I won’t say that I am a typical blogger. I’m not so concerned with numbers or shares or followers. I write for my own enjoyment and my readership growth has been slow, but steady over time. I thought I’d offer some blogging tips and examples on how I personally apply them at Surviving Mexico–Adventures and Disasters.
Write for yourself first (or your mom). Blogs are personal and initially, you won’t have many followers. So if there is something you need to write about, do it. Worry about stats and follows later. When I first began blogging, I wrote about my community’s efforts to get water and electricity. It wasn’t a popular series then. It still isn’t popular. But now I’ve set the basis for the rest of my blog. I can reference those beginning blog posts instead of writing about it all over again. (See In the Beginning…the birth of the revolution)
Love your existing readers and make commenting easy. If someone takes the time to comment, like or share your post, take the time to thank them personally. Everyone loves being acknowledged and that good feeling will transfer when your reader waxes poetically to someone else about your blog. You might just get another reader or two that way. Remember to check your commenting security requirements. If your reader has to check the box to prove he or she is not a robot, submit to a retina scan and promise you his or her firstborn before commenting, odds are there will be no comment. If you are worried about spam comments, install a plugin like Akismet.
Be a consistent poster. I know it’s hard. I know you have other things to do. But if you want blogging to work, you need to write regularly. That could be once a week, once a month, three times a month, daily or whatever you decide is enough. Don’t be a dump blogger. Nothing for 6 weeks then 5 posts in one day. If you write 5 posts, space them out using the schedule button.
Give away your knowledge. Don’t make your readers sign up for your awesome course to read your posts. Most won’t. There are too many other free sites out there. Share what you have to share freely. If you have compiled a stellar bundle, offer that. If you have a fabulous product, offer that. But your information, that should be free.
Be true to your voice. Your readers will follow you because you are unique. They enjoy your stories, they learn from your wisdom, they find value in what you spew out onto the computer screen. Don’t try to be someone else.
Give it time. You really want a slow, steady growth. Think of your blog as an organic being. Those that go from zero to 60 in 30 seconds last about as long. While you are waiting to be discovered, use that time to perfect your image, find your niche, improve your posts.
Make it worth referencing and make it easy to share. Quality posts begged to be shared. BUT if you don’t have buttons for sharing or following easily found on your page and every post, it just won’t happen. Recently I participated in a blogging challenge and was astonished at the number of blogs that had no way for me to share their good stuff. Don’t be one of those!
Quality posts begged to be shared.Click To Tweet
Pick a theme. If you want to find your niche, your blog needs to be focused enough for a reader to identify the theme you write about and decide if that is what he or she is interested in reading. Of course, your theme may evolve over time, so make sure you don’t begin too narrow. For instance, my blog has the general theme of living in Mexico. Initially, I wrote only about my own personal experiences. Recently, I have expanded my reach by including the experiences of other people who live in Mexico. (See Share your Story) The posts are more varied, including interviews and books, but they remain under the umbrella topic of living in Mexico.
Write timeless content and promote blog posts over time. A few years ago, I wrote a series about Mexican holidays. Every year since those posts generate quite a number of views. I can also share them when I come across a question in a Facebook discussion or another blog. For instance, if the topic is Mother’s Day, I can share a link to my post about how Mother’s Day is celebrated in Mexico. (See May Holidays in Mexico–Mother’s Day).
Spell check, proofread and fact check! Poor grammar, terrible spelling and incorrect information take away from your credibility. You want to be known as an expert in your field, not an amateur. I use the free version of Grammarly for general spelling and grammar issues. WordPress also lets you know if you have something that seems awkwardly written.
Avoid clutter on your page. I know that monetizing your blog means including product banners and links. However, if every single space is filled to overflowing or you have floating promotions across your page, nobody can read your post, which is the whole purpose of visiting your page in the first place. Be discreet in your ad placements. Your readers will appreciate it.
Find ways to regularly get inspired. That means leaving your desk for awhile and having some adventures. You’ll come back refreshed, revitalized and full of new post ideas. (See Playing Tourist)
Provide a series of articles, breaking up blog content to increase readability. Instead of a LONG blog post, see if it can be divided into a series of smaller posts. People have busy lives and may not take the time to read a long post, even if it is fascinating. (See Buying property–as easy as buying a piece of heaven)
Set defined goals for your blogging. As with any activity, if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never get there. Write out your goals and work towards them regularly. Some of my goals for this year include revitalizing my posts, adding more postable images, and participating in various blogging challenges this year. I also recently started using a separate calendar to organize my blogging goals and obligations. It has been extremely helpful in staying on top of things!
Create a unique image for your social media posts. This is something I’m working on improving. Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter are the top social media networks. Having an image that is recognized by the algorithms of these sites will add to the visibility of your posts. I have discovered that Canva is an amazing site for this and it’s free!
Know why you are blogging. If you can identify why you blog, you have a better chance of making a go of it. You’ll be able to design your blog along with your purpose. If your purpose is to tell your story, your blog will be set up differently than someone who wants to sell a product. If your aim is to save the world one post at a time, your niche is different from someone who shares kitten pictures. And, of course, the tips that you will find useful from this list will depend on that purpose as well.
What other bits of wisdom would you like to share? What have you learned on your blogging journey that would help others? I’d love to hear your ideas!