Unfortunately for bloggers, the Field of Dreams “if you build it, they will come” mantra doesn’t exactly pan out the way it did for Kevin Costner. How much time or money you put into designing your site or writing your posts will not matter if you don’t also take into consideration how people will find you.
So how do you go from only your best friend or your parents reading your blog to getting thousands of views each month? The first thing you need to remember is it takes time; it won’t happen overnight but it can happen. The second thing to keep in mind is there is not one foolproof method.
Now you’re probably wondering, “Well, what does work?” That’s where our upcoming Google Hangout on Air comes in! We’ve gathered a panel of bloggers who have experience in growing their blog traffic. We’ll cover several tips from using social media to interpretting and using your site stats to how RSS can bring in more page views.
The Hangout will be broadcast on air and we invite you to come by and watch, make comments, and ask questions!
About the Panelists:
Julie Meyers Pron is the owner and editor of Julieverse.com, founded as Just-Precious.com, in May 2009 and VlogMom.com, a website and network focused on empowering bloggers to engage on video. An eternal optimist, Julie has been called a “Momcyclopedia” and a “real life Google.” A mom to three, wife, educator, marketer, cheerleader, budding organizer, and me-time enthusiast, Julie shares her knowledge, lifestyle tips, business-savvy suggestions and real life stories helping you to parent confidently while remaining your stylish self.
Gigi Ross has been blogging on her personal blog, KludgyMom, for 3+ years and has a passion for helping others blog better. She’s written about blogging and social media as editor for the SITS Girls and Business 2 Blogger and has spoken at 3 Bloggy Boot Camps. She also works as a freelancer, doing social media and blogger outreach for startups and now, large brands like Johnson & Johnson.
Heather Solos is a professional blogger and author. She founded the everyday living skills site Home-Ec 101 and is the Community Manger for FeedBlitz. Heather’s focus is on helping sites grow their traffic and subscribers through RSS.
Robyn Wright is a lifestyle blogger with a focus on tech and food. She has used social networks since 2008 to grow her blog traffic and will share some of her tips for getting the most traffic from your social networks without feeling spammy.
On a daily basis, I see profiles on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook that claim, “I’m PR friendly!” Yet when I click over to visit that blog or when I’m searching blogs for a campaign, I find that they are not always in fact as PR friendly as they think.* There’s a big difference between being open to having PR folks contact you about opportunities and having a blog that is actually “PR friendly”.
First and foremost, being PR friendly means you have a website that retains visitors and keeps them coming back for more. Shelly Kramer lists 12 annoying things that drive people away from your website. Most of the annoyances listed drive away potential audience, and then some, like #2 on her list, also drive away PR and marketing people.
2. Searching for Search
What are you doing to make it easy for people to search your site? You’d be amazed how many sites don’t have an easy-to-find search function—or that don’t have a search function at all. That’s just plain dumb. Make sure your website has an easy-to-locate, easy-to-use search button.
I say this all the time, “good PR people do their homework first”. Make it easy for PR people to do their homework on you! Be searchable! You don’t want to be driving anyone away from your site.
Additionally, being PR friendly means that you provide vital information about yourself. One2One Network member and co-founder of Splash Creative Media, Julie Meyers Pron, wrote an excellent “Dear Bloggers” advice article that highlights serious blogger gaffs. Julie’s list overlaps a few points from Shelly’s list and also adds insight from marketers and blogging experts.
Dear Blogger, Please share a tight, concise bio (think elevator pitch), great head-shot and key vitals in easy to find /edit format…
Why? Julia Beck of the marketing firm Forty Weeks shared that she needs you to “make it easy for me to sell you through (assume I will need to cut and paste a bit!!!)” to the client. The more information you share that’s simple for her to convey, the easier it is for her to share you. Which also means, the less work the marketer has to do, the better for you, the blogger.
This is the absolute truth. You are being pitched before “the pitch” even hits your email. Make yourself “pitch-able”!
I encourage you to take a couple of minutes and read through what Shelly and Julie have to say. It’s priceless! And if you see that you’ve committed some of these blogging follies, don’t fret! It’s never too late to make changes.
*I don’t encounter this on every blog that claims to be “pr friendly”, but I do come across these types in my everyday work. There are many “pr friendly” claiming blogs out there that are in fact “pr friendly”. And we love you for it!
One of the significant perks of word-of-mouth marketing is the ability to spread good will. As fun as it is to share with others about products and services that you enjoy and that improve your life, sharing the causes that really fire you up have an impact as well. It’s one thing to be passionate about your favorite music artist or author or brand of cereal but when you show others your passion for helping, whether it’s helping children, animals, or the planet, you spread more than just information, you change lives.
Knowing that she had a viable platform and driven by a need to create change in the world, Fadra Nally joined with Heidi Oran, another like-minded blogger, to launch a place where influence could take root and spread. The result is Charitable Influence, a network for people (bloggers and non-bloggers) who want to use their social media reach to spread the word about causes that are important to them. Their mission statement:
Charitable Influence aims to provide an effective connection between bloggers and their unique voices, to charities and nonprofit organizations and the important causes they represent. In this connection lies a link that is so often overlooked – that of human compassion at a personal level and its interdependence to world issues on a major scale.
Our clients include charities, non-profit organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to whom we provide services such as social media strategy, blogger insight, and campaign development, management, and facilitation. Our goal is to help find the most effective, in terms of cost and impact, channels by which to spread their message.
Our foundation is bloggers and social media influencers who have the hearts and the means to catalyze change in the world. Part of our mission is to help bloggers connect with causes that speak to their passions while creating and sustaining value to the skills they bring to those causes.
To become part of this exciting new venture, sign-up here.
Last year, one of our favorite projects was spreading the word about GiveBack (now called DoTopia), a site that allows you to form your own charitable giving foundation. Through that project and GiveBack, one of our members was able to begin the process of raising money for her son to get an Autism Assistance Service Dog. When we last checked in with Erin, the money for the dog had been raised but she still needed funds to be able to make the trip with her son for training. And that’s where they are today, still about $5,500 away from their goal. If you’d like to help, click here for more information.
What are some the causes that you are most passionate about?
Pinterest is the latest and greatest Internet obsession that has everyone talking. It’s one of those things that I wish I had thought of. It makes perfect sense, especially to those who are highly visual learners, like me!
If you’re not familiar with it, I find that the best way to explain it is as a visual bookmarking site. It’s the online version of tearing recipe, hairstyle, outfit, and decorating ideas out of a magazine and pinning them to a corkboard or sticking them to the refrigerator with a magnet. Except instead of adding clutter to your walls and appliances, you can make as many virtual boards as you want to accommodate all the fabulous stuff you find on the Internet.
The most common thing I hear people saying about Pinterest is how easily you can get sucked in and “waste” time looking at all the pretty, inspiring, amazing, funny things that people pin to their boards. But it’s also a fun way to pass some time when you’re burnt out on other online activities. One2One Network member, Justice Fergie, says in her MomCrunch article about Pinterest, “Whenever I need to unwind at the end of the evening or am looking for something mindless to do that uplifts the spirits and entertains, I find myself turning to Pinterest.”
Did you know Pinterest can also be a valuable tool for bloggers? I often use it to research ideas for my One2One Network and Blissfully Domestic articles. This is a board I started for a Fourth of July article:
Bloggers can also see what articles of theirs have been pinned on Pinterest. This tip from Alli Worthington will help you see which of your posts are popular with readers and “pinners”!
Use the following URL set up to do it: http://pinterest.com/source/blissfullydomestic.com/ - will show you all the pins from Blissfully Domestic. Now I can find other fans of the website and readers who are enjoying the content from the site. I can also see at a glance which articles are popular with the Pinterest crowd and how they are responding. Replace the /source/blissfullydomestic.com part with your our url to see what’s being pinned from your site, and who is pinning it in what topic areas.
You can also increase traffic to your site by pinning your own articles on Pinterest. When you work hard on a post that includes photos showing steps in a recipe or a DIY project, you have created a very pin-worthy post! When you write a post about how you found a creative way to store Legos or spices or how made over your laundry room, don’t hesitate to share it on Pinterest just like you would share it on Twitter or Facebook. Just remember that your post must include images (your own or properly credited ones) in order to be pinned.
I hope this gives you some food for thought about how Pinterest can be a useful tool for you and not just a dizzying trip into Wonderland! Now, let’s have some fun. Are you on Pinterest? If so, link your profile here so that we can all follow each others boards! If you’re not on Pinterest, you need an invite to join. I can definitely help you with that. Just leave a comment requesting an invite and the email address where you’d like the invite to be sent.
Tell us, what is your favorite thing about being on Pinterest?
Pinterest definition & happy place graphics found on Kristi Quill’s “Pinteresting” pin board.
I first heard about Mat Kearney from my friend Sarah. She takes guitar lessons and often learns his songs. Then Barbara and Alli announced that he would be performing at Blissdom. When he started singing at Blissdom, I was an immediate fan! And I was super excited when I learned that we would have his new album project for our members. I knew it would be an instant hit. Sure enough, the albums had barely reached CD players and iPods before we started getting excited tweets about how much they liked loved the album!
And then the reviews started coming in:
“I would highly recommend this album for some new tunes in your ear. Mat’s unique voice will remind you of the joy of young love that should continue on as young love matures.” Jen @ I Believe In Love
“When I popped the CD into the car player the other day the whole family was riding together and it didn’t take long before the kids were jamming out to “Hey Mama” in the back seat.
Kids car-dancing is like one of the cutest things ever, right?!?
And then I was singing the catchy chorus before the first play of the song was over. (we may have played it just a FEW more times since then…)” Elaine @ The Miss Elaine-ous Life
“If you haven’t heard the new song ‘Hey Mama‘ (and easily the best song, beat and lyrics on the album), then maybe you should check and see if your house has turned into a rock that is not letting any sunlight into your world. Because YOU NEED THIS SONG in your world! I first heard it on Pandora, and it literally made my day better and I could smell lilacs.” Carissa @ Good N Crazy
“I had never heard of Mat Kearney before and I asked my sister (total music-oholic) and of course, she had heard of him and liked his stuff. So, I gave it a listen…
…and another listen…
…and now it’s what I listen to (on repeat) while I bake. Love it!
It’s got an interesting blend of hip-hop/rap and melodic alternative. So it’s fun and pop-y and then calm and relaxing. Perfection in baking music.” Caroline @ Chocolate & Carrots
“We have had this music on non-stop since I got it in the mail last week. The music is fun and catchy and they lyrics aren’t just fluff. ‘Count On Me’ is full of brilliant play on words and it took listening to it several times and reading the lyrics before I finally caught it all.
It is not often that I can say this: I like every single song on this album.” Bridget @ The Ivey League
And then there was this:
I have to say, I completely agree with Bridget, I like every single song on this album. I asked on Twitter and Facebook a few days ago which song was everyone’s favorite and stated that if I had to choose, I’d say, “Ships In The Night“. But you know what, I think it really depends on what day you ask, even what time of day you ask. It changes all the time; they’re all my favorite.
This graphic to the left is a widget that will take you to all things Mat Kearney: his website, Twitter, Facebook, iTunes (to buy the album) and more!
Mat will also start touring next month! Check out his schedule and see if he’ll be near you!
Mat @ Blissdom photos by me.