Hi friends, happy Wednesday! How are you all doing? I hope you’re having a lovely week so far. Today I’m thrilled to be back again with my blogging ways feature, and my second “How to” blog post! After the lovely comments I received on my first post with tips and tricks, I was impatient to write more. I hope you’ll enjoy that one as well!
Today’s topic is going to be all about growing your blog, but before diving in, let’s ask ourselves one tiny little question….
What does growing your blog mean, exactly?
We could be talking about a lot of things when it comes to blogging and, depending on where you situate yourself on the whole blogging spectrum, growth can mean loads of different things.
We could be talking about pageviews, followers, overall statistics and numbers, which is something that feels good for sure but is, for me, more of a paid-bloggers-goal ? I don’t know, my personal opinion here, even if let’s admit it, I dream of thousands of pageviews as well.
We could also be talking about growing your blog in terms of community. Of bloggers’ references. Of overall, having the feeling of being “known”, not because you are famous and making tons of money, but because you are making sense in the community: exchanging, talking, fangirling, overall feeling like you have a presence there. If I make any sense?!
No matter what your goal is, growing your blog is something we all have in mind whenever we’re starting to blog, right in the middle of it, or in a bit of a blogging slump. In my two and a half now years of blogging, I like to think that I have got this blogging sh*t together by now but oh, I wish I had it all figured out – to be honest, I’m still quite of a mess at times. ANYWAY, I still managed to learn some things along the way, a couple of quite simple yet effective advice to overall feel less alone in your blogging thing!
5 tips to grow your blog
THINK about your blog in terms of design, brand, personality, EVERYTHING
Whenever you are blog-hopping or finding out new blogs, do you often stop to look at the blog’s design? Do you pay attention to it and, sometimes, do you *gasps* close the window without reading it because it’s too messy, unreadable or anything else that bothers you? We are ALL guilty of that – it’s only natural to stop at that even if it’s a bit superficial.
This is the reason why my first advice here to grow your blog is to attract people to it by having a “good” design. Whether you like blue, pink, yellow, a side bar or no side bar, a header with a big logo or a tiny one, emphasis on images or little widgets on the sides, YOU CAN DO IT YOUR OWN WAY. You don’t have to – and should NOT – copy another bloggers’ design because it is WORKING for him or her. Inspire yourself from other bloggers’ designs for sure, see which layout you enjoy, which blogs are agreeable to read for you and ask yourself WHY. Then apply these things to your own blog your own way to make it all beautifully yours.
Blog CONSISTENTLY – or at least, try
If there is something that works to grow your blog, it is to try and write blog posts consistently. For some people, consistent is all about having a blogging schedule and being able to keep up with it -like me!-. Some days are dedicated to particular posts and some others to other posts, some days are without any posts which allow me to take a breather once in a while. For others, it might be writing blog posts each week but not having strict schedules.
Do not think that consistency means having to post every single day. I’m not doing it and I do not know a lot of bloggers doing this because work, school, real life exists besides blogging and if it feels like a job, blogging IS NOT MY JOB (insert crying here).
Consistency, really, is all about being there in the blogging community: with blog posts, with comments, with engaging with others and most of it all, with working your presence online. Blogging hiatuses are, obviously, something that can happen and NO ONE WILL BE MAD at you for having to take a break, though.
On writing: what interests your audience but most of it all, what you love
When I first started blogging, I thought I had to pay attention to the blog posts I would write. I thought I had to participate in what every one else’s was doing, like blogging memes such as Top Ten Tuesdays, Waiting on Wednesday and more.
I am NOT here to bad-mouth these memes, on the contrary, I LOVE these and they are and were definitely so helpful in growing my blog. However, with time, I found out that these posts weren’t the most interesting for me to write. They took me hours to think of, I wasn’t entirely happy about doing these and they just overall felt like a chore. So, I decided to stop and focus on what interested me more, such as blogging discussions, bookish discussions and reviews.
It worked, because it both interested my audience, which I am so grateful for, but also, because I poured my heart out in every single one of my blog posts. I sometimes scream, fangirl, sometimes I’m just overall mildly confused about things, yet I found out that whenever I wrote my blog post with HEART and not with the feeling of being forced to, I got both great feedback and more happiness in my blogging life. Point is here: WRITE WHAT YOU LOVE because it shows.
Communicate with the community
To be honest, this should be my number one advice on this list because for me, growing your blog is all about being part of a community. I know I’m not a “famous” blogger or anything, though I feel like I have people to talk to and fangirl with about books, which is the BEST thing that happened to me in blogging. My blog’s growth is that: you, people reading this, commenting and all. Question here is: how to FIND the community, how to talk to them and how to basically, grow your blog this way?
Comments are, for me, everything. When pageviews matter to others, for me, it’s comments, and not only on my blog – though it feels awesome to get comments on a blog post, best feeling, ever. Engaging with other bloggers did wonders for my blog’s growth but it also made me happy, which, let’s be honest, matters most.
I answer to every single one of my comments, which, when I forget to or take a little break, takes me hours to catch up on at times. But it’s worth it. Show people you care because yes, they took the time to leave a comment and isn’t that the best?! , engage a conversation, ask questions, answer thoughtfully because it both works and feels good – doesn’t it?
I comment A LOT on other blogs. I blog-hop every single day and try and leave thoughtful comments as much as I can on the blog posts I enjoyed. More than “Great Post”, I talk about my feelings, share my thoughts on the book or topic at hand, overall try my best to leave a genuine comments like the ones that makes me happy to read.
There’s no RULE to blog-hop or answer to your comments all the time: the only rule here working is to PAY ATTENTION to others, comment and answer your comments and engage with people, on the daily-weekly-monthly-whatever basis you can handle.
I KNOW. I’m saying this all the time – but I do think that what makes a blog stand out, what makes it grow, what makes it unforgettable, is YOU. There will always be a blog that looks like yours, in terms of design or the books they talk about or like, in terms of the discussions they post. It is hard to be unique and original as a book blogger these days because we are billions.
Yet, we are ALL ORIGINAL in our own way. Tons of bloggers, bookish or not, already wrote about tons of topics I tackled on the blog lately. If that made me confused of hesitant to write mine, I did it anyway because…well, I’d like to think I have my own way of talking about things – just like anyone else has. Don’t let anything stop you from being yourself, really. It’s that, it’s your blogging voice overall that makes you stand out, make your blog grow and most importantly, makes you happy every single time you write a blog post.