It goes without saying that creating highly efficient and valuable content is the foundation of a successful blog. The bad news is that even such content will not reach its readers without proper promotion.
Besides, effective promotion is key to monetizing content and building a business. Fortunately, there are many cost-effective and easy-to-implement strategies.
In this article, I’ll share the experiences of the Serpstat content team. Serpstat is a SaaS platform for digital professionals that provides more than 30 tools for analyzing competitor sites, content marketing, and site results in search engines. As well 250,000 people read our blog worldwide, so we have a lot to share.
Read on to find out how to start a blog from scratch.
How to Build and Promote a Website: The Importance of Strategy
The truth is that many bloggers or companies give up quickly after they start blogging and don’t see the results they want. The first thing to start blogging with is realistic expectations. Blogging is not a get-rich-quick business. It’s a consistent job that takes time, effort, patience, and a willingness to experiment with proven ways to promote content. Yet, it can bring tangible results and profits with the right approach.
If you’re wondering how to grow your blog, start by creating a strategy for your web presence. It will allow you to realistically look at things, test your strengths, understand which promotion methods work for you, create a step-by-step plan and determine performance indicators.
A marketing strategy includes many components, such as analyzing the competitive environment, blog SEO promotion, planning, evaluating results, content distribution etc. Below we will consider each item in detail so that you can easily apply the knowledge gained in practice.
If you don’t know the destination’s coordinates, how will you know that you have reached your goal? Promoting a blog without predetermined KPIs is a blind game based entirely on luck.
KPIs are more than the numbers you look at weekly in Google Analytics. They allow you to understand the status of your business project and make essential adjustments to your current strategy to achieve your goals. Knowing and measuring the proper KPIs will help you get the results you want faster.
Consider the main KPIs that are important to consider to promote a blog:
- The total number of visits to your site. Need to look at this indicator in context over time. Compare weekly and monthly data, delve into what exactly contributed to the increase or decrease in traffic.
- The most read and popular publications by the number of views. This information is located under Behavior → Site Content → All Pages. Keep track of which blog posts get the most engagement and analyze why. Did your post have a high percentage of organic search traffic due to good optimization? Perhaps the article contained a video? Use this data to improve the performance of new content.
- Average page view time. This is an excellent indicator of engagement and content relevant to the audience. If an article has a meager average time on page, it may not meet users’ expectations for reading the preview or is not very interesting in general.
- Traffic channels. Understanding where users are coming from when investing in blog promotion is necessary. In this case, you should analyze what brings returns and which channels are unprofitable.
The primary source of traffic for our blog is search engines. As we use our server for the needs of the content teams, we can publish evergreen content, which generates traffic for an extended time.
- New and returning visitors. Is your blog interesting enough that users want to read it over and over again? To delve deeper into producing visitor analytics, go to Audience → Behavior → New & Returning, where you can track the number of repeat visits.
Collecting data and comparing it repeatedly will give you insights into what works best and adjust your strategy.
As far as the Serpstat blog is concerned, it is the basic tool on the one hand for educating our users and spreading useful information, and on the other hand, it is a source of leads. Therefore, the number of visitors to the blog is also a crucial KPI.
Set up the proper internal blog optimization
Before you learn how to promote your blog, the first step is to optimize your site for search engines. With a good SEO platform, it will be much easier to rank high and drive more traffic.
Decide on a blogging platform
Consider starting with a content management system (CMS). This will simplify creating a site for users without programming skills and allow you to start blogging quickly and without significant investments. WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal are some of the most popular off-the-shelf engines. They already contain all the necessary features for search engine optimization and offer complete control over the design.
Also, pay attention to the capabilities of the selected platform for display on smartphones and tablets. Mobile page load speed is a key metric that Google uses when determining a site’s search ranking.
Choose a reliable web host
The speed and security of your site depend on the right choice. So do your research and choose the best hosting provider.
Conduct a thorough keyword research
To promote a blog for free, find the right words and phrases that your target audience sets in the search engines Google, Yahoo, etc. You will have available information about the number of people who use a particular query and how high competition is for it.
You can attract readers to your blog by creating exciting and well-optimized content that ranks highly for verified keywords. This is why SEO optimization is still considered the best and most sustainable way to promote a website in the long run.
You can choose high-quality semantics for articles using Serpstat’s Keyword Analysis. Select the key that is most relevant to your blog topic, then:
Select the most relevant topics for articles using search suggestions and search questions;
Make a selection of phrases for this keyword and collect popular semantics that includes the search query;
Collect similar phrases, synonyms, and more.
By the way, you can try Serpstat for free. It will help you quickly create a content plan for your blog, perform competitor analysis, and optimize already published articles. Our trial version contains all these tools.
Optimize Your Content
If you want Google to love your blog and reward it with high positions in search results, you must ensure that your site is optimized correctly. Promotion of a blog with the help of SEO tools increases the chances of increasing organic traffic.
If you plan to optimize yourself, pay attention to the following things:
- Please do not overdo it with search queries. Gone are the days when Google approved adding a large number of keywords. Today, this strategy is penalized by the search engine, so make sure your content isn’t spammy before posting.
- Type in Title. This is one of the essential elements of SEO on the SERP page, encouraging users to visit your site. There are several requirements for creating a compelling Title. For example, add the most important keyword you want to be found for in the meta tag. Use a title of 70-80 characters long without spaces: this is the optimal title size for successful promotion in search engines.
- Write Description. This meta tag is a brief description of the page’s content and is critical for users and search robots. As in the Title case, there are specific rules for creating a Description. The optimal size for this meta tag is 150-160 characters, and the content should be relevant to the content on the page. Don’t be afraid to use keywords to optimize your description.
- Don’t forget about relinking. Provide internal links to other articles to further promote your content.
On the Serpstat blog, we always try to select articles by topic so that the reader can get additional information. For example, it can be a single block or an anchor link. In the case of the anchor, you should use keywords, which also improves the ranking of the linked article.
- Take care of the heading structure. Show Google and users which content elements are more or less important using H1, H2, and H3 page layouts.
You can quickly check the hierarchy using Serpstat’s cost-free browser extension.
- Optimize images. Compressing images or reducing the file size will improve site performance and speed up page load times.
Also, use free Google tools like Google Analytics to see detailed analytics. This will help determine how well your blog’s SEO is performing.
Do a Competitor Analysis
Before you start wondering how to market your blog, think about what your site offers that others don’t.
If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to dig in and learn how your competitors are positioning themselves. Please pay attention to the content topics they choose, the submission format for different types of blog posts, and user reactions.
Such information will allow you to understand:
- what works and what does not work for the best bloggers in your niche;
- strengths and weaknesses of competitors;
- unoccupied niches that you can use for your promotion;
- are there any gaps in the topics that readers are most interested in;
- which topics have not yet been covered. If you write about something first, you will be more likely to grab users’ attention.
Do you want to write about proven topics that people are already looking for in search engines? In this case, keywords with low competition can play a role.
Serpstat will help you find and analyze competitors. Enter your domain address in the search bar, select the database and click Search. Go to the Site Analysis → Domain Analysis → SEO Analysis → Competitors report. You will see a list of sites competing with your semantics.
Next, we go to the pages of reports on the leading competitors and look at their performance, strengths and weaknesses, and chips.
Read more about competitor analysis in the instructions.
Know Your Target Audience
If you’re still new to blogging and how to market your site, you may not know who your target audience is, and that’s okay.
Many aspiring bloggers try to get everyone’s attention. While this may bring some short-term benefits like incoming traffic, this approach is inefficient in the long run. However, at the initial stage, experimentation is necessary to understand how to grow your blog and attract an audience.
As the project grows, you can rely on free analytics tools like Google Analytics. Which gives you a clear idea of who your users are, where they’re coming from, and what keywords they’re doing on the site. Understanding the target audience will open up many opportunities for you to introduce new ways to promote and improve the effectiveness of existing ones.
The critical point is to create content based on the key pain points of the target audience. Studying your readers will allow you to find the types of information and ways of conveying it that will most resonate with the worldview of users.
As an example, we at Serpstat’s content team know that our audience is divided into these parts:
- Digital professionals who are working for agencies or in-house teams;
- freelancers who provide SEO, PPC, and content marketing services to clients;
- business owners and bloggers who promote their sites on their own.
Thus, our content plan includes topics for all parts of our audience. Here is a list of 5 topics for different audiences on the English blog:
- A Quick Guide to Building an In-House SEO Team.
- Contextual Advertising: Terms You Need to Know.
- Top eCommerce Lead Generation Strategies.
- White Label SEO Reports For Freelancers And Agencies.
- What is the difference between Title and H1 and how to compose it.
Create engaging content that people want to share
Before you think about how to promote a personal blog or corporate website, make sure you create high-quality content. Writing posts to follow a daily posting plan will not help your business in the long run. Let users find useful, engaging, and unique information on the site, and they will stay with you for a long time.
For example, you can base on the publication of guest authors to promote your corporate blog. This approach will allow you to get different types of content and get away from the standard publication of detailed guides and news.
Here’s how we at Serpstat handle guest posts. Let’s look at the guest author page on the Serpstat blog.
We have not only described the process of publication for authors but also outlined the main requirements for materials and an approximate list of topics. Authors can choose a topic from the suggested ones or propose their own. This way, we receive from 5 to 10 applications for publications every day, and approximately one-third of the authors are selected.
Having guest authors is great, but remember to always include relevant and exciting content for your readers. To understand what content is popular with your audience, analyze your competitors. Specialized services will show the number of shares on social media.
This will help you come up with ideas for your blog. In Serpstat, we study a competitor’s site, which helps us generate viral content ideas. Like this.
Be active in thematic communities, or a little guest posting
Have you ever heard of referral traffic? Visits generated through links posted on other sites are a goldmine for bloggers. It’s worth fighting for such traffic! You can get it through guest posting on well-known and reputable online platforms.
This strategy has two different ways to implement:
- Reach out to other bloggers and offer to create content for their site in exchange for attribution and an active link to your blog.
- Allow third-party authors to publish on your site.
Both options are beneficial. You get referral traffic and build relationships with people who weigh the industry.
Let’s take a look at the example once again. As an SEO-platform team, we are well aware of the impact on the search engine ranking. So this article is an excellent opportunity for us to not only share our experience and valuable information with readers. We also receive links to our website. On the other hand, the article’s author thus develops his personal brand, making it easier to deal with the following publications. So, publish guest articles – beneficial for all 🙂
Promote your blog on social media
There’s no doubt that social media is fundamental for business. However, how can you use them to promote your blog effectively? We will introduce you to the three most popular social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and TikTok are also worth considering.
Of course, you don’t need to be active on all of them, but invest time and effort in a consistent presence on at least two of them. Your choice should be based on the topic of the project and your knowledge of its target audience.
The platform has the potential to reach a global audience, with Facebook reaching 2.9 billion monthly active users in the third quarter of 2021. More and more companies are choosing to advertise on this platform because it allows them to increase their blog traffic and attract more readers.
However, if you are considering promoting your blog through organic traffic, there are some well-established strategies:
- Subscribe to other groups and pages in your niche. Start interacting with users, gain their trust and promote your posts relevant to the group’s theme.
- Set up a business page. Include all relevant information about your brand and blog, and don’t forget to insert an active link to the homepage.
- Create your own Facebook group and publish your content.
- Increase user engagement. Create posts that “provoke” dialogue and respond to comments, as active discussions are a signal to others that your blog is of interest.
For instance, against the background of the war in Ukraine, many campaigns were looking for alternatives to Russian SaaS services. This publication has drawn a flurry of reaction due to the great interest in the topic.
Facebook’s audience is very diverse, so whatever the topic of your site, you’ll be able to find your readers.
In 2021, Instagram will have an audience of 1 billion users. So if you’re promoting visual content, this social network can be a real hit!
Let’s look at how to promote a blog from scratch on Instagram:
- Make the most of your bio. The social network doesn’t allow you to add active links to posts or stories. So a well-crafted description with your website’s web address will generate direct traffic from the platform.
- Use stories to announce new content.
- Interact with other users. Comment on posts and subscribe to their accounts to draw attention to your project.
- Take advantage of Instagram Reels if your blog format allows it and you have fresh ideas for creating captivating video content.
This platform is influential and is a great marketing channel if you’re interested in promoting your blog for free. In 2019, Twitter had an audience of around 290.5 million monthly active users worldwide, and this figure is projected to grow to over 340 million by 2024.
Twitter users adore getting news in a convenient format, perfect for those looking for effective ways to promote their blog.
If you want to get noticed on Twitter, stick to the following rules:
- Use hashtags. Their influence on this platform is impressive because they increase user engagement.
- Include visual content in your strategy. Add videos or images to your messages;
- Include ClicktoTweet. This is a completely free way of promoting and sharing content offered by Twitter. This tool allows you to tweet snippets of your article directly from your blog.
Adapt content for other platforms
To get the most out of your content and drive traffic to your website, you don’t have to create content from scratch for every marketing channel you use. It’s enough to repackage existing posts, adapting their content to suit the specifics of each platform.
There are many advantages to this strategy. Promoting a blog saves time and budgets for creating content, covers different audiences with only one piece of content, and increases coverage and engagement.
So, here are some tips on how to promote a blog using adapted content:
- Publish the article on external resources after you’ve published it on your blog.
- Make a catchy preview of the content and place it with an active link on your social networks.
- Create checklists, infographics, and presentations based on the information in the article, and place them on specialized platforms and social media with a link to your blog.
- Create short videos and audio podcasts based on existing content and distribute them on the web.
As you can see, there are many ways to use the same content. Get creative and attract even more traffic to your website!
As part of the promotion of our article, we try to mention it in a variety of sources. So you can find information about the piece on our social networks and mailing lists.
Engage with the audience
The more you engage your audience in a conversation, the more impact you get. This is true not only for your social media accounts but also for your blogging project. Let’s take a closer look at how to promote a blog site based on user interaction.
Make it easy for readers to leave comments
Encourage user posts on the site. If you’re blogging on WordPress or any other platform, for example, include the ability to comment on articles. Put a reply form right after the post, so you don’t have to search for it. Open up the possibility of leaving comments without registering or linking to social media accounts. In other words, try to make the process as easy as possible.
Trust me, your readers want to feel like they can reach out and connect with the person behind the blog. By responding to their comments, you’re not only celebrating each user’s value to you but also encouraging them to visit your site in the future and share content with others.
By the way, read the comments on other blogs. There you will find topics that genuinely appeal to your audience.
Ask your audience questions
Help your readers feel valued by asking them questions in your article or at the end of your blog post. As we wrote above, engage with those who comment on your content.
People love the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas, and it’s an excellent way for you to get insights, feedback, and new tactics on how to promote your blog that you may not have even thought of. This approach also helps you know your target audience better and understand what people want from your project.
Want quick results? Use paid promotion
When promoting a blog, you face that getting high organic traffic is becoming difficult. Many brands opt for paid advertising on social media and search engines to get quick results. The choice is quite broad: Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, Twitter Ads – a few of the most popular advertising networks.
Here are some tips on how to promote your blog through social media advertising:
- Create a campaign with mobile users in mind. Since 91% of users access social channels via smartphones, make sure your ads contain images that are easy to view on a small screen.
- Use video – this format has a better return on investment (ROI) than other types of media.
- Use A/B testing of your ads to see what works best for your campaign and makes the best use of budgets.
Whichever promotion method you choose, check the effectiveness of each channel and don’t be afraid to experiment with your strategy.
Besides creating and publishing quality content, bloggers must also invest time and effort in promoting their projects. Without a well-defined marketing strategy, it is challenging for a blog to grow and generate a steady stream of readers coming to the site. When developing a plan of activities, it’s necessary to consider the resources at your disposal, such as budget, personal skills, and a time frame.
Let’s summarize the 11 essential steps you can use to promote your blog and attract a quality target audience:
1. Define KPIs.
2. Set up proper internal blog optimization.
3. Conduct a competitor analysis.
4. Know your target audience.
5. Create exciting content they will want to share.
6. Be active in their communities.
7. Promote your blog on social media.
8. Adapt content for other platforms.
9. Interact with the audience.
10. Use paid promotion.
11. Always check the effectiveness and don’t be afraid to make changes in strategy.
Remember that it may take a few weeks or months before you notice an increase in your traffic and search engine positions. Don’t be discouraged, and keep following your promotion strategy to achieve your goals.
About the author: Daria Ahieieva is an Outbound and Inbound editor in Serpstat. Daria is engaged in content collaborations with influencers, blogs and media in SEO-niche. As an experienced content creator, Daria works with all possible content formats: from interviews and case studies to analytical studies based on Serpstat data.