11 Important Steps in Promoting Your Blog and Gaining Traffic
The internet is big so where do you even start when it comes to gaining traffic, eyeballs and clicks to your blog?
This article aims to give beginners an overview of promoting your website via a number of different sources. Whether you’re hoping for Google hits, or ready to create a Pinterest strategy to kick start your page views, there is something for everyone in this monster brain dump of blog promotion info!
If you Haven’t Already Started Your Own Blog…
There are a number of blogging platforms to choose from but WordPress is by far the most popular. You can start a blog for free through WordPress.com, although you won’t get the functionality and features you will get through your own ‘self-hosted’ blog. Self-hosted just mean you run the WordPress software from your own piece of the internet. It’s how most money-making blogs run their site and it’s what you see here at TwinPickle. If you want a step-by-step start-up guide, check out my post –> How To Start a Successful Mom Blog. It takes 20mins to set up a blog with Bluehost and it’s really easy to do.
Important Steps to Promoting a New Blog
In my pre-blogging days I believed if I put something out there, people would find it through a Google search and share it with all their friends. Unfortunately not. The grim truth is that the Internet is vast and the big boys have the majority of the playing field. This does not mean ‘organic traffic’ (visitors than find your site on their own), should be ignored, but you’re going to work hard to get those visitors and you’ll have to be patient.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO takes time to kick in. Google and other search engines don’t like brand new websites because they want to offer people information from reliable sources. So… you need to prove yourself, and in time, the Google traffic will come. It is worth paying attention to good SEO practices from the start because you’ll find posts start to appear in search engines at a later date and the work is already done.
Tip 1: Choosing Keywords
A personal blog of ramblings is all very well if you just want your friends to read, but if you want a wider audience you’ll want to offer something they are looking for. A ‘keyword’ is not necessarily a single word, but a string of words that someone might search fo. ‘Promoting a New Blog‘ is a good keyword for this post.
Your choice of keyword is important for SEO. It is very unlikely you’re going to show up on the first page of google for a keyword search of ‘cheap flights’ for example. The competition for that keyword is too high. You may, however, rank for ‘How to find cheap flights to Rio’. Think about what people might literally type into Google or ask Alexa. There are a number of paid keyword tools which I personally wouldn’t invest in at the beginning. Google itself is the best research tool. Search your keyword, see what sites come up and consider whether you can compete with their content.
Tip 2: Using Keywords
Choose a keyword carefully and use it in the title of your blog post, the url, first paragraph, image names, subheadings and anywhere else you can think of without your post sounding weird and spammy. This keyword is what google is searching for. If you’re publishing on WordPress through a self-hosted blog, activate the Yoast SEO plugin, it’s free and will get your SEO skills up to scratch in no time.
Tip 3: Content is King
Google likes high quality, detailed posts with links out to reputable websites and links inwards to other related posts you have written. Most SEO experts will tell you that a blog post should be at least 1000 words long. I consider 600 to be my absolute minimum and I have some posts as long at 2500. Don’t waffle, give valuable content to your readers. This is important because it’s not just about clicks. Google measures how long people stay on your site and if they’re bouncing straight back to Google that’s flagging your posts as poor quality content. You won’t climb the Google ladder to the first page without quality content.
There is so much to say here I barely know where to start! My best advice is to not take it all on at once, it’s too much and it can be overwhelming. I brainstorm a different social media platform every couple of months. Although I’m often posting to all platforms, I may spend a few weeks focused on engaging with Instagram or coming up with a new Pinterest strategy to try. I can’t be 100% devoted to all platforms, try them, see which ones you like.
Growing a Facebook Page for Your Blog
Facebook pages are often slow to grow but probably the platform I enjoy the most. When I started out with the TwinPickle page it was total crickets and very frustrated but I was doing it all wrong. Here’s my best quick tips for getting your head around how a facebook page works:
Tip 4: Your Facebook page is for your audience, not for you.
You need to give people what they like. If they want parenting memes, give them parenting memes. If they respond to cake making videos, give them more of that. Make your own or share from other popular pages, whatever you can manage. Keeping your page busy with engagement gives the Facebook algorithm a kick, and your posts will start appearing on more facebook feeds. Most people are friends with a lot of people, pages, and groups. There is only so much space on everyone’s feed and facebook saves it for the stuff they know you’ll like.
I rarely share my blog posts on Facebook. I’m not spamming my audience every day with multiple blog posts. But when I do, particularly a twin mom post, it brings me a good spike in blog traffic. This is where all my memes and sharing of other content pays off, because my blog post then reaches more people. More eyeballs, more clicks!
Tip 5: Work with the Facebook Algorithm
The algorithm controls who your posts are shown too (see tip 4 above). It also controls whether your page appears as a suggestion to potential followers. Although ever-changing, there are a number of guidelines:
- Facebook likes videos and images. These will likely reach more people than a dry blog link.
- Facebook does not like text on images. If you must do this keep it covering less than 20% of the image.
- Inauthentic likes and follows will result in your posts being shown to people who are not interested and will not engage with your content. This, in turn, will lead to your posts being shown to fewer people. Less eyeballs, less clicks.
- If you choose to run ads on Facebook to find new followers, do so on an existing post which is already popular. It doesn’t have to be a blog post, you want something you know people will respond to. More likes and shares make the ad seen by more peeps! Invite people who like your posts to follow your page. Do this by clicking on the list of people who have liked the post and click the ‘invite’ button next to their name.
If you really want to explore your page as a business, creating awesome content and running Facebook ads, splurge on an excellent course. I highly recommend Rachel Miller’s Facebook Growth Strategies… you will learn loads from the free facebook group and the paid course is the bomb! In fact, it is the only paid course I have ever invested in for my blog and it was game-changing.
Tip 6: Tweet Your Posts
Twitter is not my personal favorite but it relatively easy yo grow and it’s fast-paced nature means you don’t have to be too precious with it. You can post the same link multiple times a day because tweets don’t stay on people’s feed very long. Remember with all social media that people will only follow if you offer fabulous content. Therefore, don’t just tweet your own posts, offer your followers plenty of popular content from your niche. If you want to keep yourself organized and efficient, try a free scheduling tool such as Buffer to plan your tweets in advance.
Keep Tweets as short and punchy as possible. Use a few hashtags and an image to grab people’s attention.
Gaining followers on any platform is difficult, especially as a newb. Engage with others in your niche by replying to their tweets and retweeting their tweets. Follow them and see if they’ll follow back. Be social.
Kickstart Your Blog with a Pinterest Strategy
Pinterest is where more than 50% of Twin Pickle traffic comes from. Pinterest is the best platform to gain traffic while your other social media accounts are growing and gaining traction. Pinterest is a search engine, like Google, but instead of just keywords, Pinterest is looking for quality visuals too. The competition is not as fierce on Pinterest as it is on Google, and even brand new bloggers can hit big traffic using Pinterest.
Tip 7: Make the Most of Your Pinterest Profile
Because Pinterest is a search engine, we need to think back to our keywords. Be very clear about your niche and what you are offering to your audience. Think about what people would search for and which keywords you want your profile, boards, and pins to appear under. Kids decor is my most successful niche on Pinterest, so I have the keyword ‘kids decor’ in my profile name, descriptions and multiple boards. I use the hashtag #kidsdecor on many of my pins and use the related keywords in my pin descriptions too.
I recommend switching your account to a business profile and claiming your website. This way you can make use of analytics on your pins and activate ‘rich pins’. This will also keep your profile associated with your pins even after they have been repinned by someone else. Head to the business help section on Pinterest for lots more info!
Tip 8: Join Pinterest Group Boards & Tribes
I had a lot of success in the early days with Pinterest Group boards. These boards have a team of shared contributors and will often have a much larger following than your own boards as a new blogger. I have a whole post of how to use Pinterest Group Boards so do head over than way to make the most of them!
Similarly, Tailwind (a paid scheduling tool) offers what they call ‘Tribes’. These are groups of bloggers/pinners who get together and repin each other’s content. For example, I am in a tribe called ‘Mom’s the Word’… when I add a pin it appears on the tribe feed and people can choose to repin it (or not). For every pin I add to the Tribe I have to repin one other of my choosing. It a great to find content to share with your audience while getting your posts repinned by others. More eyeballs, more clicks, right?
Tip 9: Pin Pin Pin
Don’t just pin once and be done with it. You’re going to want to create multiple boards which you can pin to regularly, and create multiple pins for each post you create. You don’t have to do this all at once, you can create a bunch of new pins once a week and send them out at intervals. Tailwind is the best way to schedule your pins, it is paid but they do offer a free trial.
For example: I have a board for Twin Pickle posts only where all my own pins go. I also have boards for playroom ideas, one for girls rooms, one for kid activities, one for parenting advice. Some posts will come under all of these categories or at least a couple. Create appropriate boards for you to pin your content to, amongst other people’s content you find on Pinterest. a 50/50 mix of your own and other people’s content is a sensible ratio. And if you can manage 20-50 pins a day that is perfect for building traffic!
Do make use of a free design tool called Canva to make your pins. It’s easy to use and you’ll have beautiful pins that attract eyeballs in no time!
Tip 10: Be Instagram Fabulous Only if You Enjoy It
If there is one platform I hear bloggers moan about the most it’s Instagram! There are big bucks to be made on Instagram and you are competing with huge influencers for followers. The follow/unfollow culture is extremely frustrating for people and I get it… you just want to grow your account like everyone else. Here are some truths about the TwinPickle Instagram:
- Despite having over 10K followers, Instagram brings very little traffic to my blog.
- I make money from Instagram outside my blog as a social influencer. I post photos of branded products within my lifestyle and get paid for it. It’s fun and creative but it’s not really related to blogging.
- I gain and lose followers all the time. Everyone does.
Although I would recommend setting up an Instagram account to complement your blog, I wouldn’t necessarily focus on it unless you love photography (which I do!) and want to work with brands on sponsored posts. If you want to publish sponsored posts to your blog, most brands are also very interested in your Instagram following, therefore you’re going to have to build it up as best you can. Be authentic, don’t just post pictures of your kids (I struggle not to, lol), and work on your photography!
Tip 11: Make the Most of the Blogging Community
The blogging community is a very helpful place and I don’t know where I’d be without it. In particular, I am a member of a number of blogging groups on Facebook which really help support each other and also help promote each other’s content. Here are my faves:
- Boss Girl Bloggers from Ell Duclos. Great for getting answers to all your traffic and monetization questions. It’s a big friendly group and no question is stupid.
- Grow Your Blog is a large blog promotion group. Here you can find people to share pins with (a bit like Tailwind Tribes), retweet each others posts etc. I would steer clear of Facebook like threads or click through threads. Inauthentic activity on your accounts will do you no good in the long run.
- Sisters in SEO is a female geek-fest of all things SEO. If you want some higher-level advice on ranking on Google, these are your gals!
I feel like there is so much more to say, but I hope this has at least given an overview of promoting a new blog and gaining traffic. From here I hope to put together some more detailed information within each area, I’m currently having a good play around with SEO and am seeing progress so I hope to share some insight soon.
Good luck and do ask questions. What are you struggling with the most?
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