To start, like in everything in life – success is all about how you view it. For me, success is continuing to see my hard work grow and to watch it develop and change. I’ve loved watching my blog change and take direction over the last three years and right now I’d say I feel like it’s a success just because it isn’t stagnant. I really am like this in every part of my life – I love goals. I like to know that what I am working on will build a better resume, a better blog, or a more fulfilled life. And like in any job that I have, I love the idea of learning it inside-out.
When I started blogging I really knew nothing, I had no idea what I was doing – I just knew it was fun. But as I began to research and discover new things I would feel excited because there was so much to learn and there were so many interesting tools to use to create a successful blog. That’s another thing that makes me excited about a job or my blog – the process of learning. To me, success and interest in any field require limitless boundaries of education. The day that I cannot learn any more about how to blog better, write more effectively, or photograph more beautifully will be the day I stop. Today I wanted to share with you all a few things that I’ve discovered over the last few years that have helped me feel more successful in blogging.
Be personal + authentic
When it comes to blogging no saying rings more true than “Be yourself, everyone else is taken!”. Your content and images need to
Share your tips
If you’ve been blogging for a while, chances are you’ve picked up a few tips along the way. If you have a tip that no one else is sharing than share it! Beat the rest of your market to the punch and share your knowledge. You’ll find that when you share content that can enhance a persons life that people will flock to your content because you’re willing to share exclusive advice to truly help them.
One thing I like to ask myself before hitting publish is: Is this content valuable? While not all of your content needs to be How To posts or Guides, it’s important to have a large portion of your content include valuable information. The thing is, while occasionally writing about your weekend or the delicious coffee you had can help create a bond with your readers. Those posts can show you’re not just a blogger, your a person, and you’re just like your readers. But, if your content only consists of weekend recaps than you may find it difficult to grow your readership, and even more difficult to turn your blog into a business.
The rule of 80 / 20
When it comes to your blog content vs. promotional content try for a ratio of 80/20. You want your posts to be genuine, and nothing will take away from that more than overly sponsored content. Post after post that highlight special deals or only showcase items sent to you can come off as disingenuous. While most bloggers and readers know that some sponsored content as sent items is simply just a part of blogging, you don’t want those to overwhelm your blog.
The best thing to do for your blog and your readership is to be choosy when it comes to the sponsored content you write. When you begin to see growth in your blog’s traffic, you can become overwhelmed with sponsorship and free sent items collaborations but be sure to really review the company before jumping into working with them. Only take on projects that you truly love, are on brand, and will be useful to your readers. To summarize, just be sure to promote what you love, not just what pays.
Improve Your Content
If there’s one tip to hold on to – it’s to constantly look for ways to improve your writing and content. Look into your website’s popular posts using google analytics to help guide your future posts. You want to really listen to what those stats are telling you because they are basically telling exactly what your readers want.
The quickest way to build your traffic and grow your readership is by understanding what content your readership is most interested in. For example, if a Hair Tutorial you posted a few months back is one of your most popular posts, it still receives re-pins, and receives traffic from google – then take that as a hint to make more of those posts!
Educate Yourself on SEO
The trickiest part of blogging is SEO, but it’s worthwhile to take the time to understand it. Take a few hours a week to seek out information on how to improve your website’s SEO. You want your blog to receive traffic even when you’re unable to post and promote and the best way to achieve consistent traffic is by making your posts searchable using SEO.
If you’re not sure where to start with SEO, don’t worry. I’ll be talking about this a lot more in the coming weeks. To start though I’ll share a little tip: One thing I did when I first began to tip-toe into learning how to best implement SEO was to save the posts that made the most sense to me. Out of my favourite posts, I probably understood about half of what was being said. I created a little folder on my web toolbar called “SEO” and there I stored all the posts that best spoke to me. The more I read, the more I saved, and the more I began to understand the SEO lingo in those How To posts. I found that when I went back to my saved posts, I was able to understand more and more.
Grow your Following (and engage them!)
A successful blog that shares useful content typically has a loyal readership. It’s a simple enough statement, but actually making it happen – well, that’s the tough part. To start, growing your readership is all about understanding your target audience – and focusing on it. In my guide on how to grow a loyal audience I talk a bit about how growing your following is all about building a community where people can find exclusive content and ask questions. That’s one thing to keep in mind when you’re writing a blog post: Am I engaging my readers? Am I creating a discussion? Having a dialogue on your blog will encourage your readers to become most involved and engaged in your posts. Those posts will also will draw new readers in and can turn a one-time visit into a new reader.
Grow Your Traffic
Using social media, SEO, building a mail list, and by creating great content you’re sure to see an increase in your traffic over time.
Specifically, though, your mail list is your key to success. A mail list is a wonderful tool as it means you can reach your audience directly. Services such as Mailchimp.com provide useful analytics to help guide your newsletters similar to how google analytics can guide you into creating popular posts.
Unlike when a reader subscribes to your blog on bloglovin, facebook, instagram or twitter, there is not much promotion involved in sending a Newsletter. If someone has subscribed to your newsletter than chances are they want to hear from you. Your social media outlets are incredibly useful tools that shouldn’t be neglected, but you need to think of them like this: they are useful for quick convincing blurbs about your post, but they can easily be missed by a huge portion of your readership. A newsletter that goes right into a person’s e-mail inbox is a great way to reach your reader directly, and also a great way to remind them about your blog.
Use Excellent Photos
Let’s be honest, quality photos are always more eye-catching than blurry unfocused images. Pick
your images wisely as they are what instantly represents your blog and your brand. Keep this in mind when you post photos on any of your social media outlets, too. You want your photos to show your personality, highlight your content, and create curiosity + buzz with your audience. The images you choose are also going to be what engages your readers on other visual networks such as Pinterest. Since Pinterest is one of my main sources of traffic, it’s very important that my pictures are attention-grabbing. I want my Pinterest audience to instantly feel that “I need to Pin” feeling when they see my photos and blog tips posts. If you’re on Bloglovin, then this is another source to consider when choosing your images – specifically the first image on your post. The first image on your post is what represents your post on Bloglovin. It automatically sets the tone for what a reader will find in that blog post, so you want to make sure the image really JUMPS out at the reader and conveys your message. Unlike on Pinterest where you get to pick and choose which images you share, Bloglovin’ chooses for you – so make sure that starting image is your best!
Answer the Questions People Ask
When you go on google or Pinterest, it’s easy to quickly find exactly what people are searching for, and tools like Google Trends assist with that even further. When you know what people are searching for, it’s time to build a post around it. The best posts out there are posts that solve a problem that multiple people are having. When you’re answering a question, make sure it’s well-written, easy to understand, visually engaging, and most of all – easy to share.
Listen to Readers
Your readers are your key to success. They provide you the information you need to create your best posts – but you need to be listening. I have heard many bloggers say that they don’t have time to read their comments, or they don’t have time to learn how to use google analytics. Well, you’re doing your blog, yourself, and your readership a disservice by not taking the time to really understand your audience.
Many bloggers (myself included) put pressure on themselves to post a certain amount of times per week, but the fact is if you posted less and gave yourself more time to understand your readership, you’d likely find that you’d be able to work less, streamline your content, and create posts of quality and value. So, read their comments, respond to their emails, and see which posts they are most engaged in. If your readers continue to ask a certain question then it’s high time to answer it. Watch as your blog becomes even more engaging to your following!