Etc.

Blogging 101: Building a Fan Base

Hello there fellow bloggers! Since my Blogging 101 series has been a big hit, I thought I’d continue this series by talking a little bit about building your fan base. Again, I’m no expert, so anyone who has anything to add, feel free to chime in. We’d love to hear from you!

Where Does Your Audience Come From?
Your audience should (and probably does) come from a few different sources. Let me explain.
Other Bloggers This one is pretty obvious. A lot of people who like to write blogs also like to read blogs. The thing with other bloggers is that many of them will follow you in real time through their reader app. They read the post you wrote today and if they missed the one you wrote yesterday, it’s less likely that they are going to search through your website and see it. I’ve found that other bloggers usually like to see a variety of posts on the same topic. For beauty bloggers, that means they like to see tutorials, favorites, hauls and reviews, as opposed to only reviews. In my experience, other bloggers are the most rewarding part of blogging. They interact with your blog the most and you get to know a few of them on at least a semi-personal level.
Search Engines So how do non-bloggers find your blog? Chances are they find it through a search engine. Unlike other bloggers, people who find your blog through a search engine aren’t necessarily looking at your latest posts. These people have come for something specific like a review or swatch. Since these people are less likely to follow your blog through a reader app, an easy to view layout with related posts clearly linked is helpful for this type of reader. Readers who find your blog through search engines are typically less likely to comment.
Social Media The third way is social media. I’m not too tech savvy on this one, so any suggestions are appreciated. I only have a Twitter! On Twitter, posts are shared instantaneously and get buried fast. When someone follows thousands of people, they’re unlikely to see the link you tweeted 3 hours ago.

That’s Great, but What Does This Mean For How I Should Attract an Audience?
Great question, glad you asked. Now that I’ve reviewed where you’re audience comes from, I want to give my top tips for attracted an audience based on your source.
Other Bloggers

  • The absolute #1 way to get other bloggers to read your blog? Comment on theirs! Your comments should be sincere. Saying “I love this” on every post is likely to put you in the Spam folder. Finding bloggers with similar interests is a great way to make friends, as well as find readers for your blog.
  • Use broad tags. Since many bloggers use a reader app (WordPress.com has a built in one to help you follow other bloggers), use that to your advantage. When bloggers are looking for new blogs to follow, they will probably search a broad tag such as “beauty” as opposed to a narrower one like “Nyx Butter Gloss lipstick in Merengue.” Just don’t go overboard on the tags. If it doesn’t apply to your blog post even remotely, don’t use it!
  • Try a variety of posts. Like I mentioned above, many bloggers I have spoken with have expressed an interest in bloggers who post a variety. While it should all fall under a general topic, i.e-beauty, lifestyle, etc., don’t be afraid to try different types of posts within that topic.
  • And finally, if you want to maintain readers, reply to your comments. Even if I have a very brief exchange with a blogger, I generally remember when a blogger is friendly and make a mental note to visit his or her blog again.

Search Engines

  • They say if you want people to find your blog through Google, you have to learn SEO, which is way more intimidating than it sounds. Basically, you should do the following:
    • Make sure your blog title reflects your topic. If I’m searching for a swatch of Makeup Forever’s Rouge Natural Lipstick in N9 Copper Pink, chances are Google is going to turn up a blog post titled “Makeup Forever’s Rouge Natural Lipstick in N9 Copper Pink, Swatches & Review” before it comes up with a post titled “The Best MLBB Lippie!” Sure, it sounds a little bland in comparison, but posts that come up first on Google are likely to be the ones people are still reading years after they are published.
    • Use specific tags too! Even though you should use broad tags to attract other bloggers, using specific tags, will boost your chances of being noticed on a search engine. It’s also helpful to think of all the ways people could search for your post. In the above example, people could search for Makeup Forever’s Rouge Natural Lipstick in N9 Copper Pink as MUFE N9, Makeup Forever Copper Pink, Mufe Lipstick Copper Pink, etc. Try to include some of these in your tags, especially something like “MUFE” which might not come up under a search for “Makeup Forever”
      • I should probably mention here, that using too many tags can actually work against you and make your post harder to find. The general rule of thumb is less than 15 tags, so make sure you choose your tags wisely.
    • Label your pictures. Ever notice how wordpress gives you the option to title your pictures and use alt tags on them? This can help them come up in an image search
  • Moving a little beyond SEO, another tip for attracting readers via search engine, is to write the topics people search for. This might sound simple, but don’t neglect your foundational posts like reviews, swatches, and topics you would search for yourself.
  • Along those lines, while people who find you via search engine are likely looking for something specific, you can get them to stay longer by having relevant topics linked in your post or as suggested articles at the end of your post.
  • Along, those same lines, people are more likely to interact with your blog if it’s easy to navigate. Setting up categories like “reviews,” “tutorials” helps a great deal with organization.
  • Last, but not least, since your readers finding you via search engine likely don’t have the wordpress or other type of blogging reader to follow you on, make sure you have an email follow button.

Social Media

  • Socia media moves fast. To make sure people see your post, share it multiple times. This seems a little embarrassing at first, but honestly, most people who see you share your post at noon don’t see when you share it again at five. Trust me, I follow a lot of bloggers on Twitter and even knowing that they do this, I still don’t notice it. Just make sure you share your post at least a few hours apart.
  • Along those lines, share everywhere. Sure, there’s some overlap, but not everyone who follows you on Instagram is following you on Twitter, so make sure people on all platforms see your post.
  • Promote your post beforehand. Sure, it seems odd, but if you follow big name beauty gurus, you will notice that many of them tell their subscribers when a new video is about to be posted. You don’t have to do this for every post, especially if you’re on a regular posting schedule, but it doesn’t hurt to mention that you might be doing a giveaway or a special collaboration a few days before the post comes out to spark people’s interest.
  • Use hashtags! It’s a no brainer, but when you use hashtags your post is more likely to be seen by those people who aren’t already following you.
  • Join blogger chats. This was a big one for growing my twitter audience. Twitter chats happen when a group of people have a conversation under a hashtag at specified times of the day. You can use google to pay attention to the tags of the people you are following, to find these chats. An inspirational chat that I used to take part in often before scheduling conflicts was #Fireworkpeople.

Well this has become a long post! Make sure to check out my other blogging posts with blogging basics, photography basics, and tips for reaching out to companies. What are your best tips for growing your audience? Let me know in the comments below!

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78 thoughts on “Blogging 101: Building a Fan Base

  1. Good post! I’ve been reading up a lot lately on this stuff especially SEO, I could add a little bit here.

    Search engines rely on the ALT-TAG so that is something that should never be left blank and should be a short but accurate description. The actual file name is the other thing that is used. So, be sure not to leave it as 14590.jpg. Rename it to Benefit_Mascara.jpg instead.

    For self hosted blogs, we have the ability to download a program that checks every aspect of the post and tells us where the SEO is weak vs strong. In the hosted version I don’t think you can get that plug in. However, you can still look at their tips on line and the most popular plug in and most friendly one is Yoast. Check out Yoast.com for basic tips on what you can do in your posts to ensure they are as SEO friendly as possible. The SEO friendly, the higher the ranking. The higher the ranking, the more closely to the front Google page you appear when there are competing articles that contain the same or similar info.

    For Twitter, I follow about 5000 people so I use an app to organize the feeds. I have friend feeds, beauty feeds etc. That might be a little daunting so to get more down to the basics, try lists in twitter. Put your favorite tweeters into lists and look at your feed by those filtered lists to make sure you don’t miss anything from specific bloggers. TweetDeck is what I use and I have multiple feeds that appear on my screen in vertical columns. Lots of fun things to explore!

  2. Thanks for sharing all of these tips! They were very informative and I agree with all of them! Especially making sure you read, comment and interact with other bloggers. That really helps a lot! 🙂

  3. Very informative V! I did not know that labeling your pictures mattered at all. Makes perfect sense now! Google SEO seems vast and confusing to me. I’m pretty new to this so I am just beginning to learn how it all works. I love when bloggers give advice on blogging! Lol

    • glad it’s helpful. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert by any means, but I like to condense the bit of knowledge I’ve picked up along the way

  4. Thank you so much for writing this! I have definitely been needing someone to explain this topic to me, and you did it so well! I’ll be referring back to this post for sure. 🙂
    Jessica xx

  5. Great points, V. Engagement is the key – on others’ blogs, on social media, and when they come visit you. I know I appreciate Twitter and other social media accounts that have posts without links – just tell me a little about you and what you’re thinking, so that I feel as if I know you a little bit.

  6. Pingback: 11 Things That Happen When You’ve Been Blogging Long Enough | Say Hello to Gorgeous

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