So you’ve decided to start a blog! This can be a really exciting time, but it can also be a really disillusioning time if you don’t really understand what you are getting yourself into. A lot of people think they will blog, and that thousands will amass to their written word within weeks of putting up their .com! There is a little bit more to blogging than that! I have been blogging for about five months now, and I wanted to share with you what tips I have learned along the way to get people to come to my blog, and things that I have learned to keep my sane in the process.
When I started my blog, it was merely to share deals and shopping tips with friends and family because I had family all across the country. I didn’t really go into blogging with any specific ideas or goals about what I wanted my blog to be, or what I specifically wanted to write about. That was my first big mistake. Before you start your blog, you should really do the prework! What do I mean by prework? Decide for yourself these few questions:
- Why do you want to blog? :Are you blogging so you can share your ideas with the masses? Do you really care if anyone ever really reads what you put out into cyberspace? Are you trying to earn income from blogging? Asking questions about your motivation to blog, will really help you later on to decide where you want to spend our time on your blog.
- How are you going to set your blog apart from the millions of other blogs out there?: If getting traffic is your goal, this one is really important. It’s not as important if you really don’t care who reads your blog. If you are a deal bloggers, there are thousands if not millions of deal bloggers out there. Why would someone come to your blog over others? What can you do to make it different? Maybe you have a different writing style? Maybe you talk about another topic of interest that others don’t? This will really help to create the brand for your blog, and make you stand out among the crowd.
- Blog hops: Blog hops are where I started to get traffic when I first started. For those of you who have no clue what a blog hop is, it is a place where you list your site on someone else’s blog. Other blogs also join up, then they “hop” to you site to check it out and follow you. This is a great way to get to see what other bloggers do out there. It’s also a great way to network! Crunchy Frugalista offers a different blog hop everyday, so if you need a place to start this is a great place!
- Networking: Networking is huge in blogging. This does not mean email every blogger that you can get your grubby little hands on. It means building genuine and lasting relationships with other blogs. When you are blog hopping, it means taking the time to actually read a bloggers post and sincerely comment on their blog. Don’t just leave a comment “I am so and so from the hop, follow me back.” Networking does take some time, but it is time well spent! Through networking I have met several blog friends that have helped host events, have shared companies contacts, and even shared my page with their readers. If you spend your time doing anything at first, networking is a great place to spend your time!
- Facebook: Almost as soon as you get your blog up and running, I would recommend a Facebook page. Facebook is still my number one source of traffic. You can find various vehicles to post your blog posts to Facebook, and it will help send them over to your page! I personally recommend Hootsuite because it allows you schedule what you post on Facebook, so you can space them out. It even allows for a brief description of your post.
- Get a good analytics established on your page to track traffic, but DON’T stare at it 10 times a day. Ok, so maybe you’re only staring at 9 times a day, but don’t focus on the negative when you first start. Installing a good traffic tracker on your page is really important to help you see where your traffic is coming from, but don’t get discouraged when you have spent 12 hours blogging and only had 4 visitors all day. We ALL had to start somewhere. Google Analytics is a great tool to help you see where your traffic is coming from, but don’t let it discourage you. At the beginning, I would check it maybe once or twice a week. Then I would only check it to see what is working and what isn’t, but don’t obsess about the fact you don’t have hundreds flocking to your blog.
- Don’t assume no is reading, because you are getting silence: When I first started blogging, it would frustrate me so much that I never had ANY comments on my posts. I would sometimes put a question up on my fan page on Facebook, and get crickets. I felt like NO ONE was reading my blog. That’s where Google Analytics is good. Even though I felt like no one out there even cared if I wrote another single word, I could see that people were indeed visiting my blog! Don’t take the silence personally. It takes time to get your readers engaged enough to comment. A lot of people enjoy lurking through your blog, and getting what they need even if they never, ever share a word with you. So just remember someone out there is glad that your blog is out there!
- Pull yourself away from the computer: I promise you if you step away from your blog for a few days it will NOT spontaneously combust! You don’t have to sit there for hours and hours waiting to see if someone is reading or commenting your blog. If you need to take a day or two off to spend with your family, your blog will still be there when you get back! I wouldn’t recommend leaving it for weeks at at time because your traffic will die down, but if you are a little spread thin TAKE A BREAK! It’s ok, your blog WILL be there when you get back!
- It’s ok to miss a deal: This one is for my fellow deal bloggers! I would spend hours upon hours on my blog, for fear of missing a hot deal. It is ok to miss out on a hot deal! Your readers will forgive you. I know my readers love getting hot deals on my blog, but they are not going to run for the hills if you miss a deal or two. The idea with a blog is to build loyal readers that truly enjoy how you write and what you share. So if people do run, it’s ok. For everyone that runs, you will find a loyal reader that loves you anyway.
- Find support in your fellow bloggers: Again, this doesn’t mean to send a whiny email to every blogger you can get your hands on, but hopefully through the networking you have done you have built at least a few good relationship that if you need some support and motivation you can ask for a shoulder to cry on. I would be pretty confident to say almost all bloggers have had times when they needed motivation or wondered why the even bothered blogging at all. When you need an extra kick in the pants, reach out to your blogging buddies. I am sure they have been there too!