At the beginning of this year, I jumped on the ol’ ‘bullet journal’ band-wagon. Although my “bullet journal” is something to be desired because I’m not creative, I can’t draw and I got bored very easily. So you won’t find any themed pages or pretty designs. It’s basically a glorified notebook. But nevertheless, it’s a glorified notebook that has served me well this year so far when it comes to blogging, planning and keeping track of things. And that’s the aim of a bullet journal, right? I wanted to be much more on track with my blog, now I’m taking it oh-so-seriously. I’ve drawn up each month and colour-coded different types of posts (purple for book reviews, green for blogging advice – that sorta thing) and I’ve created a graph where I keep track of my following and my growth of my blog and different social media platforms.
I completely understand that doing this isn’t for everyone. Some people don’t care enough about their following and about numbers and that’s totally fine but I do. I make the majority of my income from my blog so growth and numbers are important to me. They need to be. And this has been a great way of keeping track of that. A month or two ago, I tweeted a little snippet of this page because I was incredibly proud of the growth I saw from January until the end of April and I got a comment asking if I could write a post about how I’ve increased it so much, which I’m doing right now.
I’m by no means an expert (in fact, I know basically nothing) but clearly I’m doing something right. I’m writing this post at the beginning of May and you’ll see in the photo below my stats increase in ‘overall page views’ and ‘total blog followers‘ between January and April. I also keep track of Twitter, Facebook (which basically never grows!) and Instagram but I want to focus mostly on blog stats in today’s post. So I’ve wracked my brain and here is some of my advice on increasing your following and how I, personally, have done it.
I think the main difference is that I am much more consistent now than I have ever been. I have a “sort of” blog schedule of 3 posts a week; Monday, Wednesday and Friday although if I get a last minute sponsored post then I always have free days in order to accommodate those. I find 3 posts a week is a nice amount; it gives you some days free without having to promote a new post but you have enough new content to keep it fresh.
How to help with consistency? Schedule posts in advance. Bank a bunch of posts which are ready to go for say, the following month. This way you don’t have to worry about churning out a post the morning it’s due up and it takes a lot of pressure off.
This is something which almost every blogger does but I didn’t start properly scheduling tweets until probably the beginning of the year because I hated doing it so much! But regardless of how tedious I find it, scheduling tweets and promoting my posts on the reg has definitely helped!
How do I schedule my tweets? I have a bit of a system. First of all, I use the app “Smartpost” which arguably isn’t the most professional app but it does allow you to schedule hundreds of tweets, add photos and specify your date/time for free. The morning I have a new post up, I’ll schedule my tweets for that day which is usually around 5. Then the days where I don’t have a new post up, I’ll schedule tweets for older posts from the month or the previous month throughout the day.
I don’t for one second think impeccable blog photos are what make or break a blog. Certainly niché is a factor in this (e.g if you’re a travel blogger, it’s beneficial to have nice photos of the place you’re staying / reviewing) but for me, a general, write whatever the heck you fancy type lifestyle blogger, photography hasn’t been a priority. However, since I’ve been working on my blog photos a little more – which incidentally, was at the beginning of the year – I’ve seen an increase. Is this related? Possibly. Possibly not.
What to do if you hate taking blog photos? Like me, I hate it. It’s probably my least favourite part of blogging. But I’ve found finding a “style” that works for you is helpful because it cuts down the thinking time when it comes to arranging the photo. Accumulate some props which are easily accessible and you know look nice in photos. And don’t compare yourself to others!
Find what does well
Although I’ve tried to introduce a lot more personal style posts into my blog this year, I’ve also become aware of what type of posts work well. For example, blogging advice style posts – like this one! – always tend to go down really well. So I’ve started using that information to my advantage. I actually did a write up about which posts I published in January did the best and it was quite eye-opening!
How do I do this? Hop onto your stats (e.g the WordPress stats page on the app – if you use WordPress – I’m afraid I don’t know how Blogger works with this) and check out your “monthly” views. It’ll tell you which were your most viewed post/s on any given month. If you start to notice a pattern (e.g a book review is always the highest viewed post) then take note.
Get involved – be social
I’ve always been a true believer that you have to be active in the blogging community. It’s not the be all and end all but it certainly helps. New followers and like-minded followers are everywhere but you’re more likely to find them on social media, in a place where you’re both there for the same reason. If you don’t put yourself out there, be heard, talk to people, make friends and offer opinions – how is anyone going to find you?
How do I do this? There’s plenty of ways to do this which will benefit different people. A few are; joining a comment pod, taking part in Twitter chats, taking part in comment threads, joining blogging Facebook groups, just simply talking to people on Twitter.
When you read a blog post, you just know if the blogger behind it doesn’t give a rat’s shit about what they’re writing. Honestly, you can tell. Passion shines through. Not just in blogs, in anything. If you’re writing about something you love, are enthusiastic and passionate then I believe you’ll attract those like-minded people (as well as putting the hard-work in!) Please don’t just write about something because everyone else is. Because it’s “cool”. Because it’s “current”, when you really don’t care.