Let's face it: we all start out at 0. For the most part, all of us are on the same blog playing field when it comes to growing and establishing our online presence. When we start, we often wonder, what am I doing wrong? People might not be reading, or commenting, or following. But there are some definite things you can do right now to help with this.
Since September marks 5 years of Helene in Between, I wanted to share 5 things that I did that helped explode my blog. This helped to get me noticed, establish a community, carve out my passions, and created my blog what it is today: a full time job.
1. Find your passion
It is my firm belief that if you aren't passionate about something, you simply won't do it. Is blogging fun for you? Are you enjoying it? Do you WANT to do it? You have to answer “yes” to those questions in order to continue it.
When I started this blog it was originally called “Do Dallas Cheap” and it rounded up the daily deals in Dallas. It felt like such a chore to write, and so I eventually quit that, and turned it into something I cared about. When I created Helene in Between, I fell in love. I wanted to write on it and I wanted to grow it. This totally changed the game for me, and my passion came out in my writing. It was no longer something I had to do, but something I couldn't wait to get to everyday.
Part of finding joy in blogging is being successful. Gaining and establishing a following, having people read your posts, and so on. That usually takes a little effort. If you're just starting, remember that we all struggle with this. So some tricks to find your passion: write in a way that others would want to read. Think about why you follow some other blogs. It probably isn't because you want to hear that they did the laundry. You do want to hear snippets of their life, but you also want to connect with them in some way. That can be because they taught you something new, made you laugh, kept your interest, or helped you discover yourself. Keep that in mind when you hit publish on a blog post.
2. Create a strategy
Now that you have a passion, it's time to plan. What do you want from your blog? Remember, this can change. It has for me multiple times. When I first started blogging I wanted a creative outlet and a way to connect. Now, my blog is still that, but it's also about building connections and profiting from my online business. When my plan changes, my priorities change. And I align my blog and posts to that strategy.
I'm not saying write down every little thing, but having an idea in mind of what you want from your blog, can help a lot. So, do you want more followers, to make money, to have millions read your work, to help someone? Whatever that is, write it down and create blog posts that are centered around your goals.
Along with this is planning. I do not plan out all my blog posts, although many bloggers do. I do however, believe in scheduling. I always felt so tied to my blog, but with schedulers I am able to beat that. I schedule my posts and social media, and this also helps me be more consistent (which also helps you grow!) Here's how I schedule everything for my blog.
3. Link your social
When I find a new blog that I like, the first thing I do is to go follow them on Twitter. Just the other day I tried to follow this AWESOME writer. I searched all over her page, her “about me” and even her “contact.” And no Twitter was to be found.
She totally missed out on having me as a reader! I had no way of following her and therefore staying in touch. Now, I know not everyone is on every social media platforms. But the big hitters (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) should be on your blog. Here's why: it gives everyone the opportunity to follow you.
Lots of people tell me they don't want to start a Facebook page. They tell me their audience isn't there. They tell me that they will have “no followers.” Again, we all have to start somewhere. And, what if you are missing out on an opportunity for a post to go viral? They fact is, social media still plays a major factor in helping your blog grow organically, so I suggest having it.
4. Connect with others
Let me tell you this, if you don't listen to any part of this post, take note here. This is the end all be all for creating a successful blog and saving your sanity! Creating relationships with other bloggers helps widen BOTH your blog's online presence, so it's a win-win. Plus, you are able to connect and relate with someone else going through the same struggles you are.
Once you start connecting with others, you are able to grow your online community. These are the people that read your blog, comment on your posts, share your work, and maybe, buy from you. To me, this is the most important key to success.
Here's some ideas on how to connect with others. You can’t just wait for people to come to you, you need to be proactive. Search online, on twitter, on Bloglovin, for blogs with a similar feel as you have. Reach out to them. Comment on their posts. Tell them what you like.
I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it many times: the reason I have any sort of following if because I commented on blogs. I know it’s time consuming. I know you can’t always do it. But how does anyone know you care about their blogs unless you leave a comment? They don’t.
5. Start an email list
Last year, around this time, I decided to blog full time. I had tried, and failed before. This time, I was equipped with an email list.
When you have an email list, it's the only guaranteed way to “own” your following. VERY recently, Pinterest was down. The whole entire site. So many people say that Pinterst is their biggest source of traffic. While it's huge… what if it went away? With an email list, you can always email your list and tell them about your blog posts.
Having a newsletter provides a way to communicate DIRECTLY with your audience, and on a more personal level. A newsletter or email list is one of the best ways I grew my following and, ultimately, made money online.
The first year of my blog, I had around 10,000 pageviews a month. Now, I average 150-175,000. I have more followers and people are engaged. This, of course, took some time. But when you have a passion, some support, and some knowledge, you really can reach your goals.
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