Monday, 9 January 2017

10 ways to grow your blog in 2017


In the past 12 months I have managed to double the amount of traffic North East Family Fun receives and in November and December, North East Family Fun received over 50,000 monthly page views with over 30,000 unique users. I'm pretty chuffed with this! I will say though that this definitely does not happen overnight for most blogs. North East Family Fun is approaching it's 4th birthday and getting to this point has been a long & difficult journey. I have picked up a few tips along the way though and thought I would share them with you today.

10 ways and top tips for growing your blog and increasing page views in 2017

1 - Teach Yourself SEO

My no1 tip is to teach yourself SEO (Search Engine Optimisation - so your blog post will show up near the top of google when people search for certain words). Most of my blog traffic is through google and teaching myself SEO has been the best thing I ever did for my blog. It is a long and never-ending process - there is always something new to learn and I certainly don't know it all yet. It has been a gradual process over the last 2 years for me and making small tweaks here and there can make a big difference. I'm not an expert so I don't feel that I'm the person who can give you tips but if you google, there are thousands of articles out there that will help you. Don't get overwhelmed by it all though and maybe set yourself a goal of learning one new thing every month.

The downside to teaching yourself SEO is that it now takes me 4 times as long to write a blog post by the time I optimise everything - it is definitely worth it though.

2 - Facebook Groups

Have you ever posted in a Facebook group and been frustrated that you're not allowed to post links in that group? Have you been barred from the group or just haven't found any engagement? That's what happened to me. I decided to just go ahead and set up my own Facebook groups with my own rules (alongside my Facebook page - I would always recommend you should set up a blog Facebook page first and foremost). Facebook groups work well for a specific niche, so for me, I have Social Media Management Forum where I share blog posts like this one, North East Days Out where I share days out alongside North East Food Lovers and We Love Christmas. The growth of these groups has been slow but constant and they are all fab places where I have a very engaged audience around a particular blog topic. Don't just link drop in your groups or people will get bored - start debates, ask for suggestions and ask/answer other questions too. My Facebook groups are all lovely communities and a fantastic place to share specific content.

3 - Twitter Chats

I don't do this as often as it should now, but joining in with Twitter chats does make a difference to my site traffic. I would recommend #NorthEastHour if you're in the North East (Mondays 8-9pm and Tuesdays 2-3pm).

The key with Twitter Chats is to not drop lots of links but instead take the time to engage and find new people to follow who could become long term readers of your blog. Ask them questions, reply to their Tweets, add them to Twitter lists and RT (if suitable for your audience). I would recommend leaving a link at the end of the chat and maybe a few times in between if relevant. A huge thanks to Cups of Charlotte who has put together this list of blogger chats:

10 ways and top tips for growing your blog and increasing page views in 2017 - a list of Twitter chats

4 - Learn How to use Pinterest

You often hear that Pinterest is a fantastic source of traffic for bloggers but unfortunately that has never been the case for me. So I spent a few days teaching myself about Pinterest, I joined tailwind and in December I received 2500 referrals from Pinterest. Not bad! If you post recipes, travel posts or blogging tips (these are what have worked for me), I would highly recommend you try Tailwind (join here for a free 30 day trial using my referral link - you don't need to input any card details) and add yourself to the Pinterest Group Boards group on Facebook to find some tribes and group boards to join.

5 - Post More Often

This is a no brainer really but if you normally post 2 times per week and every post receives 100 views, adding one more post per week should increase your traffic by around 100 per week (that's an extra 5200 views per year). In realilty, I have found that posting more actually increases your page views more than this as the likelihood of a post going viral increases if you post regularly.

6 - Start A Weekly Series

Every Thursday I publish a 'What's On at the Weekend' guide and it is again, one of the best things I have done for my blog. It is regular and useful content that my readers seek out and I have received feedback that people come to my blog to specifically find this. Your regular series could be monthly to begin with if you don't have the time to create new weekly content and it can be about anything - perhaps your favourite recipes from the month, a snapshot of where you've been that month, sharing a childhood memory or favourite beauty tip - anything! You can ask other bloggers to guest post on your blog as part of the series too. Creating a regular series gives readers a reason to come back to your blog and it really helps to define your niche.

7 - Comment/Share/Link to Other Blogs

Around 80% of the comments on my blog are from other bloggers. Non-bloggers tend to comment on social media instead. If you are serious about growing your blog, I would recommend commenting on at least 5 blogs per day. Eventually, these bloggers should come back and read your content and hopeful leave a comment too.

Similarly, if you've read a blog post and think your audience will enjoy it, share it across your social media and tag the blogger in your post. It's nice to share the love and again eventually, others should do the same for you and expose your blog to their audience.

8 - Tag Brands

If you've written about a brand - don't forget to tag them in all of your social media. Brands will often RT or mention your review on Facebook and therefore share your blog to all of their followers so it's certainly worth a try.

9 - Use Analytics & An Editorial Calendar to Plan Content

If you haven't already installed google analytics on your blog, make that your priority today! It's free and such a useful resource. It can be confusing at first so I would also recommend downloading the google analytics app which is a little more user friendly. Over time you can use analytics to find out when certain types of content is most popular. For example you may find people start searching for Christmas ideas in October. If you use this information to plan when you are going to post similar content, more people are going to see it.

It doesn't have to be seasonal posts that google analytics can help you with - regularly review your top 10 posts and try and re-create posts like that. Creating more popular content will ensure readers come back time and time again.

Similarly, use an editorial calendar and stick to it. Then you won't be surprised when Valentine's Day sneaks up on you and you realised you were going to write a post about a few ideas for Valentine's crafts but it is too late. An editorial calendar stops this from happening. You don't need anything fancy - I just use my blog planner.

10 - Talk about your blog

If you'd like your blog to grow, you need to let people know about it. Be proud of your blog and tell everyone about it. Attend local networking meetings, post about your blog on your personal Facebook profile,  share your blog on Twitter, post on Linkedin, Pin on Pinterest, ask your friends and family to share relevant posts, put yourself forward for round up posts (I recommend joining the Content and Round Up Request for UK Bloggers group) and promote your blog in any way you can.

I hope you've found these tips useful - let me know if there's anything I've missed that has worked for you. If you'd like to see more posts like this, you can follow SamanthaRickelton.com on Facebook here.

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10 ways and top tips for growing your blog and increasing page views in 2017

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6 comments

  1. Great article, especially the Twitter Groups, will definitely put that into practice

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  2. Fab-thanks for the tips. Alan is on a mission with SEO at the moment and twitter is probably our most underused platform.

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  3. Great tips thanks - especially the twitter chats, and the reminder to comment on blogs (guilty!)

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  4. Ahh! You are so wise!
    Thank you for the tips. x

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  5. Loads of great tips here! No1 is on my hit list for sure! I've pinned this, will be referring to it!

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