I started blogging for myself. For about the first year, I blogged to process my then-fiance, now-husband’s year-long deployment. I was totally new to the military life and Jo, My Gosh! was my outlet. Fast-forward three years, and now I blog for the military spouses and significant others who felt just as lost as I did or who are looking for a community that’s welcoming, accepting, and informative.
It’s been especially exciting and gratifying to watch the community grow. But this fall, the explosion in growth has knocked me completely off my rocker. In October, the site had 145,000 pageviews. By the end of November, it was hovering at 200,000. Today, as of writing, we’re up another 20,000. It all works out to about 27% growth in just one month.
I’m not a wizard. If you’re a blogger, you can do this too. Here’s how I did:
Pinterest, Pinterest, PinterestPinterestPinterest
Pinterest is a major driver of traffic to Jo, My Gosh! and it can be for your site two. First, make sure that you have a Pinterest account. If possible, make your handle as similar to your name or business as possible so people can find you easily. I can’t tell you how many times I see blogs using completely different handles. The Pinterest handle for Jo, My Gosh! is @jomygosh1, not @prettikittikat2913. It’s a small change, but it makes a big difference. Also enable Rich Pins and have a business account through Pinterest. Got that? Sweet.
Spend Time on Your Graphics
I rebranded in September with the help of the absolutely wonderful Kaye Putnam. Before that, I had a pretty homemade site… I loved it, but I wanted to look more authoritative and professional. Kaye helped me really nail down my branding and gave me fantastic templates and ideas for how to brand my graphics. And dude, they have helped. I can’t even quantify. Just look at the pictures.
Make Your Stuff Sharable
I use SumoMe to ensure that there are multiple ways that people can share my work if they’d like. SumoMe is a plugin that, with just a few clicks, easily sets up on WordPress. See the mouseover share buttons on my photos? The share bar on the left-hand side of the post? The share buttons in the post? It makes it so easy for someone to Pin, Facebook, or Tweet a post with just a tap or click.
Have an Active Presence
Through schedulers, you can be active on your social media virtually 24/7. I post to Facebook between 4-7 times a day, pin about 25 times a day, and tweet 2-3 times. Getting eyes on your post is important– the more eyes on your posts, the more likely people will be intrigued and click. I cannot say enough great stuff about TailWind (a Pinterest scheduler) and CoSchedule (an editorial calendar and social media scheduler). If you’re serious about growing your blog, you need to invest in both products. And for goodness sake, share other people’s work. It’s no fun if you’re only talking about yourself all the time!
Set Up an RSS Newsletter
I avoided newsletters for such a long time. Then I started one as a monthly newsletter. It was slow-going. Most times, I totally forgot about it. And then I decided to automate through MailChimp. I thought it would be brain surgery, so I (again) avoided doing anything with it until this past fall. I am so glad that I have finally set up a weekly, automated newsletter. Every Monday morning, my subscribers get the newest posts from the prior week directly in their inbox. Boom. We stay in touch and readers are able to easily access important information to them. (And if you haven’t subscribed yet, you totally should! There’s even a free ebook in it for you!)
Produce Great Stuff
We all have duds when it comes to content. Just make sure that you keep swinging for the fences. Often, I see bloggers get sidetracked by sponsored posts or by things they want to write about rather than looking for what their audience wants. Analyze your social media– see what people like and what they engage with. Analyze your Google Analytics– see what people are clicking on. And then brainstorm ways to replicate those great posts. You might even have diamonds in the rough in your blog already! For example, my audience loves care package posts. In particular, they’ve been loving this Harry Potter roundup of care package ideas. While I’m not going to create a new HP post for a while, I did create one 3 years ago. I spruced it up and redid some graphics so that my new readers find it attractive.