Thursday, 22 March 2012
How I increased my blog readership
Ok, I just wanted to share with you my blog stats and the amazing increase I've seen over the past 3 months. There are 100s of blog posts out there telling you how you can increase your blog traffic but the posts I find most helpful and inspiring are the ones written 'by people' 'for people', with a personal slant. Again, as with other blog posts I have written I don't claim to be an expert, all I am attempting to do is pass on my personal experience and share how I have done things and how it has worked for me.
As you can see from the screen shot above I was quite happily pootling along this time last year with about 300-ish blog views a month. I was enjoying blogging but I didn't really have any strategy in place for my blog, I was just sharing what I was up to at the time, using my blog as an online 'diary' telling my readers what I was doing and how things were going with my work. Having listened to a lot of podcasts and reading up on how to increase blog readership over the past six months or so I came to the conclusion that I wanted to give my blog a broader appeal, make it more interesting and not just about 'me-me-me'! Looking back I was even starting to bore myself, so goodness knows what my readers thought!!
So what have I done to gain a 400% increase in my daily/monthly blog views? Well, here are a few tips that I have found to have really worked for me (or it may just be coincidence!), and that you may find useful and be able to easily implement yourself:
Planning ahead: I have started to plan my blog posts ahead of time. I have been dedicating about an hour or so every week to write some blog posts and scheduling them to be posted on certain days of the week. About three to four posts per week seems to be working for me, I think any more and I would soon run out of things to say or risk repeating myself!! Everyone is different, some may not have the time to invest due to other commitments/reasons and if you only blog once a week that's fine, if people enjoy reading they will know to look out for your posts and will keep coming back for more.
Themes: I've made a conscious effort to blog in 'categories' or 'themes', I have been featuring several very talented artists and designers every week peeking into their sketchbooks and also have been scouring Etsy for work I like for a weekly 'featuring' slot. I always email to ask if people mind being featured as I think this is only polite. Everyone I have approached so far has been happy to be included in the blog and they have also let all of their contacts know about features and interviews too, which drives more traffic to your blog. BTW, if anyone would like to take part in sketchbook peeks please get in touch, I'm always on the lookout for creatives to interview. I am also sharing my preparation for an upcoming Trade Fair and the obstacles and challenges I'm facing and how I'm tackling them.
Social Media: I have also been a LOT more active on Twitter and as well as gaining lots more twitter followers, I have also been tweeting my blog posts. You can set this up to happen automatically. I use Twitterfeed which links your new blog posts to automatically post onto twitter and other social media. I also retweet once or twice more throughout the day to capture other time-zones. You can also get this to link to Facebook but I'm finding twitter is working better for me at the moment. I've also been retweeting popular blog posts, such as 'Writing Your Terms of Business' and 'Writing a Sale or Return Agreement' and these have been picked up by others and retweeted too, again driving readers back to my blog.
Forging links with others: I have done this through Twitter and also directly. Tell people about your blog and if it's got good quality content, is engaging and interactive people will continue to read. I think regular posting also goes hand in hand with this, encouraging readers to return. People connect with people and I do believe in 'blog-karma'. Visiting other blogs, reading, commenting and generally engaging with others is always recommended and you will find over time that you will get traffic coming back to your blog too. Treat people online as you would treat them in person (not rocket-science I know), retweet great content, help people out and you will see the results in your stats!!
Grab opportunities when they arise: If you invest time writing for other blogs, guest-posting, taking part in interviews, taking part in tweet chats, sharing your experience, writing useful constructive comments on other blogs, you will get plenty of links back to your blog/shop/website and see those figures keep on going up! I've found that joining LinkedIn groups, UK Handmade, Folksy Forums all to be great ways to interact with others and also to let them know about you, your blog, what you do etc...
Ok, hope those few points were useful. As I said I'm no expert, I'm just picking things up as I go along, learning from others, and sharing what I've learned along the way. Any comments would be really useful. It should be easier to comment now as I've taken the annoying verification thing off here now so I would love to hear from you and any helpful tips you might have which have helped increase your own blog traffic....