Whether you’re working towards making blogging a full time job or it’s simply a hobby, having a community to share with is incredibly rewarding. Personally, it makes me feel as though I’m a part of something bigger. Chaitra and I thought the subject of growing an audience would be fitting as the final pillar in our Blogging Building Blocks series. I’m more comfortable discussing how to grow an audience through blogging means, so that’s what I’ll be taking on today. However I’m fairly useless when it comes to utilizing social media. Luckily Chaitra is a pro in this matter and she’ll be giving you guys some tips. Here’s what I’ve got for you today.

Share the love posts
Writing about your favourite bloggers is a fantastic way to expand your community. It both feels great to gush about your blogging crushes and it’s lovely for your crushes to receive a little flattery. It’s one of the most natural ways to connect with bloggers, which can lead into other opportunities. For example, I got to know Chaitra because she wrote about me and now we’re working together on this project. Rebecca got to know Chaitra because I wrote about her and now she’s working with ALO. These types of posts have a tendency to come back around.

Guest posts and collaborations

A great way to get yourself out there is to do guest posts and/or collaborations with other bloggers. People have to find you somehow, and what better way to do it than through a blog that they already know and love. Plus, getting to work with someone that you admire is always exciting.

Comment thoughtfully

Comments are obviously a big part of blogging. People build a personal connection with you when you’re interacting and not just talking at them. That connection is what drives people to actually follow you, rather than just to pop in. I’d recommend both making sure you’re responding thoughtfully to comments on your own blog and commenting on other people’s blogs. One thing I’d mention however, is to go for quality not quantity. Hitting loads of blogs with thoughtless comments doesn’t help anyone and comes off as spammy. Instead, try to focus on forming relationships with thoughtful comments on blogs that you really enjoy. That tends to lead into give and take more often.

Write content that solves problems
This goes back to the Blogging Building Blocks post on content creation.  I find by far one of the most effective ways to grow your audience, besides receiving recommendations from other bloggers, is to write content that teaches or solves problems. The posts that I’ve written that rapidly boost my following are always how to’s or helping advice (for example Photography Tips For Blogging, 5 Steps To Foolproof Winged Liner, Designing A Blog: 10 Tips I Wish I’d Known).

Add meta-data

Search engine optimization is another way to help get yourself out there. It helps you to show up in the forefront of a search, rather than getting lost in the sea. I won’t pretend to know a lot about how SEO works, but I do know a few simple tricks for Blogger.

1. Under the Settings tab in your dashboard you can head to Search Preferences. Look for the Meta Tags Section. There you can add a description of your blog that will make it easier for people to find you on search engines.

2. Once you’ve turned on your Meta-data you can add a search description to your posts (you’ll find this in your Post Settings). Your search description should be a brief and concise explanation of what your post is about – no keyword stuffing necessary.

3. It’s also a good idea to save your images with a meaningful name. For example, if you have an image of a lipstick swatch, don’t name it “img100,” instead name it “nars-cruella-swatch.” This way your picture will show up on image searches for that subject.

4. Another way to add information to an image is to add an Alt Text. To do this, click on your image in compose mode, hit Properties and type a short and concise description of your image under Alt text.

Like I said, I’m no expert on the subject on SEO, but PinkPot, Xomisse and Wonder Forest all have a number of helpful posts on this matter.

Make your Bloglovin’ accessible
I’ve mentioned this so many times before, so I’ll make it brief. Bloglovin’ is one of the top ways to build a following. It’s a good idea to make it as easy as possible to find your Bloglovin’ account. Bloglovin’ makes a number of buttons that can be easily added to your blog so be sure to check to them out or make your own!

Now get your bottoms on over to PinkPot for tips on how to grow your blog with social media! Like I said, Chaitra is a wizard with this stuff. I’ve been so happy to have worked with her on this project.