We all want to be successful bloggers, in that we are able to create and publish content that resonates with our audience, increases our blog’s traffic, grows our following, and hopefully allows us to generate an income. Right? Right! That is the goal. Well, it’s my goal and I hope it’s your goal, too, because becoming a successful blogger has been an amazing and rewarding journey so far and I want everybody in the blogging community to be able to say that they’re successful in what they do.
That said, I am making this lengthy post to give you all my 12 tips and tricks on how to properly and effectively grow (well, explode, to be honest) your blog! Understand that this takes time, though. I launched Sincerely Shirley back in February of this year, so 2019, and the results and successes were by no means immediate. I wanted them to be, of course. But, in all honesty, it’s taken me months. Months and months of consistency, trial-and-error (yup), and hard work.
grab a notebook + pen and take some notes because this is about to be a very, very detailed post!
Alright, let’s get to it! Here are 12 things I do that have grown and exploded my blog —
manually pin on pinterest
Yas, yas, yas! Say goodbye to Tailwind and say hello to manually pinning 👋🏾. I cannot stress how important it is to manually pin on Pinterest. I understand that the idea of automating every single thing is attractive, but sometimes it’s not helpful. I promise. And, if I’m being honest, sometimes automation can turn out to be detrimental to our numbers. So, please manually pin on Pinterest, because it is how you will grow it. Now, please note that pinning is not the only way to grow your Pinterest. Pinterest engagement is really important, too. That said, be sure to comment on people’s pins, respond to any and all comments, pin all day every day (yep, this is a must 🤷🏾♀️), and follow people, as well as follow back (do not follow to unfollow, it’s rude and annoying). Doing all of this together will grow your account and lead to more clicks and traffic to your blog. I promise! So, to recap this info, for Pinterest, you will want to be —
- creating multiple high-quality pins per post | read my post on the anatomy of a perfect pinterest pin + feed
- pinning as much as you possibly can
- finding, joining + interacting in Pinterest group boards | if you’re a Black blogger, join my Pinterest group here
- commenting and responding to comments on pins
- sharing other people’s pins (because they will share yours, too!)
- following similar accounts
- following accounts that appeal to you and your niche
- following (not to unfollow) back
Also, if you need help knowing when to pin, I suggest pinning in the morning, afternoon, dinnertime, and before you go to bed. Do this for awhile until you’re used to it. Then, pin a much as you possibly can. While you’re doing this, you will want to make sure that you —
use pinterest analytics
If you want to grow your Pinterest, you are going to have to take the time to read and understand the analytical side of Pinterest, too. And I get it – as someone who has always hated math and numbers, reading analytics is the last thing I ever wanted to do. But, it’s necessary. Because what’s the point of creating pins and pining them if you don’t even know who your target audience is or who is pinning what (and why)? How can you ever know what is working and what’s not working if you never take the time to look at your Pinterest accounts’ analytics? You can’t. So, to grow your Pinterest account, make sure you are checking up on the analytics on a regular basis. I check every single day. But, multiple times a week, for starters, is fine, too. Also, please keep in mind that the analytics are broken down as follows —
- average monthly engaged = the average number of people who act on/interact with your pins (through repinning or clicking on)
- clicks = the number of clicks to your website from pins on your profile
- (average) monthly viewers = the average number of people who see your pins
- impressions = the number of times a pin showed up in the home feed, search results, and category feeds
- saves = your pin being saved to someones board
- repins = the number of times someone saved your pin to one of their boards
be passionate, genine, knowledgable, and authentic on your blog and on social media
I cannot stress this one enough. When I first started Sincerely Shirley, I knew right sway that my blog was going to be nothing buy 10000% authentic. I knew I would be honest, genuine, and knowledgable about everything I said and posted about. I was never going to allow Sincerely Shirley to be a blog based on lies, exaggerations, and fakeness. So, what you see is what you get. Seriously. And I am proud of that. Because not a day goes by that I am not having someone reach out to me and tell me how much they love my blog because of how good my content is, but how I am also super relatable, down-to-earth, real, and genuine. It’s the best compliment ever, to be honest. It really, really is. Because I know that as I grow as a blogger, my subscribers will continue to trust me and what I have to say, offer, recommend, etc. Also, here are some related posts that you may find helpful:
- 5 reasons why I didn’t (and won’t) read your blog posts
- 11 things that need to be included in every blog post
- 5 blogging mistakes I made that temporarily set me back
So, the bottom line is this — alway be honest. And if you can’t be honest, please do not blog. Simple as that.
create a (strict) content calendar and stick with it
In order to grow your blog, you have to post consistently. Posting on a Wednesday and then not posting for 2.5 weeks on a Thursday isn’t going to serve you well. In fact, people like consistency. Why? Because people naturally like schedules and knowing when to be expecting things. So, do yourself and your readers a huge favor and make sure that you are posting consistently. As of now, I am posting every 3 days. At first, it was once a week. But, now that I am growing as a blogger and have a bigger following, I understand that by posting every 3 days, I have time to breathe and live my life, as well as ensuring that my readers know when to expect content from me. Make sense? I hope so!
If you all struggle with sticking to a content calendar, this little “hack” may help you — Becasue I am a visual learner and like to see things, I recently decided to create, what I call, a content wall. Yep, a wall of my content. I get that it may sound weird and really extra, but hear me out, pal. What I staretd doing was printing out monthly calendars (read more about how I use the calendars in this post) and filling them in with important dates, holidays, etc. I then went through and came up with posts for at least every 3 days (which is how often I post as of right now). It has been so unbelivebably helpful and I wish I had started doing this sooner. Anyways, here is my “content wall” —
this is my content wall 🙂
use google analytics
Knowing and understanding your audience is key to creating and providing them with the content that they want to have! Simply understanding what gender and age group your blog is catering to can easily help you improve your content creation so that you are sure to focus your content on wheover it is that is mainly visiting your blog and spending time reading and interacting with you and your content. Google Analytics amazingly provides you with so much information in regards to how your blog/site is performing. Through G.A. (Google Analytics, of course), you will be able to learn a ton about who is visiting your site, how long they’re staying, what page they’re exiting your site on, what posts and pages are most popular, where your readers are from, what device they’re reading your blog on and so, so much more! If you want to read more about Google Analytics and all it entails, which I suggest you do so that you understand all of what you’ll be learning about your blog’s performance, I reccomend reading the following resources —
- monster insights’ google analytics beginner guide | read here
- loves data’s ultimate guide google analytics glossary (2019) | read here
- google’s analytics official page | read here
create an email list + an opt-in form
There’s no easier way to gain subscribers than to have a way for people to subscribe to your blog! Duh! 😜 I use Mailchimp (affiliate link, ya’ll), which I highly reccomend that you all use, and have an embedded opt-in form at the end of each blog post, as well as on my footer and on my off-screen menu, too. I have my opt-in form in various places so that readers have an easy and stress-free time locating my opt-in form and signing up. Because let’s face it — the last thing a potential subscriber wants to deal with is having a hard time finding a place to subscribe. So, make it easy on people and put your sign-up form in multiple places. Oh, and a popup is always nice, too! If you want to grow your email list by also offering your readers freebies, I suggest going and reading my post where I provide you all with the ultimate list of freebie ideas for every blogging niché!
join facebook groups
Never did I ever think that by joining Facebook groups, my blog would be met with tremendous growth. I had no idea. That is, until I started joining all sorts of blogging groups and noticed my blog’s traffic and subscriber count increased immensely.
Seriously. Joining Facebook groups will not only allow you to connect with tons of other awesome bloggers, but you’ll be in a community of bloggers that are there to support you, help you, and watch you grow as a blogger, too. I have met some of the nicest people ever in the Facebook groups I am in and I am grateful to those groups for so many reasons. Also, a lot of times you are able to post your post links, so that also helps with engagement. Honestly, join a few groups, engage (comment, respond, read posts, etc.), and meet some other dope bloggers. Because one thing about being a blogger is the importance of networking and growing your network. Keep that in mind!
make sure your content is seo-optimized
Search-engine-optimization is so very crucial to being succesfull with blogging. Why? Simple. If people are able to go to their search engine and type in whatever it is they’re looking for and your post or page shows up in the search results, you’re in luck, my friend! Because the more exposure your blog gets, the more traffic it’ll recieve which results in more readers that will hopefully turn into subscribers and more money to be made. Simply put, people can’t subscribe to a blog that they have no idea exists. It’s impossible (a word I rarely use). So, you have to make it exist. How? Again, simple – SEO! Learning the ins-and-outs of SEO isn’t simple, to be honest with you. But, it is achievable. I know this and can attest to this because I achieved SEO all on my own 💁🏾💁🏾💁🏾 Granted, it took a lot of time, effort, coffee, and research, but it was all worth it. Every single second of it. Because by dedicating my time to learning how to make my blog appear within tthe first two pages on Google, I have been able to explode my email list. Yes, explode. Literallt (no exaggeration). If you don’t want to take the time to learn it on your own, you can hire people to do this for you. However, keep in mind that it will not be cheap. I suggest doing your own research so that you are armed with this valuable information and not in the position to rely on others for things that can be achieved throygh dedication, time, and effort. Ya know? But, it it’s totally up to you. If you are wanting to read up on all of what SEO entails, here are some resources I highly recommend checking out (oh, and I almost forgot — use the Yoast SEO plugin to make sure your posts are all optimized!) —
- optimizely (glossary) | here
- google’s seo starter guide | here
- moz’s beginner guide to seo | here
- hubspot’s introduction to seo | here
- seo book’s (pdf on seo) | here
- cloud front’s beginners guide to seo (pdf) | here
- digital firefly marketing’s understanding the basics of seo pdf | here
When I was doing all of my research, I made sure to print out all of the pdf resources, so that I could highlight and annotate. It proved to be really helpful, so I suggest that you all do the same. But, be sure to use the two-sided option when you go to print (use this free website to save you on ink) so that you can save paper. Let’s be ethical, people! 😉
post your blog posts on other social media platforms
Once you press the “publish” button for your post, you should immediately go to your Instagram, Instagram story, Twitter, Facebook Pages (your personal and business pages), Pinterest, Linkedin, Tumblr, and other social media accounts and post your content there, too. Because how else can you grow your blog if you don’t promote it? Exactly – you can’t. So, do yourself a favor and promote your content because you deserve the recognition. Trust me, you do. So promote, promote, promote! You have to be willing and able to demand people’s attention —
And, if you don’t have a lot of extra time to do this, I highly suggest either emailing and hiring my friend Abby as your virtiual assistant or looking into using one or more of the following social media automation platforms:
schedule your content
Yes, yes, yes! I recently published a blog post in which I detail how and why I schedule my content for months in advance. In that post, I went in-depth on how I plan my content for months and months ahead of time and get them up and scheduled all while doing so free-of-stress. I didn’t always plan out my content. Heck, sometimes I would make a post quickly before I published it. I did this for a short time until the stress caught up and I realized that I needed to be better at managing my time and prioritizing my tasks and whatnot. That said, I decided to start scheduling as many posts as humanly possible in advance so that I could continue living the life that I wanted all while proving my beloved readers with quality content and mainting my mental health. And I get it, it’s not always easy to schedule tons of posts ahead of time. People work, go to school, have families, etc. I understand that. However, in scheduling your posts, or at least outlining them thoroughly, you will be able to take care of yourself, first and foremost, all while taking care of your readers, followers, and fans. However, if you’re already super busy with life (trust me, I get it) and hardly have time to even write posts and can’t even begin to think about planning ahead, it’s ok, because I have a great solution for you –
My dear friend Abby is a virtual assitant and can help you get tasks done for your blog or online biz! Email her today so that you can discuss the services you need and figure out where to go next! She is extremely sweet and will make sure that you have time to get what you need done. I promise!
keep all of your content up to date
Yes, that is right! Creating quality content on a regular basis is a must, but so is updating content, too. If you have a post from 3 months ago that you know needs a lot of updating, do it! People love knowing that what they’re reading is up-to-date and relevant. So, to do this, go back and make any edits needed, so that people can count on you to give them with content that is not only quality but well-maintaied. Honestly, an easy way to do this is to keep a matser list of all of your posts and when you post them so that you can go back and make changes, edits, and updates as necessary. Once you have made the desired updates, simply add something along the lines of “(updated [date here])” to the post’s title. This way, when people are searching and your post appears in the results, they know that what they are about to read is relevent and updated.
an example of the post-tracking chart you should make!
This may seem a little extra or unnecessary, but I promise you it’s not. When I go online and search for something super specific, like a guide on affiliate links, for example, I refuse to go to sites where the information is outdated. If I see guides dating back to 2016 and 2017 with no indication that it has been updated since then, I don’t even bother to click it. However, if it’s a guide from 2016 that clearly states in its title that it’s an updated version of the previous one, I will read it. In fact, I am more likely to read an updated article/post from 2016 because I will be able to see how things have changed since the inital publish date and that could potentially be useful. Just saying!
stay active on social media + respond to every comment, email, dm, etc.
In order to gain your readers’ trust, you have to interact with them! To do this, posting on social media on a regular basis is a great start. However, do not stop there! Please don’t. To create a trusting relationship with your subscribers and followers, you are going to want to make sure that you respond to them. If they take the time to comment on a picture, post, or reach out to you, nothing will turn them away quicker than knowing that they weren’t worth your time or worth a response. Express your gratitude and appreciation of your supportive community by interacting with them whenever you can. And, also be willing to initiate communication, too! So, respond to comments, reply to emails, and answer DM’s. If you do this, you’ll start to see an increase in your following, traffic, and subscriber count because they will know that you are someone that they can not only look forward to hearing from, but also can count on!
you should always want a healthy and honest relationship with your followers, subsceribers, and “fans”
And there you have it, friends – the 12 things I do to grow my blog! Growing your blog will take time. Lots of time. However, with dedication and consistency, you will be slowly growing your blog. The journey is worth it, I promise. It will not happen overnight, no. But, it will happen. All you have to do is want it and do everything you can to ensure that it grows!
So, please share this post so that other people can know the 12 things I do to grow my blog so they can grow theirs, too —
sharing is caring, ya’ll!
Have you been able to grow your blog, too? If so, how? Tell me in the comment section below!
Thanks so much for reading! I really appreciate it and hope this post helps you out. Love to you all and happy blogging!!