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!

 

 

Instagram, one of the world’s hottest social media networks. Over 60% of its users log in daily and the platform has over 400 million active users. Interestingly at work we have recently introduced a Instagram and my assistant has been busy working away on building our profile, which got me thinking about increasing my own profile.

I have been busy working away on my Instagram for over a month now trying to increase the number of followers, improve my content but also increase engagement. I did my research and found ways to do this of course so I decided to try them out and see if it is true, so lets see how I got on.

Instagram stats before
104 posts
951 likes – average 10 per post
34 comments – average 1 per post

Instagram stats so far since me changing things up!
31 posts
827 likes – average 27 per post
47 comments – average 2 per post

I understand that this isn’t a like for like comparison – however you can see that I am reaching just as many likes over 31 posts in a month then I did for 104 posts over two and a half years! The same goes for comments!

So what did I do…

Theming my Instagram

My Instagram was never themed, the purpose being that I didn’t want to limit the content on my account and I just used my account like I would Facebook or Twitter. However when I noticed some of my images of natural landscapes were doing really well engagement wise, I switched focused so my Instagram was all of that topic. It has so far worked increasing my engagement which you can see above. Theming doesn’t have to be on topics however it can be image colour (blue, pink and white seem to be popular).

Using hashtags
To spread your message out further using hashtags is a must. I use tagblender and just copy and paste all of the hashtags relevant to my images and add a few of my own in. This certainly has increased my reach and my engagement.

Liking other people’s images
By clicking on the hashtags I easily found other people’s images along the same theme. I liked the pictures that I did greally like however I don’t think that made any difference in increasing my followers or engagement at all.

Being consistent
By posting images everyday I don’t think it made much difference to the engagement however I noticed that I was losing followers. I do tend to post everyday but don’t worry if I miss a day or two.

Editing my images
Even me who can be quite lazy with my personal social media liked more or less to at least have some good photos. I use VSCO had a read on the best presets to use and it does make a difference.

How do you increase your followers on Instagram? Let me know in the comments below!

I have never been a numbers gal and never will be. However, to improve my social media engagement and followers, I do need to understand the statistics so I see what is working (so I can do more of it) and what isn’t. This post aims to be a beginners guide. By beginner, I mean those that have never really used the Twitter analytic dashboard before or have downloaded the stats and have found them to be really daunting.

So access your dashboard here
This is what the dashboard looks like, I will explain the 28 day summary first:
Tweets: This is the number of tweets you have written
Tweet Impressions: Number of times your tweet has been seen
Profile Visits: The number of people that have visited your profile
Mentions: The number of tweets that have contained your twitter handle
Followers: The number of people that have followed you

What can you take from this?

From here what is most useful I feel is followers, profile visits and mentions. This is because followers and mentions is a measure of engagement. people have actively included you in a Twitter handle or have clicked follow. Tweet impressions is more of a blurred metric in my eyes because Twitter cannot guarentee that every person has seen the tweet. I don’t read every tweet on my feed. With the number of tweets it depends on what you want to measure. If it is number of tweets against engagement then yes that will be useful to see if it is the quality of tweets (i.e more people engaging with less tweets) or quantitiy driving your engagement. 

Let’s go further down:
You can see above Twitter drills it down to your highlights from each month. The summary section which is the right hand column is the most useful as it is an overview on how well you did.
The next tab along is the tweet activity section. The graph shows, daily over 28 days, how many impressions your tweets made. Just run your arrow over one of the bars to see how many tweets you sent and how many impressions those tweets made.
Below is all the tweets you have sent and the impressions, engagement and engagement rate. 
Impressions: Are the number of times users saw the tweet.
Engagement: Is the number of times a user has engaged in that tweet. Engagement is classed as clicks on the tweet, retweets, replies, follows, favorites, links, cards, hashtags, embedded media, username, profile photo, username or twitter expansion. 
Engagement Rate: Is the number of engagement divided by impressions.

Engagement I feel is the most useful metric because the user has openly engaged with what you have written. Impressions as I said above is I think is a little wishy washy, engagement rate however is useful, if your engagement is low this is because the number of impressions (which will be influenced by the number of tweets you have sent out) means that people are not interested in what you have tweeted.

Just a note the Video Activity tab also looks like it measures the same metrics but just focusing on the videos you have posted. I haven’t taken a screenshot as I don’t make videos but the dashboard looks exactly the same as the tweet activity section.

The next tab along contains what your followers are interested in, it is also split by gender. and what country and region your followers are from.

I found it surprising that I had pretty much a fifty fifty split in terms of gender however I am not a beauty or fashion blogger, I tweet about social media and my life in general so it does make sense. Region isn’t as important to me as what I tweet again isn’t based on locality however for those who are running small businesses you will want a large percentage of your audience to be from the region you are based.
A way you can focus your Twitter to local chats you can get involved with such as #midlandshour where the people and businesses you are advertising too will be based in that area. 
Now you have had a wonder around the dashboard the next post will be about downloading your stats and how to make the most of them.

My trip to the West Coast of America in 2015 was due to two years 
worth of planning and saving.

I am a big fan of lists and a big fan of making plans, so it is a good job that both go hand in hand in reaching goals and getting everything completed. I make lists and plans at home and as well as at work and it helps me keep my focus and get everything done. This is important if you have important blogging and social media goals you want to hit. I have listed below, the best way to keep myself on track.

Set realistic goals
There is being ambitious and then there is being stupid. By setting over ambitious targets you are setting yourself up to fail as it is just unacheiveable. For example instead of saying I want to win a blog award try I will nominate myself for a blog award. The second is more acheivable than the first but you are starting out in achieving your original aim.

How to set your realistic goals
My best targets are made by making a plan in a diary. I set out week by week what I want to have achieved that week. So for example I would write to have two blog posts written by Sunday, by doing that instead of writing a long list is more managable and I am not being put off by the list and get the sense of achievement at the end. For work I drill this list down to what I want to acheive that morning and afternoon. It motivates me and it is very likely that I will get all the tasks done!

I wonder if a Mac is on people’s 
blogger/ social media goals?

Write your path to success
Write your aim and then plan the path at how you are going to get there. It breaks your goal down to managable chunks and you will feel that sense of achievement when you complete your mini aims. So to continue the example of writing two blog posts by Sunday. I would write:

Monday and Tuesday: Think of two topics and research material needed.
Wednesday and Thursday: Structure the posts and start writing
Saturday: Finish writing, proofread and schedule the posts on social media.

As you can see by breaking it down, it is managable and importantly achievable.

Don’t have lots of aims
The problem with lots of goals are that you are in danger of spreading yourself too thin. Aim for at least two or three and then once you have achieved them, just replace it with another.

Is improving photography a blog goal for you?

Keep them SMART
If your aims are not Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time related then it is much harder to acheive them. In the goals I have set myself before where I haven’t used this (especially time) then my goals have either not been achieved ( For two years now I have been wanting to learn how to ride my bike using cleats) or it has taking me longer than it should have to achieve my goals.

Reward yourself when your goal has been reached
It is important to make sure you reward yourself when your goal has been reached. If you automatically focus on the next challenge you are in danger of really losing that sense of achievement and you will become frustrated.

So this is my way of making blogging/ social media goals and making them stick! What are your aims for next year?