8.02.2012

5 Blog Boosters : Growing Your Blog and Brand


I started this blog a few years ago with a clear goal in mind of where I wanted it to be, but with no idea how to get there. It has been a learning process to fine tune the content I wanted to share, establish a brand, and create a space where I loved to keep coming back to design and lifestyle inspiration. It is still a work in progress! I get emails often asking similar questions about growing your blog, so I hope these tips I learned along the way will help you in your blog experience too!


1. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY - This point is two fold.  It is SO important to focus on the quality of your content AND the quality of your readers. I think often the focus is on numbers, and bloggers seek to grow their numbers quick and easy, when in fact what will grow your blog naturally is creating good content. Also think about what type of followers you would like to have. You would much rather have readers who come to your blog because they actually enjoy the content, because those will be the readers who support your work and engage in your content.

You can build a strong readership base when you find your niche and consistently work your personal style into your posts. Whether you are a fashion blogger, DIY- er, lifestyle, foodie, interiors, or even just a personal blogger, it will make such a monumental difference when you offer your bery own unique consistent style throughout your posts. (More on establishing your niche later!) When I first started out I was more of a curation blogger - sharing inspiration and design through other's work and images. I decided to really start growing the blog, I needed to be a source of inspiration and creativity. This challenged me to use the skills I have and put them to good use. My blog took a big turn after that, and started to grow significantly. So, start thinking about what your strong points are and do more of it! You may be a brilliant writer - write more on topics that are current and relevant to you and your readers. You may love to travel - invest in a good camera to capture and log your adventures. Ultimately, find your voice and run with it!


2. CLEAN AND CLEAR BLOG DESIGN - I don't know about you, but I find it so refreshing to visit a blog that easy to navigate, isn't too cluttered, and is visually pleasing. Keep it simple, and establish your brand or blog feel through your design. It doesn't take much! If you don't feel comfortable designing your brand, or don't have the programs to do so, it will be worth your dollar to hire help and establish your look and feel that best represents your blog space. (I highly recommend Blog Milk or FabulousK for blogger based blogs.) I did design my own space, but I had to do a lot of my own research for html coding. I am a graphic designer, and not an expert coder, so it was a learning process! Pugly Pixel has some fantastic tutorials and free downloads if you aren't yet familiar! Take a look at some of my favorites for beautiful blog examples, such as: Hooray Blog,  Fifteen24, DesignLoveFest,  Creature ComfortsOh Hello Friend, A Daily Something, etc. and notice how they successfully transmit their style through their design AND their content.

3. NOTEWORTHY PHOTOGRAPHY - If you want your content to stick and be noticed, good photography is almost as important as the content. For instance, when Tiffany shares a recipe, you can guaranty the photos will do the recipe justice. This is why I am much more likely to pin her post to pinterest to share with others, or mention it in a Friday link up. Wouldn't you agree that you gravitate towards the blogs that have great imagery to go along with their content? When Design*Sponge accepted my DIY to feature, guess what the main request was? You got it. Great photos. 

You don't have to have an expensive camera to create amazing photos. Just make sure you use a lot of natural light, an attractive set up, and an element of your own personal touch to make it work. There are so many great tips for photography available on the web. Hands down, A Beautiful Mess is an incredible resource for further tips.

4. NETWORK - Depending on your type of blog, its so important to network in ways that will build not only good readership, but a good community of support. I have rarely advertised my blog since starting, but I have been consistent in networking. Be accessible. I would find it so refreshing when a favorite blogger would take the time to respond to your comments or visit your blog. Blogging is not a one sided relationship. My goal is to treat my readers like friendships - responding to their questions, answering their emails, and whenever I have extra time, visit their own blogs. Not everyone is able to do this, or even has the desire to, but I can tell you the bloggers I have kept up with over the years are those who have made an effort to communicate with their readers.


When you do advertise, make sure it is on a blog that is relevant to your content. When I have advertised it was helpful to work with bloggers who were drawing the same type of readership base!
Also consider button swapping! I have swapped ad spots throughout blogging with other bloggers who have about the same amount of readership base. Its a win win! There are different ways to network, but social media is a key factor, which brings me to my next point.


5. SOCIAL MEDIA -  Its a love/hate relationship. As you remember from my Over Socialed post, I make a lot of effort not to spend too much time on social media. There can definately be too much of a good thing. You can easily go overboard, and you don't want to be a feed clogger. Too much updating can turn people away. However, for the most part, I tribute, facebook, twitter, and pinterest as the main sources traffic for IHOD. Its a great way to access people in their free time, since often times those are the outlets you turn too when you have ten minutes here or there. I myself will find myself clicking over and visiting new blogs and old favorites alike through these sites. Even just sharing your posts on your facebook page will boost your visits each day. IFB has some great tips on social media for you to check out!


And a little inspiration to close today's lesson;)
Stay tuned for more blog tips coming up in the next few weeks!

Hope this is a help to you! 
Love, Anna



50 comments:

  1. Yay! Fantastic and timely advice for me, as I'm just coming back to blogging after a long hiatus. Thank you so much for posting this!

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  2. Thanks so much for this post. I really appreciate your honesty and focus on quality over quantity (which was something I definitely struggled with when I first started out a few months ago). Great tips which I’ll be keeping in mind! :o)

    x Elena
    htpp://www.randomlyhappytoday.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. Thank you for providing these helpful tips. I am literally just starting out (I started July 23rd) and so any help is greatly appreciated. Love your blog!

    Caitlin

    ww.pumpstopumas.wordpress.com

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  4. You make such great points here Anna! One of my main goals has been to build a readership that really loves my blog. On the days when I'm feeling left behind in the blog world, I remind myself of that.

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  5. Love all these tips - they are so true and helpful! Blogging is so not a one sided thing....the best way to grow a blog is to create genuine relationships with your readers.

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  6. These are great tips, Anna! All good things to keep in mind as I try to grow my little blog :) I have loved watching your blog grow so naturally.

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  7. so awesome and helpful! thanks for the tips! :)

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  8. These are great tips! I'm still trying to figure out my place in the blogging community. I seem to fall in and out of the wagon quite often. I'm sure in time it'll all fall into place.

    Happy Thursday!
    joannebeeblog@gmail.com

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  9. Hey, thanks for the great info. I am still trying to find my niche.

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  10. Wonderful post Anna, lots to think about here. I'm still not sure what I'm trying to achieve with the blog, for the time being I'm having a lot of fun, and it's a great way to engage with other people in real life, and in the virtual community.

    ~Natasha Fatah Giveaway~
    ~Natasha Fatah Giveaway~

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  11. Thank you for these fantastic pieces of advice! I just started blogging a little while ago, so this is indeed very helpful. It can be so discouraging sometimes, to see that not many people are visiting you, but with high quality posts over time, it should all pay off, right? :)
    Also, I like the book in the top picture. Bi-Rite Creamery, mmmm. ^^
    ♥ xixia | thisisxixia.com

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  12. I feel like I've seen a lot of bloggers trying to do posts like this and this is the best one of all time. I love how you pointed to tools and examples in all of your detailed descriptions. Thank you so much for taking the time to put this all down. You are amazing!

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  13. I love this post; such great advice. (And thank you for the mention!) Your blog is one of my favorites--such a lovely place to visit while I sip my coffee every morning.

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  14. This was such a great post! I started my blog a few months ago and I love reading tips like these from more experienced bloggers. Thank you for these great tips! -Heidi http://fabricandfrosting.blogspot.no

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  15. Anna! Great post! As a "working on my niche and growing my audience" blogger, I know how important these things are!! I also wanted to offer a "button swap" to your readers (because you're so smart and it's a great idea).

    My blog is http://detrimentalbeauty.com and my email is djbwelsh@gmail.com in case any of you are interested!!

    I am averaging about 1000 hits/month.

    cheers.
    danielle

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  16. Thanks Anna! This is such a great post. You've put all the links anyone could need here! :) Thanks so much for sharing.

    Blogging is so great. It's one of the few places where "the competition" {I'm using this term very loosely} shares tips are how to get better rather than keeping what works to themselves. Thank you!

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  17. Anna, thanks for sharing this! it's always interesting to read how bloggers find their ways in building their readership.

    Thank you for also sharing the Beautiful Mess's photo tips, I have seen it before but forgotten about it, now it has refreshed my mind :)

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  18. Great tips Anna! I totally agree about design (it's so refreshing visiting blogs with a fresh, clean look). Yours is one of my favs and Blog Milk is incredible. Kirby and I frequently get an itch to redesign, and I actually do think it's important to do every so often (not all the time), but changing something once a year or maybe even two years, gives it a boost and keeps it fresh. Also I love/hate twitter and facebook and pinning. They are great tools as you say, but oh my God the time that they suck up! I wish I could hire someone to do all of our social media for us!

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  19. So great your tipps Anna! It really does take time to create the space you want and attract followers. I often wish i had more time ;)

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  20. Fabulous tips that are right on time for me! I've been doing a lot of thinking just this week about where I want my blog to go, so this is helpful. Thanks so much for the mention!!!

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  21. Anna, these are great tips! Thank you for sharing them. I especially love your comments about blogging not being a one-sided thing.

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  22. I love this post Anna! I couldn't agree with you more ;)

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  23. Wonderful points, Anna! I think my blog is slow-growing, however, I've tried to keep true to those tips as much as I can...so I can actually feel like I've stayed true to myself while also doing what I can with the time I have. Thanks so much for sharing!
    -Kristen

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  24. Anna great advice.... I definitely agree quality always drives traffic as primarily a designer and casually a blogger this is what has been true for me.


    Xxx
    Christina

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  25. loved reading through these. :) especially the blog designers and designs with the nice, clean look to them. so incredibly helpful, thank you!!

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  26. You are so wise. I adored your tips (and picked up a number of new ones!)
    Thank you!

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  27. This is such a fabulous post! Thanks Anna for the wise words :)

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  28. Great advise Anna, thank you so much for sharing!

    xx Amy


    Leopard and Lillies

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  30. This is such a great post, Anna. Such good tips for bloggers and I agree with you on so many points! Bravo!
    xo
    J.

    (Ok, this is better..I am not in my husband's account anymore, haha!)

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  31. Love your blog tips! And pictures are such a challenge for me when I want to do a recipe post or something of the like. Tiffany makes it looks amazingly easy! :)

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  32. Awesome post, Anna! Your blog has been one of my favorites for a long time, because you're consistent and I know it will always be a high-quality read. I also think it's important to have a recognizable logo for a blog, like you do. I see those colors and the circles and I know: IHOD.

    Thanks for the tip :)
    -Ashley

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  33. So many great tips Anna - thank you for sharing! definitely saving this for future reference :-)

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  34. Thanks for sharing. I too have fallen victim of being a curator as opposed to a do-er and source of inspiration like I wanted to on my blog. I made the mistake of starting my blog right as my first child was born 7 months ago. I think I'll now start to have a bit more time to do, share and inspire.

    Thanks again for the tips. It's helpful knowing that my favorite bloggers started out "somewhere" too. Happy Friday!

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  35. Love this post! Thank you so much for your tips Anna. I am taking all of these to heart when trying to grow my blog. I love you blog and respect you as a blogger so much. Thanks again for the advice!

    xoxo - denise

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  36. this is so helpful! i am always eager for blogger tips :) thank you anna!

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  37. Anna, you are such a great source of wisdom - I so enjoy your bog (I don't comment enough!) but totally agree with your points. I used contributors during my recent crazy time (baby/move) and hated the feeling that I was losing "me" in my blog. Thanks for the reminder to be authentic!

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  38. This was fantastic advice, Anna. Thank you!

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  39. Great and honest, personal experienced advices. If more bloggers share their tips and not only secretly rely on advertising free samples companies send them, blogging would be much more "honest and real" and less about launching fake expectations and jealousy of fake perfect lives. Thank you for being real Ana :)

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  40. Wow! Thanks for this! Very helpful and thoughtful of you to give some tips to those just starting out. ;-)

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  41. These are great tips! I definitely feel like they will help me grow my blog. I think I need to take a deeper look into my content and make sure I am writing quality post. Thanks for sharing these :)

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  42. I haven't read this entire post but just wanted to say thanks! (will be reading it during a quiet time aka Matthew's nap!) :)

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  43. Thank you for sharing this!! I posted about it on my blog today. I so admire your style of blogging- you are a great inspiration.

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  44. So happy to find your blog and these great tips today!

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  45. Wow Anna, a great post with such helpful tips. I think I might go and answer those questions you posed now. Focusing my blog is a goal for this year :) thanks!

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Love hearing from each of you. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! <3

 
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