No matter how much we say our blog is for ourselves, surely we all want some readers to validate what we are saying, to comment and say 'omg me too', to prove we aren't alone.
I have no shame in saying I look at my stats and figures daily and pay attention to them because ultimately I want this blog to be successful. In what context successful I don't know, whether I want to make money from it, whether I just want readers, whatever, I don't know. But it's an extension of me and my brand and my business so I don't want it to flop and waste away - so I pay attention to my readers.
My blog and my following and my social media following is growing month on month at a rate I can't keep up with and I bloody love it. I doubled my Twitter following in a month and my blog following went from 350 in April to just over 700 in May and in the 16 days of June so far it's nearly at 2K which is a huge leap.
I have included a new page in my bullet journal (inspired by this one in Sarah's) which outlines my goals for the last 6 months of 2016 and my pageviews goal is recorded in instalments of 500. I hit the first target on Saturday, hit the second on Tuesday and hit the third yesterday so you can see the kind of growth I'm having very very quickly. Might need to rethink ma goals.
So without further ado and enough waffling, here's how I believe I have generated traffic to my blog in the past few months..
I mean, nothing in this post is going to be any different to other content on the same topic is it? Twitter is no doubt the reason I built such a big following in such a short space of time. Joining in chats, hitting the illusive 1K, following people. chatting to people...it just got my name out there and then people started flocking to my blog after we chatted and whadda ya know, now those people are tweeting me to tell me how much they loved my post before I even promoted it on Twitter which proves they are my real readership. You can read more on my Twitter life in this post.
So I'm slow to the party and I am by no means a pro but I am just about starting to see the affects of Pinterest on my blog. Just about. I don't put a HUGE amount of effort into it but ever since I attached my account to my blog, I have seen the changes. For once, Pinterest is one social media site where I don't have a personal and a business account, I just transitioned my personal account that I've had for years into my brand and it worked luckily (just don't judge all the swearing and sloppy quotes). I had 12K pins that I reformatted into specific boards as they were originally all under song lyrics and you couldn't find anything and then I started pinning my own work. I don't yet pin into group boards which I know a lot of people highly recommend so you and I should both look into that. For now, automatically posting my promo photos to my blog board and then individually uploading and pinning my blog photography is enough and whilst most of my pins see little action, I have one for this bullet journal post which was on nearly 600 repins and counting last time I checked which is an amazing referral to my website.
You can follow me on Twitter and Pinterest right by here!
3. Good Content.
Again, it seems like a no brainer. If you're looking for growth in your readership but more importantly a sustained and engaged readership, you need good content. The numbers are all well and good but if your readers aren't commenting and sharing, you'll never get anywhere unless you're buying followers. Writing good content could mean anything and it depends on your niche if you have one and what your readers like and what sector your blog falls into. It's hard to know what is 'good content' but if you don't feel like writing one day, don't force yourself. Take a break, come back to it fresh and motivated and don't feel like you have to stick to a schedule religiously. If you aren't feeling it, it won't read well and people won't come back. Most new readers will have clicked on your blog as a referral from somewhere and you want to make them stay and read on to your other posts, so each blog needs to be as good as the next to get them engaged and waste 30959375837 hours clicking on related content. I don't have a niche, I have never had a set schedule and it doesn't do me any harm - I write content I'd like to read and that seems to work for me.
4. Be Nice!
Honestly I think the biggest success of my blog has been through being nice to people. If you like a blog post, comment on it, tweet about it, share it, shout about it, tell them how much you like it. Link to other people's content in your blog and put it on your Twitter and they're more likely to do it for you. Nothing makes me happier than reading a blog I already love and finding my own name and blog link nestled in there. You can't hope for your readership to share what you've done if you read a blog, love it and then never do anything else about it. I know if someone shares my content or says they've tagged me in a post I ALWAYS go and read it and then read something else they've written and then save it on Bloglovin and tweet about it because that's how I find new blogs! It's nice to be nice and I think it's massively undervalued.
That old kettle of fish. If you haven't heard of Bloglovin, it's a platform for blogs and even if you don't want to use it, you should probably create a profile and claim your own blog on there anyway (follow me here and sign up!) I know a lot of bloggers who don't like Bloglovin because it constantly promotes the big bloggers we already know and love and does nothing for the little fish which I totally get and agree with, it's one of my biggest bug bears. However, I love the app for reading blogs and I follow around 130 people on it at the moment, blogs I read religiously. I don't know about you but I always forget to check in with blogs on websites so having them all in one app is ideal for me and I never miss a post. If you can engage with Bloglovin you're halfway there for a readership. Mine is by no means massive but it is growing one new follower by one new follower and it's being exposed to people it might not have reached otherwise. There's also a similar blogs section which is massively helpful to finding new content and I was over the moon to find out if you click on blogs similar to mine it comes up with a list of some of my favourite people.
6. Read Other Blogs!
Why would you expect anyone to read your blog if you aren't interested in supporting others? SO many of the blogs I love most now are those of people who I met on chats on Twitter and who I now speak to regularly. I literally wouldn't have known those blogs existed until I spoke to them and they probably wouldn't have known about mine. One of the biggest ways you can grow your readership is to read other blogs, comment, speak to the author, tweet them, follow them on Bloglovin, share them. The more you get your name out there and associate yourself with them, the more likely they are to discover what you can do.
7. Google Analytics.
If you don't already have this set up for your blog you really need to. Google Analytics is a god send and I'm just deeply saddened by the fact that I moved hosts in January and lost all my data from the previous 9 months on Wordpress. I know some people are put off by GA because of the in depth data you can find which isn't always so easy to navigate and find (SkinnedCartree is a master at explaining the deep dark depths of GA) but really, even just knowing your average readership, pageviews and most popular content is enough. Use Google Analytics to track your blog and then implement some of your findings into it. You can find out when is the best time to post, what days are better than others if you want to stick to a schedule, what demographic your readers are, what content is more popular than others. Once you know you can amend your blog to fit and that my friends, is one of the biggest ways you can expand your traffic, by knowing what works and capitalising on it.
Like I said before, nothing is new on this post but it's always nice to know that the old familiars are actually working for people. You don't need a niche. You don't need a schedule. You don't need a fancy theme. You don't need to buy followers, just good old fashioned communication can do the trick.
Oh and hopefully this post will show those of you already signed up to guest post for me that my blog is actually sky rocketing in traffic so hopefully that makes ya'll feel contented you'll get something back from this!
If you haven't signed up to guest post whilst I'm on holiday you can read all about it over here.
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