48hr SALE: Brilliant tools to help you grow your blog, work smarter and make more money online

Learn More

The Blogger's Genius Toolkit

FREE Problogging tips delivered to your inbox  

Get Your First 1000 Readers: Here’s Your Step by Step Plan

Posted By Ali Luke 15th of June 2016 Blog Promotion 0 Comments

Get Your First 1000 Readers: Here’s Your Step by Step Plan | on ProBlogger.net

By ProBlogger Writing Expert Ali Luke.

Has your blog got a grand total of three subscribers? (You, your test account, and your mum?)

Maybe you’ve got a little bit further than that. You’ve got 10 or 20 or 50 readers signed up to read your posts or your newsletter.

But you don’t know where to go next.

I’m going to assume that your blog is currently in reasonably good shape. If there are any key things that you need to do or fix, then get those sorted before proceeding. (For instance, if your About page is currently a single line saying About page under construction, don’t try to attract readers until it’s actually finished.)

Looking shipshape?

Before we get underway, let’s quickly deal with a trap some bloggers fall into:

Forget About Getting “One Big Break”

Maybe you think that if a big-name influencer tweeted a link to one of your posts, you’d get thousands of subscribers overnight. Or maybe you’re crossing your fingers, hoping to get linked to by Buzzfeed or mentioned on The Huffington Post…

Stop waiting for that big break to come. Even if you do have a particular stroke of luck, you want to be in a great position to capitalize on it – not sitting back and twiddling your thumbs.

A surge of traffic may look great in your stats – but it won’t necessarily result in many new long-term readers.

Instead of thinking just about traffic, you want to focus on getting subscribers: people who keep reading your posts day after day, week after week, and month after month.

A great first goal is to get 1000 subscribers to your blog, either through email or RSS subscriptions. (Unless you’re writing about techy things, you’ll probably find most readers prefer to subscribe through email.)

When you’re just starting out, though, with just a handful of subscribers, or none at all, 1000 can look a long way off. Here’s how to get there, step by step.

Step #1: Tell Family and Friends About Your Blog

I know this one sounds a bit obvious – but if you’ve not already told family and friends about your blog, do so! Even if none of them are at all interested in your topic, they’re interested in you … and they might well know people who’d love to read your posts.

Obviously, you don’t want to overwhelm people with a flurry of messages. I’d suggest:

Send out a single email to family, friends, former colleagues and anyone else who knows you. (Make sure you use BCC for their email addresses – most people don’t like their email address to be shared with a group of strangers.) I’ve put suggested text for this email below.

If you’ve created a Facebook page for your blog, send out one invitation to your family / friends on Facebook to ask them to “like” the page. Don’t pester them if they don’t do so, though.

Link to your blog in your email signature’s footer (if appropriate – e.g. it probably won’t be in your work emails). Giving the title, URL and tagline is fine here.

Here’s a sample email you can use:

Hi friends,

I’ve just launched [my first blog / a new blog], called [name of blog]. It’s about [topic / tagline]. You can find it here:

[link to your blog’s homepage]

I’d love any feedback about it, and if you’ve got a friend who you think would enjoy it, I’d be really grateful if you’d pass the link on to them. Thanks!

[your name]

photo-1446160657592-4782fb76fb99

Step #2: Find Blogging Peers to Connect With

Chances are, your pool of family and friends is not vast – and many of them won’t have a particular interest in your topic.

Your next step, then, is to find other bloggers to connect with, particularly those writing about the same topic as you – or similar topics.

I’ll be very clear here that you do not want to be targeting “big name” or “A list” or “influencer” bloggers at this stage.

Of course you’re no less worthy than those people – it’s just that they’re very likely to be extremely busy, and they get a heck of a lot of emails and tweets from new bloggers all the time. They’re unlikely to be able to give you much help or attention.

(This isn’t to say that they’re forever out of your reach, of course. Once you’re a little further along with blogging, you may well be able to build up a great relationship with them by sharing their content, linking to their posts, or guest posting for them.)

Instead, you want to look for the “little guys” of blogging. These are bloggers who are at a similar stage to you: working their way up to 1000 subscribers. They might be a bit further along (with several hundred subscribers) or not quite so far along (just launching their blog) – but they’re essentially your blogging peers.

You can find them by:

  • Searching on Twitter for phrases like “first blog post” or “launched my blog”.
  • Looking in the comments section on blogs that you read: click on people’s names to check out their blogs. Some may have massive blogs, but many will have quite new or small blogs like you.
  • Looking in forums where bloggers gather, or where people interested in your topic gather – you could start a post asking if anyone else is blogging. Membership sites like Platform University and Authority have private, moderated forums where you can easily meet other ambitious bloggers; if you want a free public forum, you could try Warrior Forum (be warned, it’s very focused on internet marketing).

And, of course, you can post in the comments below to tell us that you’re working on getting your first 1000 subscribers and you’d love to meet other bloggers on the same journey! Mention your blog’s topic or tagline and make sure you fill in the “URL” field so that your name is linked to your blog. (Your comment may get held in the moderation queue if you include a URL within the comment itself.)

It can take time to build up a network of blogging peers – but these people will be some of your best supporters and connections over time. Help them out by sharing or tweeting any of their posts that you really enjoyed – and hopefully they’ll do the same for you.

Step #3: Leave Comments on Other Blogs

One very simple way to start getting noticed not just by fellow bloggers but also by blog readers is to leave comments on blog posts.

Readers who like what you wrote may well click on your name to look at your blog, and if they enjoy the content there too, there’s a good chance they’ll subscribe.

In general, the earliest comments on a post get shown at the top of the list of comments, and these are most likely to get read. Don’t aim to always be first – but do check out when posts normally go up on the blogs you follow and try to read and comment promptly.

A thoughtful comment that adds constructively to the discussion will also be appreciated by the blogger (this is a much better way to get noticed than by sending them emails asking “please help me” or “please tweet this link” or “please check out my blog”).

Be careful that you don’t end up looking like a spammer, though. That means:

Use your real name (or your blogging pseudonym) when commenting. Avoid adding the name of your blog or any other tagline to the “name” field. Definitely don’t use a keyword as your name. (E.g. “Ali Luke” is great; “Ali Luke – Writer and Blogger” is best avoided; “Expert Writing Tips” is definitely out.)

Write a comment that says something worth saying. That probably means writing around 50+ words. “Great post, I loved it!” doesn’t really add much. (If you really want to tell a blogger that you loved their post, send them an email.)

Avoid including links in your comment unless they’re super relevant. This often looks self-serving. Also, comments often get held for moderation if they include a link, meaning that yours may not appear for several days after the blog post goes live (by which point, far fewer people will be reading it – and the comments).

photo-1452830978618-d6feae7d0ffa

Step #4: Link to Other Bloggers’ Great Content

Hopefully, by this point, you’re starting to build up a loyal audience of readers. If you’re not already doing so, now’s a great time to begin linking to other bloggers’ posts, either on your blog or on social media.

If you’re linking to someone’s post on social media, make sure you tag them (e.g. include their @name on Twitter or tag their business or blog’s page on Facebook) so that they can see your link. They may well retweet you, share your Facebook post, or simply thank you.

Linking out isn’t just a great way to get noticed (and hopefully to get some reciprocal shares). It also demonstrates to your audience that:

  • You read within your industry or niche area, and you’ve got lots of up-to-date knowledge to share.
  • You’re a valuable place to go to for links to posts they might have missed.
  • You’re a generous person who wants to share great content that will be useful to your readers – you’re not just linking to your own posts all the time.

Step #5: Craft a Guest Post for a Blog You Follow

You might worry that you’re not ready to guest post yet – perhaps you thought you’d need at least 1,000 subscribers.

The truth is that most blogs don’t care how big your own audience is: they just care about how well you can write for their audience.

When you’re looking for a blog to write for:

Target established blogs with a larger readership than your own. I tend to recommend going for blogs with ten times as many readers as you, or more.

Start with blogs that you already read regularly: you’ll likely be a good fit for their audience, you know what sort of content they do (and don’t) publish, and you may well already have connected to the blogger or editor through comments, tweets and so on.

Check that the blog you have in mind currently accepts guest posts. (Just because they did in the past doesn’t mean they do today!) Their “Contact” page will often have details and many larger blogs have specific guest posting guidelines.

When you guest post, you’ll almost always get a “bio” where you can write a bit about yourself and/or your blog, and include one or more links.

I always recommend linking to a specific blog post rather than to the home page of your blog – this is a much stronger call to action, especially if the piece you’re linking to is closely related to the topic of your guest post.

For instance, instead of: Ali Luke blogs about the art, craft and business of writing at Aliventures …

I’d use something like: If you enjoyed this post by Ali Luke, check out her thoughts on Why You Should Be Blogging … and Why You Shouldn’t.

Step #6: Optimise Posts That Are Getting Lots of Traffic

Once you’re getting traffic to your blog, whether that’s through search engines or through the links in your guest post bios, you’ll want to make the most of all those new readers.

While I’m definitely no SEO expert (I rely on my friend Joe for that) and I’ve struggled to deliberately create posts that rank well and get a lot of traffic …

… even I can login to Google Analytics once in a while to check which posts are bringing in the most visitors.

If you’ve not already got Google Analytics set up, WPBeginner has step by step instructions on doing so.

Once your Analytics account is up and running, login and look at your website’s stats at least once a week.

To find out what content’s most popular, Navigate to Behavior Flow > Site Content > Landing Pages.

This should show you the top few pages on your site, by the number of visitors. Here’s mine for the past month:

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 7.39.53 pm

You may well find, especially if you’ve been blogging for a while, that just a small handful of posts are outperforming all the others. As you can see above, my top post got 2027 visits during the past month and my 10th post got just 363 visits – quite a difference.

Why not capitalize on posts that are already performing well? That could mean doing one or more of the following:

Giving the posts a quick update to remove any broken links, out of date references, etc. You might want to go further and give key posts a full overhaul.

Linking forward to posts that you’ve published more recently (which, obviously, you couldn’t link to when that post went out).

Adding a call to action to encourage readers to subscribe to your blog.

Creating a whole new piece of content (a “Content Upgrade”) on the same topic as the post, but which goes further – you can use this as a highly specific email-sign-up incentive.

Including links to any relevant products or services that you now have.

This doesn’t need to take a lot of time, but it could really pay off by converting casual readers into long-term fans.

If you follow this plan – and keep on commenting, writing guest posts, and optimizing content that’s working well – you’ll be well on your way to 1000 subscribers.

Do drop a comment below to let us know where you’re at right now and what your next steps are going to be. Don’t forget to include your blog’s URL (if it’s already up and running) in the URL field, so we can click your name to check it out.

About Ali Luke
Ali Luke blogs about the art, craft and business of writing at Aliventures. She has two free ebooks on blogging, Ten Powerful Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Stronger and Ten Easy Ways to Attract Readers to Your Blog … And Keep Them There. To get your copies of those, just sign up for her weekly e-newsletter (also free!) here.
Comments
  1. Hi Ali

    I found this post to be very informative. As a new blogger with a handful of subscribers, it is very good information. I am slowly making progress in writing regularly. Since I am not tech savvy, a lot of time is being spent on technical stuff, however happy to repeat, I am making progress. Thanks

    • Great that you’re making progress! The techy side of things can take up a lot of time early on, and I promise it does get easier. Keep at it and good luck!

  2. Hi Ali..

    I was following some of the Strategies which you have suggested in this post. But still i have not found expected traffic. Off course i have not followed some of the strategies which were discussed in this article. I will try to do it. Thank you for sharing such a nice post to drive the traffic.

  3. I have gotten through step #4 so far, so now I need to work on Step #5 and find a great blog in my target market and pitch a guest post to them.

    I also learned quickly about getting a little boost and not being ready. A friend posted one of my posts (I develop Educational Apps and posted about my new release) to a homeschool group she belonged to. I believe over 1500 people came to the blog within a couple of days. Id did have my email subscription up and running, but I did not have my analytics up yet nor did I have my advertising up and running yet. I haven’t had a boost like that since then!

    • More boosts will come, April! How lovely that your friend shared the post — maybe once your blog is ready with everything up and running, you could ask her to share it or a similar post again?

    • There’ll be more boosts, April! How lovely of your friend to share — perhaps she’d do so again once your blog is ready?

  4. Hello Ali,
    Thank you so much for your very encouraging post. I have already started implementing your 6 points but as yet I’ve never created a guest post for anyone. Now after reading your post this is definitely on my radar.

    As a relatively new Aussie blogger who lives in a remote Thai village I’d be delighted to find other bloggers to connect with.

    My interest and passion is to help others like me to realize the opportunities of blogging, especially if they are in the internet marketing/affiliate marketing space.

    Way too often I see blogs that simply “sell, sell, sell” to their readers and this really puts me off. My belief is that visitors who come to my place online want to feel welcomed and not pushed in any way to buy anything.

    After all they’re my brand new guest and they don’t know me from Adam.

    Yes I’m also an affiliate marketer and really enjoy being able to help folks if I can with my offers. But I prefer to provide any relevant offers via email follow up, to people who join my list rather than push things at them from my blog posts. In fact some time ago now, I removed any affiliate banners from my blog.

    Maybe my strategy is wrong but all I want from my readers is communication and engagement then if they like what I am offering, to join my blogging tribe.

    My focus is to simply build a reputation as the “Thai village marketer who cares”

    I’d like to share a simple idea that is really is working for me as far as readers are concrned.

    Every time I get a new reader who takes the time to make a valuable comment on my posts, I create a 1 minute “thank you” video that I upload unlisted to YouTube and then email the commentator with a link to their video. This simple task takes only a few minutes but the reactions have been amazing and have definitely heped me to retain visitors as loyal readers of my posts.

    I’d love to build my blog readers to 1000 or more and would be more than happy to support in any way I can other bloggers in the same position as me.

    Once again Ali many thanks for your enlightening and supportive post – much appreciated

    Best wishes from the remote Thai village blogger

    Peter

    • What a cool idea, Peter — I’ve never even thought about making videos for new readers, but I can see it doesn’t really take any more time than just emailing them. I bet that makes a fantastic impact! :)

  5. Hello Ali,

    Thank you so much for your very encouraging post. I have already started implementing your 6 points but as yet I’ve never created a guest post for anyone. Now after reading your post this is definitely on my radar.

    As a relatively new Aussie blogger who lives in a remote Thai village I’d be delighted to find other bloggers to connect with.

    My interest and passion is to help others like me to realize the opportunities of blogging, especially if they are in the internet marketing/affiliate marketing space.

    Way too often I see blogs that simply “sell, sell, sell” to their readers and this really puts me off. My belief is that visitors who come to my place online want to feel welcomed and not pushed in any way to buy anything.

    After all they’re my brand new guest and they don’t know me from Adam.

    Yes I’m also an affiliate marketer and really enjoy being able to help folks if I can with my offers. But I prefer to provide any relevant offers via email follow up, to people who join my list rather than push things at them from my blog posts. In fact some time ago now, I removed any affiliate banners from my blog.

    Maybe my strategy is wrong but all I want from my readers is communication and engagement then if they like what I am offering, to join my blogging tribe.

    My focus is to simply build a reputation as the “Thai village marketer who cares”

    I’d like to share a simple idea that is really is working for me as far as readers are concerned.

    Every time I get a new reader who takes the time to make a valuable comment on my posts, I create a 1 minute “thank you” video that I upload unlisted to YouTube and then email the commentator with a link to their video. This simple task takes only a few minutes but the reactions have been amazing and have definitely heped me to retain visitors as loyal readers of my posts.

    I’d love to build my blog readers to 1000 or more and would be more than happy to support in any way I can other bloggers in the same position as me.

    Once again Ali many thanks for your enlightening and supportive post – much appreciated

    Best wishes from the remote Thai village blogger

    Peter

    • Hi Peter,

      I would appreciate the opportunity to connect with you. My blog is about life change and the 3 steps to make it happen. I have recently started guest blogging and allowing others to blog on my site. If interested, I would love to share your content.

      • Hello Kyle,

        Thank you for your interest and I’ll definitely get in contact with you.

        Actually, I’ll head over to your blog right now and connect with you there.

        Best wishes from the remote Thai village blogger

        Peter

  6. Hi Ali,

    Thank god I discovered Problogger and helpful posts like these. For years I have been blogging for the sake of blogging because it had that feature on my photography website that I felt duty bound to update. I really I doubt I have a single subscriber….you see, I don’t even know, how useless am I.

    But no more. With your help and that of problogger I’m going to learn everything there is to know about blogging.

    I have just changed over to a new look on my website, and also doing an online photography marketing training course (they recommended the problogger book which is how I found the site)…

    Thank you for the tips. And see you again here soon.

    • Trust me, you’re not useless — probably just a bit overwhelmed! I think all bloggers have been there at some point.

      (I’ll tell you an embarrassing story — I’ve been blogging for eight years now, most of that time for a living, and I realised a couple of months ago that I’d somehow wiped Google Analytics off my blog during a theme update … for months and months, I thought my traffic had just nosedived when actually it was fine. I just wasn’t running Analytics so I couldn’t see how many visitors I had. Whoops…)

      Best of luck with the new website look, and with building your blog. :-)

  7. I really liked your strategies and hopefully I can implement more soon. My wife and I are just starting out, and we’ve just moved, so more followers are in our future I believe! We just need to do a few more things to fine tune our page.

  8. Great post!
    I am new in this field, running my blog on marketing literature “Marketing Info”. I believe that only way to get loyal readership is providing them quality and original cocontent. I have written 62 post till now and only 4 posts are able to get maximum hits. One more thing, you must have to consistent on writing and uploading content, which I couldn’t do because of my full time job.

  9. Thank you so much for this post! I’m at the very bottom of subscribers, just one. And we can all guess who that is! I’ve been a bit discouraged with no subscribers but, many thanks to you, now I have a plan! I’m super excited to get started!

  10. This is a great post.

    I’m getting fired up after reading. I will continue to do what’s necessary and follow the advice here until I reach my goals.

    And like what you suggest, those who would like to network with other bloggers, I’m all yours. :)

    Currently, I’m trying to submit 3 guest articles to other blogs per week. And so far I’m on my target to leave at least 5 comments a day on other blogs. Hope this will help my ranking and boosting my traffic.

  11. Thanks Ali, I am a relatively new blogger and blogging in a niche focussed on retirees and those planning retirement. I do follow most of those tips but I still have a way to go to reach 1,000 subscribers. I am confident it will happen if I keep consistently taking actions.

  12. Hi Ali,

    Thank you for taking the time to share with us all these great ideas. I am new to the blogging world and I am finding it very fascinating, if not a little overwhelming.

    Love all the ideas that you presented and they definitely seem doable. I feel like I am finally ready to unveil to my family and friends and then follow the steps that you laid out. I know this will be a process and there is no overnight success. But that is ok because I look at it as a marathon, not a sprint.

    I am really looking forward to meeting other bloggers out there to share the journey with and to connecting with other people in my niche.

    What is that you ask? Well I work in the financial world for my day gig and I noticed pretty quickly that we have a very disturbing lack of any retirement plans or funds setup for the vast majority of people out there. I want to help people learn more about how to save and invest for their retirement. I hope that I can help ease their pain and take some of the stress out of it for them.

    Thanks again and keep up the great work!

    Dave

  13. I recently trashed 14 years of blogging to follow my heart. My readership and reach are more completely different. I’m definitely looking for more readers, and especially collaborators. There’s nothing I love more than being able to do good with what I have and give what I know. I also love to learn, so thank you. Here’s to new paths and growth!

  14. This is one of the most clear articles on the subject of growing my audience, thank you! And, thanks for leaving out the gimmicks and the grow fast schemes.

    I have been blogging for 18 months and am still working on my first 1,000 subscribers. I’m also really hoping to find that one or two friends in the blogging world that we can build a camaraderie and a friendship.

    I blog about the Christian life, my tagline is “Faith, Family and Life Applied Through the Lens of Scripture.”

    If this appeals to anyone, I would love to connect!

  15. Ali,

    Thank you for a great lesson! I’m not new to creating content although clearly from what I’ve read on ProBlogger I have a ways to go before my content is where I want it to be, not to mention number of subscribers. The technical pieces have me a bit confused so I’ll turn to my friend Google who can surely show me what you’re talking about but in the meantime can you or anyone else help me figure out how to connect with other new bloggers from here?

    I’m focused on retirement planning from the point of view of mindset, housing, wellness and overall planning but most certainly not about the financial aspects of it.

    Thanks much!

  16. Ah, I see what she did there. She demonstrated her own advice by creating a guest post! Nice one, Ali ;) I’ve just managed to reach 15 subscribers via bloglovin. Seems like such an upward slope!

  17. Hi Ali!

    I like the first paragraph! :D I’d like to share that my blog has a grand total of two (2) subscribers, me and my other email. My mom and dad refused to subscribed while my wife and my brother are still thinking about subscribing since 5 months ago. In short, I’m worse than what you expected. Funny right? :D

    Thank you for sharing this tip! I’m gonna read it again.

    Gotta work hard on getting that 1000 subscribers!

    Btw, you just found a new subscriber to your blog.

    Thank again!

  18. How closely related should my website be to a website I write a guest post for? For example, I’m trying to build traffic to a blog about the benefits of camel milk, which is helpful to diabetics and children on the autism spectrum. Should I just focus on a few related niches, or is it good to write for other blogs with a broader appeal?

  19. I was really wondering how to make loyal subscribers. This post gave a clear picture to get started. Thanks..!!

  20. Hi Ali, thank you for the practical tips! I am a blogger for the company I work for, and have been responsible for content since September 2016. It has been quite a learning curve, but after 10 months, I feel better integrated into blogging and the construction industry. Do you have any advice for business bloggers in the B2B environment? (LaForce supplies for commercial construction — doors, frames, hardware, security integration, etc).

    Thank you,

    Emily Schutte

  21. I’ve seen a number of these recommendations before, but having then outlined like you did, with more suggestions than I’ve seen in the past was helpful. Thanks – this is a good article. I am signed up for the webinar!

  22. I feel like these days people are so overwhelmed with email that subscribing to a blog isn’t what it used to be. It seems that these days people catch the newest blog post because they are following on Facebook or Twitter. maybe I am wrong, but I get a lot of traffic, comments and shares without the huge subscriber numbers.

    That being said, I think showing up on other blogs to comment and guest post is an excellent way to get your name out there and get more traffic to your blog.

  23. I just started my blog recently although the traffic is low but am hoping that very soon my 1000 goal will be accomplished. thanks for this post
    but it will actualy take time to implement all that you recomended.

  24. Hello everyone,

    I just got introduced to this Blog and already feel like it has been helpful! I am all about helping people get their blog rolling. My blog is about life change and the 3 steps to make it happen. I would love to share your content. Especially if your content relates to helping people move from “here” to “there” in life.

  25. This is a fantastic and very insightful blog post, that I have bookmarked and will reflect back on as I grow my readership. I mainly blog about topics that matter to me such as mental health, politics and more. I have recently tried spreading my work out, and have contacted some blogs for the opportunity to guest write for them, even if I am not accepted, hopefully I can get some feedback to improve my writing, and propositioning!
    I love writing, so it’s more just finding ways of getting my writing out there and developing my writing skills, and being able to talk about my passions than trying to blog for popularity. Of course as a young student having these blogs take my work is useful for my portfolio, the main reason I’m contacting them!
    I’ll be sure to implement the other tips in this guide, as some of them clearly explained some of the tips that other guides had suggested, except those sites had made some of them overly complicated for a non-technical beginner like me!

  26. Steve says: 07/23/2017 at 1:07 am

    Thanks for sharing these tips Ali. I’ve just started a blog to help entrepreneurs and professional bloggers build their digital platforms and systems. I’d love to connect with like minded bloggers.

  27. Next Level Blogging says: 12/03/2017 at 4:07 pm

    These are great tips, Ali. I am ready to start guest posting and I’m hoping that will open new doors for my blog and my business.