Getting Discovered and Growing Your Site

You’ve just found out you’ll be featured on WordPress Discover soon. Now what? Here, we’ve compiled tips for getting the most out of the exposure and ideas for growing your site and readership.


Sections:

You’ll be welcoming new readers soon! Make sure your site is up to date and the details you want people to see are easy to find.

Revisit your About page and other static pages

Tell your backstory, like photographer Ryan BoltonExplain your project or compile an FAQ page, like author Anne Morgan. Or craft different versions of your bio, like artist Danny Gregory. Also, review static text on your front page, especially in your sidebar and footer, to make sure information is fresh.

Let readers follow you and find content quickly

Some widgets are essential to your site experience. The Follow Blog Widget allows new readers to subscribe to your site (alternatively, you can use a shortcode to display a subscription form on a post or page). Also handy, the Search Widget displays a search bar so readers can search your archives with keywords.

Link to your social accounts

Does your theme support a social links menuCreate one! Other themes allow you to insert your social links in the Customizer, too. If your theme doesn’t have one of these options — or you want total creative control over what your social buttons look like — you can create custom buttons with Image Widgets using a free tool like PicMonkey or Canva. You can also display your latest tweets or promote your Facebook page so visitors can “like” it.

Ra at Rarasaur, who uses the Cubic theme, displays a row of icons in her social menu.
Photographer Matt Lambros set up the Facebook Page Plugin so visitors can like his blog’s Facebook page.

Add a Contact page

If you’d like to receive private messages from readers, add a Contact page to your site if you don’t already have one. On your Contact page, you can display just a contact form or add introductory text and an image, as seen on Ashley Rae’s Contact page at She Loves to Fish. Or, you can simply list your contact information without a form, as author Lori Duron does at Raising My Rainbow. After you publish your Contact page, be sure to add the page to your menu).

The Contact page of fishing enthusiast Ashley Rae.

Add an abridged bio on your front page

Introduce yourself and welcome new readers right away. Display an About Me section in your sidebar with a Text Widget (like travel writer Shivya Nath), or display a small photo with a mini bio (like illustrator Sarah Goodreau).

Sarah Goodreau displays an image and short bio at the top of her sidebar.

Looking to get the most out of WordPress.com? Sign up for our free, 10-day Intermediate Customization email course, where we’ll cover themes, widgets, and basic HTML so you can gain the skills to further customize your site.


Use this moment in the spotlight to engage with readers, new and old.

Respond to comments with care

When your site is promoted to WordPress Discover, it’s exposed to a larger audience. It’s possible to respond to every comment, but we suggest that you spend your time responding to more considered, specific comments that further the conversation. Here’s a primer on honing the art of blogging conversation and advice from one of our featured writers, Emily:

When I was building my online presence, I found that kind, authentic, encouraging comments were the best means to forging relationships with others who may or may not have a lot in common with me. We may call each other bloggers, but in the end we’re all just people who want to be heard and understood. Compassion and camaraderie go a long way, both in blogging and in life.

—  Emily Austin, The Waiting

Learn to handle negativity

When you open the door to the entire internet, you may receive critical comments. You may even go viral! Read pointers on responding to negative feedback. Also update your Discussion settings to control how visitors interact with your site and to adjust moderation and blacklist settings, as featured writer Sam suggests:

I turned the comments off on a post that went viral after receiving one too many lousy comments, and I never looked back. It was definitely the right decision. . . .

It’s something in your control, and you can choose to allow it or not.

Sam Dylan Finch, Let’s Queer Things Up!

For more help on commenting etiquette, try our five-day Commenting Basics course. You’ll receive emails of daily tasks that nudge you out of your comfort zone and help you to make new connections.


Drive traffic and build your personal brand and audience.

Get social

If you’re not using any form of social media, seriously consider signing up — your work needs an audience! If you already use services like Facebook and Twitter, connect them to your site with Publicize so WordPress.com can automatically push your new posts across your social networks.

Share your stuff with a select few at first, and then take a deep breath and blast it out because really, what’s the worst that could happen?

Alexis Kanda-Olmstead, AKO Collective

Be thoughtful

Prepare different types of messages for your networks so they’re fresh, not redundant. Use a mix of images and short quotes from your posts to create varied tweets and Facebook posts. Add relevant or trending hashtags (#amwriting, #longreads) to include tweets in larger conversations.

How to build a readership? Be real. Be authentic. Be honest. People respond to that. If you’re blogging just to make money off of the ads blinking on the side of your website then people pick up on that.

 — Julia Millies, When the Girls Rule

Create a social strategy

If you’re a WordPress.com Premium or Business user, re-share the featured post (or related content that you think new readers might like) by using the “Share” button. Outline a basic social media plan that promotes your post across time zones or resurfaces it days or weeks later.

Direct readers to your best work

Now that you’ve got the internet’s attention, drive traffic to the best posts in your archives, using the Top Posts & Pages Widget or a “Best of” page on which you’ve collected your favorite posts. If you have a theme that supports a post slider, be strategic and rotate posts that you want people to see.

André and Adélaïde Zollinger at Infinite Belly share their most popular content in an image grid with the Top Posts & Pages Widget.

Serious about growing your site? Check out our free Branding and Growth email course, consisting of 10 assignments that help you attract and retain an audience. You can also browse more traffic and growth resources on The Daily Post.


Build a blogging habit and publish consistently so your site is always fresh and your readers will come back for more.

Practice, practice, practice

Gain the confidence to write and overcome the fear of pressing “Publish.” Subscribe to The Daily Post to receive one-word daily prompts and weekly photo inspiration in your inbox.

The more you work at it, the closer it gets to what you have in your head. The more you work at it, the easier it gets.

Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen

Find a posting rhythm

Set up an editorial calendar. Publish follow-ups to a post that has resonated with many readers. Plan a series of posts on your most popular topics.

Figure out what works

Glance at your stats to get an idea of what’s hot on your site. What are your top posts? What are readers clicking on? Use this data to help inform future posts.

Need a daily spark to keep going? Register for Finding Everyday Inspiration, a free 20-day email course that encourages writers to find post ideas in unexpected yet everyday places. Photographers looking for inspiration can sign up for our 10-day Developing Your Eye courses and receive daily themes in their inbox.


Other tips to keep in mind on your journey.

Add images to stand out

With more eyes on your site, displaying high-quality images is ideal. Here’s a list of stock image libraries for stunning free-to-use photos. We also recommend Creative Commons images — here’s a primer on proper image attribution.

Find the design that’s right for you

If you’ve been itching to experiment with your site’s look and feel, now may be the time. Browse our themes (and click on their demo sites to see them in action), and test-drive these designs in your Customizer (you can try themes before activating or purchasing them). We especially like the clean and minimal designs of Libre 2, Hemingway Rewritten, SyntaxMcKinley, and Resonar, which work well out of the box for people who just want to write (and they display images beautifully, too).

Maintain a site that readers love

Visiting your site should be a pleasant reading experience. If you make tweaks, keep your reader in mind and make sure your font is readable and your background is easy on the eyes. This post series on web design is a great introduction to design principles.


We want to support you as your site grows and hope these tips help you along the way. Thanks so much for publishing with WordPress!feature.png