Blog Tips: How to Bring Growth to Your Blog – Part II

Two weeks ago I began the topic of How to Bring Growth to Your Blog with tips ranging from securing a custom domain name to setting up an instant click-through booster.  This week I’m attempting to pick up where I left off and will be covering several additional methods for bringing growth to your blog.  Let’s dive in, shall we.

USING SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES FOR BLOG GROWTH:

A clear method for bringing growth to your blog is with the use of social networking sites.  I have a Facebook account but don’t use it much, so I won’t be covering that option (although it can be a great tool for those who enjoy using it).  The two that I’d like to focus on today are Twitter and Flickr.  I’m relatively new to Twitter but have been a Flickr member for years.  For example, these two sites have produced 455 direct hits to my blog in the past week.  Yes, objectively that number might not be very large, but I think it’s important to look at social networking as having a value that is not only about numbers.

BENEFITS OF SOCIAL NETWORKING:

  • Social networking gives a more personal “face” to your blog.
  • Interacting with readers on a one-on-one level builds relationships and trust.  You can learn a lot from your connections via sites like Twitter, facebook, etc.
  • Sites such a Twitter make the sharing of info and links incredibly fast.  i.e. I can post about a great necklace I love and immediately everyone who follows me has the opportunity to click-through to see it AND share that link with a “retweet” to all their subscribers.  It’s like a little wildfire of link love.
  • Networking sites provide tools that make mini updates possible (perfect for when you don’t want to write a full post).
  • Less expectation for regular updates (although, regularity is a plus).
  • It’s free (there are pro accounts available through Flickr, but they are not required)!

POTENTIAL NEGATIVES OF SOCIAL NETWORKING:

  • You don’t want to spread yourself too thin.  If you aren’t able keep it up or spend at least a small amount of time building your connections via these sites I would hold off.
  • Social networking can be a lot of fun…and therefore can be a major time-evaporator if you are not careful.
  • Remember that what you put out there is public.  Think twice before sharing private content or airing grievances so that you don’t have to spend any time regretting it later.

THOUGHTS ON USING SOCIAL NETWORKING “PROPERLY”:

There really isn’t a right or a wrong way to go about networking, and it will of course vary for each individual.  But some of the general guidelines that I like to keep in mind are:

  • Don’t spam your friends.  If you have something exciting to share, then by all means do it.  But tweeting daily about random product promos that have nothing to do with you or your blog/brand will likely be off-putting to most.
  • I would caution against going overboard with self-promotion.  Share great content from your site along with other great things that you like.  Chances are if you like them your friends will too.  But if you’re always talking about your own site and nothing else, I would venture to guess that after a while your updates will not pique people’s interest as much (this applies especially to Twitter).
  • Sites like flickr build a visual presence for you and/or your site and gives you the ability to interact with other visually minded friends, etc.
  • Always be sure to include a link back to your site in your profile.  Uploading a profile picture is also great way to show your personable side or reflect your brand identity.

Other sites from which I also receive a fair amount of traffic are Bloglovin and Stumbleupon (stumbleupon is one of my top referrer every week).  These don’t require as much time and can be a nice addition to your social networking circle.

PLUS – USING BLOG INTERACTION FOR GROWTH:

Another great way to bring furthered growth to your blog is through interactions with others in blogland.  The most notable method is commenting on your favorite blogger’s posts.  I have a few thoughts on how to make this most effective:

  1. Do not promote your own work/site in a blog comment, but be sure that your URL is linked with your name (this usually happens when you sign in to comment).
  2. Comment in a credible and relevant way.  Your comments don’t need to be lengthy, but they should be genuine.
  3. Think of blog comments no differently than a real world conversation.  Which example is more likely to promote friendship and interest? “Oh my! I love those shoes so much.  They look like something I could happily wear all day long.  Thanks for sharing.”  OR  “Nice. By the way I’m having a giveaway for a coffee maker over on my blog.  Come over to my site and maybe you can win.”  While the later is not objectively wrong, it is not relevant, is clearly a comment intended solely as self promotion and may leave many with a sour impression.

I personally have followed many a commenter to their blog after reading a great comment that they shared either on my blog or another blog I was visiting.  So I know from experience that this simple method can have great results.

——-

Next week I’ll be talking about targeted growth strategies such as hosting or sponsoring giveaways and more.  Before I end today though, I’d like to say that you don’t need to look at any form of network as strictly business …in fact I’d caution against that level of formality.  Enjoy getting to know your readers and interacting in this awesome community.  In the end you may find (as I have) that the human connections you will make are far more valuable than any bump in number you may receive.  See you next week.  xo Ez

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19 Comments

  1. Monica N / / Reply

    I love this new series! Such a wonderful way to give out tips that all of us seem to forget from time to time. Thanks for sharing!

  2. emily b / / Reply

    Thanks so much for this info, Ez. It is easy to get caught up in the numbers, and social networking sites can be so overwhelming, but you do a great job paring everything down to what is actually relevant. You definitely know how to keep people coming back! -e

  3. Libby / / Reply

    Hi: These are really good, very thoughtful, and oh so helpful tips you give, Ez. I’ve been following you, on and off, since you started these, and do appreciate ALL your efforts for all of us! Thank you, and I’ll continue to follow and be a fan…

  4. Natalie Jost / / Reply

    Great suggestions, Ez, I wish someone had told me these things 5 years ago! :) I’d like to add one thing that people rarely consider.

    It occurred to me one day watching Ratatouille with the kids. When the chef touts the line "Anyone can cook" the implication is that anyone can ENJOY cooking and enjoy food, but not anyone truly has a talent for it. I have to say, I’ve come to see the same with blogging and social internet all around. Anyone can do it, anyone can have fun with it, but not everyone can really do it well and succeed.

    Not to discourage people from blogging, but I find way too many people who want the benefits of it and they think they can buckle down with a list of tips and tricks and make it happen. But it takes real talent to make a blog, or twitter account for that matter, work–and succeed the way you have with Creature Comforts.

    I like what you said about the formality of it. I meet people often who come at it that way, with a formula and game plan and end up failing because their heart just isn’t in it. They just want to have the next big "design blog" or in web design we have a gazillion "gallery" blogs featuring popular designers just to get more exposure for themselves. Tacky is right. ;)

    Bottom line, you have to be YOU. No one else can, and we don’t want anything else from you.

  5. Emily / / Reply

    Okay I really liked this topic for sure. I have all of those accounts, but I find that sometimes I just don’t have the time to spend tweeting and browsing flickr. I try to stay involved, but my blog doesn’t pay my bills so I work from 8-5 and then come home and the last thing I want to do is look at a computer.

    Okay I just re-read that and boy do I sound like a whiner. Let’s scratch all that shall we and say this. I love connecting and have made many connections through these sites, but how do you seperate the internet and all its time suckage aspects with your every day functions and life and still feel connected??

  6. just a girl / / Reply

    I just wanted to say thank you for all of the hard work you must put into these posts and this series. As a new blogger myself, I certainly appreciate it greatly and always look forward to what you have to say. Thanks, again!

  7. Tilly / / Reply

    Thanks so much for this series, I really enjoy reading the posts and they’re so useful for someone like me who is relatively new to blogging.

    If you’re after suggestions for future posts, it’d be really good to read a more in-depth post concentrating on best practice for each of the social networks you mention. In particular I’m interested in Stumbleupon as I haven’t used it before and am a bit lost about how to get started, whether you can just recommend your own blog on it or what’s considered fair play! I just did a google search about this but found myself on lots of horrible looking websites which don’t really explain it very well – I’m sure you’d do a much better job!

  8. Ruth / / Reply

    Great post! I’m three networking sites but I’m thinking of dropping Twitter – everyone says it’s great (and I can see it’s benefits) but I find it incredibly time consuming! After reading this I’m more inclined to stick with my facebook and flickr but we’ll see… :)

  9. Charissa - The Gifted Blog / / Reply

    Hi Ez – I am continuing to enjoy your unique take on growing a blog. I’ve perused Copyblogger, Problogger, and the like, but it is cool to get this information in your own voice, from your own experience. Personally, I also resonated with your end note about not being too formal with social networking, and especially the caution against viewing it as ‘strictly business’. I want so badly for my blog to be the best it can be, but it’s great to relax and enjoy the creative outpouring of those around me. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. Rachel / / Reply

    Awesome info and thanks for taking the time.

    I would be very curious to know how StumbleUpon works for you. I use it as a personal thing to have fun and jump randomly across the web but didn’t think of it in terms of my own blog. That would be really cool information :-) It’s still fun to use otherwise.

  11. gina / / Reply

    Thanks so much for a great post, I have been looking for some "experienced" guidelines and tips when it comes to social networking. I haven’t invested the time yet or figured out how to make it work for me, (without being a distraction) so your advice is much appreciated, it seems like a good idea to maybe make flicker and twitter something I schedule a few times a week? We’ll see, Thanks again!

  12. Diane / / Reply

    Thanks for sharing your experience! This series is really helpful for someone like me who is only just starting out with their more grown-up blog. (LJ was more socialising for me). I have linked back to this series from a thread in a swap-bot.com group. I hope that’s ok with you. There are a few of us starting out, or re-starting our blogs at the moment. The LJ experience helps but I really want my blog to be something that’s really me, something that I’m proud to share with everyone and anyone, even my 80-year-old grandmother. :)
    Once again the universe provides the information I need, when I need it!

  13. Jeanelle / / Reply

    Thank you so much for this post Ez! I actually been following your suggestions even before I read it, everytime somebody leaves a comment on my blog I send them a thank you email, especially to people that ask me questions. Its so awesome how many virtual artist friends you can connect through with your blog. I tried the facebook thing but like you i'm not too active, I'm going to give twitter a try. But like you said, what matters most in your blog is the good content. For example, I love how you group specific themes in one post, either color or style, while at the same time promoting indie designers. I hope you don't mind but I might borrow that idea, 'cause there is way too much stuff out there that inspires me, and grouping them is a great idea to keep them all organized. Keep them coming Ez :)

  14. Kate / / Reply

    Thanks for this information!! I'm very new to blogging ( one week with my own at the moment ) and have been reading up everywhere i can find on how to get your blog 'out there'! Your tips have been very useful and I've also made a specific note to always link back to any sources I've found etc. Am I the only person who when starting their blog looks a few times every day to see if there has been anyone on there?? this morning I'm like 'Ohhh there was one!!!!!' ( was prob my husband ) thankyou! and I'm now a dedicated reader of Creature Comforts :)

  15. lifenbits / / Reply

    I use Twitter and Facebook when I publish every post. I have a Digg, StumbleUpon and just opened a BlogLovin'. However, I get little traffic from social networks. I imagine I don't know how to use them to drive traffic. Any insight on this topic? I guess I will dedicate myself to research as much as I can on social network at a time until a learn to use them properly.

  16. Rebecca / / Reply

    Thank you for sharing all this great info, I'd like to start a blog this year and I'm ally enjoying the series.

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