Head’s Up, Buttercups: UPDATED INFO for 2017! Let’s grow!
From time to time, I get questions about blogging or site production, as in how to grow a site or blog. Today, I’ll give you a peek behind the velvet ropes (snort) and give you OMT’s! method o’madness.
Lots of bloggers blog with the thought that their site is a place to keep family and friends updated on their lives (I know quite a few of those guys!), but this post will be more specifically for those of you who are interested in growing your readership, your reach, for your website.
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There are lots of hosting companies out there and you should do your homework to see which one will serve your needs.
Ready to grow? Let’s get started.
#1: Engaging and Consistent Content
If you don’t have anything to say…yeah, bloggers always have lots to say. The key for me is this: Is it useful to others? Does it educate? Does it entertain? If I hit one of those, I’m golden. If not, I find a new topic.
When I started, I posted five new posts per week. It was too much. Too much for the reader and too much for the writer. My sweet spot is three new posts per week. This means I’m on a schedule. My readers know that on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays there will be a new post ready to be read.
These posts per week don’t magically appear, but take thought and research and sometimes a little umbrelly drank to write. I am a producer who has weeks of banked posts. I move them around to suit you and to suit me.
The key is I have them ready, even through the holidays, the flu, or an unexpected Sweet E visit. The thought of disappointing my readers because I failed to produce is too much to contemplate, so as a subject presents itself, I get it down and bank that badboy.
#2: Linky Parties
Linky parties are otherwise known as blog hops or blog parties and uses a popular “linky” tool that allows you to link your blog to another, by way of a blog post that you want to share. You can find link parties everywhere in the blogosphere.
There are linky parties for food, crafts, kiddos, really almost anything and many are a free-for-all. You simply follow the rules the hostess lists and then link your post. By linking your post, you are basically putting more eyes on your site. More eyes = potential new friends via readers!
Once you have linked your post, then it’s time to check out the other posts that have been linked. You can pin from there, leave comments, stumble, tweet. Really you can do everything that helps you to become part of the community you’re looking to join.
I keep a list of parties I participate in on a daily list. Some open in the morning and some in the evening. Once you start linking regularly, you’ll get the feel for who starts when.
Joining linky parties when I started OMT was one of the best things I did to get my site in front of those who might want to follow along on a regular basis, as well as allowed me to discover sites that I wanted to follow. Win win, baby!
#3: Pinning Your Own Posts
Once I’ve finished with my linky parties of the day, I go to my site and pin my post directly to one of my boards and then to any group boards I belong to that apply. If my post is about cake, then I post to my cakes and cupcakes board and then to a group blogger board or two. I try to spread out my pinning throughout the day, so as not to spam my boards.
Pinterest is a HUGE traffic generator for OMT and it can be for you! (also, see Bonus! at bottom of list)
#4: Tweeting Your Posts
Once I’ve pinned my post and made a note of when to pin to the rest of the group boards, I then go into my twitter account to tweet my post (or use the plug-in “click to tweet” which I’ve used in this post below) with an original picture with a watermark.
Most of my pics have a set of two: one with a watermark one without, in case I ever need to edit the photo.
#5: Stumble Dem Babies
Next up, I stumble (StumbleUpon) my own posts to ensure that the category and tags are correct.
The prevailing thought that bloggers shouldn’t stumble their own posts is a fallacy. I have spoken directly with stumbleupon (SU) and they assured me that as long as stumblers stumble a larger percentage of posts other than their own (for every post I stumble that is mine, I stumble at least 15 others that aren’t mine), they have no issue with you stumbling yours first.
Through a process of experimentation, I found that my posts that I’ve stumbled myself get more exposure than those that have been initially stumbled by someone else.
I have written a stumbleupon tutorial here (in case you missed the link at the beginning of the post).
IG is exploding in growth with live and Instastories along with telling your story through images. Research and utilize the hashtags that work within your niche and you’re base of followers will grow.
You can keep your website URL in your profile, so whenever folks need more of you, your site is one click away. Keep your images compelling and think of IG as an extension of your website story.
By time I finish writing this post, facebook will have changed their algorithum again and this part will be obsolete, but I’ll tell you what I do as of this moment and see how things go.
I belong to several private facebook pages that consists of bloggers that support each other. Join groups within your niche.
If there is a daily thread to link my post within their page, then that is what I do. That way, other bloggers can decide to share it or not. This process has been hit and miss for me when it comes to page hits, but really successful when it has come to new readers and friends.
One group goes gangbusters, while others may not. That’s okay. The point to the private blogging groups isn’t solely for promoting your stuff, it’s for coming together with your own kind, the people that don’t look at you like you’re an alien when you tell them you’re a blogger or site producer.
It’s good to be with your peeps. Go. Join. Be an active and helpful member.
The second part of this is posting your posts to a facebook page that is specifically set-up for your site. Maybe a business page or a page to promote your website.
You’ll want to showcase your stuff there. Do live videos (I LOVE to see what others are doing through their live feeds!), update regularly and make sure the pics are the size Facebook likes. (see: Bonus! below)
Facebook is notorious for shifting how they allow others to see what you link and I’m simply trying to be crafty here.
Bottom Line: I always point to new posts on my facebook page and try to stay up-to-date on facebook’s latest shenanigans.
When a reader sends me an email, I try to respond the day I received it because it’s one of the easiest ways to connect to a reader. They’ve taken the time to share with me their loves or concerns and I feel they deserve the same from me.
Plus, I love my readers. Of all the places they could spend their time on the Internet, they chose my site. Never fails to humble me.
#9: Posted Comments
If you’re a regular reader here or someone who has left a comment, you know that I will respond to those as well.
I like to think of us as friends having a conversation and I’m thrilled you want to start that convo, so I show up.
Readers also want to be part of a community. As stated in #8, they’ve picked your site to spend their time at, they picked your post to leave a comment on, and we all know how vast the Internet is and how many sites are competing with yours. If you want to grow something worthwhile, you can’t do it in a vacuum.
Get out there and mingle with your guests!
Party Hats for ever’one!
#10: Post Comments of Your Own on Other Sites
You know the saying if you want to have a friend, be a friend? Well, leaving thoughtful comments for others is a simple step in making friends.
I can’t count how many new friends I’ve made through a simple comment on their site. If I like something, I tell them. If it made me laugh or think, I tell them.
It’s easy and you can do it in your jammies while drinking your morning
BONUS Step! Photography is key to growing your site. We all love gorgeous pics, but what if you aren’t Ansel Adams (renowned photographer)? Practice! Read! Take a photography class!
Once you taken your photos, you’ll need to edit them (DON’T FREAK OUT!!). There are programs like Picmonkey and Canva that make it a snap if you’re new to the edit game. You can also step up your editing skills with a Photoshop 101 class and fly from there!
One of the reasons Pinterest/Instagram/Facebook works for me is that my pics are optimized for each of their platforms. In PicMonkey and Canva, you will find a tool that resizes each pic for whatever platform you need. It’s like a helpful cheat-sheet!
There you have it: 10 easy ways to grow your site, plus a bonus! There are loads of other ways, but if you’re doing all of these, you’re on your way.
Happy Growing, my babies!
~Please feel free to Pin, Tweet, Facebook or otherwise share this post. OMT smooches!~