Saturday, May 19, 2012

You asked! Tips on growing your blog

I often get e-mails from readers or have friends ask for tips or suggestions. By no means am I a blogging expert, but there are a number of things I have stumbled upon or tried over the last year that are easy and have been good for my blog. A few weeks ago I posted part 1 - technical tips, and this is part 2: general tips on growing your blog. This is what I get asked about most often :)

Comment on other blogs. Are there a number of blogs that you read on a regular basis? Comment on them often! It's a great way to connect with the authors of those blogs, and often they (or the many other people reading their blogs) will click on your comment and jump to your blog! This is why I really like the Intense Debate commenting platform, despite its having a number of {ongoing} technical difficulties. When I receive your comments, I often click to go to your most recent post. It's important, though, to leave meaningful comments. Please avoid "following you, follow me back!" These sorts of comments make many bloggers - myself included - feel cheap and dirty. I polled some of my blogging friends and the general consensus was that a comment like that will probably make someone less likely to visit your blog.

Blog for you. Don't start your blog with the intention of becoming blog-famous or making money. It {most often} is transparent, and won't get you very far. Blog because you want to document your life (and/or your child's), to keep family and friends updated, or just cause you enjoy it! I started writing to vent my frustrations while trying to conceive Carina, and then it became my pregnancy journal and virtual baby book. I love that 20+ years from now Carina will be able to look back {hopefully not with horror} and see what her daily life was like as a child. Remember: whether you have a handful of readers or thousands, your blog is important to someone. Staying true to yourself and what you want to write about is something of which to be proud.

Join Twitter. I know, I know, this one can be scary. I {very} begrudgingly joined Twitter last Spring and honestly thought it was stupid for a few weeks afterwards. Now? I have made so many amazing friends and connections. I truly think it is a must for anyone who is interested in growing their blog. It gives you the opportunity to interact with readers, other bloggers, and even companies in a way that blog commenting and other means of communication really can't. Plus? Twitter has saved me a ton of money. Make sure to put your blog link in your bio, as well!

Twitter can be THIS much fun. I promise.

Avoid blog envy. I know that many of us have been there. You might see someone who has better numbers, sponsors, and/or writing and it makes you feel bad about yourself, if only for a moment. It can be hard, but try not to get caught up in what other people are blogging about or trying to make your blog like someone else's. Focus on making your blog your own, and accentuating what makes it unique! <~~~this is huge, in my experience.

Swap ads/buttons. Find a couple other bloggers who are also interested in growing their blogs and swap your button with them! You put theirs on your sidebar, and they do the same with yours. This is a great {free} way to reach a larger audience. Everyone wins! Before I started accepting paid sponsors, all of the buttons I displayed were from swaps with friends of mine. I still reserve a couple of my ad spots for swaps each month because I enjoy doing it so much.

Have any other questions for me, or tips you'd like to share?

P.S. I think it's hilarious that Blogger's spell check thinks that "bloggers" isn't a real word. Nice.
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