#socialbloggers,  social networks

#socialbloggers 9 – how to grow your blog

 
It’s that time again, ladies and gents. I cannot believe that next Saturday will be the 10th chat!!! I’m really enjoying hosting these with Noor and I’m a bit scared that one day I’ll have other plans and not be able to make it! Ha.
 
This week we were talking about how to grow your blog and tools you use to do so.
 
Oh, you want my opinion? 
 
Actually, most of you probably don’t so feel free to just scroll down to the questions and replies. But those that want to read my babble for the next few minutes, let’s go:
 
Some of you who have only been reading my blog for a couple of months and follow me on twitter may find it hard to believe that I went over one year not having a twitter account attached to my blog. Yup. For one whole year, I did not use social networks or interact with bloggers outside of the twittersphere. This probably means that I grew my blog a lot differently from most of you that use twitter chats or are avid tweeters.
 
I started my current twitter account to accompany the forums on 1st January 2014. I also added my blog URL in the description, started tweeting my blog posts and joining twitter chats. I found a whole new group of bloggers that I befriended. Twitter is a strange place, as you can chat to a blogger on a regular basis and get to know them without really reading or interacting with their blog. A lot of bloggers I’ve spoken to on Twitter have asked me how I get a lot of comment engagement. The answer is simple:
  • I comment on a lot of new blogs
  • I visit the blogs of those that have commented on me
I see a pattern with bloggers on Twitter. They are a lovely bunch of ladies/gents, they can be loyal readers and offer wonderful conversation. But they are much more likely to read your blog and send you a tweet or DM around it rather than comment on it. 
 
Comments are not important to everyone, but they are important to some. If you want a lot of comments then do not rely solely on twitter – as you may get views, tweets, retweets, but the comments will not be as high. 
 
I find joining bloghops and commenting on other blogs the best way to get comments, but those two, with the addition of twitter, the best way to maximise engagement.
 
You have to put in hard work and get your blog URL out to others before you can expect to see views. I see a lot of ‘write it and they will come’ attitude – but you can write the best article, have the most beautiful photos and the most adorable layout – but if nobody knows you exist, then there will be nobody there to share your blog, comment on it, tweet about it, link to it and help you get exposure unless you actively and regularly engage in the community.
 
You can search high and low – but there is not one secret formula that will make your blog an instant hit without putting in a lot of hard work and time. Unless you happen to already have a good following on YouTube or something similar, or somehow manage to get a post, Pinterest, Tweet, picture, video etc that goes viral.
My advice is to start your blog by posting what you like, read and absorb other content of others – pin point what you prefer to see in other blogs in regards to writing style, photos, editing etc and use that to develop your own style over time. It took me one year to get to the point where I felt comfortable enough with my blog and it’s quality to share it with real life people. As you are just starting out and learning you need to be focusing on building personal relationships with 10-20 bloggers, rather than building a large following with tonnes of bloggers/people. As you learn more and become more confident in your voice, influence and content then you can work on your larger audience. But you still need to maintain your loyal, long time readers at the same time. 
 
It can seem like such a juggling act to create amazing content, promote it, make new relationships while maintaining current ones but you have to figure out what works best for you. I know tonnes of bloggers but swear by Pinterest, for example. But I just don’t think I have time for another social network! If I did DIY posts, I would feel it more valuable for me. I will dabble in it at some point, but currently my time is fully booked with the things that seem to be working for me, so why add extra work? 
 
Just have a play about with different websites and technique and find what works for you. 
 
One thing I used to do, was on my day off, set myself a goal of how many new blogs to visit. I might, for example, aim to visit 20 new blogs. Read a few posts. Leave a comment or two. Follow if I really like the blog. Some bloggers will visit your blog in return – some will not. They are much more likely to visit and read your blog if you leave them a decent comment, rather than just saying ‘nice post’ or ‘nice dress’ and leaving your URL.
 
Speaking of leaving your URL – I know that a lot of people view this as a bit spammy. But I LOVE IT when bloggers comment and leave their URL. If I have to search through a google+ profile or try to find a way to visit you in return, it drives me a bit nuts! Leave me your URL and save me some time. I usually have a million tabs open at once, so don’t make me open extra ones, please!!! 
 
Everyone has different things that work for them, so please feel free to share your experiences below, and, ya know, help a blogga’ out!
Q1: What blogging tips would you give to others to effectively grow your blog?
 
@NoorsLense @bloggerforums Network, network, network! It’s all about communicating with others (in a non-spammy way!) #socialbloggers
— Becky Bedbug (@BeckyBedbug) March 29, 2014
@NoorsLense @bloggerforums As a new blogger, best thing I’ve signed to is #bloglovin as recommended by other bloggers #socialbloggers
— AineMosh (@AineMosh) March 29, 2014
@NoorsLense @bloggerforums Also, find your target market. That’s where my traffic seems to come from through repost #socialbloggers
— AineMosh (@AineMosh) March 29, 2014
@BeautyShine16 @bloggerforums Indeed. Social media boost the exposure of a blog #socialbloggers
— Noor Unnahar (@NoorsLense) March 29, 2014
@bloggerforums @NoorsLense I wouldn’t have made the friends I have if it weren’t for networking on social media #socialbloggers
— Becky Bedbug (@BeckyBedbug) March 29, 2014
@NoorsLense @BeautyShine16 @bloggerforums SM, great content, genuine relationships, professionalism working with brands! #socialbloggers
— Elif (@theboxqueen) March 29, 2014
I think it’s important to stick with the platforms that work for you and your blog. #socialbloggers
— Melissa Rosa (@melrosaa) March 29, 2014
Twitter is my main way of getting my blog out there, although I kinda use instagram and I comment on others blogs too #socialbloggers
— India Benjamin (@IndiaBenjamin) March 29, 2014
@NoorsLense @bloggerforums Networking and letting people know you exist as a blogger is the key #socialbloggers
— Sarmistha Goswami (@shar_25) March 29, 2014
Q2: What tools do you think have helped the growth of your blog?
 
@NoorsLense @bloggerforums Facebook seems to be were my traffic comes from through support groups mostly/target market #socialbloggers
— AineMosh (@AineMosh) March 29, 2014
@NoorsLense @bloggerforums Phone apps so I can always tweet on the go 🙂 #socialbloggers
— Times2Style (@times2style) March 29, 2014
Having a content calendar, helps with organization #socialbloggers
— Melissa Rosa (@melrosaa) March 29, 2014
@SydneyKelly01 use hashtags like #fbloggers and #bbloggers when you upload pics and tweets promoting your blog 🙂 #socialbloggers
— India Benjamin (@IndiaBenjamin) March 29, 2014
@NoorsLense @bloggerforums Labelling photos on blog, blogrolls, promoting in “relevant” places, Google Analytics, Twitter #socialbloggers
— The Trollbead Troll (@TrollbeadBlog) March 29, 2014
@ClareHigg I do! It helps to make “pin-able” graphics. PicMonkey, Photoshop and Canva are great for making graphics. #socialbloggers
— Melissa Rosa (@melrosaa) March 29, 2014
@NoorsLense @goodayle @bloggerforums Twitter has to be my favourite. Stumble upon is very good as well #socialbloggers
— Naaj Rona (@Naaj_Rona) March 29, 2014
 
Q3 Is there anything you want to learn/do to grow your blog?
I would love to know which of my posts my readers enjoy more or what they would like to see :/ #socialbloggers
— Hannah (@DaintyandIvory) March 29, 2014
I would love 1000 page views a day, but knowing that 1 person has clicked on my blog makes me feel all warm and fuzzy?? #socialbloggers
— LouLovesBeauty (@HoadLouise) March 29, 2014
@NoorsLense @bloggerforums there is so much I’d like to learn! Most on the technical side though #socialbloggers
— Rebecca Mae (@BeautyShine16) March 29, 2014
@NoorsLense @bloggerforums I want to learn as much as I can about SEO and also attend some bloggers events #socialbloggers
— Sarmistha Goswami (@shar_25) March 29, 2014
@NoorsLense @bloggerforums How to network better with STUMBLEUPON, PINTEREST, and INSTAGRAM 🙂 Any experts on any out there? #socialbloggers
— CACHOO (@CachooJoo) March 29, 2014
I’d love to learn how to code HTML better #socialbloggers
— Corinne (@bloggerforums) March 29, 2014
@NoorsLense @bloggerforums I’d love to go to an event/meet up one day.. #socialbloggers
— andbeautyorsomething (@sarahandbeauty) March 29, 2014
#socialbloggers I would love to learn more about networking and how to build my “tribe” if you’re similar with that 😉
— Noor Unnahar (@NoorsLense) March 29, 2014

If you have missed the previous #socialblogger chats, check out the other roundups here

1. noun: a female blogger that writes about her own experiences, observations and opinions. 2. verb: to act like a complete idiot or to do something stupid. e.g: She did a Corinne.

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