Building a blog audience (2022)
Personal journey in building an audience for my blog. SEO, republishing and social media. My latest experiment: Revue.
For a little over a year, I have been writing this blog. When I started, it was more for myself. To organize my thoughts and gather and hone existing expert knowledge about production on the web. And to share my photos. Creating a website itself was also part of the process, and I had fun working on it.
Later, the blog also became a tool to acquire and sharpen new knowledge about writing (storytelling) and online marketing. Fifteen years ago I also had a blog, in the wake (Kielzog) of daily life, and actually everything I wrote then ranked high in Google, and so I got quite an audience. Fleeting though because I didn't do anything about engaging those people. So no newsletter or anything of the kind. And it was in the days of the first generation of the web and social media was not there yet or much smaller presence. In that sense, this is kind of a "grandpa talks.” But I am looking for modern ways to reach and build a larger audience.
And what about my audience now?
Search engine optimization is still very relevant, and I pay a lot of attention to that. I also do "cross publishing" and have become much more present and active on social media.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
One of my biggest hurdles, and frankly annoyances, was that my newly chosen domain (robhoeijmakers.com) was somehow poorly or not picked up by Google. And this despite all the possible optimizations I know of. If you searched for my name in Google, this domain structurally did not appear. I submitted the matter to Google, but didn't get a real answer. Someone told me to read the manual, and that hurt a bit. Then I picked up my old domain again, and it was a good grab. Now my site appears in the top 5 if you search for my name, and I'm very happy about that. I am positive more traffic will start to come out of Google.
That is publishing or cross publishing articles also on platforms like Medium, Substack and Hashnode. I do that too, though selectively. Whatever is most appropriate for that specific platform. That's where it gets read, but in my case not spectacularly. Having your articles on these platforms extends visibility, but it is work to do it properly. I will maintain doing this for the coming months, although it is not always on top of mind. My main goal is building my own domain and content, not to get dependent on a platform.
I also collect email addresses through my blog in Ghost and as soon as I publish an article the subscribers receive that article via email. But other than my benevolent family and friends, no one seems to be subscribing. (There are now 12 of you). Not even when I put out a post on my social media like Twitter (1000+ followers), LinkedIn (1000+) or Facebook. Either it doesn't stand out enough or people don't want it. The information spaces we are nowadays are of course crowded and loud, that finding an audience requires patience as well.
My visit numbers are public, so here you can see how many people visit what. It's still mostly seeding, but occasionally visitors really do come, and I enjoy that.
Newest attempt: Revue
I write English language tweets and to this account I have now linked Revue. That's a newsletter service from Twitter. Creating a newsletter or digest works great I must say and collecting addresses is very conveniently done by linking it to your Twitter profile. I now have two subscriptions and both are myself 😂 . But all the effort I already put in Twitter I hope to be able to use for my blog as well. Let's see.
I decided not to add existing subscribers to that list because I want to get to know the system a little better first, but of course I would be delighted when you subscribe:
Where do I aim for with my blog? The main goal is to be curious and share what I can. In terms of numbers, I aim for a minimum of 1000 monthly unique visitors within a year from now. In a follow-up article, I will show a bit more of the features of Revue and let you know how Revue is performing for my goals.