I know to some blog writers that having 500+ viewers a day is not a big accomplishment, but being in a small niche like minimalism I think that is astounding. I had quite a few stumbles along the way but I was able to adjust and learn. I have seen quite a few new bloggers out there that are asking how they can grow their readership. Hopefully this can help some of you out.
Build A Core Following Before Your First Blog Post
This is one place that has really made my blog successful. About five weeks before I finally sat down and said the heck with it i'm going to start my blog now I started a FaceBook Page. Find or create some unique quotes and pictures to draw people to your page. I also recommend promoting your site. I did for a week and gained about 1000 followers. I kept writing and using inspirational quotes then chose the two with the most likes and promoted them over the next two weekends and grew my following to about 5000. Since then it has only grown to about 6000 but I know they are people that have an interest in my Topic. Total cost about $240.00
Yes it may have cost me $240.00 to get a following, but it was worth it. Many have joined my personal FaceBook Page and have become good friends and we interact constantly.
This is another area in which I did a lot of research. I talked to other bloggers and checked out as many reviews as possible to see which host would best fit what I was trying to accomplish. I ended up choosing Weebly and i'm so glad that I did. Not only was it easy for me to design my site, but a couple of times when I put the wrong code into my SEO settings and messed up my page, all it took was a phone call to their customer service and they were able to trouble shoot and fix my errors for me while I was on the phone, only having to wait on hold for four minutes before talking to someone. For customer service I give them 5 Stars. So do your research and find the right host that will fit your needs. Total Cost for 2 years on weebly approximately $250.00, which included some upgrades.
This is a topic that could be written on forever. There are so many sources out there that you could be working 24/7 just to keep up with promoting your blog. I have chosen three main platforms to shall we say 'FLOG MY BLOG', and two others that I put the odd post on, but also see the lack of results from them because of it.
By far my most productive source of readership. I try to post at least three times a day on my own site, staying interactive with my followers. Join groups that fit into your niche and promote your site when and where they allow you. I also ensure that I promote their site to my readers, it makes for good camaraderie amongst sites. Try to join as many blog groups as you can, not only does it give you a wealth of information, but you can make some great acquaintances within the blogging community. Some of these sites also have threads that you can add your material to. Watch which threads that you join though. One day I joined a FaceBook like thread and on that thread you like everyones and they like yours. That night my wife was asking me why I was liking make up and lingerie on my site, suffice to say that I no longer do that thread. I now only do the Pinterest and stumbleupon threads.
Pinterest is one that I wish I had started earlier. I started using Pinterest about 3 weeks ago, in that time I have gained 530 followers and joined about 25 Blog Promotion Boards. The end effect is that it now accounts for about 18% of my readers. There are some bloggers that swear by Pinterest for the largest portion of their readership and I can see why.
Another great source of readers is Stumbleupon, not all are of great quality but it can bring you new long term readers. It presently accounts for 32% of my readers and thats only after 2 weeks. I also use Bloglovin but have not been able to get much traction from that site.
Twitter and Instagram
These two sites I have not been using to their full potential. I have been able to get a few views on my blog, but Twitter has been a real failure for me, just can't grasp how to get followers on there. If anyone reading this has a great article about how to get good quality followers on twitter then please send me a link, I would love to know more. Just not any pay for follower links.
From the last 2 weeks this is the breakdown of where the views to my blog have come from. Weebly is great, it tells you exactly which sites your views originate from.
Again find which types of social media fit your blog and use them. Trying to use all sources of social media is just way to time consuming and can leave you with a lack of time to do other aspects of your blog.
How Often Should I Write?
This is a question that I quite often hear from new bloggers. If you are a seasoned blogger with a huge following then i'm sure you can get away with once a week. For us newer bloggers I would recommend twice a week on a pretty set schedule so that your readers know when to check for new content. If you don't write enough or write too many times you will just end up losing readers.
I now love using guest writers. Before you start using them though ensure that you have enough of your own content on your site, that way you know that people are there to follow your writing and not just waiting on the next guest writer. For myself I find it a Win/Win situation, I get someone who has first hand knowledge and it gives me more time to write and promote my site. All the research in the world can't replace the knowledge of someone who works or lives the lifestyle that I want my readers to know more about. I prefer to use unpaid guest writers, and in return I promote their site as much as I can and usually they will do the same in return or ask you to write for them and then you can promote your own site. You can really make some great contacts and learn some great new ideas by using this type of networking.
I know that I don't have the greatest web page design, I originally started my page as a way to educate people about minimalism, so I didn't need a flashy page. Now i'm starting to upgrade it to make it more appealing to viewers. On the other hand though what I do find on some peoples pages is that they have a great layout but there are so many pop ups and so much advertising that it takes away from their content. I usually find myself just clicking off of the site because it has just become an irritation. Try to make your site appealing, have great content and pictures, this will bring viewers back to your site.
How to Deal With Critics !!!
No matter what you write about, you are always going to get some negative feedback. Myself i've been lucky enough to get about 100 positive comments to every negative one. Always treat the negative responses with kindness, writing is a learning process, so thank them for their comments and focus on the positives. I daily get emails and comments thanking me for what I have written about, how it has helped them. Those are the ones you have to focus on if you want to keep motivated.
Full Time Vs. Part Time Writing
It's the old adage "You get what you give". If you want to try and make an income blogging then you need to put the hours into it, especially starting out. If you just want to write as a sideline or a hobby then more than likely thats the results that you will get. Unless of course you have picked just the right niche, but those are few and far between. Plain and simply it takes a lot of work to start and maintain a successful blog, and if you want to make money at it then you have to treat it like what it is 'A Business, Your Business'
Monetizing Your Blog
When I first started out I did it more as a hobby, a way of educating people, so I wasn't interested in putting advertising into my blog. Lately though I have had a change of heart. Now I have decided to put some adds into my page to cover some of the expenses that I have or will incure in the future. Besides the cost of starting my blog, I will be travelling to get specific information on topics. This summer we plan to go to Colorado Springs to the Tiny House Jamboree, expected cost to us will be about $3000.00. Why not try and recoup some of these expenses.
Affiliate marketing can be tricky though, most have guidelines that you must reach before you can be accepted by them. Ex. monthly views, a minimum amount of unique visitors to your site etc. You should also ensure that you match your ads to your niche. Being a writer on minimalism it would not be beneficial to my site to try and advertise BMW's.
Another great thing that I get free access to through Weebly is an up to the minute stats tally of how many viewers have been to my site and which site that they have come from, Facebook, Pinterest etc. I also use google analytics, which I find a little more difficult to decipher. If anyone out there has an easy way to read them then please let me know. I usually find that the numbers between the two are different so I tend to go with the google analytics since that is what will eventually get my blogs listed in google search. Unfortunately it can sometimes take up to six months before you see your posts listed on google.
Some other great tools that I have given me more page views and time on my site are linking other pages from previous posts in your new post and doing surveys. The survey was a free add on from Weebly and just started using it about a week ago. In that time it has raised the amount of time spent on my page by about 45 seconds per visit, which is pretty important if you have advertising on your page.
Please take our survey below to let me know which type of social media works best for your blog. It would be great for myself and others to know if we should be using a different source.
Thank You for taking the time to read through this post. I am in no way an expert on this topic, just wanted to share what I have found worked for me. Hopefully newcomers can find some value from this content and not make some of the mistakes that I made. Do your research and find what works for you!!!
Comments are always welcome, good or bad, it's how we learn and grow as bloggers.
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