Blogging has evolved over the past few years. Not only for myself, but for the entire blogging community. I have seen bloggers and trends come and go, people change niches, designs, brands, you name it. Even my reasons for blogging have somewhat changed. I started my blog when Z deployed to Afghanistan the first time, and it was something I did here and there. I didn’t write five days a week. I didn’t have sponsors. I didn’t do sponsored posts. In fact, I didn’t even know any of that existed until for awhile.
One of the questions I received the other day in my question and answer post was “How would you suggest to a new blogger how to grow their blog?” And while I wish I had a clear cut answer, I don’t. However, I do have a few things I’ve done that have seemed to work for me. These things may not have worked for other bloggers and may not work for you, but here are just a few ways I’ve grown my blog over the past few years.
1. Read other blogs. And comment. It’s great to write and have a blog, but doesn’t it feel even better when people comment? Or tell you how much their post touched them? Or how much they learn from you? Absolutely. So return the favor. Read 5-10 blogs a day (more if you can) and comment. Don’t comment “Great post” or “Loved it”. Yes, those are nice things to say, but show them how much the post moved you. That you loved their outfit suggestions or can relate to their issues about this or that. Obviously don’t say anything if you don’t have anything to say, but show them you read it and you appreciate it.
This has changed a little over time. I used to read a TON of blogs and comment daily. I will admit, with my schedule, I only get a chance to read 3-5 on a good day. I hate the Bloglovin’ app so for me, I read most of them from Facebook. But I make sure to interact with other bloggers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Want to take it a step further? Comment and start to build a relationship with them. Which brings me to my next point…
2. Make blogging friends. I have met some of the most amazing women through blogging. Some I’ve met in real life, others I’ve just FaceTimed with or talked on the phone with. Some who I’ll never meet and some I will absolutely meet. Not only have they gotten me through some difficult times in and out of Blogland, but we’ve stuck together. We help each other with post promotion, giveaways, sponsorship advice, etc. We’ve swamped ads, passed info to PR firms, etc. Having people in your corner is always a good thing, especially in Blogland.
How can you do this?
Look for bloggers who are around your niche, experience, and size. Shoot them an email and ask if they would be interested in swapping guest posts one day. Or if they want to trade free ad space. Or if they would like to team up with you for a giveaway. You obviously can’t force friendships so some people you’ll click with and others you won’t. Don’t get discouraged if someone says no… there are plenty of other people who will say yes.
3. Tag brands. Instagram wasn’t very big when I started blogging. In fact, I didn’t even have an Instagram for my blog for quite awhile. But now? It’s huge. Brands can search by hashtags and actually notice when you tag them in the brand. Kohl’s is wonderful at this and they’ve even shared one of my posts on their Insta. This brought me followers. Not a ton, but some. But it doesn’t hurt to do it, so make sure you’re tagging brands in every picture you can. You can also tag brands on Twitter and Facebook, but I find Instagram and Twitter to be more beneficial than Facebook.
4. Giveaways. Some people think that giveaways are “buying followers”. And I have to disagree. Yes, you are paying to gift a winner with a prize. And the requirements for entering the giveaway most often require you follow the hosts. However, I look at it the same way I look at buying ad space on a blog or how companies buy spots in magazines or newspapers. You’re promoting your blog/brand and reaching new followers. Sure, they “have” to follow you in order to win, but some won’t stay around once the winner is announced. And that’s fine. If they want to be there, they will stay. And that’s the type of followers you want anyways. If they want to leave, let them. Your challenge should be to produce content that keeps them there.
Now I try and do giveaways sporadically. I a) don’t want to spam my readers/followers and b) don’t want to shell out a ton of money all the time. I find that if I don’t like something I see on Instagram, I just scroll by. If the person does it all the time and it’s getting annoying, I unfollow. But a giveaway here and there isn’t a big deal to me. Who wouldn’t want to win a billion dollars to Target or a new Tory Burch bag? I would think not many people 🙂 But that’s obviously a personal preference and not everyone is down with giveaways. Nothing wrong with it either way.
5. Advertise. I used to do this a lot more than I do now. And I actually would like to start doing it a little more. But advertising used to be a lot more “popular” than I think it is now. Like I’ve said, blogging has changed over the past few years and I feel like most “ad space” is shifting towards Instagram. And that people are looking to grow their brand on Instagram more than their blog. Trust me, I love me some Instagram followers just as much as the next person. But a lot of brands want to know your page views because not everyone, especially the older generations, use Instagram as much as they’ll sit down to read a blog post. And I even find it refreshing to read blog posts vs. scroll Instagram all day. Instagram is great to find out behind the scenes/ daily life kind of stuff, but I love good old fashioned blog posts too.
How can you advertise? Look at my advertise page for an idea (take 25% off any ad space with code IMBACK). But head to some of your favorite blogs and see what type of advertising packages they offer. Ad space on a sidebar is okay, but I highly advise you try to find an option that gives you maximum exposure. Guest posts, social media shoutouts, giveaways, etc. Yes, they might get pricey and it may seem like it’s a waste of money. But I promise you, it’s not. Having other bloggers give you exposure is one of the best ways to grow your brand. Especially bloggers who are similar in content to yours.
6. Produce quality and consistent posts. I post 5 days a week. Very rarely do I post anything less or more. Some are outfit posts, some are random and funny, some are heartfelt and serious. Some are more fun to read than others. And when looking at page views, I can obviously see what types of post people prefer over others. But I can’t post those 5 days a week, so there’s a good variety.
You don’t have to post 5 days a week, but try to set a goal. The more you post, the more you’re on the radar. People will expect 2 or 3 or how ever many posts a week and be looking for them. They’ll look forward to and be anticipating your next post.
But whatever you do, don’t write just to write. If you have nothing to say that day and are stressing out because you don’t have a blog post to put up, just don’t. I always say something on my social media like “No post today; I got caught up watching reality TV. See you tomorrow!” That way, you’re still on your readers/followers radar but don’t feel pressure to post something just to post it. Nobody has time to read crap and you don’t need to waste time writing it.
7. Don’t get discouraged. It takes time. Lots and lots of time. Some people, and I’m still not sure how, come on the scene and have like a bazillion followers. And it’s hard not to wonder “what are they doing that I’m not?” But we are all different people and followers follow us for different reasons. You want people to follow you because they want to and because they’re interested in your brand/blog/life. It’s hard not to watch the numbers, but worry more with interacting with your readers/followers. Comment back. Respond to emails. Leave encouragement. Just do you and followers/readers will come. It doesn’t happen overnight so just be patient.
Like I said, these are some of the things that have worked for me. I’ve been actively working on growing my blog over the past few years and I’m not a big blogger by any means. So of course, I’m still learning and growing as a person and blogger everyday. I love to hear what other people have to say on topics like these because I think we should all be able to help each other and succeed together.
As I mentioned, I had no idea there was money to be made in blogging. And I will share tips for that in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!
How have you grown your blog? Any tips? Please leave them below!