February 17, 2017

5 Things I Stopped Doing to Grow My Blog

I'll come right out and say it: I'm new to the blogging world. I've only been blogging eight months, and I've been in creative business (if you can call what I'm doing here, that) for just two. That doesn't mean that I haven't learned a few things in my time curating and connecting online. I've read every other blog post and article that promises to tell me the "best ways to increase blog traffic."


I've tried a number of "growth" strategies. Some work and some don't work. I'll come right out and say this, too: I want to grow my blog and creative biz. I want readers, and I want clients. Don't we all?

But what I don't want is to put time and effort into strategies that a) don't work for me, b) that I don't agree with/find impactful, and c) all of the above.


Maybe you're saying to yourself that I'm too much of a newbie to cast things off. Maybe you're saying to yourself that newbies don't need to worry about these things anyway because their sphere of influence online is small. Either way... here I am, writing this post on five things that I've stopped doing to grow my blog.



+ Scheduling pins.


I had signed up for a free month of Tailwind using another blogger's affiliate link, and I hated it. The interface was extremely confusing, and I soon learned something about Pinterest's algorithm: that pins are sorted by keywords and richness, not chronologically. Why would I pay for a service to schedule pins that might not even show up on my desired audience's feed? The answer? I wouldn't. I also enjoy using Pinterest and found scheduling pins to be more of a hassle than logging on and pinning things myself.


+ Retweeting.


Most of the time I do not retweet a link to a promoted blog post. Unless I really have nothing to add, I'll always include a little blurb to explain why I'm sharing the post, why I liked the post, or why I think my followers should read the post.

Retweeting a well-known blogger's post is not going to increase your traffic, but quoting one might. (Tweet it!)


The blogger might see it and retweet it to her followers. More eyes on your content and more online friends!



+ Liking random users' Instagram photos.


The purpose of using hashtags is to find other users who are similar to you or post similar content, but liking random photos is not necessarily an effective way to expand your reach— especially with Instagram's latest update that lumps all the likers into one notification. Here and there, I will like a photo posted by someone I don't follow, but I don't leave comments. Wait. Isn't this an example of über-good engagement that helps you grow your following? Why don't you comment, Alexa? I don't like when people I don't know leave comments on my photos just to get my attention, so I'm not about to do that. #SorryNotSorry

How about that "I absolutely love your photos!" comment without a follow? Uh... do you really absolutely love my photos? Haha.

Also, I said it in this post, but I'll say it again because it reigns true: don't be a serial emoji-commenter, don't like 30 photos on one person's page in rapid succession, and please: don't pay for followers. We can tell.


+ Trying to appeal to everyone.


Initially, my blog was not a niche blog. Social media and promotion were not in the original plan. Once they became part of the plan, however, I tried to include everyone in my audience: college students, music-lovers, millennials, bakers, writers....

Not a good strategy on my part. Starting out, I didn't know that blogging about blogging was a thing. Once I made that discovery— followed by the discovery that creative online business is a thing (please excuse my living under a virtual rock)— it clicked for me. I've always loved learning, and writing about, how things work and what goes on "behind the scenes" of a project. So, what better topics for me to blog about than blogging itself; this fascinating, new-to-me online niche that is creative business; and, of course, writing? Nothing. Nothing better to blog about :)

Once I realized what it was that I wanted to write about, whom I would write for was easy to define: bloggers, creative business owners, and writers. And launching my freelance writing coaching services was the next natural step. See how that worked out?


+ Avoiding email marketing.


I continually put off creating an email list because I had absolutely no clue what I would include in a newsletter and because I was, for all intents and purposes, intimidated by all the email marketing platforms that I knew nothing about. Fast forward three months after I took the plunge and rented out a P.O. box... and I actually really enjoy creating In on the Shuffle every week (subscribe here!).

Also, without the direct, platform-to-inbox distribution that email marketing allows for, I probably would not have a way to share my resource library with readers in a way that benefits the both of us. Email marketing is supposed to be high on conversion rates, too, so if it's something you're considering and you have a service or product to offer, you should just do it. Even if you don't have a service or product to offer, you should do it.

Email marketing is a personal, direct way to connect with your audience and that makes all the difference. (Tweet it!)


Email marketing is a personal way to connect with your readers because they can reply directly to what you send them (which is the best— I've gotten several replies to my newsletters and each of them make my day brighter). You can put whatever you'd like in an email; it's an extension of your brand, but you can be more flexible than you might be on your blog. For example: I like to share bits and pieces from my week, a mini "pep talk," and exercises that my subscribers can engage in, amongst other things. Need more mailing list content ideas? Subscribe and access my list in my resource library.

What have you stopped doing to grow your blog?

5 comments

  1. I agree that just retweeting a link to a popular blogger's post is not going to increase engagement at all. If I enjoy someone's post, I write a little blurb about what I like or why my followers should read it. The blogger is more likely to interact with a genuine tweet. Mostly likely they won't retweet that a tweet with just their blog post link and a "Love it!" attached. It doesn't seem genuine enough.

    Great post! I was surprise to read that scheduling pins doesn't work as well as some people think. It's a good thing you love being on Pinterest so you can just pin in real time!

    -Kim :)
    www.simplybeingkim.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks, Kim! I know scheduling pins works great for some people, but I could not stand it haha. I don't think it's something that I would invest in personally. On Twitter, giving some kind of input on the post to show that you actually read it is pretty much essential. Favoriting doesn't do much, either, unless you're liking it so you can read it later, which is something I do.

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  2. I am so reluctant to schedule pins just because it is so not me. Like you, I like logging on and pinning for and as myself. It feels somewhat unauthentic to schedule pins. I don't know, it just feels weird. But I would love some advice on creating an email and email list! I have absolutely no idea WHAT I would send out to people but I really want to at least create a blog email soon. Great post girl!!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Thanks, Ariana! I actually have a list of mailing list content ideas in my resource library and included the link to sign up for access in the post :)

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