. This is part of the branding of XeraSupport. We use similar colors, logos, images, headers and bios, no matter what platform you may see us on.
How often should you post?
Just sharing your posts isn’t going to be enough to promote your blog. You will need to create other posts to share on your social media platforms. More posts will create more interest and keep your blog and site in front of more eyes in your audience. But how often should you be posting?
On your blog, you can create as many posts as you are comfortable creating. The key isn’t necessarily the amount, but the quality and the consistency of your posting. It would be better to write one quality post and publish regularly once a month, then create a flurry of random posts over several days and then write nothing for 3 weeks. My personal recommendation is that you aim for a new post at least once per week. Luckily, you can usually write a post ahead of time and schedule it for publishing on a selected date. So if you feel like writing a lot, you can create a lot of posts, then schedule them to publish over a spread out period of time. And for those times where you aren’t able to write, you’ll still have regular updates to your blog.
On social media platforms, similarly, you can use tools to schedule posts. There are a number of free and paid options for social media scheduling. Try Buffer, Hootsuite, CinchShare, CoSchedule, or my personal recommendation, Postfity. Do your research to find the one that best fits you, your platforms, and your budget.
No one-size-fits-all solution.
Many experts will disagree as to how often you need to post to social media. There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all method. It will depend on when your audience is online, and how often they are there. Here’s my best shot at recommendations:
- Facebook: post 1-5 times/day, varying times depending on audience. Younger demographics will probably be on late at night, older ones in early morning.
- Twitter: post 3-10 times/day. Every couple of hours you should tweet a new status, and definitely respond as soon as possible to engagement.
- Instagram: post 1 time/day to 1 time/every 3 days. You don’t have to be as regular here, as posts aren’t shown in chronological order, but in order of engagement. So if you have a really powerful picture, it will be shown frequently and regularly at the top of your audience’s feed, and if you post a new one, you may lessen that impact.
- Pinterest: pin 10 times/day, minimum. More is better here.
- LinkedIn: post 1 time/day, but engage in groups. You’ll get more traction in groups than on your feed.
- YouTube: post 1 time/week. More will lessen your impact.
Search engine optimization is important.
The other part of promoting your blog is making sure you can be found online. Search Engine Optimization is making your blog easily found when someone is looking for information on the topics you write about. So when someone types “how to cook spaghetti” in Google or Bing, they expect that they will see recipes, step-by-step how-to’s and possibly pictures of spaghetti in the results. Finding an article on monkeys would be a very unexpected result.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a function of 3 main things, with several other tweaks that can affect it. This isn’t an exact science though, since Google, Bing and other search engines don’t share exactly how their search engines rank websites. But we know that keywords, metadata and backlinks help create higher search engine rankings.
Keywords are trigger words for the search engine.
They are what are typed in when someone searches for something. Using keywords in your blog, on your site, and in your images will help increase your ranking. So what do you want to be known for? The words and phrases you use to describe your blog are what your keywords are. If you aren’t ranking on social media for those words or phrases, you’ll need to make changes to your blog.
The metadata is the hidden part of the coding of your site
that search engines use to find and display information about your blog. You can use keywords in that metadata. For example, hidden behind the header of your blog’s website, you may include the short description of your blog’s purpose in the metadata. A featured image may have a few keywords of description for the post in it. Tweaking the metadata for SEO is what some companies charge thousands for, but you can do it yourself using plugins and addons. But if you really aren’t sure of what you’re doing, hiring an expert will definitely help your blog and your business.
Backlinks are the links to your blog and posts from other, non-related sites.
So if another blog uses information from one of your posts in their post, and includes a link to your blog, that creates a backlink. This is why you want to comment on other blogs, guest post, and share links to your blog anywhere you can. The more links you create, the more “legitimate” your blog becomes, in the algorithms of the search engines. And the more those links are clicked on or followed, and the more popular your blog becomes, the higher it gets
ranked too. Search engines rank sites that are popular higher than unknown sites, creating a chain of more popularity leading to higher ranking.
You have something to say.
When you’ve done all the work to create a pleasing design for your blog, and you’ve written quality blog posts, it’s a shame when no one knows about the work you’ve done. Promote your blog. Share it on social media, tweak for search engines and use the tools and tricks available to make your blog seen. You have something valuable to say. Let the world know!