Welcome to 8 weeks to #ImproveYourBlog, week 7.
During this 8 week course, we’ll be focusing on one thing per week. Every Tuesday, they’ll be a new post for you to read, go away and do some tasks that will hopefully enable you to improve your blog.
If you want to see what’s coming up in future posts, then check out the introduction post where I go through each weeks topic.
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Today we’ll be looking at how to use comments and social media to get involved in the community and grow your traffic and social proof.
The previous weeks:
If you’ve missed the previous weeks, check them out here:
- Week 1: Check Yourself – an audit of your blog and social media accounts to make sure everything is up to date and ready for the new year.
- Week 2: Learning From Others – analysing other peoples blogs to see how you can improve your own.
- Week 3: Figuring Out What You Want – being clear about your blog goals and what actions you need to take to achieve them.
- Week 4: Improve Your Images – how to improve your blog images, use props, make graphics and where to grab free stock photos.
- Week 5: Improve Your Content – tips and tricks on how to improve your writing.
- Week 6: Blog Consistently – creating a schedule that works for you and sticking to it.
While the phrase ‘content is king’ is echoed around the blogging community, but just creating content isn’t enough.
While it’s important to have great content, you also need spend a bit of time building relationships with people that will essentially lead to them coming to your blog to read your posts – and to hopefully stick around.
Here’s how you can do that:
For me, comments are one of the best tools you can use to help grow your blog.
I’ve built most of mine from reading peoples blog posts and commenting.
Though not everyone will pay attention to your comment, a lot of people will reply and maybe even come over to your blog and return the favour.
But whether they do this or not probably depends a lot on the comment you leave. If you leave a generic ‘great post’ comment, they’re probably not going to give a shit about your blog link and ignore you.
If you write something valuable that shows you’ve read the blog post, then you’re in there.
I have a whole post on how to leave great blog comments, so rather than just repeat myself, I’ll just leave you the link and let you have a nosey if you please:
Social media is probably the most powerful tool you can use for your blog. Most people use at least one form of social and it’s a great place to reach other bloggers and other people who might be interested in your blog.
The 4 biggest social media sites out there are Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
If you are trying to juggle them all at once, it can get a bit overwhelming. The trick is to find one or two that really work for you, that you enjoy and are getting results from and be great at them.
Twitter can seem confusing at a first glance. If you’ve never used it before, then you’ll probably feel a little lost at first.
When you know how to use Twitter properly, you’ll start getting some great results.
If you sign up, get an account and just start Tweeting and sharing the link to your blog, you probably won’t get far. When you need to do is find other bloggers and people who like your content.
Twitter is my biggest traffic referral, this is because most of the people that follow me are bloggers with similar interests. This isn’t an accident, I’ve made the effort to find people I know will love my blog and talk to them.
If you’re new to Twitter, here’s what I advice you to do:
Find hashtags relevant to your niche, such as #lblogger for lifestyle blogger, #hblogger for health blogger. These are the hash tags you want to use when promoting your posts.
You can also use these hashtags to find other bloggers and follow them. Aim to follow a hundred or so and then your feed will be full of people to interact with. You’ll find some will follow you back, some won’t. Don’t worry about that – what you want to focus on is talking to people in your feed. Reply to their Tweets, Retweet their posts if you like them and just get talking to them. You’ll find most that don’t follow you will do after a conversation with them, you’ll find that they start checking out your blog and even ReTweet some of your posts, too!
The more active you are on Twitter, the quicker you’ll gain followers. You’ll also start to see your referrals from Twitter to your blog increase.
Now you’ve got off to a great start, there are two more things you can do to grow your Twitter followers and your blog followings/traffic.
There’s a new Twitter chat sprouting up every day, it seems! These are a great way of networking.
Twitter chats are basically when you use a certain hashtag to follow along a conversation. They’ll be a host that will generally ask questions on a certain topic and then you’ll follow along, answer the questions and reply to other peoples answers. By doing this, you will get to know more bloggers or people of similar interest.
I host my own Twitter chat called #socialbloggers every Saturday at 6pm GMT.
Another great way of using Twitter is to schedule Tweets. There is no correct answer to how often you should send a Tweet out. I’d recommend you start of with 4 times a day and go from there. I use a website called Buffer to schedule my Tweets, but you can use others, such as Twuffer, Tweetdeck, Hootsuit or more.
Pinterest can be a great way to both learn more, find inspiration and get traffic to your site! It’s a little slower to get started and you’re not going to see instant result like on Twitter, but it’s worth it long term.
Here’s what you’re going to want to do:
Create at least 10 boards of different interests and edit their descriptions to include keywords to help your boards and pins appear in searches. For example, you might want a board that has blog tips, one that has inspirational quotes, one that has dresses, one that has healthy recipes.
Follow other bloggers, see who they follow and follow them. Like Twitter, this is going to get some content in your feed and this is what you’re going to want to start repining to your own boards.
Pin your own blog posts using long, vertical images with bold text.
Remember that you shouldn’t just Pin your own content – I pin about 90% other peoples content and 10% of my own.
You’ll start to see that they more you Pin, the more followers you’ll get. People still start to repin your pins and maybe even repin your own content – which is when you’ll start to see that increase in traffic.
Instagram is a great app and can really compliment your blog. The best way to start finding accounts and getting followers is by following instagram accounts of the blogs your read and the people you follow on Twitter. You can also use hashtags much like Twitter.
There are many ways to use Instagram along side your blog, you can use it to post an image from your new blog post to promote it, or you can just use it for a daily update so your followers can see what you’re up to – or both.
I personally use my own instagram account to keep myself accountable fitness wise. I often post about my workouts, my food and sometimes what I’ve been up to if I’m being social!
Instagram isn’t great for getting traffic, but is still a great way to compliment your blog.
Almost everyone has a Facebook. Even your aunts dog has a Facebook. So getting yourself a fan page can be great.
Facebook did change their algorithm so your posts are less likely to show up in your fans feed unless you pay for them to be boosted – but it can still be useful if you have an engaged audience.
If one of your fans regularly click, comment and engage with your page, they’re more likely to continue to see your posts.
Though Facebook isn’t something I focus a lot of my time on, I’ve seen some bloggers do great things with it. As well as posting the link to their posts, they ask questions, they share photos, they are active and reply to comments which can go down really will for some bloggers! It’s something you need to test out and see what works for you.
How do you socialise with the community?