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5 lessons from a blogger with 500,000 readers

Editor’s note: Today’s guest post is from Ryan Robinson, blogger and podcaster from ryrob.com.Interested in growing your blog’s audience? Over the past few years, I’ve built an audience of over 500,000 readers — and today, I wanted to share some of the best strategies I’ve learned.With some repetition and a healthy dose of creativity, putting…

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Editor’s note: Today’s guest post is from Ryan Robinson, blogger and podcaster from ryrob.com.

Interested in growing your blog’s audience? Over the past few years, I’ve built an audience of over 500,000 readers — and today, I wanted to share some of the best strategies I’ve learned.

With some repetition and a healthy dose of creativity, putting just one of these tips into practice could help you double (or even triple!) your readership.

Lesson 1: Use video to show your human side

Video is a great way to build an instant connection with new visitors — whether it’s an introduction video on your homepage, or tutorial videos within your blog posts. This humanizes you and helps you connect more deeply with your audience. Readers can actually hear your voice, see your body language, and get to know you better.

You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get started. You can use your smartphone to record a quick introduction of yourself and your blog. Host it on YouTube, then embed it on your blog’s homepage or “About” page to welcome new readers.

Lesson 2: Get featured in top publications

Getting featured in a top publication is a great way to bring in readers. It also shows that you’re a credible source of information. Take a look at the “Featured on” section on my blog’s homepage.

You might not be able to go straight to the top, so start by guest posting for larger blogs in your niche. Aim for websites that are just a few steps ahead of where you are today.

For example, rather than reaching straight for your dream publications when your blog is still relatively new, focus your guest posting efforts on sites that have somewhere in the tens of thousands of monthly readers. For more guidance and steps for getting published on larger sites in time, check out my guide to guest blogging.

Lesson 3: Create valuable content

To attract an audience, you need content that is valuable to your readers. And it’s important for your content to not only be educational, but engaging too.

I focus on building content that is…

  • Comprehensive: Going more in-depth than your competitors can help you win loyal readers and encourage people to share your content.
  • Easy to read: Aim for short paragraphs, subheadings and lists so your readers are more likely to stay engaged on the page.
  • Well-structured: A clear post structure carries readers along without them ever feeling lost or confused. Plus, structuring your posts first helps you create content consistently.

Lesson 4: Craft a great intro (hook)

You don’t have long to make an impression online — just seconds, at most. Sure, headlines are important, but the introduction is also crucial.

A great way to begin your post is with a question or a promise. This immediately shows the reader that you understand their problem, and you’re going to help them solve it.

Take, for example, my guide about how to name a blog. It begins with the headline, “How to Name a Blog (the Smart Way): 40 Genius Blog Name Ideas (and Examples) to Get Inspired.” Here’s where the introduction takes over:

“There’s both an art and science to learning how to name a blog that tells readers about who you are, the topics you’re blogging about and more. So, what are you going to name your blog? Let’s dive into this ultimate guide, then look at some blog name ideas and examples to inspire your decision.”

In this introduction, I start with the promise that readers will learn how to choose a blog name that explains who they are and gives their audience useful context. Then, I restate the question, before sharing how we’ll work through that challenge together.

Lesson 5: Write in-depth answers in online forums

I’ve also built a presence in online forums to grow my readership. I’ll write answers on Quora, engage in discussions on GrowthHackers, and participate in Q&As on Producthunt.

I spend time finding questions that are relevant to my niche and writing in-depth responses. If the opportunity presents itself, I’ll include a link to one of my articles in my answer. This doesn’t draw tons of traffic overnight, but it adds up over time.

Ultimately, it takes time to build your audience. You may only have 100 monthly readers right now, but you can dramatically grow your audience with these tips. In fact, by this time next year, you might be well on your way to having hundreds of thousands of readers.

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Survey shows how people decide what to trust online

Alex Mahadevan is director of MediaWise at the Poynter Institute. He has taught digital media literacy to thousands of middle and high schoolers, and has trained hundreds of journalists from around the world in verification and digital investigative tools. We caught up with Alex to find out about a recent information literacy survey his organization…

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Alex Mahadevan is director of MediaWise at the Poynter Institute. He has taught digital media literacy to thousands of middle and high schoolers, and has trained hundreds of journalists from around the world in verification and digital investigative tools. We caught up with Alex to find out about a recent information literacy survey his organization conducted in partnership with YouGov, with support from Google. Learn more about how Google is working on information literacy and helping you spot misinformation online.

Why was this survey conducted?

Misinformation isn’t a new problem, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction, especially on the internet. We wanted to learn more about how people across generational lines verify information and decide what to trust and share online. And we knew this research would help us expand on the educational resources MediaWise has to offer.

What were the parameters for the survey?

We surveyed more than 8,500 respondents of various ages in the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Nigeria, India and Japan. We asked a wide range of questions aimed at assessing information literacy skills and verification habits. Those include queries about everything from the tools and techniques someone uses to investigate a post they see online, to the reasons why they may have shared misleading information in the past.

What are some of the biggest takeaways?

The survey found that 62% of respondents think they see false or misleading information on at least a weekly basis – that’s a staggering number. And people are aware that it’s a serious issue. Roughly 50% of all Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z respondents (these are people ages 18 to 57) said they’re concerned about their family being exposed to it.

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New ways we’re helping you find high-quality information

AI models are also helping our systems understand when a featured snippet might not be the most helpful way to present information. This is particularly helpful for questions where there is no answer: for example, a recent search for “when did snoopy assassinate Abraham Lincoln” provided a snippet highlighting an accurate date and information about…

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AI models are also helping our systems understand when a featured snippet might not be the most helpful way to present information. This is particularly helpful for questions where there is no answer: for example, a recent search for “when did snoopy assassinate Abraham Lincoln” provided a snippet highlighting an accurate date and information about Lincoln’s assassination, but this clearly isn’t the most helpful way to display this result.

We’ve trained our systems to get better at detecting these sorts of false premises, which are not very common, but are cases where it’s not helpful to show a featured snippet. We’ve reduced the triggering of featured snippets in these cases by 40% with this update.

Information literacy

Beyond designing our systems to return high-quality information, we also build information literacy features in Google Search that help people evaluate information, whether they found it on social media or in conversations with family or friends. In fact, in a study this year, researchers found that people regularly use Google as a tool to validate information encountered on other platforms. We’ve invested in building a growing range of information literacy features — including Fact Check Explorer, Reverse image search, and About this result — and today, we’re announcing several updates to make these features even more helpful.

Expanding About this result to more places

About this result helps you see more context about any Search result before you ever visit a web page, just by tapping the three dots next to the result. Since launching last year, people have used About this result more than 2.4 billion times, and we’re bringing it to even more people and places – with eight more languages including Portuguese (PT), French (FR), Italian (IT), German (DE), Dutch (NL), Spanish (ES), Japanese (JP) and Indonesian (ID), coming later this year.

This week, we’re adding more context to About this result, such as how widely a source is circulated, online reviews about a source or company, whether a company is owned by another entity, or even when our systems can’t find much info about a source – all pieces of information that can provide important context.

And we’ve now launched About this page in the Google app, so you can get helpful context about websites as you’re browsing the web. Just swipe up from the navigation bar on any page to get more information about the source – helping you explore with confidence, no matter where you are online.

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Finding community and customers through Growth Academy: Women Founders

With thousands of highly-valued tech companies, a global-first market approach, and a strong economy dominated by entrepreneurship, it’s clear why Israel’s nickname is ‘The Startup Nation.’However, this thriving startup ecosystem isn’t equally supportive of all aspiring founders. According to the latest Israeli Tech Gender Distribution Report, spearheaded by Google for Startups and IVC Data and…

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With thousands of highly-valued tech companies, a global-first market approach, and a strong economy dominated by entrepreneurship, it’s clear why Israel’s nickname is ‘The Startup Nation.’

However, this thriving startup ecosystem isn’t equally supportive of all aspiring founders. According to the latest Israeli Tech Gender Distribution Report, spearheaded by Google for Startups and IVC Data and Insights, only 2% of startups with a woman founder raised above $50 million between 2018 and 2021. While the number of entirely women-led companies has doubled in the past decade, they still only comprise 6.3% of Israeli startups — and only 13.9% of startups had at least one woman co-founder in a mixed-gender founding team.

I fall into the latter category. My cofounder Gal Benbeniste and I met during college, where we bonded over how outdated the investment world is. What started with trying to figure out a simple way to automate became FinityX, a deep-tech startup that helps investors implement AI tools as part of their investment process to save time and resources, and improve quality.

While I have been humbled by FinityX’s rapid growth and recognition, as one of the very few women in the deep-tech space I’ve always wanted to be able to access the same capital, business networks, and mentorship readily available to my male cofounder.

So I was thrilled when Google for Startups launched a Growth Academy program tailored specifically for the needs of early-stage women founders. Based on the successful Startup Growth Lab curriculum, the program includes leadership workshops with Israeli VCs such as Entree Capital, Ibex and Viola, leadership sessions with top industry lecturers, and one-on-one Google product mentorship. “Ever since Google for Startups opened Campus Tel Aviv in 2012, diversity and inclusion has been an essential focus to our work,” said Marta Mozes, marketing manager of Google for Startups in Israel. “When we discovered this data about female founders in Israel, we knew we had to be part of the change.”

Meet the other Israeli entrepreneurs, representing industries from family vacation-planning to finance, who joined me at Google for Startups Growth Academy: Women Founders:

  • Miri Berger, Cofounder & CEO of 6Degrees
  • Kerri Kariti, Cofounder & CPO of Claritee
  • Vardit Legali, Cofounder & CEO of Clawdia
  • Ronny Schwartz Dgani, Cofounder & CMO of Expecting.ai
  • Inbal Glantser and Naama Yacobson, Cofounders of Homaze
  • Tamar Liberman, Tal Provizor Narkiss, and Lee Winfield, Cofounders of It’s July
  • Mika Kayt, Founder & CEO of Outgage
  • Danielle Shpigel and Yarden Kaufmann, Cofounders of Unika

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