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I feel like I’m almost always behind the curve when it comes to blogging. I’ve been blogging for more than 4 years now (almost 2 with this blog), and I just never quite mastered getting page views and building an audience. I thought to myself, “Oh, blogging is just my hobby, who cares if no one sees my posts?” I’m clearly my own worst critic, always ready to downplay my hopes and dreams.
Of course I want people to view my blog and engage with me.
It’s just been in the past few months that I’ve started to utilize resources to improve my blog. It has all been a process and I’ve learned a ton about forming a strategy and implementing it. I haven’t “tripled my page views”, but I have seen small improvements that I know are starting to add up over time. Most importantly, I can now feel a sense of pride in my blog, which I think translates into posts.
Keep reading for 7 of the most useful blogging resources I’ve been using! 🙂
One of the best places to find advice for building a blog is to read other blogs (as many as possible!). I felt completely alone trying to understand how to revamp my blog or figure out what SEO is. The bloggersphere is quite saturated, but luckily there are plenty of bloggers out there that are willing to share their tips via blog posts. Bloggers blog about blogging.
Not only do other bloggers post incredibly helpful tips about how they grew their sites, reading other blogs and engaging is a great way to make friends. I also like to read other blogs to get inspiration for my own blog when the creative juices aren’t flowing. Follow your favorite bloggers on social media, and tweet them with questions (but don’t harass them). Most people are happy to help!
Am I the only one who gets blog ideas at the most random times? I write down the idea on a little scrap of paper, which inevitably gets lost.
What’s cool about Evernote is that it keeps all of your notes in one place (obviously), but it also syncs your desktop and mobile device. So I type a blog idea while I’m out using the Evernote app, and I can see that idea on my PC when I go to write blog posts. Alternatively, I can write down shopping lists (for example) on my desktop, and pull it up on my phone.
This is a great way for me to get organized and keep track of my goals. I also use it to store bits of code, email templates, or my Instagram hashtags. Then, I can easily just copy and paste from wherever I am. It’s so simple, but it’s been very effective for me!
There is so much information available in Google Analytics. It doesn’t just tell you your page views and bounce rate (more accurately than Blogger, for instance). You can see what keywords people use to stumble upon your site, which social media sites direct traffic to your blog, and what your key demographics are.
This is a great way to figure out what kinds of posts do well and what your audience is like. It’s also incredibly interesting to go through! I was surprised to see which of my past posts are still driving traffic to my blog. I’ve been working on redoing those posts with better writing and photography to give a better impression of my blog.
Not only have I been updating the writing and photography of my old blog posts, but I’ve been doing some small changes to improve SEO. When I was thinking about making the switch from Blogger to WordPress, one of the most compelling arguments was the Yoast SEO plugin.
This plugin helps you write keyword-rich and readable posts, blog titles, and post descriptions (i.e. the snippet that shows up in Google search). Apparently my settings were a bit wonky, so I hadn’t been using the full extent of Yoast SEO until recently. Womp womp. But now I know the full joys of it, and I’m slowly updating my old posts with proper SEO. And of course, all of my new posts from here on out will hopefully be properly SEO’ed.
Having high quality images keeps visitors around your blog, so your bounce rate will go down. I debated for years on a Photoshop subscription to up my game. Frankly, I was intimidated by it – layers, masks… uhhh, what? However, I came to the point where I wanted to start shooting RAW and really connect with my camera (i.e. use Manual mode). Based on what I read from other blogs, Photoshop would give me the editing capabilities I was looking for.
I won’t go into how I use Photoshop, as I’m planning a post with what I’ve learned so far (and I’m still learning more every single day). However, I’m happy that my images appear to be higher quality and I have more control over the editing process.
Photoshop is also incredibly useful to generate Pinterest-worthy verticals, which brings me to my next resource.
I honestly did not understand Pinterest until very recently. After reading Paula’s posts about how much of an impact Pinterest makes, I decided to jump on the Pinterest train. Plus, I first stumbled upon her blog while I was searching for blogging tips on Pinterest. I think that says it all!
What I quickly realized is that Pinterest is basically another search engine. In contrast to Instagram or Twitter, any pin is in the system and circulates well after the original pinning. That means a blog post from years ago can still bring in traffic.
With Pinterest, it’s important to pin a variety of content (related to your niche/target audience) and pin frequently. Using a scheduling tool like Tailwind helps tremendously for both time and gaining insight into your best pins/boards. You can sit down for an hour and do all of your pinning for the week at one time. Tailwind will pin for you based on a smart schedule.
Looking at Google Analytics data, I saw that I still had some traffic (albeit light) for my review of Tarte Shape Tape. I created a vertical Pinterest image for the post and pinned it to a few group boards. Just a couple of weeks later, my Google Analytics data shows my Tarte Shape Tape post is now receiving a more substantial amount of traffic from – you guessed it – Pinterest.
I started with the 30 day free trial, but I just purchased the Tailwind Plus plan.
Speaking of scheduling, Buffer is another gem. I started out as purely an Instagram fan, but with the algorithm changes, I’ve been headed to Twitter a bit more. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to connect with other bloggers.
Twitter is another one where you need to be active multiple times in a day though. I like to use Buffer to schedule tweets with links to blog posts. There are several blogger retweet accounts on Twitter, and I like to tag one or two to potentially have my tweet retweeted to reach a larger audience.
I just have a free Buffer account for right now, but it does offer some analytics, such as the best performing tweets. You can also re-Buffer your tweets easily – no typing it out again. No complaints for a free service that saves me time each day!
I’m still working on building my Twitter a bit more, but Buffer is helping keep me as a daily active user. I just sit down for a few minutes each week and schedule a few tweets per day. I tweet on top of that if I’m around and can actually think of something to say, but there’s no pressure on my time.
My previous strategy to growing my blog was to hope and pray that I’d end up on the first page of Google. Maybe that wasn’t really a strategy…
I’ve been taking many steps to improve my SEO and build my social media to drive traffic to my blog, and I can see small advances that tell me I’m on the right track.
What are your favorite resources for blogging? ↓