Article by Wendy McCance
I would like to try to help those who are either starting out blogging or feel like they have hit the wall. It’s great to write about how great blogging has been for me, like I did in my last post http://searchingforthehappiness.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/a-blog-can-change-your-life-in-astounding-ways/ but I realize that the article could feel frustrating to read if you feel stuck or overwhelmed.
Below are the best tips I can think of to help you move along in the blogging world.
1. Authenticity is everything. Be true to yourself and do what feels best. No matter how much advice you read, a blog will take a while to gather steam. Use this time to learn what you are passionate about.
Tweaking the blog comes with the territory. You might decide to not continue to write poetry for example, but are loving writing about trips you have been on. Listen to your heart and follow what makes you feel happy and it will show through to others. You will also feel more invested and will want to stick with your blog instead of giving up.
You might want to check out this article about different blogging styles.
2. Read the advice of others, but throw out what doesn’t work for you. If you have read this blog for a while, you are familiar with the posts I tested. My most well-known was the post, It Shocked us all! What Happened in the Toilet? http://searchingforthehappiness.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/it-shocked-us-all-what-happened-in-the-toilet/ Not only was the title horrible, you could tell I was trying to do something that didn’t come naturally.
I wrote the article after I had read my fill of advice on the best titles to increase traffic to your blog. I’ve tried a few times to come up with solid titles and then write an article. It always has a poor reception.
The best way I have found to write a post is to write about what is on my mind and then worry about a title.
3. Go to other blogs and comment so that you will increase your traffic. Another good one is the advice of following other blogs so that people will get curious about your blog and stop by to see what you have.
So here’s the trick, you have to be genuine. If you comment on a blog, make sure you have read the post and have something valuable to say. Commenting that you enjoyed the post is fine. What turns people off is when your comment is way out there and it’s obvious you never read the post.
Another thing that can annoy some people is when you put several links on your comment every time you comment. If you have a link to share that goes along with the article, great. If you are just advertising your own blog, over and over again, you can come off as not genuine and kind of self-serving (sorry if that sounds harsh).
If you follow someone, there is a good chance that blogger will look at your blog. Not everyone will follow just because you are following them. Make sure you have good content and hopefully you will have something that’s interesting enough for the person to stick around.
One further note, I have noticed many people who go to as many blogs as possible and follow in hopes of getting a follow back. Many will follow back, but what you want is authentic followers who read your posts and comment.
You can always tell who is just following a million blogs to raise their number of followers. In the comment section each comment will say, “thanks for following my blog.” There will be no comments about an actual article. It might look impressive to show such a big number of followers, but your blog will just be sitting empty with no real views or interest. It defeats the purpose of having a blog if you want to get anywhere with it.
4. Be everywhere. I have written before about all of the places I put my blog. The secret here is that no one really has the time to be that visible all over the web. Set up your blog so that readers can hit the sharing buttons such as Digg, Twitter and Facebook and share your content quickly and easily.
Make sure you set up sharing on your dashboard so that whenever you post an article, it automatically posts for you on Twitter, Yahoo etc…
Check in to these sites to see if your article was shared or commented on. If it has, thank the person or comment back. That way, you are engaged and even more visible without turning your blog into a full-time job.
You can read my article, Increase the Traffic to your Website at this link: http://searchingforthehappiness.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/832/
5. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others. In the early stages of my blog, I wanted success right then. I had this vision of my blog taking off wildly. I read some blogs where there were 30 comments or 40 likes. Some blogs had 2,000 followers. At the same time I had maybe 1 comment, 2 likes and 4 followers.
It seemed to go that way for so long. I didn’t take into account that some of these bloggers had been blogging for a few years. Some of the blogs had gorgeous pictures on it that just drew you in. Other blogs were just so well written and truly addictive to read.
It wasn’t fair to compare. My blog was young. My writing style just developing. I had nothing special to draw in a reader but my words.
It takes a lot of time, patience and a willingness to learn all you can and keep at it.
6. Make sure your blog is easy to navigate. Let’s be honest. How many blogs have you gone to, gotten frustrated and then left never to return again? Some of the things that might annoy a reader are:
- Having a blog that loads slowly or freezes every time you go to it.
- Having a hard time finding where to comment or like a post.
- Having to put in all sorts of information and then deal with a Captcha Code. (People want fast and easy).
- Scrolling down, down, down to get to that comment box. (You might want to set things up so the newest comment shows up first instead of the oldest comment).
- Put in information about yourself under the About page. Readers like to know who you are and what your all about.
- Don’t have so many links that need to be clicked just to get to the article.
- Reply to the readers who take the time to comment. You are building relationships. If they have taken the time to write to you, it’s nice to get a reply.
7. Finding ways to show your appreciation for your followers goes a long way. I don’t have as much time as I would like to go to all of the blogs I would like to and participate. When I have some extra time, I make a massive effort to go around to as many people’s blogs as I can and show support. It makes me feel bad because the people who come my way are fantastic and I want them to know how much I appreciate them and what they do.
I try to make up for this by offering bloggers an opportunity to guest blog or share a link or whatever else I can dream up to show I care about them.
Finding ways to show you care really goes a long way in nurturing the relationships you are building.
8. The power of links. The more articles you write and the more links you share, the more traffic you will receive. Find articles that are relevant to something you have written and add your link after your comment.
Advertise your blog on as many blog sites as possible. Put your link to your blog below your signature when you write emails if it would make sense to do. The web is all about connections. Every link that is sent out will expand as more people share your link and send it around the web.
The important thing is to be smart about where you add your link. As long as it is in a place that makes sense, your links will take off and your traffic will build.
The best part is the more visible you start to become, the more often you will be found in searches.
9. Make sure you use categories and tags. This is so important. If you want to be found in searches, you need to add what category your post falls under. Maybe it’s health, family, how-to or self-help.
Tags are also important. Look over what you have written. Use words or phrases that were written in the article. You might use tags like, marriage, Twitter, family fun, brownie recipe etc…
10. Write when you feel inspired. This is probably the best of all of the advice. When I began to blog, I read all sorts of articles stating that you should only write a few articles a week. Putting together a schedule of when you should write was a big part of that advice. I personally think that’s hogwash.
The first several months, I wrote an article a day. I honestly think that is why my blog took off quicker. I was constantly sending out new articles and saturating the sites where I placed my posts.
I felt bad when I felt truly inspired if I had already written an article that day. I didn’t want to go overboard and exhaust people with yet another article to read.
I finally realized that if you have a lot to say, take advantage of that moment and write it. The best stories come from the moments when you feel ready to write. If you don’t want to post so many articles on the same day, save it on Microsoft Word and add it the next day.
Another point is that if you feel like you are forcing a post, don’t write then. I have had times where I don’t know what to write for a few days. I don’t beat myself up about it anymore. If I read, watch a movie or get out of the house and go do something, I find that something will trigger an idea and then I’m off and typing again.
I hoped that there is something within this post that will inspire you, answer a question or make you feel more at ease with your own blog. If you have anything that has helped you that you’d like to share, please do so. If you are stuck on something and have a question or feel unsure about your next step, ask in the comment section and I would be happy to give you some advice.
All the best in your own blogging journey.