Originally published on ClickZ on June 13th, 2014
Just like planning a vacation, blogging is hard work. If you don’t put any energy into how to find your blog, you’re invisible. But if you pay attention to how people are finding you and engaging with you, the end result can be paradise.
Summer is almost here, which for me means, “Where are we going on vacation?” My husband and I divide up the duties. While we both agree on where we’re going, he manages all of the logistics around the destination; I manage how we’re going to get there. This year, we’re planning an epic camping trip and we’re going to go by car. Needless to say, there’s a lot more planning involved than just queuing up Travelocity or Expedia. What route are we going to take to get there? Where are the food stops, fuel stops, get-out-and-stretch-stops, and sleep stops? When do we want to arrive? Do we want to take the same way back home?
As I get to know our publishers, I’m realizing that a lot of them have these gorgeous blog destinations. But they’re hidden, sometimes by design, so that no one else can find them. They’ve taken weeks or months picking the perfect URL, designing a logo, building out the content – and they’re embarrassed (or too private) to share this beautiful work with others. There’s simply no road to get there. They don’t have any social sharing. They don’t have any comments. They haven’t even thought about SEO. In the case of these very private or shy publishers, I hear things like, “Oh, I just wanted to build it as a personal outlet;” or “I built this to share with just my family;” or “I’m not really a writer. I do this just for fun.” All of these reasons to keep a blog hidden are very personal – and totally fine, if privacy is indeed what you want now and in the future.
Frequently, though, these very same bloggers reach a personal tipping point. They might get a case of blogger envy and want the recognition (and money) that they see some of their favorite bloggers getting. They might realize that their blog is actually their passion, and that they can be their own boss if only they can turn their blog into a business. Or, they’ve just gotten up the courage to go public and expose their work to the world. So, what do they do?
Panic. They want success NOW! They want readers NOW! They want followers and fans and likes NOW! They want to quit their job NOW! And they realize that building all of this infrastructure takes as much work and time as it did to build their blog.
Or Destination Location?
As anyone who has planned a major trip knows, the route and means to get to the destination is half the battle (sometimes more). It’s really no different with blogs. Building the roadmap for people to find your blog can take a lot of time, and if you ignore it or save it for last, it’s going to seem like climbing Mount Everest without an oxygen tank to not only build a road, but to entice travelers to use it. The best-case scenario is that you’ve already thought about this and are building your roadmap as you build your blog. However, if you haven’t, it’s never too late to start. Start with these simple things and build a little every day.
1. Figure Out What Social Media You Want to Use to Promote Your Blog.
You don’t have to use everything, but try a few things and see where your readers are congregating – and where they feel comfortable sharing all that fantastic content you’ve created. Look at the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, and LinkedIn. Consider some new channels, like Reddit and StumbleUpon. Think of this as an experiment; social is not perfect, so just dive in. Build profiles that complement your blog and start sharing. Follow those whom you admire, and keep building, and tweaking, and improving. Eventually, you’ll find which channels work best for you.
2. Consider Adding a Comments Section to Your Blog.
Yes, you have to moderate the comments and a lot of them are spam, but giving your readers as many places to engage with you as possible is priceless. It creates interest and engagement – and best of all, more sharing opportunities.
3. Submit Your Site to the Major Search Engines and Note the Keywords You Use in Your Blog.
4. Consider Consulting an SEO Specialist for a Crash-Course.
You don’t have to pay through the nose, but take some time to educate yourself and keep learning and building.
5. Consider a Paid-Search Trial With Google AdWords.
Does it help your traffic? If so, expand, and consider using something like Swoop to amplify your keyword campaign even further.
So, yes, just like planning a vacation, blogging is hard work. If you put all of your energy into your blog, but none into how to find it, you’re invisible. Readers can’t find you and brands don’t even know you exist. But if you pay attention to your blog and how people are finding you and engaging with you, the end result can be paradise. You can say confidently that your footprint includes not just your readers, but also your avid social followers. This snowballs. You get noticed. You get more followers. You make more money. You own your destiny.