Growth Through Simplicity

By: Kelly Beall. Photo by: Justin Hackworth 

Growing your blog's audience doesn't have to be an all-consuming difficult process. In fact, you might be making it more difficult on yourself than it should be. Here are five simple steps to getting a leg up on the future of your site!

1. Have a good opening photo.

That image is the equivalent of your blog's first impression on any potential reader, some refer to it as the "hero shot." It should be the best of the best you have to choose from.

2. Say no to typos.

Spellcheck exists for a reason. And that reason is to have your back by clicking on one little button that helps you look refined and polished instead of negligent and in a rush.

3. Have an overall feel.

And by this I mean branding, which doesn't need to be complicated. Same color(s), same font(s), same size images, etc. A little forethought can go a long way!

4. Be conversational.

Be authentic and write in your true conversational tone. It's easy to read and sounds genuine, not as though you're using your manufactured "blog voice."

5. Post on a schedule.

People are generally creatures of habit, and by posting at say 9 and 11am (as I do) each day they can rely on you and your timeliness for refreshing content.

Tips & Tricks To Grow Your Audience

By: Kelly Beall. Photo by: Justin Hackworth 

The potential for growing your blog through social media channels is ridiculously astounding. I can't even use enough adjectives to describe it! Here are Ten Tips for Growing Your Target Audience Using Social Media.

Love this conversation about achieving the "Know, Like, and Trust" Factor and the 30 steps you need to take to get it.

Take advice from others who've gone through the same growth process, check out these words of wisdom and learn 17 Ways to Grown Your Blog from Top Bloggers.

A great starting point for growth with fantastic action items to Grow Your Audience with 13 Minutes a Day

You don't want to use a heavy hand in growing your audience, but you do want to bond with them. Check out 5 Ways to Bond with Your Blog's Audience for some great advice on doing just that.

The Rule of 10 is an interesting idea that just might be golden for your blog's growth!

A Style Guide for Bloggers Sponsored by MailChimp

By: Kate Kiefer Lee of MailChimp Artwork by: Belinda Marshall

As your blog grows, you'll need a style guide to make sure your content is consistent and everyone you're working with is on the same page. Consistency gives your blog credibility, especially as your audience grows and you start hiring contributors. Style guides don't have to be elaborate, and websites of any size can benefit from them. Even if you're the only one writing, it helps to have a simple list of guidelines to refer to.

Don't think of your style guide as a set of rules and regulations—it's just a handy tool that will make your content more engaging and professional. Here are some tips for creating style standards that work for you.

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Treating Readers Like Valued Customers

By: Sara Urquhart. Photography by: The Light Fantastic

We’ve all experienced the joy of a great customer experience and the frustration of a lousy one. When you’re selling goods, offering a product, or have a brick-and-mortar store, paying attention to customer service is obvious.

But the fundamentals of customer service also apply to blogging, where your readers become “customers” whose loyalty and happiness directly affect your success, so here are 5 tips for treating your customers right:

1. Show appreciation for readers by doing your best to respond to their comments and emails. For email overwhelm, consider the five.sentenc.es email approach, introduced to us at Alt by Erin Loechner ofDesign for Mankind.

2. Create new posts consistently. Whether that’s daily or three times a week is up to you, but readers will come to expect regular updates. Offer them the service of consistency, and let them know when you’ll be away.

3. Offer authenticity. Remember you are your site’s best asset, and readers come for your curated perspective, your great DIYs, or your point of view on any given topic. Being true to yourself is a gift to readers.

4. Use your readers’ trust wisely. At Alt, Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook shared her concept of “blogger capital,” which is basically your value and credibility to your readers. You create “capital” when you post original ideas and content. Treat your readers well by balancing your original content, or capital, with sponsored posts that feel authentic to your brand and blog purpose.

5. Make visiting your blog a pleasant experience with good design, lovely images, and user-friendly functionality.

Link Love: Best Practices for Being a Contributor

By: Melanie Blodgett. Photography by: Have & Hold Design

Still wondering about contributing and if it is right for you? Check out these links and have a great weekend!

1. If you missed out on the contributing panel at Alt, here’s a recap.

2. How the Huffington Posts works (in case you were wondering).

3. The perks of being a blog contributor.

4. Blog Brunch held a session on contributing, these are what some of the participants had to share.

5. How to get big names to know your name.

6. Advice on how to set your freelancing rates (contributing is freelance blogging!)

Still want more? Be sure to sign up for the Contributing 101 class next Monday, 4/29.