Terrible post title, hey? But it got your attention, right? Which brings me to rule number one….
As the number of my followers expands, more and more people have asked me; how do you do it? What’s the big secret?
Unfortunately, there are no magic bean answers!
OKAY…OKAY…you can have all the beans you want!
Like all things in life, you have to work hard to become successful. I have, however, put together this little basket of gems. Let’s call them ‘Amanda gems’, you can take from it what you wish.
*Reaches into her magic basket of gems*
The thing is, I am no blogging pro. In fact, I have only been blogging for six months, one of which, I spent offline! So, five months of blogging doesn’t make me very qualified to tell you how to do things! However, as I reach another WordPress milestone (The big 2500 followers!) I question, I must be doing something right? You see, I’d like to say it’s because I am an AMAZING writer, but sadly this isn’t so. I am average as average can be! The truth is, I’m TERRIBLE at grammar, I don’t have a degree in creative writing, and I still don’t know what the heck I’m doing! So, why is my blog a success? I really don’t know. Perhaps, it’s because I am passionate? Maybe it’s because I bring something different to the blogging world? Perhaps, it’s because I am versatile? You tell me?!
After 5 months of blogging, I have picked up lots of little gems of knowledge. Feel free to look inside my basket – by all means – but don’t feel like you have to take all of my glistening gems! In fact, don’t feel like you have to take my advice at all…It’s your blog, which means YOUR rules! Plus, what do I know?…I am no blogging expert!
Gem number 1 : Make your post title stand out!
What is the first thing we see as we scroll through a sea of blogs? That’s right – The post title! This is why it is so important to make it eye-catching. Something which will appeal to the reader. Whether it’s a play on words, or something witty, it will need to make the reader think “Hmm…I wonder what this is all about, I’m going to read on!”
So let’s take my post title for example. It’s bloody awful, cringe-worthy in fact, however, it stands out from the other 150+ blogging tips posts we see today! It took me awhile to choose from a list of other, equally as appalling, post titles!
The same rules apply for the name of our blog. Let’s face it, people aren’t going to click ‘read on’ if you have a dodgy blog name. I’m sorry, but Ieatcats.wordpress.com isn’t going to cut it!
Although tricky, it’s important you choose something which will appeal to other bloggers. Whether it’s a few words summing up your blog, or perhaps something witty. Either way, if you get it right, you could catch the attention of readers through your blog name alone!
Gem number 2: Post consistently
This is a no brainer! The more often you post, the more exposure you will get. If someone posts every day, of course, they are more likely to gain more viewers than someone who posts once a month. But wait a minute…we have lives outside of blogging! It’s true. To post every day is pretty darn impressive if you ask me! I am barely churning out 2 posts a week, due to the business of everyday life. If you can post every day, Brilliant! But if this is going to be problematic, then it might be advisable to set a more attainable goal – once a week/twice a month – it’s up to you!
It’s not so much about how many times a week, but rather keeping it consistent. When I took a month off from blogging…I know, I know…how unprofessional! My statistics dramatically dropped. By the end of the month, I was barely getting any hits on my blog. This just goes to show how important it is to keep ‘blogging’ on!
On the flip-side, taking time off from blogging can also be beneficial. Not only is it good to take a break, but sometimes stepping away for a while, can reignite our creative juices. After a month off I was so jam-packed with ideas, I was ready to explode!
Gem number 3: Research the best times/days to post
To achieve the best exposure, it’s important to be mindful of the times of day we choose to post. Obviously, if your audience stretches across the world, this will differ considerably. It will also make it more difficult to pinpoint an exact time for successful posting. I live in the UK and find posting after 6 pm works best.
Let’s think about the times people would be online – Perhaps in the morning before work, and again after work? This means between 7am – 9am, and again, between 5.30 – 1.00am. If you really want to ‘crack it’, it might be advisable to look at where your main readers come from, and then research the most effective posting times for this area. If research isn’t your thing… just post anytime and hope for the best!
I once read an article on the most productive days to post. It’s scientifically displayed tables of analysis reminded me too much of those which gave me a brain-ache in school. Let’s just say, I didn’t stick around for long! However, I did learn Thursday was ‘supposedly’ the most successful day for posting. Monday was a close 2nd (for those of you who are wondering!). Personally, I find Wednesday is my most successful day. However, ANY days between Monday – Thursday are generally more successful. What about Friday, Saturday and Sunday? Well, I guess everyone is out partying!
Gem number 4: It’s all in the contents
There’s no point in having an amazing post title if you’re lacking in the contents department. Once you have leered the reader in, you need to keep them engaged. To achieve this, your post contents needs to be captivating, compelling, exciting, thought-provoking… I generally choose topics of interest, such as; social media, life, relationships, pet peeves. The less common your topic, the less coverage it will receive. If you’re writing about your big toe, chances are, no one’s going to read it!
Change the ‘me me me’s’ and ‘I I I’s’ to ‘we we we’s’ or ‘you you you’s’.
Geez, that was a mouthful….
To create a successful post you must engage the reader. To achieve this, you need to make your article relatable. Let’s face it, no one wants to read a dissertation on my life story. Even I wouldn’t want to read that! As much as I pour parts of myself into my writing, I also feel it necessary to ensure my reader can relate in some way. I like to feel like I am taking my reader by their hand, and walking a journey with them – this might sound a bit ‘airy fairy’ but it’s true. If my reader can relate, it makes writing worthwhile.
Stay on the fence!
If you wish to have a successful post, write with your reader in mind. I tend to mix subjectivity with objectivity, for the perfect blend of blog success! If you have strong opinions, it’s likely some people might not agree. Rather than thrust your opinions down the throats of others, try sitting on the fence a little, and view things from both perspectives. Don’t become those ruthless newspaper writers and editors, abusing the innocent minds of their audience. Rather, use your intelligence to get your point across. This way, you won’t end up offending people, and thus, losing readers! It’s a win-win situation……Well, until someone pushes you off the fence!
Or you get stuck…
If I’m reading a blog post I am not emotionally engaging with, I tend to switch off. It’s time to stop with the ‘me me me’s’ and the ‘I I I’s’ and ask yourself ‘What would my reader want?’ This really is the key to a successful, well-read blog.
There is a common notion that blogging is narcissistic. Yes! It is understandable why people might think this is the case. After all, it can be quite the ego-cleanse. Some will fall into the stream of self-absorption and self-admiration, others will remain more humble…which brings me onto…
Contents aside, you need to be likeable. People like to feel connected with their writer. As well as finding meaning, they are looking for that connection. It makes me sad inside when people feel they have to put on a facade. Just to be YOURSELF! The people we are generally drawn to, are the ones who are true to themselves. Authenticity is key!
People blog for different reasons. Some use it as a personal space to creatively paint their thoughts upon. Others use it for promotional purposes. Whatever your personal reasons for blogging, remember….it’s all in the contents!
Gem number 5: Tag effectively
There’s no point in cracking out a fantastic beauty of blog post, if you haven’t tagged it effectively! It takes less than a minute to tag your post. Some wise old owl pecked me on the shoulder one day, and said you need to use between 10 – 12 tags for each post to get your maximum exposure. True to their word, overnight I saw a rise in my post views. ‘Woo hoo’ I yelled, excitedly. The more tags you cover – (and please make sure they are relevant!) I don’t want to see no…. Sexy babes, naked ladies or Kim Kardashians! – The more likely they will be viewed by people seeking tags of this kind. Furthermore, it is best to categorise your blog posts. I usually use 2 – 3 relevant categories. This works for me!
Warning: Make sure you don’t get too tag-happy! 15 tags in total, or WordPress will get angry, and they’ll give you the boot…Nah, I’m just kidding! But seriously, don’t pass 15 tags! Your post won’t be seen by others, only your followers!
Gem number 6: Keep them short and sweet
Don’t do an Amanda-long-post! No one wants to read a thesis on your life’s history – no offence! In fact, the shorter the better. People are busy, they haven’t got the hours in the day to read essays worth of blog posts. As soon as someone sees a post with more than a 1000 words, it’s like…
For those of you who know me, you’ll know I am the worst culprit for this! This is why Twitter and I, aren’t friends… How the heck am I supposed to work with 140 characters? It’s just not possible!
….Keep it short and sweet!
Gem number 7: Put in the time
The more time you invest in your blog, the more you’ll get out of it. The more time you spend building relationships with other bloggers, the more support you will gain from other bloggers. I put just as much time into reading other people’s blogs than writing my own! Why? Because, isn’t this the whole point? As much as I get pleasure from people reading my posts, I also get much enjoyment from interacting with, and supporting other bloggers! If you want to be a part of a big blogging community, you’ll need to invest your time making connections with others. If you sit waiting for people to make a connection with you, then you might be twiddling those thumbs for quite some time!
Read some blogs, and get inspired!
Gem number 8: Follow other blogs
The F word… No, not the rude one! I’m talking Followers! I’m going to let you into a little secret…I follow thousands of blogs…that’s right! THOUSANDS! Everyone who follows me, out of courtesy, I follow back. I just can’t say no! So I’ve got around 2500 followers – I follow them all (give or take!) – I don’t follow advertisers. Sorry guys, I just don’t want your goods!
Plus, I follow lots of blogs of interest (A lot of these DON’T follow me back!) The majority of blogs I follow are photography based. I’m also a sucker for beauty blogs! I follow artists, cartoonists, poets, authors, cooks, bakers, fashionista’s …Basically, any blog which catches my curious eye!
As much as I recommend following other blogs, I wouldn’t recommend following too many! I find it difficult to spread my attention. If you get a bit ‘follow happy’ You will become that crazy dog person….
Your puppies all want attention. They’re pawing at your legs, they’re whimpering their little puppy dog whimper, and they are giving you those puppy dog eyes. But wait a minute! You only have so many doggy biscuits to give. Its not impossible, it can be done, and yes! Without dominating your entire life to blogging…
The way I manage it… I have an inner circle of bloggers and an outer circle.
My inner circle contains all my close blogging friends. I spend time reading their blogs, commenting and supporting them. My outer circle contains the people I don’t tend to interact with on a personal level, but occasional I will ‘like’ their posts.
Although I generally read the same blogs, I also give time to explore new blogs. This is important! If you want your inner circle to grow, you’ll need to branch out!
You will find that people will naturally fall into your inner or outer circle. This pretty much mirrors our relations on the outside. We have those close friends we interact with regularly, then we have those friends we don’t interact with that often, but occasionally we’ll wave to them in the street. Loyalty plays a big part in blogging. It takes time to build authentic relationships with people. We can do this by supporting the bloggers we relate with the most. I have developed relationships with some really great people since blogging! I can honestly say, this is the best thing about it!
Please note: The amount of followers you have, is no reflection of how successful, or good you are as a blogger. Whether you have 20 trustee followers, or 20,000 (is this possible?) it shouldn’t be the be all, and end all. Believe it or not, there are many hindrances to having lots of followers.
1: It adds to the workload
As explained above, your workload increases considerably. The more blogs you follow, the more time you need to give!
2: People automatically become suspicious of you!
Hater: You’re just doing it for the likes!
Me: Surely, I wouldn’t be pouring my heart and soul into my blog if I was just doing it for the likes?
Hater 2: You just liked my article because you want another follower!
Me: No, I liked your article because I enjoyed reading it, but seeing as you’re being such an arse about it – I’m now going to UNLIKE it!
Hater 3: Why you so many followers? You bought them!
Me: Or perhaps people just like my blog? Are you trying to imply my blog is sh**? Perhaps if you polished up on your English skills, people would like your blog too!
Harsh? Maybe a little… But it’s okay, I just made these scenario’s up!
But it’s true, some people catch a case of that ugly, green eyed monster, and consequently, like to rain on our parade…set fire to it….and then rain on it some more!
3: ‘Use’ you to promote their own blogs
If they aren’t hating, then you will certainly experience the sneaky…
Can you reblog my post?
Can you retweet my article?
Reblog for a reblog?
Retweet for a retweet?
Like for like?
Follow for a follow?
Guys! If I want to reblog/retweet your post, I’ll repost it…If I want to like your post, I would have liked it already…If I want to follow you, I’d be following you!
DON’T. HOUND. ME!
Having said this, I am always happy to support my loyal followers, and I am open to having guest posters on my blog (Get in touch if you’re interested!)
As well as branching out to new followers, it’s recommended that we should also branch out to different social media sites. The more you promote your posts, the more people will read them! Saying this, I have only recently ventured into the world of Twitter, and I don’t share ANY of my posts on my Facebook page. For the following reason…
YOU CALLED ME A WHAT?!
Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram or any other social networking site, the more you spread those wings, the more likely your blog will be discovered!
Gem number 9: Pictures, pictures and more pictures!
Image sells. We all know this. You are more likely to pull in viewers if you use an eye-catching image, than if you used no image at all – I can guarantee! If I’m scrolling through my blog feed and I see a cute animal – for sure, I’m going to like it! If I’m scrolling through my blog feed, and I see some beautiful photography – like like like. I’m a complete sucker for photography! People are attracted to imagery. People are attracted to CUTE FLUFFY ANIMALS!
If in doubt, pull out a cute animal pic…
You love my blog already, don’t you?
Gem number 10: Have a little patience…
… WHY I NO FOLLOWERS?!
Like everything in life, success takes both time and patience. Let’s face it, it’s highly unlikely you’ll become an overnight blogging success. Part of the reason bloggers fall down at the first hurdle is because they want to see instant results. Put the time in, and you’ll see results. It’s as simple as that.
Oh, and have a little patience…
Good old Take That!
Failing this, you could always result to full frontal nudity or porn!
So, there we have it! I’ve emptied all my gems upon the table. I hope you aren’t too disappointed. If only there really were some magic beans….
But what about you guys? Have you got any gems of blogging knowledge? I would love to see some of your blogging tips, too! Feel free to comment below; Things which have helped you, things which haven’t helped, your blogging pet peeves! Things you feel I have left out, things you disagree with… YADDA YADDA YADDA! I would very much appreciate your feedback.
And on this note, I’ll leave you with yet another adorable animal pic!