How can I grow my blog?
It is a question I have asked myself many times, and still continue to ask today. I have high goals for my blog, and I am no where near them yet, but I have loved seeing my hard work pay off in the form of traffic to my blog. When I first started blogging, I honestly didn’t have a strategy, ideal reader defined, or a structure whatsoever to my blog. I blogged mostly about my new skills I was learning, such as lettering and surface pattern design, which were of interest to me but most likely not that helpful for many others. I love the notion of progress over perfection, and launching before you are 100% ready. I definitely stand behind that, and am so glad I hit publish on my blog even though I was a bit lost on my purpose behind it. After launching my design studio full-time earlier this year, I knew I had to up my game and hone in on the vision behind the Spruce Rd. blog.
I wanted to write this post to provide helpful tips from what I have learned from growing my blog 448% in 3 months, as well as encourage you to just go for it! I am not intending to gloat about my recent blog traffic, because really I have so much further I want to go, and I also acknowledge that these numbers don’t equate to happiness, or even paid clients.
I based my recent growth on the total number of unique users, or visitors to my site. I launched my blog in July of 2014, and my rapid growth occurred from February–April of 2015.
Define your ideal reader
The first step to growing my blog readership stemmed from defining my ideal reader. For me, it was a complete game changer in shifting from writing for myself, and writing for a specific reader in mind. Honestly, I struggled at first defining this reader, but once I acknowledged that my blog is (my most public) extension of my business, I aligned my ideal reader with my ideal client. With the perspective of writing for creative entrepreneurs, everything else seemed to fall into place!
Maybe you don’t have a business (yet), and just have a blog on the side. I would still encourage you to dig deep and see what resources and perspective you can share with the blogging community. Once you understand your strengths, you will have an easier time pinpointing your ideal reader.
Give your blog purpose
Now that you understand who you are writing for, you should easily be able to sum up the purpose behind your blog in a brief sentence. For me, the vision behind the Spruce Rd. blog is to share helpful tips, insights and resources for creative entrepreneurs and bloggers. I like to be an open book, and share with you my experiences from my journey so far.
Try completing this statement to define your purpose: I want to help people by _________________.
Create Blog Categories
This is the fun part for me — as someone who loves to plan and organize! I recommend creating just a few blog categories, 3-5 should suffice, to start with. Start with how you want to help people, and create categories from there. I wrote an in-depth post on this topic a while back, if you want more insight! For my blog, I focus primarily on branding, business, blogging, and design. I have a few other categories scattered, however I try to keep it streamlined. You can always add categories as your blog grows + shifts.
Through minimizing your blog categories/topics, you not only make developing blog content super easy to create, you also make your blog consistent for your readers. Your readers will begin to reference your blog for these specific topics, acknowledging you as an expert in that field!
Create value for your readers: Share helpful tips
Personally, I have found that when I am scrolling through my Bloglovin feed, I tend to “mark as read” posts that aren’t as helpful for me. Selfish… I know! I typically don’t read the “happy weekend!” posts, lettering quotes, or other “fluff” posts. If you post these, there is nothing wrong with that! I used to publish similar posts to my blog. I simply mention this to show what I have learned about my blog, from a reader standpoint.
I love reading a post where I come away learning something new, or insight into someone else’s business/blog! Whether it is photography tips, how to get social media followers, or even learning about how another business received so much success. Because of this, I now structure my blog to share helpful tips + behind the scenes, as I travel this road of entrepreneurship.
Analyze what you like to pin on Pinterest that most relates to your blog niche. Take note, and see how you can contribute! The helpful posts I publish are the most shared, pinned and liked throughout all of my social media, and continue to bring in new readers + clients!
Be strategic in how you present your post
Pinterest has been a top referral to my blog, and I attribute that to mostly producing valuable content, but also to taking time in creating post graphics. Vertical images are given more real estate in Pinterest, so always try to have a vertical post graphic. I also use a legible bold typeface, which allows users to easily understand what my blog post is about. Take time creating the title of your post, and make sure it is clear + peaks curiosity for your ideal reader. Reel them into your blog!
Create a blog post style guide, to give your images consistency and an easily recognizable design.
Stick to a schedule
I saved the best for last! I really think blogging more frequently + consistently has contributed a lot to my recent growth. I have learned that if I don’t create deadlines for myself, I will take my sweet little time and not be productive. I used to blog sporadically, but that has since changed! Now, I stick to a 3 posts a week schedule. Maybe I will get up to posting every day of the week — but right now that seems a bit daunting balancing blogging with client projects, and everything else that comes with being an entrepreneur. The important thing to note is to be consistent with your publishing schedule. With that said, if you find yourself posting “fluff” posts, maybe it is time to reexamine and decrease the amount of times you are posting. Quality over quantity. Always.
Try writing 2–3 weeks worth of post topics, and scheduling them. I don’t use a fancy editorial calendar, a simple to-do list works great in my todoist app. This helps you stay on track, and not waste time trying to figure out what to blog about for tomorrow’s post!
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What strategies have given your blog the most interaction with your audience, and traffic to your site? I would love to know what has worked for you so we can learn from each other, in the comments below!