You’ve set up a blog, written some pillar content, and started tinkering with social media, but the traffic isn’t exactly pouring in.
So, what comes next?
Building an online platform for your book is no easy task. But by establishing yourself as an authority in your niche early on, you’ll be able to build a strong online reputation and increase your blog’s reach.
An authority is defined as a trusted source of information and a recognized expert in a particular subject. When you become a voice of authority online, your blog will receive more traffic, earn more links, and attract more readers.
Here are 5 ways to get started:
1. Create Highly Useful Content
The great thing about blog content is that it does most of the talking for you by demonstrating your expertise.
To maximize your blog content’s effectiveness, do some research to find out what kind of information your target audience craves and then deliver that information in your posts. Tutorials and “how to” blog posts work particularly well.
When you focus on teaching, people are naturally attracted to your blog because they feel like they’re learning something every time they read your content. So, if you consistently provide useful, quality content, your authority status will start to grow organically.
2. Network and Connect with Your Target Audience
What others say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.
Therefore, rather than writing “me, me, me” content and hanging out in your own corner of the web, get out there and start connecting with like-minded people who’ll help you spread the good word about your blog.
To discover your target audience, you can:
- Comment on other blogs
- Participate actively in forums
- Follow people who share similar interests on Twitter
- Join a mastermind or accountability group
- Guest post on other blogs in your niche
Not only will networking help you drive more traffic to your site and build a stronger online presence, it will help you make more online friends, who’ll eagerly promote your content.
3. Invest in a Professionally Designed Website
The cliché that content is king still applies, but that doesn’t mean you can get away with blogging on a free Blogger template forever. Okay, so some people can, but they are exceptions to the rule. Design matters.
A professional, visually appealing site will increase people’s trust in your content because it will show them that you take your craft seriously. If you take a look at the websites of authority bloggers, you’ll notice that virtually all of them have a memorable, customized design. Just as products with attractive packaging win consumers, blogs with attractive, professional-looking designs win readers.
4. Improve Your Site’s SEO
If you’ve been avoiding SEO, you’re missing an essential piece of the online platform building puzzle. Think about it this way: your blog won’t grow if people can’t find your content. When your blog’s content ranks well on the search engines, people will be able to find it more easily.
Your readers aren’t the only ones who love authority; the search engines do, too. Google measures a site’s authority based on the quantity and quality of its backlinks (links to your website on other websites).
To accumulate more valuable backlinks, you can submit guest posts with a link back to your site to other blogs, submit your URL to reputable directories, and add your URL to forum signatures. SEO also goes hand in hand with networking; the more people you have in your online network, the more links your content will get.
To improve your website’s “on-page” SEO, incorporate target keywords into your content, title tags, and description tags. If you’re not confident in your ability to optimize your content for target keywords, consider using an SEO copywriting tool like Scribe. Premium WordPress themes like Thesis and Frugal and WordPress’s SEO Pack plug-in simplify the process of creating SEO-friendly title tags and description tags.
5. Optimize Your Site for Social Proof
Remember the old saying, “Monkey see, monkey do?” That’s social proof in a nutshell.
According to the theory of social proof, people seek affirmation and validation from those around them before they act. So, that means people who visit your website will examine existing public opinion to determine whether or not they should trust your content.
You can make social proof work to your advantage by displaying the positive actions and/or opinions of others on your website. For example, you can display:
- Logos of websites and media sources where you’ve been mentioned
- Testimonials from clients or people in your niche
- Twitter testimonials
- Twitter follower counter
- RSS feed subscriber counter
- Number of monthly visitors your site receives
- Awards you’ve won
- Top commenters or latest comments
So, what are you waiting for? Start implementing these tips to slowly but surely increase your blog’s reach and influence. All authors who build online platforms start at zero, but there’s no doubt that those who actively work to increase their authority and expand their readership grow their blogs at a much faster rate.
Can you think of other ways to build online authority and expand your readership? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments.