When I first started my blog, I had no idea what I was doing (and let’s be honest, I’m still learning the ropes). I had been thinking about starting a blog for a while, so when I finally went for it (on campus in my final year of Uni) it was pretty much just a bunch of pictures with comments underneath. It was actually more like a tumblr blog, but I knew I eventually wanted to take it further. I also knew I wanted some sort of creative outlet, but really had no idea how to grow my blog at that point.
The next phase of my blogging path was the fashion blogging phase. I mean, I LOVE fashion, I went to school for fashion, so of course I’d want to be a fashion blogger. I posted tons of outfit posts and I really loved it, but I was so on and off with it while I was doing my Masters degree that it just kind of faded into the background.
I’ve had my blog for about three years now, but I haven’t been really consistent with it until this past November, and I didn’t find my new focus until about two weeks ago, so when I talk about growing my blog, I’m talking from this point forward. Successful blogs don’t become successful on pure luck, it takes research, skill and hard work to grow and flourish as a blogger.
This is exactly how I plan to grow Layered Indulgence in 5 in-depth steps (and how you can grow your blog too!). UPDATE: After writing this, I realize this post is LONG. Like, really long. But it is PACKED with great info on how to grow your blog. So, if you’re really looking to grow your audience and traffic, grab a cup of tea, sit back and take it all in!
1) FIND A FOCUS (NOT A NICHE)
If you read anything about blogging, lots of professionals will tell you that you HAVE to pick a niche. I don’t necessarily think that’s true and I know lots of bloggers who blog about an assortment of things who are still crazy successful. I get what these professionals are saying – if you pick a niche you can position yourself as an expert, but while that may work for some, I think it could get pretty boring.
However, I DO think that it’s important to have a focus and a target audience. If you have this (+ great content!), then you’ll be able to gain an engaged following that hangs on to your every word! Take Helene In Between for example. She blogs about everything under the sun (almost) and still has a massive following. If you write engaging content that is also fun and HELPFUL to your target audience, you’re golden!
MY NEW FOCUS
It’s taken me three years to find my focus, but here it is. From now on I’m going to be writing posts focused on helping lifestyle bloggers grow their blog + biz! From social media and blogging tips to photography and branding, Layered Indulgence will be a hub for bloggers who are just starting out, to seasoned bloggers who want to take their lifestyle blogs to the next level.
An old co-worker/friend emailed me a while ago about starting a blog, and that’s when I realized – wow, people are actually coming to ME? I could help them! And I loved helping her and giving her all the information I could. So it dawned on me, why not do that for other people looking to start a blog, or bloggers who need help, all in one place – my blog!!! (so thanks Colette, for helping me figure out my focus 🙂 )
Plus, there will still be a dose of some of my own life + style posts, because I love writing them and bugging my boyfriend to take outfit photos, etc. PLUS, who better to learn about the art of lifestyle blogging than from a lifestyle blogger herself, right??
2) GROW A COMMUNITY
Having a blog community is probably the number one necessity to growing a blog. If you have a community of loyal fans (who you are also fans of) you guys can work together as you grow your blogs + businesses.
So, how exactly do you I plan to grow a community around my blog?
1. Comment on other blogs – find blogs that share a similar focus to mine and comment on them regularly. Whenever someone comments on my blog, I make sure to check their blog out, and if I love their content, I comment too! This is also a great way for other bloggers to find your blog!
HINT: Make sure your name/blog is linked in the comment, so when people click on your name, it takes them directly to your blog! Lots of blogs allow you to put your website as the link, so that’s a great way to do it. Elna at Twins Mommy has an excellent post on the importance of leaving your name and blog name while commenting (and how it generates traffic!).
2. Join Facebook groups
There are tons of Facebook groups you can join with like-minded blog babes that are flooded with awesome information and inspiration. In these groups, you are able to ask questions, ask for advice, support each other, make new blogging friends, and more – it is SUCH a great community.
Right now I am part of Melyssa Griffith’s Blog + BFFs (sign up for her list to get access), Allison Marshall’s Creative Superheroes (you can request to join on Facebook, no need to sign up for her list first!), Erica Madden’s My Pro Blog + Biz (subscribe to get access here), and Elizabeth Kelsey Bradley’s Blogging Boost (open for anyone to join!).
I’m always on the search for more awesome Facebook groups to join, so if you know of any, make sure to link the group in the comment section below!
3) UP MY PINTEREST GAME
Okay, this is where I’m putting A LOT of my time and energy into growing my blog. Pinterest is a game-changer. I never knew the power of Pinterest until I really started researching growing my blog, but if you’re a blogger, you HAVE to get on the Pinterest band wagon, like, yesterday.
For many bloggers, the MAJORITY of their traffic comes from Pinterest. Pinterest is no longer just a place to make pretty inspirational boards, it now acts more like a visual search engine than a social media platform. People are going to Pinterest to gain tips and information, so it’s a great place for bloggers to showcase their work!
So what are some things I’m doing to up my Pinterest game?
1. Create pinnable images – that means vertical, with a nice clear graphic in the background, and the post title in big font. I’m also making sure that all my Pinterest images match each other (same font and colours) so that when people see my pins they’ll know they’re mine!
2. Pin consistently – over the past few months I’ve been pinning consistently (both my content and others’ content) and my following is growing DAILY. I had zero followers a couple months ago and now I’m almost at 600. Being active on Pinterest is an easy way to grow your following.
But we can’t spend ALL day pinning, right? Although I wouldn’t mind scrolling Pinterest all day, I recently signed up for Board Booster, an amazing Pinterest scheduling tool. I JUST started using it and so far I am loving it! Basically you can go on Pinterest and save all the pins you love to secret boards (that co-exist with your live boards) and Board Booster will pin them at optimal times to your live boards. So, you could spend an hour saving pins at the beginning of the week and have pins going out onto your boards all week!
3. Join group boards
I’m only part of one group board right now, but I’m going to sit down and make a list of group boards I want to join. Group boards are great because you can share your content with other bloggers who are interested in the info you’re putting out there.
However, keep in mind that you should only join group boards that relate to the content on your blog. For instance, if you’re a fashion blogger, don’t join a group board for gardening. Your content will be so random on that board and no one will click on it, because they’re there for gardening tips, not fashion advice!
To join group boards, take a look at some of your favourite pinners and the group boards they belong to will be within their boards. For most group boards, you have to email the head of the board or tag them in a comment. The requirement will be in the description of the board, and the owner of the board will always be the first circle picture! Take a look below for example.
4) INVEST IN COURSES
You only get out what you put in. I’ve realized that if I want to grow my blog (and start monetizing it at some point) then I need to start treating it like a business. That means making a business plan and investing in courses that will help my blog grow.
There are bloggers willing to share the exact tactics they used to grow their blog into a business and investing in their courses will undoubtedly help you grow your blog. However, I’m also sure there is a lot of crap out there, so make sure you do your DUE DILIGENCE before spending money on any courses. Talk to people who have taken the course before, look for testimonials. There’s nothing worse than spending money on something that doesn’t pay off in the long run.
Many bloggers have free email courses and webinars, so that’s a good place to start. This way you can see if their content is actually helpful before investing in one of their paid courses.
5) START AN EMAIL LIST
I really need to do more research about this, but apparently having an email list is KEY to growing your blog. The people who sign up for your emails are the ones who are actually interested in your content, so it makes total sense. But I really have no idea how to do this right now, or what i’d even send to my email list, so more on this at a later date.
WHEW. That was a long one, but I didn’t want to leave anything out, because I thought it would be helpful to you guys who are looking to grow your blogs too! Are you in the process of growing your blog? Comment below and let me know what steps you’re taking!
And as always, if you loved this post and found it helpful, don’t forget to pin the image below!