The number one question that seems to circulate in the blogging community is how to grow your blog. And how to monetize, but that’s a whole other blog post. In most cases, you must have some growth before you can monetize anyways so let’s start here. Recently I’ve been asked by a lot of people how I’ve managed to grow my blog as quickly as I have. I quit my 9-5 job when I was getting next to no traffic and was making $0 from my site. Crazy, I know. Why would I quit a stable job to pursue something that literally wasn’t going anywhere yet? Well, I just knew it was time for a change. So took the leap and went for it. It ended up being the best thing I’ve done for my business.
When I started my blog in November 2014, I had 86 page views for the entire month. No joke. That’s it. At the time, I really didn’t think too much of it because I wasn’t really planning on growing or making money from my site at all. I quit my job that following February and then by July, I was getting roughly 2,500 page views a month. Which still isn’t much, but that was a rather large amount of growth for such a short amount of time. By the end of the year, I was averaging between 8k and 10k monthly page views every month. And I’ve been steadily growing ever since to get to where I am today.
It’s been tough at times and I admit, I work way too much sometimes, but it’s always been worth it. I couldn’t be happier or more proud of where my site is today so I thought I’d share some of my methods for growing my blog so that you too can grow and succeed!
This is a big one. Before you do ANYTHING, take the time to get everything organized. It’s important to have all the right blogging tools in order to be successful at what you do. Everything from organizing your notes, to creating an editorial calendar, to gathering the right photo editing apps both on your phone and on your computer. You also need to look into social media schedulers and daily planners and anything else you need to organize your content, thoughts and to do lists. There are so many ways to get organized. Once you’re organized, you’ll be able to more effectively grow your blog and increase your page views.
Update your site
You should always be keeping your site up to date at all times. Things to look at include: your ‘about me’ page, your contact page, your social media bios, profile images, your pricing for any services you offer, the images you use on the main pages of your site, your graphics and Pinterest-friendly images, your plugins, your links, your media kit, etc. etc. etc. If I visit a site and see that their ‘about me’ page mentions a baby that they’re expecting in 2015 then chances are, I’m going to wonder what else isn’t up to date on that blog. So do routine audits of your site to make sure everything is working properly and that everything is up to date with the latest content and information.
Read and comment on other blogs
You absolutely need to be reading and commenting on other blogs. I try to have all of my blog posts typed up and scheduled out on the weekends that way I’m better able to connect with other bloggers during the week. Not only do you need to be reading other blogs, but you need to be commenting as well. It’s not enough to just say “great post!” or “I love this!”. Take the time to make a genuine connection with that blogger and really show that you value their content. Building a strong connection and friendship with other bloggers can lead to some great opportunities whether it’s sponsorships or guest posts or other types of collaborations. So make those connections!
Share your posts.
First let’s talk about Facebook. On top of sharing your posts on a Facebook page, it’s good to also share them in groups. I’m a member of many different Facebook groups for bloggers and entrepreneurs. Sharing your blog posts in groups is a great way to gain new readers, especially if you’re active within the groups. Make yourself known! It’s also a great place to bounce ideas off each other and share your blog posts every day. Be sure to look for groups that allow you to share your content and social media profiles. Some groups allow you to share these on a daily basis and others allow you to share once a week. Some groups don’t allow promotions whatsoever so be sure to read the rules when you join a new group! But groups are big for networking.
On top of sharing on Facebook, I also share on Twitter multiple times a day and introduce most posts on Instagram. I’m not big on Google+. I tried it for a bit and really didn’t see a difference in page views or blog comments. It really just felt like one big waste of time for me. Some will disagree, but I just don’t feel that this one is really worth focusing on. I also share my post to StumbleUpon each day as well although I don’t spend a whole lot of time on it. And lastly, we have Pinterest. The holy grail of blog growth. Pinterest deserves its own point in this post so let’s move onto that one…
Learn how to use Pinterest.
I admit, I have been using Pinterest all wrong for way too long. It’s embarrassing, really. But not too long ago, I discovered that 65% of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest. 65%! I was completely shocked by this number considering I hadn’t been using it correctly and really didn’t even give it the time of day. So now I make sure to give it the time and attention it needs and deserves so that I can continue to use it to drive traffic to my blog.
First off, Pinterest is not social media despite what some may think or say. As Melyssa Griffin says, it’s actually a visual search engine. The moment I head her say that, it all kind of just clicked for me. She was right. And that was when I realized I had been using it all wrong. Pinterest doesn’t work off of interactions or hashtags or anything along those lines like other social media platforms do. It works on great keywords, visually appealing vertical images and graphics, and SEO. If you’re not taking these three things seriously, then you need to start today!
Related: How To Grow Your Blog With Pinterest
Pinterest can be your best friend and your #1 referer when it comes to blog traffic so don’t be afraid to learn anything and everything you possibly can about it! Look up some great Pinterest articles or even find some courses and workshops. I learned everything I need to know about it from Melyssa’s site and her courses so if you need a great course or article on it, that’s the place to go.
Check out your Google Analytics.
This is another big one. Google Analytics is an amazing tool that can help you discover what posts your readers are loving most, who your readers are, where they’re from, and even what sites are driving traffic to your blog. If you’re spending all of your time on Twitter, but your Google Analytics are saying 65% of your traffic is coming from Pinterest then maybe you need to re-think your strategies and focus your attention elsewhere (this is legit my exact recent scenario…don’t make the same mistakes I have). It just wouldn’t make sense to continue focusing on Twitter when it’s not where your readers are.
Not only does it tell you where your traffic is coming from, it also tells you a lot about your readers so you’re better able to find ways to market to them and connect with them as well. Seeing what posts are most popular can help you to put together helpful series or products that can help your readers on the topics they’re most interested in. Like Pinterest, your Google Analytics are one of your most important tools in blog growth so definitely take the time to install it if you haven’t already and check in on it on a weekly basis.
Collaborate with other bloggers.
Blogger collaborations can help you so much in growing your site. Collaborating with other bloggers allows you to connect with a whole new audience which can ultimately drive traffic back to your own blog. It gets your name and content out there. Collaborations can be things like guest posting on other blogs, teaming up with other bloggers for giveaways, hosting Twitter parties, interviews on Podcasts, doing joint webinars, etc. There’s endless possibilities here in terms of collaborations. But whatever you choose, it’s going to be a great way to gain more followers and make new connections.
This is important in everything you do for your blog and business. First you have your blog schedule. It’s so important to be consistent in your blogging whether you post Monday-Friday like I do (most weeks) or if you’re only posting Tuesdays and Thursdays. Your blog schedule can be whatever works best for you, but your readers should know when to expect new content. I definitely notice a huge difference in my page views when I’m posting consistently versus when I’m all over the place and only posting when I can. Same goes for your social media schedule. Like your blog posts, you should have a good posting schedule in place here as well.
Not only do your blog and social media posting schedules have to be consistent, your content needs to be just as consistent as well. Every post you do should be just as amazing, if not better, than your last. You should be proud of everything you submit to your blog and share with your readers. If it’s not your best work, then don’t submit it. To me, it’s better to not post at all that day than to publish content that you’re not proud of. I do not believe that “done is better than perfect”. While nothing in life is ever perfect, that does not mean you should be posting content that is only okay.
Another area that you need to be consistent in is your visuals. There should be a common theme here in terms of the visuals you’re using on your site an across your social media platforms. This includes similar color schemes, fonts, image editing, etc. This helps a lot with brand recognition. Your readers should be able to point out which graphics belong to you because they’re able to make that connection between your content and your visuals. Does this make sense? I feel like that may have been horribly worded. But you get the basic gist of it! Be consistent!
Respond to blog comments and emails.
Making genuine connections with your readers is one of the many reasons why they’ll come back to your site. While it can be very time-consuming some weeks, make it a priority to sit down and respond to every single blog comment, email, and social media shout out you get. You want your readers to know that you see their comments, read their comments, and value what they had to say enough to actually respond to them. While this may become more and more challenging to do the more you grow, I feel that this is so important in having an authentic blog. Make those connections with your readers and show them that they’re important to you.
What tips do you have for growing your blog?