Are You Struggling To Get People To Your Blog? These 7 Free Methods Will Help

You’ve written and published your best-ever blog post, yet hardly anyone is reading it or leaving you any comments. What are you doing wrong?

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Struggling to find readers and get engagement?

I remember how disappointed I would get when posts I’d taken days to write got hardly any visits or comments. I felt as if I was talking to myself. I had to find ways to promote my blog without spending any cash.

Here are seven methods that help me promote my blog for free and have bought me amazing results.

1. Linking Up

There are generous bloggers out there who are always on the lookout for links to your blog posts. They want to help you promote your blog posts for free. Yes, for free!

Many run weekly link-up parties where they encourage other bloggers to leave a link to one of their blog posts.

These link-ups can attract hundreds of links. Many lead readers to interesting articles such as recipes, blogging and writing tips, health tips, music, reviews, arts and crafts, and short stories. The list is endless.

By participating in a link-up party and adding a link to your post, you’ll see increased visitors to your blog and comments being left on your posts.

However, the general rule is to click at least one link from another blogger and read and share their post for every link you leave. Leave a comment if you’ve something to say that adds value to the discussion.

It could bring even more visitors to your blog if you’re lucky enough to get your link and blog post featured the following week. As it happens, it’s happened to me this week.

Image showing a comment informing me that the post I left a link for at a link-up party has won and will be featured.
Featured Blog Post

Here are a couple of link-up parties I regally participate in. Click on the buttons for more details.

My posts have been featured several times in these link-up parties, resulting in more traffic to my blog and more comments on my featured posts.

2. Blog Parties

Similar to link-up parties, blog parties are a great way to promote your blog to other bloggers and for you to discover new blogs to follow. The host will ask you to introduce yourself in the comments section, mingle with other participants and leave a link to your blog or to one of your own blog posts.

Unlike link-up parties, which tend to be held on the same day every week, blog parties tend to happen much less regally.

When I first started blogging, I hosted and participated in blog parties. I always found them to be successful and beneficial.

The rule is if you leave a link to your blog, you must at least visit some of the blogs of other people at the party. It’s another free way to promote yourself and one of your blog posts and make some new friends in the blogging community.

3. Pingbacks

A pingback is a link inserted into a post that takes the reader to another web page when clicked. They are used to connect to another website or blog post where the subject is similar to the post being read or when introducing or referring to someone. I’ve used pingbacks in this post.

Search engine optimisations such as Google and Bing rank posts containing pingbacks higher than those that don’t include pingbacks. However, beware of broken pingbacks in your blog posts because they have the reverse effect, and SEOs will downgrade the posts.

If you link to another blogger’s post via a pingback, it will appear as a link to your blog post in the comments section of the post you are connecting to. Here’s an image of a pingback I created that appeared on the blog post I was linking to.

Image of what a pingback looks like in the comments sections of a blog

Anybody clicking on the pingback will be taken to the post it appears on.

However, not all bloggers allow pingbacks, so they may not appear in the comments section.

If pingbacks are allowed, the blogger you linked to may come back and thank you for linking to their post. In return, some may link up to one of your blog posts. However, nobody is under any obligation to do so.

You can also use a pingback to link to one of your blog posts. However, only do this if the post’s subject is similar to what you are connecting to.

Never insert links to your posts (or those of other bloggers) if there is no clear theme to the post you are linking to, as this comes over as spammy.

Top Tip: Try and add at least one pingback to every post you publish. You’ll soon see results and benefits.

And don’t forget that you can also add pingbacks to images and photos on your blog posts.

Not sure how to create a pingback? Click here for a step-by-step guide.

4. Guest Blogging

Many bloggers are often on the lookout for guest bloggers.

I’ve written many guest posts that have put my blog and writing in front of new audiences.

I’ve had people write guest posts for my blog.

It’s a fantastic free way to get you and your blog in front of a brand new audience.

However, ask yourself these questions before you accept an invitation to write a guest post.

  • Are you writing for the right audience?
  • Will their readers find your article interesting?
  • Are there any restrictions on word count?
  • Are there any restrictions on what you can write about?
  • Is the blogger you’re writing the post for asking for anything in return?

When spending time deciding which blogs you’re going to write guest posts for, always ensure it’s going to be published in front of an audience that will want to read more of your posts and visit your blog.

Don’t be afraid of approaching other bloggers to ask if they accept guest posts. You’ll be amazed at how many bloggers take guest posts even though they don’t advertise it.

5. Social Media

The sharing buttons at the bottom of blog posts are free to use, so every blogger should use them well.

Tip: WordPress has a feature that will automatically share your posts to your social media accounts. Click here to find out the details.

I recommend not having more than a couple of primary social media accounts (so as not to spread yourself too thinly). However, you should always share your posts on all your social media platforms. 

Likewise, share the posts of other bloggers on your social media platforms. In turn, some may share your posts on their social media channels. This can result in lots of new visitors to your blog.

Take a look at the following screenshot showing where most of my blog’s traffic comes from.

Screenshot showing the sites where most of the traffic and referrals come from to Hugh's Views And News
This is how powerful social media is at bringing traffic to your blog

I’ve highlighted the social media platforms that have sent traffic to my blog.

It proves that social media is a fantastic place to promote your blog posts and other bloggers’ posts for free.

Social media can demand a lot of time to work correctly (that’s why I recommended that you should have no more than a couple of primary social media accounts). I’ve found that the more time I give a social media platform, the better the results are in getting traffic from it.

6. Leaving Comments

No doubt leaving good quality comments that add value to other blog posts will get readers to your blog. Plus, it’s free to do.

Whenever I see a great comment that asks questions or has added value to a post, I will visit the person’s blog who left the comment. If they’ve left a comment that was interesting to read, they’ll probably be publishing blog posts that are interesting to read.

Beware of leaving too many short comments that add no value because those comments can have the reverse effect. Comments such as ‘Great Post’ or ‘Thanks for writing this’ or just a line of emojis look spammy.

You want your blog to look like it’s a place of good quality and interesting blog posts, don’t you? Then leave good quality and interesting comments on the posts of other bloggers.

7. Take Up A Challenge

Blog challenges can be found all over the blogging world. They are usually a writing or photography challenge (others are also available).

Hosted by other bloggers, not only can they get your creative cogs producing great blog posts, but they also help in that they put you in front of a whole new audience for free!

Using a pingback, you link your post back to the post of the blogger hosting the challenge. Once there, your pingback will attract other readers and participants to your blog.

Many blog challenge hosts will promote those who have participated by including them in a round-up post. Some also reblog some of the entries. Other participants will also visit and comment on the post you published for the challenge. They may even follow your blog!

Here’s a list of some of the blog challenges I participate in. Click on the buttons to find out more details.

Every time I participate in a blog challenge, I get lots of traffic and more comments on my blog and get new followers too.

Let’s wrap it up

  • You don’t need to spend cash to promote your blog. There are lots of free ways to promote it.
  • Never feel ashamed or frightened of promoting your blog.
  • Search engine optimisations rank posts high if they include pingbacks. Ensure every blog post you write includes at least one pingback.
  • Don’t forget that you can add pingbacks to photos and images on blog posts.
  • Make good use of the sharing buttons at the bottom of your posts and other bloggers’ posts.
  • Make sure you share your blog posts on all your social media accounts.
  • Join link-up and blog parties, but remember to visit other participants’ blogs, read their posts and leave them comments. They’ll return your visit.
  • Before accepting an invitation to write a guest blog post, ensure you’ll write it for the right audience.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask other bloggers if they accept guest blog posts or if they’d like to write a guest post for publication on your blog.
  • Participating in blog challenges is an excellent way to promote your blog. Plus, challenges can spark new ideas for posts and are a great way of putting you in touch with other bloggers and finding a new audience.
  • Leaving good quality comments on other blogs is one of the easiest ways of promoting your blog. Other readers will be intrigued about who you are and what you write about.

What do you do to promote your blog for free? Have you tried any of the methods I’ve outlined in this post? What were the results?  

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63 thoughts on “Are You Struggling To Get People To Your Blog? These 7 Free Methods Will Help

  1. Hi Hugh, thank you for this information. As I tell you with every comment, as though you have to know 🙂 I don’t have a blog. However, I’ve got a binder filled with info for when/if that time comes. I have also written blog posts in word that may get posted someday. When that time comes there may be some changes but at least I’ve got most of my thoughts down. Can I ask you a question? I also plan on linking (pingback) my readers to informative, helpful posts whether mine or other bloggers. Is it proper blog etiquette to let the blogger know ahead of time? Does anyone get angry that their posts have been shared? Thanks Hugh in advance for your thoughts.

    1. Thank you for the questions, Lea.

      Allow me to answer them in two stages –

      Pingbacks – I encourage you to use at least one pingback in every post. SEOs such as Google like them and rank posts that have them higher. You don’t need to ask permission to link to another bloggers post. If they don’t allow pingback and links to their blog, they should have ticked the ‘do not allow pingback’ box in their blog settings. Your pingback won’t show up on their post if they have done that.

      Reblogging – If there is a reblog button at the bottom of a post, then it means the blogger is happy for you to share their post. However, some bloggers still have a reblog button even though they don’t like anyone sharing their work. If it’s a blogger whose work you’ve never shared before, I’d recommend you ask for their permission first before sharing their post. If they agree, then they’re likely to be happy that you share their posts via the reblog button. However, there are pitfalls to reblogging, especially when it comes to copyright infringement. So I’d recommend you use the ‘Press This’ sharing feature to share another blog post.

      I hope that helps, but feel free to ask any further questions.

      1. Thank you, Hugh! I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question and so thoroughly. I would be very cautious with copyright infringement and just ask ahead of time. Because I don’t have a blog, I’m not familiar with the “Press This” feature but will learn as I go when the time comes. I’m keeping your reply for future reference. Thanks so much for your help!!

  2. Hi Hugh..I found your advice very useful. But I am very new to this field and not sure how to go about it. Have posted on your linky party link for advice and help.

    1. I’m afraid I don’t host any linky parties. I only participate in them.

      However, I have written lots of blogging tips posts. You can read them by clicking on ‘Blogging Tips’ on the menubar of my blog. I hope they help.

  3. Thanks again Hugh for sharing your knowledge and experience with us. I find it hard at times to promote my blog and posts so I liked the fact that you ay ‘never be ashamed or frightened of promoting your blog’. It’s just an insecurity that I feel no-one will find what I have to say interesting but I think we all have that from time to time! I agree with the linkups and challenges – all great ways to see what others are doing and share your own work.

    1. Yes, I agree about many of us thinking nobody will be interested in reading what we have to say, Debbie. I’ve binned many a blog post because of that very reason. But those sharing buttons on blogs are a great way of sharing the posts we’ve enjoyed reading of other bloggers, especially as some may return the favour.

      I don’t like overwhelming my readers, but I don’t think anyone minds seeing me promote my posts on Twitter. I try and stick with the 80/20 recommendation, so I share the tweets of four others for every promotional tweet of my own posts. It’s tough sometimes remembering to do it, but I think it works.

      Thanks so much for joining the discussion.

  4. Dear Hugh, Congratulations and I wish to let you know that your post will be mentioned on the new Linky this upcoming Monday, October 11th as the winner for last week. Thanks for your loyal support and participation

  5. Thanks for all the excellent tips, Hugh. If I visit someone’s post, I always try to comment in a useful way not, as you point out, just “Great post” or, even worse, “Great post. Please visit my blog”. Once in a great while I just can’t think of anything nice/helpful/apt to say and just go away, but that happens very rarely.

    I participate in lots of challenges. I think the best one was the Weekly Photo Challenge from WordPress, but that’s been over for some time. The problem I find with challenges is that a number of bloggers I follow do multiple challenges/posts every day, which tends to fill my Reader. In the interest of time, I generally only visit and comment on one post per person per day. I’d not heard of link and blog parties.


    1. Never feel guilty about not having anything useful to say that adds value to what you’ve read, Janet. Just sharing the post on social media is far better than leaving a comment that has no value whatsoever. As for those comments that include uninvited links (and which say nothing about what they’ve read), I mark them as spam.

      Likewise, there is nothing wrong with visiting a blog when you can. Never feel under obligation that you have to read everything they publish.

      I don’t see many blog parties these days, but there are lots of link-up parties about. I only included two on this post, but lots of others exist. I try and join the two I’ve highlighted every week, but I don’t get stressed out if I can’t participate. The most important point is to remember to have fun when you participate.

  6. Hi Hugh!

    Wonderful list of tips. I’ve tried all of them. The only issue I see is that they all require a lot of time. But, no pain, no gain, right?

    I always add a lot of ping backs into the posts I write – either to other blogs, websites, or articles or to my own as I covered some topics in more depth in the past. I hope to join more photo challenges in the future, since I have an incredibly expansive photo archive about any topic possible.

    Amazing how much traffic Twitter drives to your blog!!

    1. Oh, you need to share those photos, Liesbet. Whether it is on a post or a post connected to a challenge, but I get what you mean in that it does all take time. I find that pingbacks, however, don’t need much time, providing you know where to find what you’re linking to.

      Twitter is my main social media account, so I do give it lots of time. But it’s certainly paid off. I much rather concentrate on one or two social media platforms rather than spread myself too thinly.

  7. Thanks for taking your own advice, Hugh and linking back to Thursday Doors. I do my best to highlight the posts of the participants each week, and I do post a Recap on Sunday. Challenges are a great way to meet new people in the blogging community. I will also host the Second Annual Thursday Doors writing challenge next May.

    1. Dan, you’re welcome. As this post was published on Monday, I knew your Thursday Doors challenge from last week was already over, so I wanted to link to the one that licked off today. Having hosted a few challenges myself, I know how much hard work goes into running them, so a big thank you for all the work you do with Thursday Doors.
      And I look forward to the annual Thursday Doors writing challenge next May.
      Hopefully, I’ll be back to participating in Thursday Dors next week.

      1. I plan to announce the writing challenge earlier, Hugh. I learned that most people were more comfortable jumping in early, even though it lasted all month.

  8. A great set of useful tips! The things that have worked best for me are firstly getting engaged with other bloggers by reading and leaving comments, preferably ones that show I’ve actually read the post and have something interesting to say about it. And secondly getting involved in challenges – that’s probably the single thing that has driven the most people to my blog, I believe. And now I’m getting further involved by co-hosting Friendly Friday with Sandy and Amanda 🙂

    1. Thank you.

      I’m delighted you’ve seen the benefits of leaving good quality comments on blog posts and by also participating in blog challenges. Both are win-win situations.

      Co-hosting a challenge is an excellent idea as it takes the pressure off of hosting every week. Well done on all those achievements, Sarah.

      1. I remember reading one of your posts about the things you can do when there isn’t time to comment. You mentioned sharing the post on social media. I started doing that more often after reading that.

        1. I think that’s a far better method than leaving a short comment that adds no value, Dan.

          BTW – I’ll update the link on the Thursday Doors button on this post when your post goes live on Thursday.

  9. Quite the informative post, Hugh! So coincidental to see Janice’s linky party mentioned. I hadn’t read her blog in a while and happened upon her recent post about Blogging For Fun. We conversed in the comments and reminisced about the old days of blogging. I mentioned that we moved and I shared that I have met countless bloggers in person–definitely keeping it fun! Like you, she has been super successful with her blog and the information she shares. Congrats on making her list in her link-up. These do work and helped build my blog back in the day. I sure do enjoy hosting Sunday Stills Photo Challenge and really get a kick when someone new joins in (weekly now for months). I do share each post on at least one SM. Thank you for the shout-out, and hope to see a SS post from you this week! Becky B’s squares will keep us all pretty busy 🙂

    1. Thanks, Terri. There is nothing better than engagement when it comes to blogging. Link-up parties are an excellent source of gaining lots of extra traffic and followers. The link-up parties I mentioned in this post have always given me fantastic results. It’s always a bonus when I hear that my post will be featured the following week. Those pingbacks to the featured posts certainly help bring in more viewers.

      Your Sunday Stills challenge has undoubtedly grown in popularity. It’s great to see new participants joining too. I can’t tell you how helpful blog challenges are when looking for new ideas for posts. I only wish I could participate in them all every week, but it’s simply not possible. Thank you for being a great host for Sunday Stills. I hope you get some new participants from the mention I’ve given Sunday Stills in this post.

    1. Yes, make the most of your social media accounts and link your blog to all of them. WordPress helps in having settings to set this up automatically, but only for some social media platforms. A link in this post will take you to a WordPress help section that shows how to do this.

  10. Thanks for sharing Hugh. As you know I’m on Twitter, I’ll be honest I’m far from mastering it and sometimes struggle with the time to put a regular weekly investment, so I’ve been careful not to spread my social media any wider. I have to admit I always feel self-conscious about promoting my blog, as I imagine people thinking ‘go away’ so the past year has been good for me to get over that thought.

    I’m always on the lookout for new ways to promote my blog, so thank you for these tips!

    1. I see so many people spreading themselves too thinly over numerous social media platforms, James. It’s one of the biggest mistakes a blogger can make, although I know that some only do it first to work out which platforms they prefer. I used to have other social media accounts but deleted most of them. This gave me more time to spend on Twitter and Flipboard (my two preferred social media accounts).

      The general rule about sharing your posts on social media is to share one of your own for every four posts you share of others. Therefore, it doesn’t look as if you’re just pushing your own posts.

      1. A useful tip (the 4:1 ratio).
        I haven’t got the hang of Twitter, but that’s probably because I’m not on there 24/7 so I miss a lot. (Also, things seem to disappear so quickly, and life gets in the way before I have time to work out what I want to do or say.)

        1. Twitter is very fast paced. I tend to engage by answering questions that other tweeters have asked that show up on my timeline. I try and visit Twitter at least twice a day, but that doesn’t always happen. However, I’m don’t worry about it. Like the Block editor on WordPress, I found that the more I use it, the better I get at knowing how it works and how to use it.

  11. Another informative, helpful blog Hugh. I wasn’t aware, or don’t recall hearing about, the Linkups and Blog Parties, so I’ll make the time to look into these properly. It was also interesting to see how much traffic you get from your social media accounts.

    I’ll keep referring back to this blog, thanks for sharing your tips.

    1. I’m glad this post has helped, Paul.

      I don’t see so many blog parties these days, but link-up parties are very popular. Even if trying them out every week, the two I’ve mentioned in this post, I’m sure you’ll see the results of participating. They’re an excellent source of engagement and getting traffic to blogs.

      As a rule, I only use Twitter and Flipboard when it comes to social media. Everything else on that social media traffic image is from other bloggers and readers who have shared my posts on their social media platforms. Yet another power source of traffic.

    1. Ha! I wouldn’t call myself the Twitter king. My secret – engagement. Just like leaving comments and engaging on other blogs, the same applies to Twitter. The more you engage with other users, the more it’ll work for you.

        1. I deleted some of my other social media accounts, which I either didn’t like or wasn’t using enough to free up more time I could spend on Twitter. Trying to spread myself too thinly on all social media didn’t work. Now I stick to two leading platforms, which have helped bring me results.

  12. Dear Hugh, Thank you so much for the mention of Senior Salon and for participating as well. You always have such wonderful tutorials and I always walk away with new knowledge after I visited your blog.
    Talking about pingbacks. I have checked that a pingback should be allowed, but I never see it, and not sure if I have some wrong settings on my end.
    Again thanks for the mention.

    1. You’re welcome, Esmé. Participating in your Senior Salon linkup has helped bring lots of extra traffic to my blog. You do a great job at hosting it. I hope you get some new participants from this post.

      Regarding the pingback issue you mentioned, yes, you should get an approval notification whenever anyone links to any of your blog posts. However, it won’t happen if they link to the home page of your blog. I’ve mentioned many times in past posts to never link to the home page, but people still do it. I’ll keep saying it, though.

      1. Thanks again Hugh, you’re an absolute mensch for sharing and I am sure as you have such awesome followers that some of them will at least check out the linky and come over and participate.

  13. Thank you for sharing, great tips, yes blog posts are great for promos and meeting other bloggers. I recently discovered a new way to promote my blog for me and that is one post in particular and that links to my youtube channel. I always share my videos to blogger which is a share button on youtube and my wordpress I made a blogpost which gets people who wish to join my affiliate programs to click the link beneath the video which takes them to that blog post. I never thought of driving traffic from youtube to my blog before until I saw someone else doing it and youtube is a great source of traffic for affiiliate marketing and blog posts too. I have had blogs for a long time but I mostly post videos to it so when I applied for monetisation on my blogger blog they suggested I start a youtube channel instead.

    1. I’ve never had any referrals from YouTube, but thank you for mentioning it. I do have a YouTube account but don’t use it very much, so that’s probably why I don’t see any referrals from it. But it’s good to know that it works for you. I’m sure it works for many others too.

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