After getting your first 100 readers or so, you should be able to forge a clean path for early-stage growth. Those 100 regular readers can quickly become 150, then 200, but eventually, whether it’s at 1,000 readers or 10,000, you’re going to hit a plateau.
Blog growth plateaus are normal; they’re a result of losing the initial momentum you started with, reaching a certain threshold of your most relevant target audience, and reaching a point where early-stage growth tactics are no longer effective.
So what efforts can you make to keep your blog growing consistently, over an indefinite period of time?
Measurement and Analysis
Everything starts with measurement and analysis. Unless you’re actively gauging the effectiveness of your tactics, you’ll have no idea whether or not your strategies are working—let alone enough information to imagine new strategies.
Datapine offers a guide on the most important digital marketing KPIs to measure, and it’s a fantastic place to start. No matter what changes you apply to your blog or how long you work to maintain it, you’ll need to keep a careful watch on how your visitors, visitor behavior, comments, and reader feedback evolve.
Once you have a solid strategy for measuring the results of your work in place, your focus should turn toward developing high-quality content.
- The familiar and the unfamiliar. First, try to use a combination of the familiar and the unfamiliar, in terms of your topic selection, the type of content you’re producing, and even the authors you host on your blog. For example, if you usually write all your posts, consider mixing in some video content, or some content from other authors. Maintaining a stream of familiar content will keep your most loyal readers interested, and allow you to continue your initial momentum, while your new additions will help you capitalize on new audience segments and new growth opportunities.
- Volume and frequency. If you want to get more attention for your work, it’s a good idea to adjust your volume and frequency of posts. According to ProBlogger, the ideal number of posts to write per week is 2 or 3, though writing a post every day may work for some bloggers. Depending on how frequently you published to start, you may want to increase the amount of content you put out. Conversely, you can reduce your frequency, but invest more time in each post. Either way, a bigger audience will demand more initial investment.
- Revitalization and ongoing value. You don’t have to purely focus on new content, though. In fact, it’s much more efficient if you work on revitalizing at least some of your old blog posts. Edit them, write a sequel, or work them into a compendium—in any case, if you’re still growing, there will be some portion of your audience who hasn’t experienced this content yet. Make good use of that novelty.
Marketing and Advertising
As you know, good content alone won’t be enough to keep your blog growing. You’ll also have to invest some time and/or money into some marketing and advertising strategies:
- Guest posting. You can start by stepping up your guest posting game. For bloggers, this is one of the surest methods for long-term growth; there’s never a shortage of external blogs that would be happy to host your content, and the more often you guest post, the more your reputation will grow, introducing you to bigger and better opportunities.
- Cross-promotion and partnerships. You can also reap significant value (with minimal effort) from cross-promotional opportunities and partnerships. Work with other bloggers and influencers in your realm of expertise to get more exposure for your blog, and to audiences you may not have otherwise considered. For example, you can be a guest on external interviews, or conduct interviews of your own. Or you can work out a deal to feature each other’s work in offsite opportunities.
- Novel strategies. Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with novel marketing and advertising strategies. If you have a few tactics that have helped you get this far, feel free to keep using them (so long as they’re yielding a positive ROI), but also branch out to new types of strategies altogether. Only by introducing new strategies and approaches will you be able to broaden your reach to new audiences or discover new opportunities for growth.
It may not be possible to scale your blog forever, but you can achieve growth fairly consistently so long as you’re applying a mix of old and new tactics, and are keeping a close eye on your KPIs. The more time you spend on this approach, the more natural it will feel, and the longer you’ll be able to maintain that momentum.