Confession time. I love this blog, but I don’t blog as well as I’d like. A few years ago, I made a surprising discovery that took a lot of the stress out of blogging for me.
I aimed to blog weekly in 2013, but I didn’t always do that, and in the last quarter of the year I had a crazy problem with my back and LOTS of things went out the window, not just my blogging schedule.
Life happens. We both know that. But I felt guilty about my Blog Neglect, and a failure, and a bit glum. 🙁 Do you ever feel like that about your blogging?
And then I happened to check my annual stats, and I saw that in December 2013 I had 10 times as many readers as for the same month in 2012. Ten times!! Imagine my shock! And it wasn’t just a spike, it was a consistent upward trajectory all year.
It didn’t exactly make me a member of the bloggerati 😉 , but it gave me a growing audience, and I love interacting with you all. (Thanks!)
How on earth did this happen in the midst of such a chaotic year??
I had a little think about it, and these are the 5 factors that I believe made the difference for me. See if they could help you too.
1. I actually WROTE some posts
Yes, this one sounds obvious, but it does have to be said. 🙂 Especially because, the previous year I’d written hardly any posts at all.
No, I didn’t write nearly as many as I’d have liked, but I did write a few. To be precise, I wrote *coughs, clears throat* 21 articles in the space of a year. (Ooh, how embarrassing to admit it in black and white! It’s not many, is it??)
2. I wrote to a standard rather than a schedule
I faced the fact that the Constant Content blogging model wasn’t going to work for me, and decided to try to build a body of work instead.
Before anyone gets confused and thinks I’m saying my articles are perfect, have you spotted the Deliberate Typo in today’s post?? 😉
No, they’re not perfect. But I did put a lot of time and effort into each one. I wanted every single post to be:
a. useful to people
b. reusable by me in the future, maybe in a book or a workshop or an ecourse
c. positive rather than negative for my own reputation as a writer/editor.
3. I chose evergreen topics
When I spend hours writing a piece, I don’t want it becoming stale tomorrow morning. So I’ve mostly written on topics that won’t go out of date.
I’ve got one article that’s been read thousands of times over several years. I had no idea that article would be so popular of course. I just wrote about something I had experience in, and which I thought might be useful to someone else. But I did choose a topic that I believed would have enduring relevance.
Even as I write this post, which refers to specific dates, I’m thinking of ways to make it still read OK in a year’s time–or possibly how I’ll come back and edit it later to make it suit.
4. I used Twitter to promote those older, still-useful posts
I used to tweet my new posts once, and that was it. Duh.
Then I came across a WordPress plugin called Revive Old Post (thank you Molly Greene for that tip!). I set it up to tweet just once a day, as I didn’t want my followers drowning in a deluge of links.
Since I installed that plugin, I’ve seen the traffic to those articles increase. As the Twitter traffic increases, it seems to catch Google’s attention too… and so the search engine traffic increases likewise.
5. I made friends and promoted other bloggers
I encountered other bloggers in my field, and made connections and friendships with some of them because of shared interests. I promoted their blogs via social media and they promoted mine too. (Thank you, if that’s you!)
Note that I didn’t do this as a “strategy”, it just happened organically as I pursued genuine interests and made a point of promoting blogs that I really thought were valuable. People can tell when you’re making friends with them in the hope of getting something in return!!
Apparently, the Belinda Model of Blogging does have value, despite my gloomy expectations. Initially, my traffic came mostly via Twitter, but now it’s more from searches. I’m on the first or second page of Google for several very specific topics (the SEO boffins call those “long tail keywords”… little do they know I just wrote an article I thought might be interesting). My list of subscribers grows slowly but steadily.
I’m not recommending you ignore all that good advice to blog consistently. If you can manage it, all the evidence shows that it does make a powerful difference to growing a readership.
What I do want to say is that apparently it is possible to build an audience, even if you can’t blog as fast or as well as you’d like. Yes, it would grow faster if you blogged more often/more consistently or promoted more vigorously. But it can still grow, even as you try to fit blogging in around LIFE.
Be encouraged. Don’t give up. 🙂
What’s your experience with blogging?
Featured image via Bigstock/Denis Ka