I thought long and hard about writing this post, but you know what? In the 2.5 years I've been blogging, and since set up a second blog (www.mummy-pixie.com) I've learned a lot, I've seen what works and what doesn't, so I thought I'd share my tips with you. This isn't an exhaustive list of everything you could do, but it's a list of pretty much everything I do.
This is a biggie. For me, my blog didn't really grow until I took to Twitter. It took me 6 months to get to 50 followers, it was about then I discovered how amazing Twitter is. It's great for discovering new blogs, making blogger friends, and sharing your content.
Take part in the chats like #bbloggers (8-9pm Weds and Sun) and engage with other bloggers, share links to your posts on there using different hashtags like #bbloggeres & #fblchat.
I'm hoping you have a Facebook page set up for your blog? If you don't, I'd recommend it. Yep Facebook throttles how many of your 'likes' will see each of your status', but Facebook is great for social signals in SEO, just like Twitter and G+ etc. So set up a page, update it every time you publish a new blog post, and engage your readers by asking them what they're up to, or sharing little snippits from your life. Don't be afraid to share your recent posts with different Facebook groups like #Bbloggers, FBL Chat and others.
Another great platform that a lot of people don't understand yet. Personally, after publishing each post, I hit the G+ share button at the bottom of the post, write up something about it, and share it publicly. Don't be afraid to go on there at +1 other bloggers posts too, they might return the favour :)
As much as this isn't a massive one, it's great to have an Instagram account - you can add your blog URL into your profile, and share images from your blog posts, as well as images from your day. These days, I'm probably spending more time on Instagram than I am Facebook, it's a lovely way to engage with people. Don't forget to add hashtags to blog related pictures too like #bbloggers etc.
As an early adopter of Pinterest (I managed to get in on the Beta) I'm a big fan. I try to pin at least one image from every blog post onto a relevant board I've created, as well as spending the odd hour or two pinning things from around the web or pinterest onto my boards, even if it's just for inspiration. It may not send tonnes of traffic my way, but it's an accumulative effect, if you do all these things you should see a decent uplift in your page views :)
Again, I was an early adopter of this, I've been 'stumbling' for about 8+ years now (great way to discover some of the most random sites on the web!). Just log in to your account, and on the right hand side (far right) there is a down arrow, press that and 'Add a page' - you can only do about 7 pages a day, so get in the habit of doing it every day, or once a week. This will get your page indexed so that other 'stumblers' might stumble upon it.
This is something I don't have nearly enough time for, but that is one of the most effective ways to grow your blog. If you're not sure where to start, either head on to Twitter, search the #bbloggers tag and start clicking on some blog links, or head to a popular blog who gets lots of comments like Makeup Magpie, and start clicking on the blog links of all her commenters, and from each blog you visits, all their commenters. If you like the blog, give it a follow. Don't be afraid to leave a link back to your blog when you leave a comment, but be reasonable and don't leave giveaway links, and certainly no 'follow me and I'll follow you' comments - make sure they're genuine. If you don't like the blog, close the tab and head on to the next :)
But just remember, when they return the favour and come back to your blog to comment, keep going back and chatting with them, you never know, you might make some friends along the way :)
If you want to expand your reach further, taking out a sidebar banner with another blogger can be effective. If you're not sure who to advertise with, don't be afraid to ask a blogger for their stats, i.e. how many visits they get a month etc, or have a look and see who's advertising with them, and ask how many referrals they've had. Back when I used to advertise with Sprinkle of Glitter, I'd get between 200-300 visits from her blog. With The Black Pearl Blog, about 150-200 (but I'd be paying £10 instead of the £25 sprinkle of glitter was charging). Other blogs didn't really send me any traffic, so it's a bit of a learning curve. But even if people don't click on the link to visit, they may remember your blog name and click on a Twitter link or Facebook link another time as it'll be familiar to them.
Doing a short blog series is useful too. A couple weeks ago I did my 'Summer Series' - I had a big uplift in traffic that week. People like a theme and like to get involved, just make sure the series doesn't go on too long. It doesn't have to be every day, but could be one post a week on a theme for a couple of months.
Last but by no means least, scheduling tweets and Facebook posts is a must. I trialled it for a week to see if it worked, and I had a big uplift in my traffic. Remember that you'll have readers from all over the world, where their day is our night, so even just scheduling tweets throughout the night will help. Don't be afraid to tweet out some of your older but more popular content throughout the day too. I tend to tweet my 'SEO tips' and Google analytics posts, they're always popular, what you'd call an 'ever green' posts, in that it doesn't really age. Yes I keep them updated with current trends and changes, but the essentials are still the same.
Sorry about the lack of images in this post, here's a couple of cute kittens to make up for it :)
*The middle one is our cat Matilda when she was 8 weeks old, on the day we got her :)