Yesterday morning I logged into my WordPress dashboard and was shocked. In just one short month of blogging, I have reached over 5,000 page views. But, Megan, you are probably thinking, you posted well before August on several occasions. While yes that is true, I hadn’t utilized any of these tips and had about 20 page views, 10 of which were probably me and the other 10 of which were most likely my mom. When August rolled around, I figured maybe it would be fun and interesting to start taking this blogging thing a little more seriously and see what would happen. Little did I know, that work would bring in thousands of page views.
So today, I decided to share what I did with you. While yes, there are plenty of bloggers out there who probably reached way more page views their first month of blogging than I did, I’m pretty proud of my accomplishment. Here’s what I did.
Utilize social media.
Social media is the number one source of traffic to my blog. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter users make up a major part of my audience. There are obviously very different ways to approach each social media network.
- Instagram: Right now in the blog and YouTube world, it’s immensely popular to develop an Instagram brand to stick with. While I’m still working on streamlining my Instagram feed, I’m not to the point where I want to stick with one particular color to brand myself. Instead, I’ve been branding myself by sharing particular parts of my life. I’m obviously a college student that loves organization, my school, my friends, and food, so I hope to somehow work those things together. Obviously I’m still working on it, but with the progress I’ve already seen on my Instagram account it is working.
- Facebook: Facebook was the second biggest driver of traffic to my blog this month after my “The College Girl’s Ultimate Guide to Sorority Recruitment” post was shared on multiple accounts. It was also posted to official university “Class of 2019” pages which gave me another major boost in traffic as well. Along with that, I’ve been working on growing the following on my blog’s official Facebook page (if you haven’t followed it, you should! Link to it is in the sidebar) and sharing my blog posts to my own personal Facebook page, which has brought a lot of attention to it. Definitely incredibly thankful to have such supportive friends and family.
- Twitter: Twitter has given me some ups and downs this month, but one day my traffic suddenly shot up in the afternoon when I don’t typically get much traffic. I was finally able to pinpoint it on a blogger who had tweeted out a link to one of my posts to her thousands of followers. I had commented on her blog earlier that day, but hadn’t expected her to check out my post. It just goes to show, always make sure to support your fellow bloggers! We are all a team here.
Take good, quality images.
While I use a DSLR camera to take my pictures, you definitely don’t need a fancy camera to take good pictures. Even using your phone camera can work. Just make sure that you take into consideration that you have good lighting, that you know the focus points of your photo, and that you take more than one photo from different angles. If you also happen to not own Photoshop or Light Room, PicMonkey is a great, free option offered online. And while I do have Photoshop, Canva is my favorite website to use to add graphics and text to my images. In fact, it’s what I used to make the picture for this post.
Make a plan and stick with it.
Obviously towards the beginning of August I had a bit of an issue with this point, but I have gotten a lot better as the month progressed. While there are many different ways that bloggers go about organizing their personal blog schedule, I’ve made it a point to not specify what days I will be putting up posts, but writing down the 3-4 posts that I want to have up that week. That way, I’m not stressing myself out by having another deadline added to my already hectic college course dates. I have also scheduled an hour every day of the week to just do blog stuff, that way I know I am working towards my blogging goals. It’s the perfect break to have scheduled in after over two hours of studying.
While it may seem a bit odd that I didn’t include this point with the social media category above, that is because it deserves a point of its own. Pinterest is the number one driver of traffic to my blog, with over 75% of my audience each day coming from there. I have had a lot of success with my “The Soon-to-Be Senior’s Guide to Senior Year” and “The BEST Study Tips for College” posts, with both of them being repined several hundred times already. I am slowly learning a bit more about making my photos visually appealing and have found that long images are the way to go when it comes to Pinterest. Why is that? Because as you scroll down through Pinterest, the longer images are more likely to catch the eye since they are on the screen longer than horizontal images. This is also why so many of the long images include eye catching colors such as yellow, orange, blue, and hot pink.
Create content unique to you.
While yes, there are many college bloggers out there, there are plenty of things that haven’t been discussed or written about the way you would. An example for me is my “Soon-to-Be Senior’s Guide” and “The Ultimate Guide to Sorority Recruitment” posts. Many people have e-mailed me saying that they have enjoyed the posts simply because there aren’t many others out there like it. Also, in creating content take and use photos that you find visually appealing. If you are writing and photographing things that you are interested in and that you enjoy, chances are there are plenty of other people out there that enjoy the same thing.
Acknowledge other bloggers.
If I’ve learned anything this month, it’s that once you have joined the blogging world, you have joined a huge, supportive community of other bloggers who are there to support you and answer your questions when you need it. Be one to share the love as well. Follow them on Instagram and like their photos, follow their Facebook page and Twitter, and comment on their blog posts. If you like a post another blogger wrote, take the time to give them a little shout out on Twitter or Facebook. It is always appreciated.
The number one thing that has surprised me the most is the number of bloggers that don’t reply to the comments on their posts. Someone took the time out of their day to write you a comment, if they found the time surely you can too. And especially if you post like me and leave questions on the bottom of your post for readers to answer, you need to be replying. This month I’ve started putting into practice that I want to reply to my comments within 24 hours of the commenter leaving it. While I try to reply much faster than that, I at least have a standard set for myself on what I want to accomplish in that area.
Did any of these points stand out to you? Is there anything that I missed in these tips that I should add? Also, I’m considering making a monthly series where I report my monthly traffic and what I’ve done to gain traffic, would you be interested in reading something like that? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below!