How to grow and maintain a blog

Your blog is up and running, well done! Now you just need to maintain and grow your blog to help you achieve success. This is how you can do it:

Take part in Twitter chats

Being a massive twitter fan anyway, I love twitter chats. I have been part of some great conversations, spoken to some lovely people on Twitter and it has been a great way to push people to your profile, obtain followers, gain new ideas for posts and find some new bloggers yourself.

It can be daunting at first taking part in chats, especially if you are hosting one (read more about my tips on hosting a Twitter chat here). If you join chats based on your blog topic this will push more interest to your site then say your location as it is reaching those with the same interests.

Read more:

Creating a movement online – my recent twitter chat

How to #win at a Twitter chat

Using hashtags and pages that retweet your blog on twitter

By promoting your post using popular, relevant hashtags this can push your blog out to an audience that may not have come across your site otherwise. Sites such as hashtagify.me can help you easily see how popular the hashtag you want to use is and other relevant tags. By adding the handles of twitter pages that retweet your blog as well may mean a retweet out to a large audience. Bare in mind, however, to only add one twitter page handle per post. If you don’t then you are less likely to be retweeted as those pages are not going to retweet their competitors as well.

The Twitter pages that retweet your blog

Facebook Fan Page

Like what I said with the Twitter chats below, you could create your own Facebook page promoting your blog or you join ready made communities tailored to your blog topic, region or interest. I am part of several blogging groups in the West Midlands because I live in the region and like to see what local bloggers are writing about (I have some fab new restaurant places I want to try out!), and blogger opportunities are also posted on there too.

Instagram

If your blog is very aesthetically pleasing, then Instagram is the place to flog your posts. Engagement on Instagram is high because it people are more willing to double tap a image to give it some love. If your Instagram is themed then likes are more likely. Evidence as shown that those Instagram pages that have a theme are more likely to get likes than those that are not. Again using hashtags for people to find your images is key. I use tagblender for easy copy and pasting lots of hashtags. Just remember Instagram only allows a certain number of hashtags and if you go over then it will post without the tags and that can be frustrating.

Creating a blogging schedule and sticking to it

I firmly believe that to really maintain a blog you need to regularly post. If you consistently times a week you are more likely to have followers keep returning to your site for more.

How is your blog going? Leave me your links below as I am always on the look out for new blogs to read!

 

 

How to write a blog post

Hopefully you have read my first post ‘4 questions to ask yourself before you start a blog‘ and have decided to go ahead and create one yourself. Well done! Now is to set about writing your content.

There are many ways to write a blog post and I am not saying I am an expert in the slightest but writing a blog post is a craft and as they say content is king. The benefits of good content is clear, you will gain more in engagement and followers.

So what is needed to write a good blog post?

Strong topic

Your post needs to have a clear subject, if you are writing for the sake of writing people will see this and just click off.

Clear structure

Your English teacher was right, your writing needs an introduction, middle and end. The best way to do this is to plan what you are going to write before you write it. It really helps make sure your writing is heading in the right direction. For more information on planning a post read my post on ‘How to plan a successful blog posthere.

Ideal blog post length

The jury is out on this one! This does very much depend on the topic you are writing about, Yoast recommends your post length to at least be 300 words long. Yoast goes on to mention that longer posts are more likely to be ranked higher because there are more opportunities through text, images and links to include your keyword. Researching further, digitalmarketingpro.net recommends to Google blog posts of a similar type that you want to write and seeing how many words were written in the top five ranking posts.

Consistency

I should really practice what I preach on this point! All the headings should be the same size, font and style. I am still experimenting with mine, but as soon as I have a style nailed I will update everything else.

Images and all the little things that make a huge difference

Images are so important to add on a blog post. Think about how many blog posts that do not have an image or graphic of some kind. Not many! Images help reinforce and explain a point, help people make an emotional connection and even persuade them to make a purchase! People are more likely to share a post if it contains an awesome image.

It helps with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as when you save your image you should name the image properly and use the alt tag function and description. It also helps those with e-readers who cannot see the image know what the image is as the e-reader picks up the alt tag.

Comment

Unless it is something very sensitive your posts should contain a comment section and make sure to respond to people’s comments! They have taken the time to written, you should take the time to respond.

Make sure you add your relevant pages and social media links

After writing your blog post make sure your social media links are there so people can pin the image, tweet and Facebook it. The more chances you give them to be shared the better. Also if you have written relevant blog posts in the past, make sure you add those links in the text too as it pushes people to look at that content which means extra views to your posts.

I hope you enjoyed my Blog 101! Are you finding these tips useful?

 

 

 

 

I really enjoy Twitter chats, I take part in them and I have hosted them as well.

I recently hosted an #lbloggers chat with my topic about ‘Creating a movement on the internet’. It was a topic that I hadn’t really seen much written about online so I was excited to see everyone’s thoughts.

My first question was:

Do you feel that blogs have empowered people to create their own movements or join one?

What was interesting with this was I saw a movement as something such as feminism however a lot of Twitter users saw it as building their own communities.

In addition twitter users that took part in the conversation as a whole felt that blogs helped people connect with other like-minded people and increase the confidence in expressing themselves.

 

Do you think the internet can be a more effective way to support causes from behind a screen rather than being out there?

Twitter users found that starting from behind a screen can be a brilliant way to dip your toes in activism and then as confidence grows and physically getting out there seems possible.

A Twitter conversation regarding activismOne twitter user bought up the very valid point that it depends on the blog and the blogger and I whole heartily agree.

My blog is less likely to get people involved or support a cause compared to a blog with millions of followers.

Are you involved in activism?

I am not involved in activism myself at all other than the odd retweet and reading Lenny Letter (a feminist newsletter). I was interested to see if other people were. Jasiminne Yip from Posh, Broke and Bored wrote about her experiences volunteering with the Greyhound Trust and Crisis UK. One twitter user pointed out that mental health issues was widely being recognised.

Lauren from Blonde Vision has done volunteering for the Race for Life, packing Christmas presents for children in Ghana.

A Twitter user, Ada Lovelace said that she volunteers at the local library and donates to charity. Another user said that she speaks up for small indie businesses.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

Image of laptop, iphone and journal

Blogging can be hard for many reasons – generating ideas for posts, having the time to write and schedule in content, editing photographs… the list can go on. However planning and structuring a blog post correctly means the article is likely to be well written and a well written article is more likely to be shared and this means more hits to your site and that ultimately is the aim of the game 🙂

Today I will tell you the way I like to structure my blog posts, none of what you see below is revolutionary but hopefully helpful.

How I Structure My Ideas
I like to either bullet point them or use a mind map format to write down all my ideas. If I am particularly stuck for ideas I will have a scroll through what other bloggers have written for inspiration. Some may argue that it is copying but the majority of content written on blogs is repackaged or has been rewritten already anyway, so I don’t see it in that way.

Your post ideally should contain ‘evergreen content’ this helps boost your SEO. Evergreen content is content which isn’t dated so for example if this article contains lots of data then this article will be out of date very quickly as the stats would become out of date. Fashion blogs are another example. My social media and blogging articles I like to keep the content ‘evergreen’ as much as possible.

Once I have an idea on what I want to write about, if I need to do any research this is usually done first. It helps inform the rest of my writing and helps me think of points that I may not have thought about originally or from a different view point that I then may expand upon. I tend to write intro, middle and end as titles and then list the points I want to make below each.

The Writing Part
When I start writing, I tick off each point to help keep me on track and additionally keeps me motivated to finish the post (I am one of those people that like lists!). When I am in the planning stage I like to have a lot of time to plan my posts. I turn off all distractions, this means leaving my phone in the other room and not being on Twitter to keep me focused and it speeds up the creation of the post. Additionally, setting myself a deadline helps to keep the momentum. At the end I find a image using a free image site, sometimes I will add text it depends. Just keep in mind with your deadline to take time to find or create a decent image and make sure you include an alt tag in the image. At the end if you have written any previous blog posts that link with the post you are about to publish, add them at the bottom to boost engagement to other posts.

The Bit After You Click Publish
The planning just doesn’t stop at the blog post it also extends to social media. There is really no point writing a blog post unless you are really going to push it (I don’t know, maybe you want to keep it to yourself, each to their own I guess!). When I plan social media, I take into account popular hashtags (I use ritetag) and twitter profile pages that will retweet posts. I use Hootsuite to schedule the posts in and I tend to have a social media scheduling session when I am too tired to write a blog post. I pin my blog post on Pinterest straight after it is has gone live so it is done and I don’t have to think about it.

So the short version of all of the above:

  • Turn off all distractions
  • Mind map or bullet point ideas
  • If your stuck for a topic then have a google to see what other bloggers are writing about or what the popular topics are at the moment (taking into account making your content as ‘evergreen’ as possible)
  • Start with a topic and plan a beginning, middle and end
  • Remember to include scheduling in social media and finding images within your allocated time limit
  • Add in links to other relevant blog posts 

Have you got any tips on creating an effective blog post? Which has been your best blog post in terms of views? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

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Why your blog needs a swot analysis

The Twitter pages that retweet your blog

How to make blogging and social media goals and stick to them!

 

Open laptop on a table

Hello, hello today I am writing about self evaluating your blog via a SWOT.

A SWOT analysis stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It may sound boring and time consuming but by writing down what each of these are, it can visually make you see your blog’s weaknesses are so you can tweak them to maximise potential. The strengths you don’t need to ignore either – by capitalising your strengths it will help make your blog stronger.

It sound’s like something that takes a lot of time but there is no point publishing content that your readers do not like to view. At the end of the day it is your blog and you can publish what you want – but if your aim is to increase readership, earn money, or increase engagement – then you need to get strategic.

To show you how a SWOT can work for you I have included a SWOT of my own blog below. If you google SWOT analysis you will see many done in a box. Personally I prefer working from a list, hence listing them below.

SWOT for becbec.uk

Strengths
Own URL and professional blogger template installed.
I have full control over my blog.
I have a full – time job so don’t need to worry about making money from my blog.
My social media and blog posts do very well in terms of page views and comments and that is the content I prefer writing about.
From working in marketing I know the a lot of websites to get good quality royalty free imagery etc

Weaknesses
Struggle to find the motivation to write content regularly.
Not enough regular content.
Social media strategy needs to be better.
My content away from blogging and social media do not so as well.

Opportunities
Know several contacts where I can get my work published – which gets my name out more.
Very confident about Twitter chats and hosted several chats before so can do those again.
Getting a lot better at Photoshop so can start creating some work sheets.
Know several graphic designers that if I reach out too, could help me make my brand better.

Threats
Established bloggers.
Blogging is a market that has become very saturated and it is getting harder and harder to stand out.

What have I learned from my SWOT?

So from my strengths I know that the social media and blog tips posts are my best posts so it is best to keep writing posts about them. Having a full – time job means there isn’t the pressure of me having to churn out content to make money.

I know I need to work on writing regular content therefore by dedicating time per week to do this is one way where I am more likely to achieve writing and getting my content published. Again by dedicating time just for social media means that I am more likely to hit my goals of pushing more people to my site. I am going to stop writing life posts because there is no point spending my time writing them as it is not what my audience want to read.

Knowing your opportunities is easy, now it is finding the time to make the most of those opportunities. It is important because if you don’t realistically have the time to take advantage you could waste other people’s time and it can make your life harder in the future when you do have more time or you try to take advantage of other opportunities because people talk to each other!

Therefore, ideally by maximising on your opportunities, expanding on your strengths and working on your weaknesses this should help reduce your threats. Your threats are likely to always be there – you should always keep an eye out on what your threats are doing so you can capitalise on there failings or find a gap in the market they are not catering for.

I hope this SWOT blog post has been useful, ironically for me by listing everything down it has made the task of getting my blog up to date not as daunting as first thought. Let me know your thoughts and how you got on below.

If you liked this post, how about reading my other posts:

Best sites for blogging and social media beginners
Best sites for blogging and social media beginners #2
How to link your blog posts to pages in blogger