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7 Things I did to Grow My Blog Traffic & Readers

I’ve been trying to make my monthly blog traffic reports more interesting and helpful by sharing things that I’ve done to improve my blog and the results. So far this year I’ve shared how I plan content for my blog and social channels, what tactics I’m using to grow my social following and engagement, and how I’ve been able to decrease my blog’s bounce rate.

7 things I did to grow my blog | arelaxedgal.com

Well April was a mixed bag of results and I realized I didn’t have any new learnings or tips to share. Until I compared my April 2016 analytics to April 2017. Boy! What a difference a year makes. Just about everything increased or improved. Here are the highlights:
  • My pageviews increased over 200%
  • The number of pages viewed per session increased 14.87%
  • My social following increased over 300%
  • My organic traffic increased 299%


(This post includes affiliate links. Read my disclosure about the use of affiliate links.)

So how did I do it? Multiple tactics and strategies were used, but when I really examined what helped me achieve this growth it all boils down to seven things.

1. I do what works for me

There are many bloggers out there providing advice on how to grow and manage blogs. Most of the advice I’ve read is based on that bloggers own experience. Now don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with bloggers providing advice.I think it’s great directional information to have. In fact I do it myself. What I have learned over the years though is another bloggers’ experience isn’t going to be my experience.

Just because something worked for other bloggers doesn’t mean it will work for me. In fact, several of the things I’ve done are the opposite of what many other bloggers say you should do to grow your blog.

I kept a broader niche - I went from having a really narrow niche to going more broad and having a lifestyle blog. By doing that I’ve been able to attract a greater pool of readers and followers

I use BoardBooster instead of Tailwind for Pinterest - I chose BoardBooster because of their looping feature and the overall lower cost. Since I started using BoardBooster, I’ve seen pretty steady growth in my Pinterest followers, saves and repins.

I’ve stayed on the Blogger Platform instead of moving to WordPress - this decision was made based on monetary cost., but I haven’t felt hindered by using Blogger.

2. I invest my time

Maintaining and growing a blog takes time. It can become a part-time or full-time job. For me A Relaxed Gal has become like a part-time job. I spend several hours each evening when I come home from work writing posts, designing graphics, creating images, engaging with other bloggers, responding to my readers and promoting my content. Not only do I work during the evenings, but also on the weekends.

While all of this has been a lot of hard work and many hours, it has been worth it. I’ve been able to see my social followers grow and my content read and shared more and more. I’ve also received several emails and comments from readers sharing how my blog has helped them.

3. I invest my money

Not only have I invested my time into growing my blog, but also some of my money. While it hasn’t been a lot and I’ve made some of it back, it has a put a little dent in my personal budget each month.

Currently I’ve invested money in
  • A custom domain from GoDaddy
  • BoardBooster to manage my content promotion on Pinterest
  • SocialPilot to manage content promotion on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter

So far all of these investments have been worth it and all have contributed in some way to my blog growth.

4. I created and maintained a visual brand

When I started my blog I did it a little haphazardly. I didn’t put any real effort into creating a visual brand for my blog. So there was no consistency in the overall mood and tone my blog was conveying. Everything from the name, colors, images and graphics used didn’t establish any brand consistency.

A few years later when I rebranded my blog I created a brand board to determine the design elements I would use to create a look and feel that was bright, memorable, fun and authentic. After implementing my new visual brand I started noticing more returning visitors.


5. I pay attention to my analytics

I use Google Analytics to measure the overall performance and health of my site. With the data I can get from Google Analytics I’m able to learn more about my audience which helps with generating content ideas and knowing where to focus my content promotion efforts.

6. I’m particular about where I promote my blog

One of the great things about blogging is there are many channels I can use to promote my blog. The bad news is there are many channels I can use to promote my blog. Because of this I found I was spreading myself too thin trying to use as many of the available channels I could. As a result I was seeing minimal to no positive results from most of those channels.

So not too long ago I decided to do something about it. I decided to cut some channels out and only focus on the ones my audience seemed to be using. My promotion efforts have now shifted to my Facebook Page, some Facebook groups, Twitter, Pinterest and engaging with other bloggers. By putting my focus here I’ve been able to grow and nurture those channels which in turn is helping to grow and nurture my blog.

7. I’ve had patience

A big part of blogging is being patient. Not everyone will see exploding growth in a month or two. If it were that simple it wouldn’t be as fun!

7 tips for growing blog traffic and readers | arelaxedgal.com 

How I’m Doing with My 2017 Goals

1. Fully optimize arelaxedgal.com site for SEO by the end of Q1

Done, though I’m still seeing some posts with high bounce rates. I’m talking 100% bounce. I’ve started going back through those posts to see if there are any other updates I can make.

Despite having some outliers I’m pretty pleased with the amount of organic traffic I’m getting. So out of curiosity I compared Jan - April 2016 to Jan - April 2017 to see what the change in my organic traffic has been year-over-year. I was blown away.

In 2016 about 9% of my traffic came from organic traffic. This year it’s about 29%! This is an increase of over 200%. I’ll be even more blown away if the year-over-year increase was even greater by the end of the year.

2. Retain readers on my site

April was a little bit of an inverse of March. My number of new visitors increased by close to 8%. My bounce rate increased by about 3% and the number of pages per session decreased slightly as well. Nothing alarming, but I’ll be keeping an eye on these stats in May to see if it’s my new norm.

3. Grow my social followers and increase engagement

April was a so-so month for gaining social followers. For my Pinterest account I saw a small increase of total saves and a decrease in clicks. My Twitter profile saw a decrease in profile visits and mentions. So pretty much a mixed bag.

4. Grow my email subscriber list to at least 1,000 by 12/31

In April I spent a few days working on my email list. and was able to grow my subscriber list by 21 after
  • Revising the language in my subscriber forms so they are more specific about what subscribers will get when they sign up
  • Creating workflows for my content upgrades

I also created a free mini-email course on decreasing a blog bounce rate. I haven’t had any signups yet, but that’s mostly because I haven’t really pushed or promoted the course. Once I do I hope that it will help me increase my email sign ups even more.

5. Do a least one paid post a quarter

I’ve had a few brands reach out to me about sponsored posts. I’m working on getting more information from them to see what the post would entail and the payment. Hopefully one of these will pan out into something viable for the quarter.

6. Create an image library of at least 24 images by year end

In April I added two more images to my library bringing me to a total of 12 images in my library ahead of schedule.

What have you done this year to grow your blog?

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2 comments:

  1. great tips,I especially like #6! Thanks for sharing your 2017 goals with us too

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great tips, I really enjoy reading peoples blog reports. I think they provide a really interesting incite into how everyone creates their own strategies.

    ReplyDelete

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