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 Comforts, Oh 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!