I hope you all enjoyed the first segment in this miniseries: How to Start a Blog 101. We covered many things to consider before starting the journey and also the technicalities of actually starting a blog. The next step? Let’s chat growing blog readership and social channel engagement.
You won’t create a loyal, continuous readership if you ghost out. Create an expectation with your readership base by posting consistently, whether that’s three times a week or every Tuesday and Thursday. For example, if you post five days in a row one week and then go silent for an entire month, your readers expectations aren’t being set and loyal readership, naturally, will die off. This goes for social accounts as well! If I’ll be traveling or have a busy time at work, I create content ahead of time and schedule it to post for my blog and social accounts. Consistency is key for both your blog and social media.
2.DELIVER WHAT’S EXPECTED
While I’m not saying you can’t branch out of your niche, know that if you’re advertising yourself as one thing and deliver something else, readers and social fans will drop. If you say you’re a fashion blogger and deliver recipes for an entire month straight, you aren’t delivering content that you’re readers look to you for. Adding in vertical topics are great, but keep your base constant. For example, my base is fashion, but I have verticals I post every now and then like wedding planning, home decor and beauty topics. Having vertical topics are great because they allow your readers to get to know you on a deeper level, just stay true to your main message.
3.DIG INTO ANALYTICS
With that said, dig into your analytics! What topics do you readers enjoy most? For my blog, I look at this data through Google Analytics. Some great aspects to dig into: time on page, bounce rate, pageviews, unique pageviews and I also always review my reader demographics every half year to make sure I’m speaking to the audience that’s actually reading my blog. If you’re interested, I can dig into this more, but there is a lot of content out there on the web that explains what data is great for bloggers to view in Google Analytics and what eat means. An aspect that isn’t talked about as much since finances are typically a private matter, but track your sales too. If you’re a fashion blogger and see that you sold an influx of off the shoulder shirts under $30 the last few months, that’s an item and price point your readers are interested in. By digging into Google Analytics and sales, you can understand what your target reader is interested in and cater more towards her which can help boost those pageviews and build a loyal readership.
4. INTERACT WITH THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY
By reading and engaging with other bloggers blog and social posts, you now only are showing them support, but you’re also making yourself shown more online. Meaning, people that read their blog post or look through the comments on their Instagram or follow their Twitter feed will easily see you in their comment list. While we should be interacting with our peers just to show support, I wanted to note that this is also beneficial to you! This is also like “online networking”. If you strike a relationship with a blogger, you can become support systems, host an event together or do some sort of collaboration!
5. BECOME DISCOVERABLE
To make your blog discoverable, promote your content on social channels, follow SEO best practices to rank better on Google and deep dive into Pinterest. For this mini series sake, I’ve been grouping Pinterest in as a social channel, but it’s really a much bigger monster than that. Pinterest is the equivalent to Google in the blogging world, and dare I say even more important! As a consumer, it’s my go-to if I’m researching a particular handbag or make up product. Many other bloggers can attest that a huge chunk of their traffic is driven from Pinterest. Many months it accounts for 60% of mine! That’s bigger than Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and direct combined. Research what pins perform best [vertical, 732pixels dimension], to know what content will be driving readers to your blog and put a Pinterest strategy in place.
For Instagram, use targeted hashtags. Make sure to focus on longtail phrases [ex: #BostonStyleBlogger], that are popular, but not saturated [ex: #Blogger]. I do suggest doing this in a classy manner like only adding two to the actual photo caption or if you have more, simply post them as a comment instead. Your feed will look obnoxious with ten hashtags in every photo caption. Also, while hashtags may be relevant on Instagram for discovery, Facebook isn’t as heavily focused here so I cut them out completely or have on or two very focus hashtags. They don’t serve as much of a purpose on this platform and look sloppy.
Make sure to tag relevant brands in order to be discoverable by them! When brands look for bloggers to partner with for campaigns, they usually want someone that’s alreayd a passionate about their products so that the relationship is genuine. Often times, the brand may send along press packages too!
6. TAILOR CONTENT FOR VARYING SOCIAL CHANNELS
At a high level, the way you speak to your Facebook audience will be vastly different than how you communicate on Instagram. For each social channel, think about the audience you have [demographics, psychographics] and how the two platforms work. For me, rather than speaking likeotknow.it lingo on Facebook, since that tool is centered around Instagram, I tend to provide the direct link to the blog post. Many times people are wearing on Facebook to click links, so I’ll even provide a direct link to the clothing item featured.
7. SERCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Take time to research and implement SEO best practices on your blog. Creating a healthy SEO initiative will allow your images and blog posts to appear in a higher ranking on Google. For example, if you’re a food blogger and someone researches “Best Places to Eat in Boston”, you want your post on this topic to appear on the first page, right?
Naming images with relevant key words, editing alt tags, incorporating key words into a post’s title and creating a robust meta tag description are few items I make sure to check off for each post. Not only will this allow individuals searching on Google to find you more easily, you will be following the Google “rules”. When you do not incorporate SEO best practices, Google can reprimand you [essentially remove you from all search queues], until you fix each error. This is a huge undertaking, so stay on their good side from the srart by doing the research and implementing a strategy.
Over everything, be yourself. If you are your true, authentic self writing about something you’re truly passionate about, people will be drawn to you and want to read your blog. They will want to follow on Instagram. They will want to add you on Snapchat. Be you!
I hope these tips are helpful for you on you blogging journey! Xo Mindy
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