How to recruit a target audience of readers and search engines

This question has been in the air for a long time, although there is not much talk about it. I am no exception, and I also constantly think about this, blogger, how could I not care about it. This post is inspired by recent Facebook debates and post «Why I Don't Read Travel Blogs».

I already have two blog posts on this topic (Why readers don't come back and Don't start a travel blog). I recommend reading them to all beginners and those who are also concerned about the question of how to recruit an audience. I re-read them and thought to rewrite them, but I decided to make one more post, anyway better than writing sheets of comments on a social network, which then no one will see.

The content of the article


Let's define the terms. A blog is originally a diary about yourself, about something personal. But the boundaries between blogs and websites have long been erased and a blog can mean anything. So I would subdivide blogs into 2 categories: reference blogs and personal blogs. Moreover, this does not mean that there is no confusion between them, most blogs are just a directory + personal, in some there is more than one, in others more than another. This is very important to understand, because depending on the type of content, we will collect either a search audience or a reader. Yes, yes, you can both at once, but take your time, I'll tell you about this too.

Thus, we have two types of content: information and reading. People need information to get ready for the trip, and then they no longer need to read you. Reading, on the other hand, is conducive to subscribing to news and reading for a long time, is perceived as entertainment or communication of interests.

I think it is obvious that the information attracts the search audience, and read the reader. There are many exceptions, other types of content, but again, let's not complicate things yet..

Blog for the soul or for earnings

A controversial issue that draws on a whole separate post. Before starting a blog, well, or already during its conduct, you need to answer the question, do you want the blog to bring you money? It is very important to answer this question to yourself as honestly as possible. It depends on where you can refer your activity to a hobby or to work. Just don't listen to anyone (including me), a blog for making money is not bad! What a mania in our post-Soviet space to belittle any commercial activity. You can blog for people, be useful, and still make money. It is not always where there is money, there is profit.

If you decide that your blog is just a hobby, then you don't need to read anything about blogging at all. A hobby, first of all, should bring pleasure to you, and you will earn in other ways. So just blog the way you want, the way you do it. It makes little sense for you and massively to recruit an audience. Although, of course, it's nice when you are not read by a couple of friends, but by several thousand strangers. But in any case, as long as blogging is a hobby, there is no motivation to strain. I will quote our correspondence with Maria Anashina, I hope she does not mind:

... it is probably still difficult to combine a blog for the soul and a blog for making money, unless writing articles for search queries is an occupation for the soul ...
… At my favorite job, too, sometimes I have to do things that I don't really like. But, probably, all the same, I write articles to the blog with great pleasure ...

I will answer this with an example from my own life. Once I realized that I like writing informational articles for search queries at home much more than drawing a heating system in an office. Therefore, I exchanged the combination of my unloved work + my favorite hobby for my favorite job. Yes, you have to do sometimes what you don’t like, but I think this is absolutely normal, in fact, a hobby is not always «rushing every second». I wrote about this in a post. How to make money on a hobby.

How to build a readership

How to build an audience

How to build an audience

So you've decided to build a readership after all. Either you want it so for no apparent reason, or you are going to monetize in the future through advertising posts or services. In my opinion, these are the only ways to make money, because contextual advertising and affiliate programs do not work for readers..

I see 3 ways:

  • Be original and build an audience tied to your personality.
  • Select one or more «pivotal» interests and gather an audience for them.
  • Mixed version, when there is both personality and «pivotal» interest.

If you go through popular blogs, youtube channels, you will see who is ahead of the rest. For example, there are projects like Goodbynormals with a nice video sequence, there is Share with its 70 countries in a year, Fishai with her vagrancy and poetry, Valyaeva with her teaching about women. They all create good and not annoying «reading». If we estimate the statistics of their attendance, it becomes clear that no one comes to them from a search engine and their entire attendance is readers. Some of these bloggers are original, someone gathers an audience based on their interests. For example, Varlamov, he chose the social sphere for himself and only then they began to read him for his travels and everything else, although they also traced the social sphere (the format is bad about the city N, good about the city N). Although I also like Varlamov's style of presentation.

Admit it to yourself, is your project original or similar to everyone else? If there are no bright ideas, then you just have to gather an audience of interests for a long time and persistently.


  • Unusual. Look for your chips. Perhaps you are a great filming / editing video, have a very interesting style, are prone to unusual adventures, or want to do something unique. Take a look around, so much has already been done and is being done, whether your dull blog will get lost on the Internet?
  • You have to be the first or repeat after someone better than the original. You can set a trend, for example, wintering in Thailand, or you can see what is in this niche and make it better and more interesting.
  • Don't go for narrow niches. If you are original, but what you are doing is of little interest to anyone, then you will have to gather the audience bit by bit and come to terms with the fact that one and a half diggers are reading you. To put it bluntly, reading about wombats in Australia is far less interesting than reading about sex, rock and roll, and drugs. You can protest against it, but it is. However, this does not mean that you need to do what you do not like, look for your topic!
  • Study marketing. It is very important to understand what kind of audience you are gathering, who she is, what she wants, what she is afraid of. And yes, you will have to write such posts that they need, not you..
  • Combining several types of content. In addition to reading, you need to periodically give out information that is useful to your readers, and write posts about yourself and your experience, increasing loyalty to yourself.

From my experience:

An astute reader will say, fig if you're so smart, don't you do the same? And he will be right. All that I am writing here is my conclusions. However, I'm a very bad marketer, and my interests are constantly changing. I can't choose in any way «core interest». I write about Tai, then about estates in the Moscow region, then about Yegor and rehabilitation, then about anti-consumption and downshifting, then about expensive hotels in Hong Kong and blogging. The audience comes and goes (constant turnover), and only the one that is tied to my personality and our family remains. And since we are quite ordinary, a small number of people read us. The same Varlamov has 15-30 thousand readers, and we are up to such an indicator as before the moon, although we started at the same time.

How to build a search audience

The fastest and most understandable way to start making money on a blog is to work with a search audience. After all, not all of us are unusual and somehow clearly differ from others, and almost everyone can make an information catalog of articles. The main monetization is affiliate programs and contextual advertising, that is, it is also simpler than advertising posts with the search for advertisers (you need to be very popular and have a large subscriber base so that advertisers themselves burst). But let's not go back to the readership..

To be honest, I see no reason to write a lot of things here, because this path is already clear. You choose a niche, write informational posts with keywords, most of which should be associated either with a specific affiliate program or with expensive clicks on the context. Nobody bothers to work with several affiliate programs at once, describe personal travel experience, write about yourself, but these posts are secondary. It is more important to create targeted traffic for certain requests so that those who are looking for an air ticket in one way or another, are going to book a hotel, buy insurance, an excursion, book a car, come to you. The more targeted traffic, the more profit. It is necessary to understand that if a person is looking for information about visiting the Louvre in Paris, this is not targeted traffic, because he most likely already has a ticket, and insurance, and everything else. And you will have to come to terms with the fact that with an increase in traffic, it will not always be converted into subscribers, they will leave comments with gratitude, but they will not subscribe, because such posts are not read.

Periodically, you need to analyze your positions in search engines for certain queries and move them higher, for example, by buying links, or write new articles on the same issue. There are also specific cases, from a series, to choose such and such a topic, write certain content, perform certain actions. But in this case, this is already a site purely for making money, because in this case you do not need to describe your experience at all, and indeed write on your own, others will do it for you, you can only manage the process. So I won't dive into SEO, I'm not strong myself, and there are a lot of sites / forums on the topic of promotion.

To summarize:

  • Working with affiliate programs or contextual advertising, but the latter is less profitable without special knowledge / cases. That is, the main task is targeted traffic..
  • Analysis of queries to use them in the form of keywords in their posts. Considering that many requests are competitive, they will have to be dealt with for a long time.
  • Promotion. You need to promote your posts through paid and free options: buying links, buying posts with links, your own posts on your blog with links, social networks. I recommend the book Seo collider from Mikhail Shakin and the course How to become a thousand-blogger from Alexander Borisov.
  • Analytics. Analyzing your positions, the amount of traffic, testing various affiliate programs and their tools for an envelope, for example, a link in a post may work better than a widget in a sidebar. I recently wrote about my experiment with hotel affiliate programs..

How to combine a set of search and readership audiences

Let's move on to the next option. By and large, everyone who wanted to blog for the soul, but at the same time was not original, began to combine. For example, a person wrote in the format «what I see, I sing», and he sees that the visitor is not growing (that is, there are no more subscribers), which means there is no earnings (because there is no point in advertisers placing advertising posts on a blog with a small audience), which means you need to recruit a search audience. At the same time, you still want a creative splash, that's why posts for life appear periodically. Himself so.

I’ll make a reservation right away, in my opinion, I didn’t manage to combine them very well. All due to the fact that there is no core interest that would not change for many years. Still, it is the understanding of how to recruit a readership that is fundamental. A person who knows this will easily get used to recruiting a search audience, in fact, he will simply start giving out informational posts on given topics. But, on the contrary, to take and suddenly become unusual or overly interesting on a certain topic is hard.

It is important to mention here that search audiences can become readers. That is, the person initially searched for information on a specific request, went to your blog, and realized that he was interested in your reading too, and subscribed to the blog. However, this only happens if your informational posts and reading materials fall into the same niche, that is, we again return to a certain core interest and a rather large amount of reading material on the blog..

To make it clear, let's take example of Kotovsky with his blog, the main theme of which is bicycle and around it. First, a person is interested in buying a bicycle, then setting up switches / brakes / forks, and clothes for riding. All this is content for search engines, and if there is nothing else on the blog, then a person will buy a led, learn how to repair it, and leave the blog. However, if his interest in cycling is quite bright, then he will be interested in other questions of a not quite informational plan, from cycling trips to trends in the cycling world. Thus, it can convert from a one-time search visitor to a reader, and at no special cost to the blog author..

Ideally, this scenario is one of the most effective. With travel blogs, you can also do this kind of thing and combine readers and search audiences. It is important to understand what non-informational interests your visitor will have and satisfy them.

P.S. There are a bunch of intermediate options, so decide and think for yourself how you should be and how best to do.