BLOGGING 101 Growing Your Blog

Blogging 101 Series with tips on how to grow your blog from With Heart, Emily A. Clark, The White Buffalo, Bliss at Home, and Sarah Dorsey DesignsHi friends! Today, is Blogging 101 day again and this post is all about growing your blog. I’ve teamed up with withHeart, Emily A. Clark, The White Buffalo Styling Co., and Sarah M. Dorsey Designs for this series. Last week, we discussed developing your brand by sharing our own personal brand stories. You can read that post HERE.

Once you have started to develop your brand and blog, there are lots of things you can do to grow your blog. In the 3 years I’ve authored and created for B@H, I have grown my pageviews, my subscribers, and social media.

Blogging 101 Series: Growing your blog image credit: Tara Melissa Photographie

Image Credit: Tara Melissa Photographie

Going over my analytics, each year my pageviews have grown in big ways. Last year, my pageviews grew by 129% and we are on track for an even bigger year in the pageview department this year. This is by no means a brag, just a point of reference for you. We all experience blog growth in different ways, and there are some things that will give you a huge boost. It’s consistency, great content, and your genuine voice that will turn those boosts into devoted readers.  I’m going to take you through what has worked for me. Buckle up for a whole lot of information!

BLOG

Content, content, content!

Before we get into the more technical side of it all, I would be remiss if I did not mention the obvious. YOUR CONTENT IS KING. Good content is the gold of blogging. Your writing, your photography, your tutorials, and the information you share all have to be great. No pressure, right? Ha, ha!

That means you have to learn to write in a way that captures your readers’ attention. Attention spans for reading blogs are super short! If you don’t grab your readers’ attention within the first line or two of your post, you have already lost them. This is where an editorial background helps, but even if you don’t have that, stating what your topic is right away in the first line of your copy is key.

View More: http://taramelissa.pass.us/blissathome2015

Image Credit: Tara Melissa Photographie

This is also where photography comes into play. If your photos totally blow, no one will stick around. Pardon my French! It’s the ugly truth of blogging. You could have the most amazing project, or the most beautiful room , but if your photos are sub par then it really doesn’t matter in the blogging world. Trust me, not all your readers are reading, if you catch my drift. A good majority of blog readers are skimmers. They are there to get in and get out. Most blog readers are very visual and want to see and share beautiful photos. This doesn’t mean scrimp on your writing. Trust me, you will have readers that read! Also, if you are looking to work with brands or other bloggers, your photography has to shine. I’ll share more on photography in week 4 so we can dig a little deeper and I can show you some gear and tips.

Also, be selective in what you share. This goes into the sponsorships and the brand collabs you accept. You are editor-in-chief,  YOU call the shots. If it doesn’t fit your brand or doesn’t touch your heart, simply don’t do it. You will feel icky, trust me–so not worth it. Create the content you want to share, not what someone is throwing money at you to share. Your readers want to hear from you not an ad agency. If you are creating content you are proud of, you will attract the right sponsorships. It will be on brand and your readers will love to hear about it too.

Put yourself out there!

Hold up, I am writing this blog…aren’t I already putting myself out there? Well, yes in a safe behind your computer kind of way. I’m talking about networking which is a word I am not into. Let’s call this making friends and getting a little out of your comfort zone. In this digital age of heads down, phone in hand as we are walking down the street living…do yourself a favor and look up. Go to events, reach out to other bloggers, and do some things that give you some butterflies.

Events are a great way to grow your blog and actually meet bloggers and brand reps face-to-face. You can do this on the local level or travel to them. Brands and magazines are hip to the fact that bloggers like to hang together and put on blogger events and conferences. So, if a brand or mag invites you and it is a good fit I’d definitely encourage you to go.

Delta_Faucet_2014_17

 Image Credit: Julia Konya for Cuckoo4Design

As for conferences, there are quite a few to go to. My first blog conference was Haven held in Atlanta and this is a great conference for DIY bloggers, especially if you are new to blogging. It’s pretty relaxed and you will get to meet a lot of bloggers and get some face time with brands. If you have never gone to a conference this would be one I’d recommend to the beginner. Some of my closest blogging friendships came from attending my first conference.

On the local level, reach out to bloggers in your area. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to your local newspapers, television stations, and area businesses. I’ve had offers to speak at women’s events, churches, libraries, high schools, and on local TV programs all because people in the area know B@H and are interested in what I’m doing.

Let’s get technical, technical!

Sorry, just had a Olivia Newton John moment…A-hem. Okay the technical side. Big scary acronyms like SEO and html. Let me just preface this with my truth–I hate this side of blogging. It is crucial for your blog growth and website searchability… so bear with me.  Just because my mind or yours works in the creative realm, doesn’t mean you can’t master a few things to give yourself a better page rank and website searchability which, yes, will grow your blog. Basically, more people can find you and maybe stick around.

What is SEO? 

Search Engine Optimization. You google something and all the sudden you have pages of websites and articles related to what you just googled. Okay, so how do you improve this for your site and posts?

Here are a few SEO tips I use for every post. Keywords are a big deal. When I write a post, I make sure keywords are used in my title and my introduction of my copy. Also, I like to make sure my meta description has that keyword and post title in it. I highly recommend using the Yoast SEO plug-in if you are on WordPress. It helps you do all of this! I absolutely love it. It really streamlines the whole SEO process for me. Improve your SEO and improve your google page rank– that is how early you pop up in a google search.

Google also is big into authorship. So, linking to other bloggers and them linking to you, per say, gives you a better authorship in the eyes of Google which in turn will boost your page rank. You are considered more relevant and more of an authority in your field. You want that Google juice.

View More: http://taramelissa.pass.us/blissathome2015

Photo Credit: Tara Melissa Photographie

What is html?

Hypertext Markup Language. What the what?!? It’s how your fonts, colors, graphics, etc. are all tagged in a standardized system for your blog and hyperlinks on the World Wide Web.

You don’t have to be a graphic designer to have a working knowledge of this. I did have to do a lot of research in the beginning. That is where I am thankful for SEO and Google. My first couple years of blogging I had to google html codes for so many things. You can find any html related answers by google or using your WordPress forums. Sorry people on Blogger, I’m a WP girl here. My biggest tip for html code is to google what you need it for. Your photos aren’t centering in your post…there’s a simple code for that. You want to place a photo on your sidebar with a link…there’s a simple code for that.

My second tip is make an html cheat sheet. I don’t remember all the codes, so I keep a cheat sheet of my most used html codes in my blog planner. You totally don’t have to be an html expert to tweak things on your blog. It just takes a little research on your part.

Are you a social butterfly?

Social media. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google +, Linkedin, Snapchat, etc. Social media is a great way to grow your blog. People find you on social and click on over to your blog all the time. Brands will watch you and follow you on social. So, making sure you have great social media is key to growing your blog.

There are tons of strategies you can study for growing all these forms of social media, but my biggest one is just stay on brand. Post to each one consistently and share on brand content. There are tricks of the trade I will go into that in the next week.

I caution you, it can be major time suck. I use schedulers for a lot of my social and that is a great help. That way I don’t have to be on it all day long. I use Viral Tag for Pinterest and I also hear Board Booster is another great one for Pinterest. I also use IFTTT so I can share on all my social at the same time. If I share on Instagram it goes to Twitter and Facebook automatically. I use my WP auto-scheduler and Publicize for every post so that they go right to all my social media too. This saves me a whole lot of time!

bliss-at-home-ig

Bliss at Home on Instagram

If you just don’t have the time, my tip is to focus on 1 or 2 at a time. I started my B@H Instagram account just a little over a year ago. Instagram is my favorite right now, so I post there the most. Just since January this year, I’ve been really focusing on it more. Of course, it is my quickest growing because I invest the most time there because I really do enjoy it.

Do what you can with it. Life is too short to be buried in your phone and computer all day–but that’s just my personal feeling on it. I do love social media and use it regularly, but I set up parameters for myself so it doesn’t take over my time or feel overwhelming.

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I hope there was some useful info in there for you all today! I can’t wait read what Jennifer, Emily, Lindsay, and Sarah have to say on growing your blog!

Check out all of today’s posts here:

Week Two: Growing Your Blog

withHeart

Emily A. Clark

The White Buffalo Styling Co.

Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

Get caught up!

Week One: Developing Your Brand

withHeart

Emily A. Clark

The White Buffalo Styling Co.

Sarah M. Dorsey Designs

Next week’s Blogging 101 Topic:

Week Three: Making Money Your Blog

Feel free to comment below or ask any questions you may have on any of these topics above! I’d be happy to answer them to the best of my ability. Check back here Friday for a big kitchen renovation update!

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