200 posts. In exactly one week shy of a year, I’ve hit 200 posts. That’s CRAZY! I feel like I’ve been a blogger for as long as I can remember, but I also feel like life without the blog existed just yesterday. Y’all, deciding to start a blog might have been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I don’t say that lightly. Blogging has changed me. It’s made me value my possessions and value my self-worth. It’s challenged my confidence in some ways and increased my confidence in others. It’s connected me to companies I would have only dreamt of working with, and I’ve met people who truly add to my life. It’s officially a part-time job (that takes full-time work… let’s be real), and I really can’t wait to see where it takes me. Here’s to hoping it’s far!
I’ll be honest – I don’t use all of these strategies regularly. They take time, and lots of it. However, they are the product of loads of research, tons of trial and error, and have proven time and time again to help me grow.
Engagement is critical to growing a blog.
It feels really good to get a lot of comments on a post, whether it be on a blog or on Instagram. You feel successful, like you connected with readers. You are one hundred times more likely to see engagement if you are actively engaged. Us bloggers, we know the drill. You make the effort to show my page attention, and I’ll repay the favor. You leave me sweet and thoughtful comments, showing that you really read my post? You can guarantee that I’ll do the same. It’s simple: the more engaged you are in the community, the more engagement on your content you will see.
Hashtags are your Instagram champions.
Hashtags were a game changer on Instagram for me. I use them myself all of the time to find new bloggers to follow, and posts to comment on. Check out a few of your favorite bloggers that seem to have a good bit of engagement on their posts, what hashtags do they use? What do you enjoy surfing for? You can use up to 30, and you should use 30. I have my hashtags saved in a note on my phone, one note for outfit pictures and one for lifestyle pictures. Copying and pasting them as a comment saves me a whole lot of time typing them out and gets my post noticed faster! Time is of the essence with hashtags. Tip: Using ones like #ootd? While that’s a classic one, as a small blogger, it won’t help a ton. Use ones that you’re more likely to be seen with instead of disappearing among all the other pictures.
Pick your colors and fonts from the get-go.
Brand yourself. Don’t rush this, but it’s really helpful to know up front. It isn’t the end-all, be-all, you can change as your blog develops and you get a better idea. It just makes your blog look more professional to have the same few fonts used across the board, and your blog colors not all over the place. It took me until recently to decide what colors I really wanted to lean toward. They might change some as the seasons change, but your overarching theme should be noticeable. Tip: Create a pinterest board, like you would for designing a bedroom. Take screenshots of other bloggers Instagram pictures and blog designs that you like. You’ll end up seeing a common thread sooner or later!
Good photography goes a long ways.
Granted, this has to develop too. My posts are always more successful when the photography is good. I’ve also learned that they do better when the location changes up a bit, when it’s fitting for that specific outfit. Spend an afternoon driving around, and make a portfolio of locations. For example, I try to target lighter backgrounds or neutral colors, so I seek as many of those out that I can! There are lots of videos and blog tutorials on photography, but experience really makes the biggest difference. Don’t be hesitant to reach out to friends who have that talent behind the camera, good friends always want to help! (Shout out to my favorite photographer, Robert Chou Photography!)
Facebook groups help grow your numbers.
My follower count started growing the minute I joined these. On average, I get about 10 new followers a day from Facebook groups, which rotate between platforms. That doesn’t sound like much, but these followers are almost all genuine, no follow-for-follow’s (which I’m not a fan of). They comment regularly and like pictures regularly. They get what it’s like to be a blogger, and know how much engagement is appreciated. Warning: Don’t wear yourself thin trying to participate in all 20 that you’re a member of. Figure out which ones fit you and your blog best and focus on those. If you want examples, let me know!
Link-ups establish regular readers.
This worked wonders on getting my blog noticed within the fashion blogging community. While I primarily use fashion link-ups, you can find some for every type of blog. Lots of my closest blogging friends I’ve met through link-ups. They really help to boost engagement and establish a true community. You can find the ones I use at the bottom of almost every style post! Tip: post in a link-up as early in the day as you can. I’m guilty of setting an alarm before the sun comes up just to add my link!
Webinars are great for making new friends.
This really helped me step up my Twitter game. While most webinars are great for learning how to improve your blog, the chat boxes help you grow just as much. We all want to grow, that’s a big goal for us. So we generally all want to help each other out. I’ve found some great bloggers to follow and read regularly in a completely different niche than my own thanks to webinars. Ditto for Twitter Chats, new friends all around!
Tag the companies you post.
I’ve been able to land a few collaborations just because I tagged the company on Instagram! They could repost your picture or they could even reach out to you. Similarly, let companies know if you are featuring them, specifically the smaller companies. You never know, they could want to offer your readers a discount, help you run a giveaway, or even offer to send you products or sponsor a post! On that note, reaching out to a company with a postive email can never hurt. I’ve been amazed with how many companies are willing to collaborate with a smaller blogger like myself.
Don’t limit yourself to one topic.
If I blogged just about fashion, I would only be reaching a fraction of the people who I could. Actually, faith-based posts are typically the most successful for me (all-be-it more rare). If you are passionate about it, you should write about it. It’s easy to tell the posts that I’m really digging – my writing is so much stronger. They tend to be the ones that stand out on their own. Lot’s of people will disagree with me on this one, but I can’t name a single blog that I follow that sticks to just one niche.
If you share theirs, they’ll share back.
For many bloggers, this comes naturally. I’m hoping to get to that level myself. It helps to have stumble and bit.ly open when reading blogs, and if you really like a post, stumble it and create a shortlink for it right away. I use bit.ly to create links for posts I really enjoy, and then use Hootsuite to schedule shares. Even pinning posts helps, and let the blogger know in a comment that you did! I don’t do this nearly enough, but it has helped me gain views (specifically from Twitter). Even if you are a small blogger – this is a great way for you to get noticed.
Get started by sharing this post! Click here to tweet it out:).
You actively do all of these? You’re in good shape. Have any other strategies that really help you get noticed? I’d love to hear them! Still starting out? Give these a try and be sure to let me know how it goes!
Want more blogging tips? Check out my Pinterest board for the posts that have helped me along the way!