I’ve been reflecting on my blogging journey recently and came up with a handful of tips which I thought some people may find useful.
- Decide on your big ‘why’ in advance. It may seem obvious but getting clear on this question can inform your overall approach to blogging. Do you blog to entertain? To express yourself? For example, PsychedelicBay, one of the blogs I follow, aims to reach readers in every country on every continent. They produce a lot of content, visit many blogs and their stats are booming. I also know many bloggers who have a specific message and their goal is to share it with like-minded people. Norah Colvin has amazing early learning resources and no matter what she writes about her passion for young children’s learning shines through. Your ‘why’ informs ‘what’ your produce and who may be your ideal reader.
- Decide on the frequency of your blogging. When I started blogging it was difficult to write a post once in two weeks, but now I can post every day, if I want to. It took a bit of a trial and error to find the pace that’s sustainable for me and my readers. I now view blogging as a marathon and not a short sprint. Decide on how often you’d like to post and stick to that routine. Consistency is the queen! Of course, there may be times when you miss a post or two, or you might write more, but overall, I believe pacing yourself can help you to maintain this practice for many years to come. It creates a certain expectations in your readers too, and can help you get into the flow of posting at regular intervals. For example, Louise Allan, one of my favourite bloggers always posts on Wednesdays, so I know to pop around to say hi mid-week. Sarah Brentyn posts 200-word Thought Bubbles every Sunday, which I love to read and ponder on.
- Share your posts on social media. Long before I started blogging I came across this advice: ‘Most people spend 80% of effort on producing their blog content and 20% on sharing it. Do the reverse, and you can reach more people.’ I don’t think I’ve mastered that ratio, but I kept in mind the necessity of sharing my posts to grow my audience. I mainly use Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook, it’s worth joining one or two groups which have similar content to yours. I found that just randomly sharing posts in various groups doesn’t get any result. It’s only when we take time to connect with other people on those forums, our posts can get some exposure. With Twitter there are lots of hashtags that might help to get the word out about your posts. I found that on Twitter, consistency and reciprocity are essential.
- Lifestyle Bloggers: #lbloggers
- Beauty Bloggers: #bbloggers
- Travel bloggers: #travelbloggers
- Food bloggers: #foodbloggers
- Monday: #MondayBlogs.
- Tuesday: #TuesdayShares
- Wednesday: #wwwblogs #BeWoW
- Thursday: #ThrowbackThursday
- Friday: #BluSkyFriday, #FridayShares and #LinkYourLife
- Saturday: #ArchiveDay, #WeekendBlogHop
- Sunday: #SundayBlogShare
4. Build relations with other bloggers. The way I built up my initial audience was to follow every blogger who crossed my path. I followed bloggers who left comments on the blogs I read. It’s by far the best way to connect with the blogosphere, but one that requires significant time investment. The upside is tons of inspiration you get from reading other people’s posts and making friends all over the world. There are amazing people I know through blogging in Poland, South Africa, the US, Canada, Australia, Greece, India, France, even the UK, – people, I’d never have known otherwise.
5. Blogging challenges. Taking part in the April A to Z blogging challenge was super useful. It built my blogging muscle and I reached a lot of people. It’s fairly intense because you blog every day in April except for Sundays, and all you’ve got is a letter of an alphabet a day. You can blog on a certain theme or not. It’s great fun and I highly recommend it. There’s a similar challenge in November (NanoPoblano).
6. Guest posting was another way to build my audience. If there are blogs you follow and they have similar content to yours, it might be worth checking whether they are interested in a guest post. I’ve attracted some of my best readers by submitting guest posts to other blogs.
7. Running series. I ran The Story Behind The Story series for about six months. Once a week, I posted a guest post by another writer telling an inspiring story behind a book or a project. It was great that once a week I had a guaranteed post written by someone else. It saved me time on writing, plus some of those people shared the guest post with their own readers. In turn, new people visited my blog, and some of them liked it enough to follow. The downside is not all of my readers were interested in reading posts of people they knew little about and it took time to find the right contributors.
What is your experience of building an audience for your blog? What worked well? What didn’t? What else would you have liked from your blogging experience?