This was written 2 months after I started blogging back in 2016. I went from 52 followers to over 500. In the beginning, I wanted my blog to be found and followers were important to me. Now approaching on 3,000 followers, I value connection and engagement over the number of followers. Hopefully, some of the things I did will help you find what works for you to cultivate the following you’re looking for.
I am so humbled! I can’t believe 500 people have chosen to have my posts hit their reader, feed, and email! Thank you to each and every one of you. As you may or may not know, I attempted blogging 3 years ago and thought it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t know how to find blogs and found myself writing to an empty audience. I didn’t know how to get started or what I even wanted out of my blog. I walked away and forgot all about it. About two years later, I started reading blogs that I liked and decided to give it another chance. The timing wasn’t the best as I was pregnant with my second daughter and while I enjoyed it, I had to set the idea aside for a while.
At the end of January of 2016, my husband asked why he didn’t see me write anymore. I decided to delete my old content, change the blog name, pick a new theme layout and start over. I hoped the 52 followers I had from the previous attempt would be intrigued by this blog that was suddenly appearing on their Reader. I never would have imagined just two months later my followers would go from 52 to over 500!
This time around I was focused, determined, and wanted to be consistent. Here’s the recipe to my blog’s humble success-
Niche & Topics
I chose Lifestyle as my niche because it covers so many subgenres. Over time I found my blogging voice and decided to share posts about my life in a way that encourages, inspires, and empowers others. I got really clear on the topics I wanted to post about and while they’re all over the place, they all fall under the Lifestyle spectrum. The pro is that I have regular readers for many different reasons. Some tune in weekly for a specific topic while others enjoy the variety and come for the motivation and empowerment.
It’s important to provide quality content regularly. I opted for a daily posting schedule. The pro is that it gave me greater exposure the con is that I had to make sure to publish quality content and not post for the sake of posting. Having clear topics for each day of the week helped to keep my posts focused and consistent. Consistency is key whether you choose to blog daily, monthly, or somewhere in between. Make publishing according to your schedule a priority for your blog. If it helps to schedule posts out, you’ll want to set time aside to create your post ahead of time and schedule it for the day you want it published.
Connect with the Community
What I had trouble finding the first time around was the community! Without connecting with others, the experience was empty for me. I started by using the tags to find posts on topics I was interested in. When I found posts I liked, I’d like them and leave comments. I’m a very social and extroverted person so this came very naturally to me. There is an etiquette in the blogging world. When leaving a comment, you want it to be genuine. Think of yourself as a guest visiting the blog. You want to be respectful which means you don’t leave a comment as an opportunity to drop a link. Contribute something thoughtful, relevant, and that will encourage conversation. If you leave an authentic response to the post, odds are the blog host will engage with you as will other commenters. That will be enough for them to want to stop by and visit your blog. This was how I received a large portion of my visits in the first month.
I’d also use the comments to go from blog to blog. I just followed the bread crumbs of comments that lead me to Danny’s blog over at Dream Big, Dream Often. Danny regularly hosts meet and greets where bloggers are encouraged to leave a link. The key to this is engaging! If you drop a link and run, you’ll be buried in the comments with a visit or two if you’re lucky. I took meet and greets as an opportunity to connect with other bloggers. I’d like their link, visit their post, leave a comment, and even follow if it’s a blog I was interested in. Jason at Harsh Reality was another great source of connection in the beginning. The more you interact, the more traffic you’ll get! I don’t interact for the sake of doing so. I engage in conversation with bloggers whose content I enjoy, topics interest me, and I have things in common with.
If you read my blog, you know me. I don’t try to color my life inside the lines. You see the whole picture for what it is. I write what I’m inspired to not what’s trendy. I share what feels right. I don’t think about the views, likes, or comments I’ll get. I share and I’m grateful for the engagement each post gets. If I get a spike in views, GREAT! If not, I’ll be back at it tomorrow. Honestly, most times I’m surprised by the posts that do well because it’s usually the ones I least expect. You’ll cultivate your audience by your authenticity so don’t follow the trends or give in to the pressure of writing to get followers. In the beginning, I felt the pressure to write based on what posts performed the best. I got caught up in trying to figure out what tags, topics, and content would likely get the most views. The moment I stopped focusing on the stats and just wrote from a place of inspiration, it took the pressure off and my blog grew organically.
With my daily posting schedule, I put at least 12-15 hours a week into blogging (usually more!). Between coming up with ideas, creating content for the post, designing images, finding quotes and resources, and networking, a lot goes into running a blog! My suggestion is to come up with a schedule that works for you so you can stay on top of all of these aspects without being overwhelmed and having them take over your life. Ultimately this is my creative outlet, a way to connect with others, and a way to share a piece of myself with the world.
Thank you once again for following me on this journey, and inspiring me to keep going! While I don’t let the stats control my content, it would be an empty experience if I didn’t have you guys to share it with. Thank you for being there! ❤
Did you find these useful? Share what you found most helpful in the comments along with any of your tips. Looking for more blogging tips? I have more available here.