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 I use 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, 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.

If you’re lucky enough to get your link and blog post featured the following week, it could bring even more visitors to your blog. 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 posts that were featured.

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’ve 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, then you must at least visit some of the blogs of other people at the party. It’s another free way to promote you 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 SEO’s 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
Pingback

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 back to one of your own blog posts. However, only do this if the post’s subject is similar to what you are connecting to.

Never insert links to your own 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. My blog post How To Make The Images In Your Blog Posts More Powerful gives full details.

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

  • 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 make good use of them.

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

My recommendation is not to have 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 that shows where most of the traffic to my blog 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 for promoting your blog posts and the posts of other bloggers 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 usually come in the form of 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, not only do I get lots of traffic and more comments on my blog but I 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 the posts of other bloggers.
  • Make sure you share your blog posts on all your social media accounts.
  • Join link-up and blog parties, but remember to visit the blogs of other participants, read their posts and leave them comments. They’ll return your visit.
  • Before accepting an invitation to write a guest blog post, make sure you’ll be writing it for the right audience.
  • Don’t be afraid of asking 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 are 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 as to 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?  

Join Hugh on social media. Click on the buttons below.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How To Make The Images In Your Blog Posts More Powerful

Did you know that you can make the images on your blog posts drive even more traffic to your blog, book page or your online store? They’re not there just to be looked at and admired.

Usually, when I click on an image or a photo on a blog post, all I get is a duplicate version of what I’m looking at. I feel like I’ve been taken down a dead-end road!

What could have happened is that when I clicked on an image or photo, I’m taken to another blog post, website, or even where I can buy the book of the cover I’m looking at.

Adding a pingback to images or photos is the answer. But how do you attach a pingback to an image?

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How To Make The Images In Your Blog Posts More Powerful

Not sure what a pingback is? My post ‘How To Create A PingBack On A WordPress Blog‘ gives full details.

Let’s get started.

As I use WordPress, I’m detailing how to do this using the Block editor. However, it should be a similar process on other blogging platforms.

  • Using the Image block, add a photo or image from your WordPress media library. As June is Pride month, I’m using the following image from a blog post I published last June.
Banner for True Stories: Gay Memories - rainbow-coloured paint in the background
  • Once you’ve place the image on your post, click on it to open up the toolbar of the Image block and click on the PingBack button.
Screenshot highlighting the 'PingBack' button.
PingBack button
  • A small Media File window opens.
Screenshot showing the Media File window that opens when clicking the pingback button
Media File
  • The media file is where the address of the webpage is pasted that you want readers directed to when clicking on the image. As I mentioned earlier, this can be one of your blog posts, the blog post of another blogger, or a website.
  • Copy the URL address of the page you want readers directed to and click the Edit button (pencil icon) in the media file window.
Screenshot highlighting the edit button on the Media File window when creating a pingback
The pingback edit button
  • In the top box of the new window that opens, paste the URL address you’ve copied.
Screenshot highlighting the 'Paste' box when inserting a pingback
Where to paste the URL address
  • If you are directing traffic to one of your blog posts, you can also search for the post by adding some words from its title in the same box.
Screenshot highlighting where to search for a blog post and to select it when creating a pingback
How to search for a blog post when creating a pingback
  • Click the arrow in the Link Settings box (see #2 on the next image) and switch on the ‘Open in a new tab‘ option (see #3 on the next image) so that the pingback opens in a new window. This is important, as it means your reader won’t lose the page they’re reading and be taken away from your blog.
  • Finally, click the Apply button (see #4 on the next image) to secure the link to where readers clicking your pingback will be taken.
Screenshot outlining the final points of creating a pingback on an image
Completing a pingback on an image
  • The image now has a pingback attached to it. Anyone clicking the image will be taken to the post/page/site you’ve created the pingback to.

Do the same for other images on your post. You can either create pingbacks to different locations, or to the same location. For example, for a photo on a Wordless Wednesday post, you can create a pingback to a previous Wordless Wednesday post, thus creating a new route for traffic to that post.

If you’re including an image of one of your books in a post, create a pingback to where readers can buy it.

Advantages of having pingbacks on your blog posts.

  • Creates traffic to your blog.
  • They are SEO friendly.
  • Blog posts that include pingbacks are ranked higher by search engine optimisations (SEOs) such as Google and Bing.
  • Bloggers, whose blogs you link to, may link back to one of your blog posts.
  • They are a great way of promoting older blog posts you have published.
  • You can use a pingback to direct traffic to where readers can buy your books or other goods.

Let’s wrap it up

  • Pingbacks help drive traffic to your other blog posts, the posts of other bloggers, or any website.
  • Pingbacks are easy to create.
  • Pingbacks can be attached to words, images or photos in a blog posts.
  • Don’t make your images a dead-end rote. Make them work by attaching pingbacks to them.
  • If you have an image of one of your books on a blog post, attach a pingback to it so that anyone clicking on it will be taken to where they can buy the book.
  • Always switch on the ‘Open in a new tab‘ option so that readers don’t lose your post. Some may not bother coming back to it once they’ve lost the page.

Do you have any questions on creating pingbacks or attaching them to images on your blog posts? Leave them in the comments section.

Looking for more blogging tips? Check out these recent posts from Hugh.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Are These The 7 Main Reasons Why Your Blog Is Losing Readers?

Unfollowing blogs. It’s something many bloggers don’t like talking about and is something many fear.

However, unfollowing blogs is a great way to free up time. Your WordPress reader and email box (if you subscribe to new post notifications) become a little more uncluttered from stuff that no longer interests you, and you get back some time you’d have otherwise wasted.

Blog banner for the blogging tips post Are These The 7 Main Reasons Why Your Blog Is Losing Readers?
Are These The 7 Main Reasons Why Your Blog Is Losing Readers?

Have you unfollowed or not followed a blog for any of these reasons?

1. No ‘About Me’ page or one that hasn’t been updated

Did you know that the ‘About Me’ page is one of the most visited pages of a blog? Go on, check your stats. You may be surprised by how many visits that page has had.

One of the first things I look for when visiting a new blog is an ‘About me’ page. If there isn’t one, it takes more than 30 seconds to find, or the contents of it are not interesting, then I won’t follow.

Likewise, if there is an ‘About Me’ page that hasn’t been updated for many years, I’ll also not follow.

Of course, if you don’t have an ‘about me’ page then you could be missing out on hundreds of new visitors and followers every month.

Don’t have an ‘About Me’ page or don’t know what to put on one?

My blog post Why Every Blogger Should Have An About Me Page On Their Blog gives full details.

2. Broken links

From time to time, we all encounter problems with broken links on our blogs.

Broken links are no good to anyone and can spoil the enjoyment of reading blog posts and pages that contain them. The ‘404 – Page Not Found‘ message is one of the most frustrating messages readers come across.

If I find a broken link, I’ll notify the blog owner of it. If it doesn’t get fixed and there are many other broken links on the blog (including those in the email notifications I get from WordPress), I will unfollow the blog

Check the links on your blog’s home and ‘About Me’ pages at least every couple of months to ensure they’re still working. If they’re not, fix them immediately.

Don’t lose followers by not fixing broken links on your blog.

Not sure how to create a link or pingback?

My blog post How To Create A Pingback On A WordPress Blog gives full details.

3. Not responding to comments

I’ve mentioned this many times before, but if somebody has taken the time to read any of your posts and leaves a comment, then how are they going to feel if you ignore them?

Would you ask somebody around for dinner and ignore everything they had to say? No!

So never ignore or take readers for granted.

If bloggers do not respond to comments, I will unfollow them or stop leaving comments if the content is still of interest.

4. Unfriendly and uninviting blogs

Would you shop on a website that’s not easy to use or navigate around? Probably not.

Do you find the layout of my blog or my blog posts messy? Are they not particularly nice to look at or hard to read? I hope not.

Now, ask yourself the same question about your blog. Does it look inviting and friendly? Is it easy to navigate around? Are all the links working? Is the menu too top-heavy and over-cluttered?

If my first impression of a blog is any of what I’ve mentioned in the above paragraph, then I’m not going to waste my time trying to find posts I may be interested in reading.

Likewise, if a blog I’m following becomes over-cluttered, unfriendly, no longer easy to get around or takes too long to download, then I’ll unfollow it.

So ensure you keep up with your blog’s housekeeping. Keep your blog an inviting and friendly place to hang out on and make all your blog posts engaging.

5. Out of sight, out of mind

One of the first things every blogger should decide is how often they are going to publish posts. If you choose to publish posts three times a week, then stick to that schedule. However, do not, without warning, change your posting schedule or not publish anything for a couple of months.

There’s nothing wrong with changing how often you publish blog posts and informing your readers why you’re doing it, but try and stick to the same schedule. If your readers expect a blog post once a week, they will probably not stick around if you don’t publish anything for months. Out of sight, out of mind.

Every six months, I check for blogs I follow who haven’t published any new content for at least six months. I’ll unfollow those blogs because it’s likely they’ve either abandoned their blog and will not publish any new posts.

If your readers expect a new blog post from you once a month and don’t get anything for six months, then you’re going to lose followers.

6. Uninteresting content

I’ve followed many blogs by mistake. In the early days, I fell into the trap of following every blogger who followed me. Have you fallen into that trap?

Then again, and this is something I think many bloggers don’t like talking about, I’ve unfollowed blogs because the content they are publishing no longer interests me.

Doesn’t it make sense to spend the precious time you have reading content that interests you rather than read content that doesn’t interest you simply because the blogger who publishes it follows you?

And I have no problem with people unfollowing me if my content no longer interests them. However, I take a different view of people unfollowing my blog simply because I don’t follow them.

I follow many bloggers who don’t follow me. Why? Because they publish engaging content I am interested in and which motivates me to leave comments.

Never be afraid to unfollow a blog you’re no longer interested in. It will free up valuable time, which you can put to better use, such as writing or reading and commenting on the remaining blogs you follow.

Not convinced? Click here and read some of the answers James, who blogs at Perfect Manifesto, gave in a recent interview. He hits the nail right on the head when answering the question ‘Do you have any advice for bloggers starting or struggling with blogging?

7. Annoying popups

Do you have any annoying popups on your blog? Do they keep popping up because they don’t give readers the chance to say ‘no thank you’ to what you’re trying to offer them? Or do they not go away unless I do subscribe to your newsletter? What if I don’t want to subscribe? Will I keep seeing that annoying popup?

Then I’ve probably unfollowed your blog.

I don’t mind discrete popups that do not cover the post I’m reading, but when my reading is interrupted by the same popup every time I visit, then I’ll unfollow.

Get rid of annoying popups. If you do need them on your blog, chose a design that is discrete and one that does not interrupt the enjoyment of reading.

Do You Know How To Unfollow A Blog?

The simplest way to unfollow a blog is to click on the ‘Unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of the WordPress email notification you get when a new post is published.

Screenshot highlighting where to find the unsubscribe button on a WordPress email notification
Where to find the unsubscribe button on a WordPress email notification

WordPress.Com users and those choosing not to receive email notifications can use the following methods.

1. Click the ‘follow’ button that appears in the bottom righthand corner of a blog you’re following. It appears when scrolling up on the device you’re using.

Screenshot highlighting the Following button when reading a WordPress blog
The Following button on a WordPress blog

The ‘following’ message will change to ‘follow‘ when you click it.

You’ve now unfollowed the blog.

2. Click the ‘Reader’ button (situated next to ‘My Sites’ in the top left corner of your blog).

A list of newly published blog posts from the blogs you follow will display.

If the blog you want to unfollow is listed, click on the toggle menu button next to the post.

Screenshot highlighting the toggle button on a blog being followed from the WordPress Reader list.
Where to find the toggle button

To unfollow the blog, click on ‘Following Site’ in the new mini-window that opens.

Screenshot highlighting where to find the Following Site button on a followed blog on WordPress
The Following Site button

You’ve now unfollowed the blog.

3. Click the ‘Manage’ button (situated near Followed Sites).

Screenshot highlighting the Manage sites button on a WordPress blog
The Manage sites button

You’ll now see a new page that lists all the blogs you follow.

Find the blog you want to unfollow in the list and click the ‘following’ button next to it.

Screenshot highlighting the Following Blog button on a blog being followed on WordPress
The Following Blog button

You’ve now unfollowed the blog.

Does WordPress notify bloggers you’ve unfollowed?

No.

Of course, nobody wants anyone to unfollow their blog, but do consider unfollowing some of those blogs you never visit anymore. All they’re doing is cluttering up your WordPress Reader and email box.

Let’s wrap it up.

  • Unfollowing blogs you’re no longer interested in frees up your WordPress Reader, email box and time.
  • Rather than wasting time reading and following blogs you’re not interested in, use that time to write or read the blogs that motivate you to leave comments on.
  • It’s easy to unfollow blogs on WordPress. Follow my guide in this post.
  • WordPress does not notify any bloggers you’ve unfollowed.
  • Don’t want to lose followers? Then make sure your blog is inviting, easy to navigate around, has an updated ‘about me’ page and is a friendly place to hang out on.
  • Never ignore or take your readers for granted. Consider unfollowing bloggers that do not respond to your comments.
  • If you’re going to change your blogging schedule, inform your readers about it.
  • Don’t leave long gaps between publishing posts. Stick to your schedule. Once a month – great. Once a month, but don’t publish your next post for six months – not good. Out of sight, could mean out of mind.

Join the disussion

Do you unfollow blogs? If so, what are the main reasons why you unfollow them? If you’ve never unfollowed a blog, why not?

Layout, content, settings and format might differ on self-hosted blogs.

Are you reblogging correctly on WordPress? Check out my post for full details.

Copyright © 2021 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

How To Create A Pingback On A WordPress Blog

A pingback is a link that allows you to notify another blogger that you have linked to a post or article on their blog or website. In some cases, pingbacks are also known as trackbacks.

If the other blogger has a Pingback enabled website, then they can see a notification that you have linked to their article. They can then choose to allow your link to appear on their blog.

In turn, this may drive traffic to your blog when readers click on the pingback notification.

Creating pingbacks

Today, I’m going to show you how to create a pingback on the Gutenberg editor. It’s an easy process and is very similar to creating a pingback on the Classic editor (with just a few small differences).

Let’s get started

In the screenshots below, I’m creating a pingback on my ‘About Hugh’ page to an interview I recently did for blogger and author Esther Chilton.

  • First of all, decide which word or words you want to be the pingback link. In this case, I’m using the words ‘Esther Chilton Blog.’
  • Highlight the word or words you have chosen and click on the pingback link that appears in the window that opens.
Creating pingbacks
  • Copy and paste, into the URL box, the URL link to the blog post or article you want to link to.
Creating pingbacks

Tip – If you are linking to one of your own blog posts, you can search for the post by typing some words from the title of the post into the box.

  • Click on the ‘link setting’ arrow.
Creating pingbacks
  • In the new window that opens (under the box where you have pasted the URL link), slide open the ‘open in New Tab’ button.
Creating pingbacks

This is important because when anybody clicks on your pingback, the blog post you’ve linked to will open in a new window on their screen. Therefore, when they click on the pingback, your blog will not be closed down on their screen.

  • Click on the ‘apply pingback’ button and remember to save the changes to the post.
Creating pingbacks
  • Your pingback is now created and will be highlighted as a pingback on the post.
Creating pingbacks

Tip – You can also highlight the pingback by making the text bold. To do this, highlight the text and click on the ‘B’ – bold button.

  • Before publishing your post, preview it first and make sure the pingback works. Does it go to the right location? If not, delete the URL and insert the correct one.
  • Once you are happy that your pingback is working, publish the post.

Only create pingbacks to blog posts and sites that have a connection with the subject of the post you are publishing.

Advantages of having pingbacks on your blog posts.

  • Creates traffic to your blog.
  • They are SEO friendly.
  • Blog posts that include pingbacks are ranked higher by search engine optimisations (SEOs) such as Google and Bing.
  • Bloggers, whose blogs you link to, may link back to one of your blog posts.
  • They are a great way of promoting older blog posts you have published.

Warning – never create a pingback to the home page of a blog or website. Why? Because no notification is sent to the blogger whose post you are linking to.

Some experts recommend not allowing any pingbacks or trackbacks to a blog because they attract spam. However, by moderating all pingback notifications, you can prevent any spam pingbacks from appearing in the comments section of your blog posts.

Where possible, try and include at least one pingback in every blog post you publish.

You can use a mixture of pingbacks to your own posts as well as those of other bloggers. However, don’t have too many on a blog post as it can make them look messy. My recommendation is to have no more than one pingback for every 250 words in any post.

Pingback problems

One of the reasons why I changed to using the Gutenberg editor is that I was having lots of problems with pingbacks not working on the Classic editor.

Even today, I see lots of bloggers asking readers to also leave a link to their post despite a pingback being created to it.

I’m pleased to say that since changing to the Gutenberg editor, I’ve not experienced any problems with any of my pingbacks not working.

An invitation to create a pingback

If you’ve never created a pingback before, try creating one for this post. I’ll be happy to let you know if it’s worked and to include it in the comments section if it has.

If you encounter any problems creating a pingback, don’t hesitate to ask me for some help.

Do you use pingbacks, and how often do you use them? Have you had any experiences where pingbacks did not work?

Copyright © 2019 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.