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Monday, 29 May 2017

Growing Your Blog Organically | A Guide To Self-Promotion

So you've created your very own blog (congratulations!) and have started frequently posting new content that you're super passionate about. Good start. The eternal struggle I had when I first started blogging just less than a year ago now was how to grow my audience and maintain that growth as the weeks go by without having to rely on things like paying for advertising space on blogs that were a similar niche to mine but had a much larger following. Organic growth is always best.


There's tons of guides online that'll tell you they can show you how to make $1,000 in your first month of blogging or get to 1m Instagram followers in less than a week.. but seriously it's just not possible, well not legally anyway. I thought I'd pull together my top tips on growing your blog organically and how to get away from hiding behind your laptop and actually actively promote your blog - scary i know! 

I've written a couple of blogging advice posts already which you can check out below so give them a read and let me know if there's any other tips that would be helpful, although maybe yano finish reading this one first? 


#1 | Reach out & engage with the community


Bloggers don't bite! There's no better way to organically grow your blog than simply engaging with other bloggers and content creators and getting their thoughts, feedback and criticism on your content. There are Twitter chats every day of the week to get involved in and start sharing your latest posts. This will help gain not only visitors to your blog but hopefully lifelong readers and subscribers too. 

Blogger events can also be a fantastic face to face alternative to virtual chats, and usually end up being much more productive. Most of them centre around London but ask around and see if there are any taking place on your area, or if not why not create one yourself? They are the perfect way to meet local content creators and come up with new collaborations.

#2 | Think about post titles - SEO is key

I am absolutely no expert when it comes to SEO, but I do know that the choice of title really helps. Posts with titles such as '5 things/ways/......' are always good. They're more likely to come up on search engines. I mean, I definitely don't stick to this all the time, because you've gotta keep it personal too! It sounds obvious but always try and make your title clear to the reader what they might be about to click through to on your blog. 

For example, if I was writing a post about the technology I use everyday, I wouldn't want to just say "Never leave the house without your iPhone". This certainly sounds interesting, which might get you a few clicks, but doesn't actually explain the post of the post. Something like "The tech I use everyday" is much shorter and to the point, but also does a better job of explaining the subject of the content your readers are about to see. 


When creating, and uploading a blog post, keywords should always be in the forefront of your mind. Without your vital keywords in your content, search engines won’t be able to see what your post is about and then can’t show it in their search results. If you take anything away from this incredibly long blog post it has to be about the importance of keywords.

Before I start a blog post, I always do a little keyword analysis. It doesn’t have to take forever, and it doesn’t have to be long winded. I think about the post that I am going to write, and I start using search engines to look for certain words or phrases to see what results come up and if it is a keyword that I want to implement into my post. Then I will write my post. I won’t think about keywords for the time being, I will just write my post as I want it to read so that I know it has a good flow to it.

Then when it is in the proofing stage I will go through and implement keywords where I think it needs them. You do have to be careful though not to put too many keywords into your post. If your content doesn’t flow and it is choppy due to the overuse of keywords this can go against you in regard to SEO. Everything in moderation is key and make sure that it reads nice and smoothly when you are finished.

#3 | Create eye-catching content

I don't know about you, but the first thing that entices me into reading a blog post, is the photography. I think its good to keep the photography clean, and simple. Well, this is if you're photographing products of course. A busy background can often distract the eye from the product you're talking about, so keeping it simple(ish) is always a good idea!

I often visit sites such as Unsplash to get stock photography that's free to use. This way even if you're not a dab hand and taking photos you can still create super engaging content that will be more likely to get people clicking on, whether that be through Bloglovin, Instagram, Twitter or others. 

#4 | Don't be afraid of social media

My next point on this guide is based around the myth of too much self-promotion. When you first start out it can often be daunting to keep tweeting about your latest post and flooding instagram with all your fancy new flat lays, but the truth is you just have to keep at it if you want to get a serious following. Determination is the most important thing when it comes to starting out. For the first few weeks or even months you won't get any followers and barely and readers. But that's just it, you shouldn't be writing your blog for sole purpose of quitting your job and making big bucks blogging all day because let's face it it's just not going to happen that way. Blog for yourself first - always be selfish when it comes to the content you create.

I've gone off track slightly...but you get the point. There's so much social media has to offer when it comes to promoting your blog. Heres just a couple of pointers:

  • Comment on at least 5 blog posts per day with  a link back to your site.
  • Use hashtags that fit your blog's niche like #BBLOGGERS or #LBLOGGERS. 
  • Post regularly on Instagram and engage with the users that like or comment.
  • Link back to your blog in the bios of all your social media - make it ridiculously easy for people to find your blog.
So that's my short and sweet guide to growing your blog organically. There are various ways to to pay for more traffic and more followers, which I can cover in another post but really the best route to a successful blog is creating content that you enjoy and sharing it with others that feel the same.

#5 | Invest time on your header & logo

When somebody clicks onto your blog, the first thing that their eyes see most of the time is your header or logo. What you need to do with that header is make sure that it is good enough to entice people in and want to stay on your page. It needs to clearly show what your website or blog is about and be easy to understand. Anything that is too intense and crowded can often turn people away. 

When people click onto your site and then go straight back off this is classed as a bounce, when your website hits a certain percentage of bounces Google will start to think of your website as spam and will try to refrain from showing it on their search results. A normal percentage bounce rate is around 40%, any more than that and you are in the red zone of what is acceptable. When designing your header, you just need to have in the forefront of your mind, does this represent my blog? Does this represent who I am as a person and a blogger? And, is this easy to understand and does it get my message across?

#6 | Consistency is key

To hold your audience and keep them interested and wanting to come back you need to be consistent on your blog. If they like what they read but you don’t post for months at a time they aren’t going to spend their time keep coming back to see if you have finally uploaded, they will just go elsewhere to see what somebody else has to say and you have lost yourself a reader. Make sure that you think of a schedule in your mind and try to stick to it. It doesn’t have to be set in stone but just a rough guide to keep you on the right track. 

I write and upload a blog post every alternate day or at a push, every third day, this is manageable for me and I find it really easy to do. This way, I can upload on time every day without too much pressure and my readers know where they stand because majority of the time there will always be something new for them to take a look at. 

Also, when you upload on a regular basis it also helps to boost your site up the search engine rankings. Platforms will notice that you are consistent, and they will link that to being a source of reliability so they are more likely to show you on their search results. You don’t have to upload all of the time but just be consistent in your uploads and try and stick to a noticeable plan.


#7 | The speed of your blog

We all know how annoying it is when you click onto a website and it takes forever and a day to load up. It literally does my head in and if I click onto a website and it isn’t fast responsive I will click back off because realistically who has the time to watch a website load for what seems like forever? Always check that your website can handle what you are uploading. For example, if you are uploading a post which is very heavy in images make sure that they aren’t too large. Yes, we want the images to be high quality, but you can keep the quality and have a reduced file size. It just allows people's computers, phones and tablets to be able to handle the amount of data that you are trying to show on their screen. 

If your site does take a long time or it even gets to the point where the screen times out because it takes that long, it can be really negative for your all-important quality score. The little Google-bots that scan your site will notice how long it takes to completely load and this will impact your position on the search rankings because Google don’t want to show anything that will look negative on them. At the end of the day by Google having us high on the search rankings it is basically them promoting us for free, so they need to make sure that what they are pushing is good stuff.
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8 comments

Talisa Garbo said...

I definitely agree that linking back to your blog is a huge help.

For me, the trick lies in that I have both a blog and a YT channel, and during most weeks I do a video AND two blog posts; it's hard to determine which of those platforms I should link to and each for how long!

Travelogues with Aradhana said...

Great post! Love the advice on blog for yourself first. That's always been my mantra, although I'm learning ways to promote my blog till date. :)

SChamling said...

Hi, your blog is really amazing and informative. Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the "Blogger Recognition Award". Here is the link to the announcement post: http://www.scribblesnpebbles.com/blogger-recognition-award/

Jessica Oakley said...

Very helpful I am very new to blogging and this article definitely gave me some pointers thanks for sharing

Grab & Go Reviews said...

Using social media on a regular basis is absolutely key to any growth. The more time I invest in reaching out helps tremendously. Great post! :)

Heather LeGuilloux said...

I really resonate with this post.. it can be so easy to fall into the trap of paying for views or engagement through social media or other means, but I find the most authentic engagement comes from those who find my content interesting or relevant to them. Thanks for the reminder! :)

Rachel Casey said...

This is great. Engaging with other blogs and bloggers is definitely something I need to work on, I'll be looking out for some Twitter chats now. Thanks for the tips :)

alex amarxon said...

who are active on social media is important to keep in touch with their customers. It increase brand awareness as well as sales.
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