I am in no means an expert blogger, an ‘it’ blogger, or any other sort of blogger you may otherwise refer to as a big blogger. I am however a passionate girl who loves to share my experiences with the world. I started this little ol’ blog in February of 2012 under a WordPress.com account. I did my best with material and trying to make things interesting, but it seemed as if my blog just wasn’t interested in ‘taking off.’
It wasn’t until I started doing my research (a year later) that I realized it was going to take a little bit more than people just falling upon my blog due to some google search to get my blogger ball rolling. Now, almost 4 months after my blogging epiphany, I am in complete shock as to how my blog has grown. I mean seriously. This stuff is bananas.
To all my fellow bloggers out there: those just starting out and those who have been blogging for a while. This blogger ‘must do’ list is for you. I mean heck, who doesn’t want to know how to grow their blog?
Blogger ‘Must Do’s’ (or at least strongly suggested to by me):
1. Join a blog reader network. This is one of the first things I did to help grow my blog. I had received an email a week or two prior about my blog being referred to and listed over at Bloglovin’. I had to see what that was about, and saw that it was a pretty popular choice of readers in the blogging world. You may have also heard of Google Reader, but I had heard rumors of that shutting down, so I didn’t want to get too invested. I wasn’t even sure how that would work with my WordPress account anyway.
2. Buy sponsorships. I found a few awesome looking travel blogs and lifestyle blogs via Bloglovin’ and dove straight into the world of sponsorship. I hadn’t even heard about sponsoring blogs before, but for a small fee I could advertise my blog smack dab on the front page of someone’s personal space! How about that? I made myself a little button and sponsored the girls that I felt were most similar to me. I swear it was one of the best things I ever did. Not only did my blog have exposure somewhere else besides google…but these girls indirectly taught me how to run a blog!
[personal preference] 3. Move to a self-hosted platform. I quickly found out the limitations that WordPress.com had placed on my account even after I had purchased the custom CSS upgrade and a domain name. I wasn’t allowed to run my own ads or even import HTML! It was a quick decision to move on over to Bluehost and installed WordPress.org. Scariest hours of my life. Not only has my SEO been out of this world, but I’m able to design my blog exactly the way I want it and host linkups, giveaways, and ads!
4. Boost SEO. If you’re like me maybe you have no idea what SEO actually is. I didn’t until 3 months ago…silly me. SEO is short for ‘search engine optimization. Basically getting free referrals to your site through google, yahoo, bing, etc. Mostly google, because let’s face it, google is AWESOME! SEO is the rank that these search engines give you in relevance to the topic that someone searched for. So obviously the better SEO, the more likely your blog is going to be found.
So how can you increase your SEO? Install ‘WordPress SEO by Yoast’ plugin. Sorry Blogger folks, this one’s just for WordPress. It’ll tell you exactly what you need to fix or put in each post to increase SEO to the maximum! I love it. Once it gives me the ‘green light’ I know I’m all clear to publish a post.
Something else that all bloggers can do is add titles to your pictures. It’s crazy how much this can boost your referrals from search results! Thank you to Patricia and her tutorial here for letting me know how and why to do this!
5. Brand your social network sites. Odds are that if you have a blog you have most popular social network outlets as well. We’re talking Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest…etc. The best part about social networking? Promoting your blog for free! I’d suggest changing your usernames to your business/blog name so that people can easily find you. I have to finish doing this myself. It’s ten times less confusing to follow someone with the same username across the board than five different names.
6. Have interesting content. So you want people to read your blog? Have something interesting to read? What inspires you? What are you passionate about? Readers love to learn about people and their experiences through life: both good and bad. Beth and Patricia always know EXACTLY what to write about…I’m trying to learn a thing or two from them.
You may have the most interesting content in the world, but if you’re blog design is a unreadable your writing skills won’t have much of an audience. There’s nothing worse than stumbling upon a blog only to find out it’s unreadable due a busy background or too light of a font. I know everyone has their own preference, but I’d hands down go with a plain white background every time. My friend Lisette always does an amazing job designing her blog (hey she designs for others too!!!). Rachel actually sketches her blog designs on paper to get them the way she wants! That’s dedication folks.
7. Get involved! You want people to know who you are? Get out there! Don’t just sponsor blogs and wait for the readers to come, comment on other blogs, participate in linkups, and host giveaways! I’d have to say as a blogger I click on 95% of all my commenter’s links. I’m always on the hunt for something good. Just a little side note though…never ASK for my follow because you followed me. It’s really annoying.
That being said, last but not least 8. Ask for help. Ladies and gentlemen, ALL bloggers have been in those beginner shoes at one point in their blogging history. It never hurts to shoot a quick email to a someone you admire. Just make sure it isn’t a novel…because geez, we all know people don’t have time for that. I’m here for you…as I’m sure multitudes of other bloggers are as well.
P.S. I’m leaving for vacation in a little less than a month! I’ve opened up FOUR guest posting spots (plus 15 days of ad space) for a blog takeover during my vacation. I’m open to whatever you’d like to write about…just as long as it’s somehow related to what I write about on my blog.
Two three of these spots have already been taken via Twitter, but I have two one left! Go get yours. Now. First come, first serve!
P.P.S Of course I can’t leave you without introducing you to one of my amazing sponsors!