Did you just start blogging or have you been blogging for a while but you’re only getting a handful of visitors per day? It’s never fun to put a lot of time and effort into crafting really great posts and then have no one see it.
If you’re in this situation you may be getting frustrated and wondering “what’s the point?” You may even be thinking of quitting.
Today I want to share with you just one way you can almost instantly increase your blog readership. It will cost you a little bit of money, but you will start building a very nice audience for your posts. In turn, as your readership grows you will be able to attract advertisers or sponsors that will help you recover your initial cost and then some!
The way you can start building your blog readership overnight is by using low cost Facebook Ads. You can start by spending as little as $5/day on ads and you can turn the ads off and on at your desire. This means you can spend just $5/week or $5/month although the more you spend the faster your audience will grow.
How do Facebook ads help you grow a blog audience?
You will create a small ad that will show up in the sidebar of Facebook. You’ve probably seen ads there before in the right side of your Facebook news feed or under your caption on photos you browse on the site.
There are many other types of Facebook ads but they are usually more expensive and harder to set up. For the purpose of growing your blog readership we’ll stick with these smaller ads.
Here is a step-by-step guide for getting started with growing your blog readership quickly.
1. Set up a Facebook Page for your blog (this part will probably take the longest).
If you don’t already have a Facebook Page for your blog now is the time to set one up. It’s really easy.
Just go to this URL:
Select “Brand or Product” and from the drop down Category menu select “Website.” For the Brand Name enter the name of your blog.
Next Facebook will walk you through a few steps where you will add a short description of your blog and a profile picture.
Once you have setup your page you will need to add a Cover Photo to it.
You should try to match your Facebook Page’s cover photo to your blog header if possible. That way people will see the connection between the two instantly.
The blogger Hungry Runner Girl does this really well.
After you have added your Cover Photo and blog description you will want to start posting some content to your Facebook Page. You should post a variety of different things – from your favorite motivational pictures on Pinterest (or ones that you’ve created yourself) to links back to each of your blog posts.
You don’t need to go back and link to every blog post that you’ve ever written. You can start by adding links to your last five or so blog posts, and then be sure to link to every new post you write. After all the goal is to increase traffic to your site.
The thing is, right now you have 0 Likes for your Facebook Page. Well, maybe you have a handful if you Liked the page yourself (which you should!) and if your friends/family also Liked it.
But now it’s time to really start increasing your Likes and your readership with Facebook ads!
2. Create your Facebook Ad account (this step is free)
Now it’s time to setup your Facebook ad account. If you’re not yet sold on spending money on Facebook ads, don’t worry this step is free.
You still have time to check it out and see if this Facebook ads thing is right for you (but trust me, it is right for any blogger looking to increase readership!)
To set up your ad account simply go to this URL: https://www.facebook.com/ads/create/
And follow the instructions for setting up your account. You will need to add a credit card or paypal account to the billing section, but don’t worry you won’t be charged for anything yet. You will give permission later for them to charge your account for a specified amount that you feel comfortable with.
3. Create Your First Ad Campaign
Once your account is all set up it’s time to create your first Facebook ad. Please don’t be intimidated if you’ve never created an ad before. I will walk you through this!
First click the button that says to Create an Ad.
You will then these campaign result options:
At this time you will want to select “Page Likes” (not Clicks to Website).
By increasing your Page Likes you will build an audience that you can share your links to today and in the future by posting to your page (which is FREE).
If you select Clicks to Website the audience will bypass your Facebook Page and while you will get a temporary new reader to your site it will be up to them to remember to come back. If they Like your Facebook page you get to remind them to come back with your page posts!
4. Add Images to Your Ad
Now it’s time to add images to your Facebook ad.
The image size for the type of Facebook ad we’re creating is REALLY small and should be horizontal/landscape.
You can upload your own images to use or you can use some free stock images that Facebook provides.
Using the stock images is probably the best way to go with your first ads since they will be the correct size without you needing to do anything. Just use the search bar to find images that fit your blog.
For example if you have a running blog you can search for “runner” or “running” images. If you have a food blog you can search for “food.” “deserts” etc.
Try to select only one or two images that really fit the theme of your blog. Normally I would recommend selecting more images but since you will probably be starting out with a small ad budget it’s best to keep it to only one or two images.
Facebook automatically tests the different images you select against each other. This means some people will see image A and some people will see image B. If image A gets more people to like your Page then image B will stop being shown because it knows that image A gets you more results.
However, the more images you test against each other the more budget you need to reach statistical significance on the test.
If you want more information on how this works just leave a comment below and I’ll explain – otherwise just know that it’s best on a small budget to only select one or two images.
Also, try to select two images that are pretty different from each other but that still fit your blog theme.
For instance if I had a blog about relaxation/spas I might test these two images against each other:
Selecting very different images allows you to really see what appeals to your audience.
5. Remove The Newsfeed Ad Option
Once you’ve added your images you will see a preview show below it. There will be two columns of previews: News Feed and Right Column.
You only want to run Right Column ads at this time so please click the Remove button next to News Feed.
6. Add a Catchy Headline and Description
Now it’s time to put together the most important part of the ad: your headline and description.
In this very small space you need to tell people who see this ad WHY they should Like your Facebook Page and receive updates about your blog.
Here are two examples of a great Facebook ad promoting a running blog:
The headline is “Read a Blog About Running” and the description includes a call to action “Like this page for updates!”
The description is a short and very clear message about what is being advertised. Don’t try to get too clever with your description. Make it as clear and straightforward as possible.
7. Create Your Audience
Alright, now that your ad is created it’s time to tell Facebook who you want to reach with your ad aka your new readers.
First you want to select the location of the people you want as your readers. If you are a US based blogger it’s probably best to only go after people in the United States for now.
Then you select the age you want your readers to be. Let’s say you’re 25 years old and you think your average reader is probably a lot like you. Then I would say you should target your ads to the age group of 20 – 40. You want to go a little bit younger than you and also a little bit older.
You can also narrow down the Gender of the people you reach. So, for example if you have a blog about wedding planning you might only target Women or if you have a blog about football you might only target Men. These are just example – of course I know that some men like wedding planning and some women love football (I know I do! Go Dolphins!).
Now you need to select the Interests of your readers. The interests needs to fit the topic of your blog of course.
You can type in precise interests. For example, if you have a blog about running you might type in interests such as: running, half marathon, marathon, trail running, runner’s world, etc.
Or if you have a dessert blog you might type in: cupcakes, pies, desserts, cookies, chocolate chip cookies, etc.
If you can’t think of any precise keywords about your blog you can look through the Broad Categories and see if any of those fit.
Finally when it comes to the Connection type you want to select “only people not selected to [your Facebook page].” This is because you want to reach NEW people!
You can look through the rest of the targeting options
8. Set Your Budget
The final thing you need to do regarding ad setup is to set a budget. You can start with as little as $5/day.
I would recommend starting with $15 – 25 day if you can so you can see your Likes grow quickly, but I know that may be out of your budget if you’re a small, new blogger.
Just know the more money you spend on your ads the faster your readership will grow.
You can also pause your ads at any time. So, for example if you start with $15 a day and run your ads for 2 days you can then pause your ads until you are ready to spend more money.
9. Managing Your Facebook Page
The final thing I really need to tell you is that you MUST be willing to manage your Facebook Page. This means you should post at least once per day to it with a new link back to your blog.
If you’re not blogging at least three times a week (preferably more) than it may not make sense for you to buy Facebook ads at this time. You need to keep your Facebook audience engaged with new blog posts frequently.
If you think you can post to your blog three to seven days per week then you are serious about this blogging this and should spend a little money on Facebook ads.
Wow, that was a lot of words! I really hope that they help you grow your blog readership though.
I have used this own strategy to grow my own blog readership as well as the readerships for my clients. In some cases we have grown readership over 200% in just three months!
Do you have any questions about anything in this post? Or about growing your blog audience? Or about anything related to blogging? I would be happy to answer your questions in the comments!
About the Author: Kristina Allen is an online marketer with a strong focus on content marketing. She works for an advertising agency in Miami, FL and also consults for AdEspresso.com a Facebook ads management platform. You can follow her on Twitter @allenkristina.