No one is more surprised than me that people other than my mom read this blog. And I guess maybe I’m doing something right in this figuring-it-out-as-I-go-along gig.
But it’s gotten to the point, where every day I get multiple comments/messages/emails from other bloggers or someone interested in starting their own asking for advice to grow their own online presence.
I figured I owed it to them and everyone else to take a break for a day from the home/DIY stuff and get down to sharing the technical side.
This blog is my bonafide job now, which I’ve seen as one of the biggest blessings that I truly feel God put a bunch of puzzle pieces of my past together to make it all happen. (Teacher, photography enthusiast, English degree, it all fit.)
If you want to grow your blog to “get rich quick”, I gotta tell ya, you might want to find a different career path. But if you’re passionate about your subject matter and willing to pour your heart and soul into it (even if it means you won’t make a dime), it will be worth it.
But in the end, growth matters, and the higher your following/pageviews are, the more you can make. (And if you’re like me, the more room makeovers and projects you can create. Ha! #DIYaddict)
Here are my pageviews from Google Analytics for the past year and a half:
I don’t like throwing numbers out there, but I really think it helps to see just how much can happen in such a short amount of time. In March of 2015, I averaged 59,000 pageviews for the month. In August 2016, I averaged 542,000 pageviews for the month. What?! And it’s all because of these 7 things…
7 Tips to Grow Your Blog: (Affiliate links are provided below for convenience. For more information, see my full disclosure here.)
- Post Consistently.
It wasn’t until I started posting consistently, 3 times a week, that I started seeing true sustainable growth with my blog. The bottom line is people like knowing you’re there, like a friend who shows up for a regular coffee date and a chat. If 3 times a week is too much, stick to 2 or just 1, or even publish a new post every other week. But be consistent. People like someone they can depend on.
If I get writer’s block, I have brainstorm sessions where I jot down lists of projects or post ideas that I usually keep in my iPhone’s notepad. Then, I plan my post schedule on my simple little Google Calendar.
2. Keep Practicing Your Photography.
Even though I was lucky enough to already own a fancy schmancy DSLR camera when I first started my blog, I knew diddly squat about it. Just when I’d be ready to give up, I’d learn a new trick that would dramatically improve my photos (some I shared about here).
As soon as I started consciously working to improve my photos, my blog’s traffic saw an increase, and it has continued because I keep learning. That’s sort of the beauty of photography too. There’s always something new to learn to discover new abilities in yourself.
If you need a good place to start, Shoot Fly Shoot as an excellent course. I highly recommend Aniko Levai’s ebook The Ultimate Photography Book for Bloggers too. Aniko’s Lightroom presets alone are worth every penny.
See the photo on the left? I shot that two years ago. I shot the photo on the right just recently. Amazing what just practice and trial and error with proper education can do using the exact same photography equipment.
3. Provide Worth.
The posts you write that provide solutions to common problems, those are gold! When I first started this blog, I wrote posts as a journal to document our new house’s progress in the beginning.
But along the way, I discovered I could provide information to others that would help them solve the same problems I was dealing with- having a basic character-less house and not a lot of money to decorate it. Your common problems can be your blog’s angle.
If your blog isn’t growing, and you can’t figure out why, try just writing about your problems and how you’re solving them. Because while telling a story is great, it’s passing on knowledge to others that will ultimately win. Helping others is always fulfilling anyway. 🙂
4. Find Your Voice.
I’m a former English teacher, and I solemnly swear it is okay to use imperfect grammar on your blog. (For the love of Merriam-Webster, spell check, but you get what I mean.) You’re not writing an essay. You’re having a conversation. Throw in your personality! Be a total nerd or a goofball or that stay-at-home mom who always seems to be running low on coffee with oatmeal covered pajamas and is pulling her hair out.
The point is, as corny as it may sound, just. be. your. self. There’s too much “perfect” floating around in Internet Land anyway.
5. Find Your Own Path.
If you’re a blogger, you’re going to do it. I know you will. You’ll look at that “bigger” blogger’s Instagram followers or pretty photography or genius idea projects and think, “Why can’t I get there?” (*raises hand* Guilty.) You will. But not by copying anybody else’s way of success.
Challenge yourself to think up projects of post ideas that no one has ever done before. If you’re always scrolling around on Pinterest looking for project ideas to recreate that hundreds of other bloggers have already done, you’re not forging your own path. And you’re selling yourself short on your own potential. I dare you to be daring.
6. Make Blogger Friends.
Community is everything in blogging, and I truly credit so many of the opportunities I’ve been given to all of the amazing bloggers I’ve met. It’s a true family, and I don’t know of any other profession where people really do care about each other and look out for one another the way bloggers do.
Search for blogger groups on Facebook, join several until you find one that clicks with you.
Step out of your comfort zone and attend a blogging conference. Last month, I went to my second Haven Conference in Atlanta, where I was inspired and enlightened and humbled all rolled up together. (P.S. Bloggers are notoriously introverted. If you’re shy, you’re in good company.)
Nina (Nina Hendrick Design) | Jamie (So Much Better With Age) | Rachel (Maison de Pax) | April (House by Hoff) | Me! | Sarah (Life on Virginia Street) | Abby (Just a Girl and Her Blog) | Chelsea (Making Home Base)
Oh, and you might get to meet John and Sherry Petersik from Young House Love, which is pretty sweet. 😉
7. Share Regularly on Social Media.
I have a love/hate relationship with social media, mostly because there are the negative comments you’ll receive from time to time that will sting. (i.e. “Ew! You painted your cabinets white?!”) But that’s okay. Over time, you develop a thick skin. And the amazing bloggers/readers/awesome people you “meet” make the infrequent little stinger comments totally worth it.
Identify your “brand” or your style and share posts from other blogs or magazines that you love (with proper tags of their accounts). Have conversations with your followers. And aim to be a source of positivity in the fast-paced social media world that often needs a lot of love and encouragement.
Good golly I wrote a novel. But I really really hope it helped some of y’all who are feeling stumped on this blogging thing, not that I’m the almighty expert but I’ve learned some great tricks these last 2.5 years.
If you want the absolute BEST blogging resource (in my humble opinion) for getting started or even if you’ve been blogging a while but need some help, Abby Lawson’s ebook Building a Framework is a game changer! Seriously.
So, fellow blogger friends, got any blogging tips of your own? Or non-blogger friends, have you ever wanted to start one? If you have questions, let me know! I’ll always do the best I can to help.