Since the beginning of May, my page views have increased 1000%. From September 2014 till April 2015, I averaged approximately 50-75 page views a day (despite starting and running a successful web design studio). People were not visiting my site, and if I wanted to grow my business, I need to increase my network. Today, I average between 500 and 700 pageviews a day (around 400 on weekends).
I spent March and April, taking a “blogging break”, where I brainstormed the possibilities and direction of my blog about my business. During this time, I established a focus, distinct categories for my blog posts, and an editorial calendar for the next six months. I view this blog as mini-drafts of a larger book – the book as a guide to running and operating a WordPress website/blog for your brand. I created a blog post writing routine that would help me stay consistent, and I evaluated past posts for what worked and didn’t work.
When I returned from hiatus (at the beginning of May), the break not only renewed my commitment to my brand’s blog, but the time spent interpreting how I wanted to grow, resulted in significant and consistent increase in page views.
The key to all of this too — I did this with and still with a very limited social media following. Today, I average between 500 and 700 pageviews a day (around 400 on weekends); it is growing. How?
I identified a clear purpose for my blog.
Who is my audience?
My audience is creative entrepreneurs and bloggers. People who have websites, run their websites and want to grow their audience. A majority of my past clients fall into this category, and my blog shop is also aimed at this audience.
What does my audience need?
People want to grow their blogs and websites; they want their sites to work better and smoothly, and they wish to find the most affordable (free) solutions to fix common errors.
How can I help my audience?
Figuring out how to do something on one’s website can be like finding a needle in a haystack. So many tutorials, but lots of errors and mistakes, lots outdated, and even more that are just not applicable. What if you make a mistake trying to do a tutorial? It is so difficult to figure out where you made the mistake when you are doing it yourself. Tutorials on the Internet, while many, are all sub-par or not meaningful.
How do I present my solution?
The presentation of the solution is just as important as the answer itself. It needs to be coherent and clear. I wanted to make sure that readers could see how posts related from day-to-day and week-to-week. This presentation is something that I’m always trying to fine tune. I could dedicate a whole week to one topic, but I’d get bored by it. So I chose to create a blogging schedule based on my categories: Monday – Blogging/Business, Tuesday – Tutorials, Wednesday – Freelance Files, Thursday – Tutorials/Guides, and Friday – Client Work/Work-in-Progress. After running this pattern for about two months, I decided to move #FreelanceFiles to Thursday and do tutorials/guides on Tuesday and Wednesday. There’s always a kind of overlap, but that’s the general pattern.
Be New, But Familiar Principle
Have you heard of this expression “new, but familiar”? People will get bored with the same-old, same old, and yet if you throw something 100% new and unknown to them, they will be turned off. I tend to find that bloggers have a tendency to do what other people do to try to be successful. You have to make your purpose your own.
Lot of Potential
Once you’ve established your purpose, audience, and presentation, you must execute. Otherwise, you just have a lot of potential with nothing to show for it. There are a few things that I did to grow my audience that contributed to its growth. I believe that these things worked together, and not one individual thing stood out from the rest.
- Consistent blog graphics + branding: I had a client tell me that she loved seeing my blog graphics on social media. She knew as soon as she saw them, that it was a post by me. With same graphics, I established a presence outside of my website (my digital home).
- Participation in B-Bar Link-Ups and Twitter Chats: I participated in three B-Bar Link ups (April, May, and June), and each one of these brought new traffic (and kept new traffic) on my site. I took the prompts for each one and tied them into #FreelanceFiles (making it my own and aligning with my blog purpose). As a result, my response to these prompts might have been significantly different than others that day– new but familiar.
- Commitment to a Regular Blog Schedule: My hiatus/vacation mid-July illustrated the importance of regularly blogging. When blogging with a purpose, I provide helpful posts each day. My readers come to expect the schedule, and I’ve established myself as reliable. My readership dipped when I did not post regularly. By posting new content to the blog, I’m providing an opportunity for readers to engage with my content.
- Engagement with Other Like-Minded Entrepreneurs and Bloggers: I started to digitally network. I spent a lot of time last year going to networking events in Chicago, and I felt that I saw the same people and crowds. I started to focus more on digital networking; online has no limitations, and it’s allowed me to network with an audience globally. I continue to network with other like-minded entrepreneurs (who are both my colleagues and ideal clients).
- Pinterest is a Priority: Unlike other social media profiles, Pinterest pins have a long life. A pin from several weeks ago can pop up somewhere and drive traffic to your site. I also joined two small business Pinterest groups (full of my ideal audience member), and my pins continue to get repined and posts from those groups. I pin daily and often, and I use tools such as Ahalogy.
- Streamlining Social Media: I deleted all my personal social media accounts; allowing users only to find me in one place – White Oak Creative social accounts. I used the same background graphics and profile picture for all accounts. I limited the potential for people to make a choice on where to follow me; I’m only available at one place on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Why Purpose Is Important?
People often say to me with ease and confidence that they’d like to run their blog full-time. I ask them: what is the purpose of their blog? That’s when they stumble to articulate clearly their blog’s purpose. The blog market is saturated, and the need to establish a concise purpose is more important than ever, especially if you want to see meaningful monetization.
Role of Instagram
If you are a blogger, then Instagram is often reshaping your thoughts about blog content. It seems that the more Instagram followers you have, the more brand opportunities you get, regardless of pageviews.
Here’s why purpose is so important – if you want to monetize your blog significantly, your purpose will be driven by monetization. If the purpose of your blog is to provide recommendations and tips for achieving a particular lifestyle or style, then Instagram growth should be an essential focus for you as brand opportunities of late are coming more through Instagram.
However, if you’re looking to use your blog to transition into a service-based profession – like food styling and photography, styling, interior decorating, consulting, health coaching, whatever, then your purpose will help you establish the ways in which you can add those services and products to monetize your blog. You want to grow your blog because you want people to come to your site.
Want more Blogging tips? Check out these posts! If you have any questions, leave a comment below.
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