This is the advice that I guarantee that you will see in every single "How I Increase My Pageviews to ____" post. I grasped this concept early on and maybe a little too headstrong. When I first started, I was writing 5-6 posts every week. Crazy, right? Now, I have scaled back to about 3, but I rarely let a week go by without posting something on my blog (though I did take a mini vacation at the end of November).
I Make My Content Diverse
Not only in topics, but types of posts. I do roundup list posts, interviews, personal observation posts and how-to posts. This is key. When I go to a fashion/beauty blog and all that I see are OOTD posts or Make Up of The Day posts, I'm most likely not going back. I like blogs that teach me something (ex: How To Build a Capsule Wardrobe, Staples To Have In Your Closet, Make Up To Wear To an Interview) or that show me the best of the web (ex: Top All- Natural Makeup Brands, The Best Lipstick Colors To Wear To Work) mixed within the OOTD posts.
I Joined Two Amazing Blogging Social Networks and Listened to Good Advice
Blogging alone is not fun, especially when you already feel like no one is reading your writing. Therefore, early on I join BLM Girls and Black Bloggers United. I also sought out advice from other bloggers who blog about blogging (my favorite bloggers are Maya Elious, Mattie James, Jen Carrington, Kayla Hollatz, Mariah Coz and Melyssa Griffin). The knowledge that I have obtained from these groups and bloggers is invaluable.
I Made Sure That My Blog Looked Attractive
A lot of people out there are probably going to bash me for using the Blogger platform for my blog; however, I absolutely love it. I customized the Simple Blogger theme to look exactly how I wanted it to with the help of PicMonkey, Photobucket and great stock photo websites. One of the best pieces of advice that I received was to streamline and brand my blog. People should be able to find a piece of content on social media or Pinterest and automatically be able to attribute it to your site (ByRegina comes to mind). I've tried to achieve this by sticking to 1-2 fonts and a color scheme.
I Focused on Building Up One Social Media Following
Before I started my blog, I absolutely hated social media (can you believe it?). I only had Facebook for my work groups, I thought Twitter was for old people (boy, was I wrong!) and I still refuse to touch Instagram with a 100 foot pole (Update: you guys, I finally got an Instagram). I knew that it was important to be on social media to grow; however, I didn't find it necessary to completely go against what makes me comfortable. Instead of trying to be everywhere all the time, I decided to focus on Twitter and a little bit on Facebook. So the question that everyone asks me is, "How did you build up your Twitter for Quirky, Brown Love?" The answer is simple, I engage! With Twitter, you can't just wait for people to come to you. I follow certain hashtags and add other people who post under those hashtags. I follow people who I think are interesting, as well as people that I think will find my blog interesting. This is huge. If people don't know that you exist, how will they ever find your blog? Now, there are bloggers out there that are killing it on all of the social media platforms out there. If that is you, Kudos! I envy you.
I Share The Crap Out of My Content
You see this girl right here? She has absolutely no problem in sharing her old posts. None whatsoever. In my opinion, I did not spend hours writing a post for it to only get 100 views (half of which would probably be my own). To this day, I still share the posts that I wrote in my first few months of blogging. You never know who that old post can help.
I Make It Easy For Others To Share The Crap Out of My Content
This is something that I wish other bloggers did more. I hate it when I find a post that makes me want to snap in a Z formation, but in order to share it, I have to Ctrl + C, go to my social media profile and Ctrl + V (in other words, copy and paste). I am 100x more likely to share your content if you have a social share button than if you don't. I figure that other people think like me, so I offer my readers a few social share options.
I Make It Easy For My Readers To Keep Reading
According to my analytic report, my average reader reads about 2-3 posts before they bounce. I'd say that is pretty awesome! My bounce rate is really low and I make sure to keep it this way, by including a "relevant reads" section in some of my posts, by updating my sidebar and with my Engageya posts at the bottom of every posts. I also have a "scroll up" button on my blog so that people can scroll up easily to my navigation bar.
I Made Sure That I Had a Few Viral-Worthy Posts
Can you really predict which posts will go viral? In most cases, no; however, I knew that some of my posts had potential. This year I had three posts go viral: The Ultimate Paleo Guide For Beginners, 200+ Black Bloggers and The Ultimate Holiday Guide to Black-Owned Businesses. The thing that all of theses posts have in common are that they are the posts that I spent the absolute most time on! Well, they definitely did pay off. Also, the two latter posts both featured hundreds of other bloggers or businesses.
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Not only was the content helpful to my readers seeking such information, but it spotlighted my favorite bloggers and businesses. Any time that I am featured on a blog, I make sure to share it on all of my social media outlets (all two of them). Now, imagine that times a few hundred...
I Built a Tribe
I attribute so much of my success to my blogging tribe! What is a blogging tribe, you ask? It is a small group of bloggers that basically have each other's backs. My blogging tribe meets virtually online every week (in theory...things have been crazy recently) and we talk all things blogging. These are the ladies that I go to for ideas, feedback and if my sponsored post needs an extra social media push. Plus these ladies make up for any lack of support that I may receive in my personal life (you bloggers out there know what I'm talking about).
I Branded My Pinterest
Depending on what type of blogger you are, Pinterest can be an absolute gold mine. Unfortunately for me, I am not one of those bloggers. I don't often post about DIY, recipes, mommy stuff or how to blog (with the exception of this post). Since most of my topics probably won't be searched heavily throughout pinterest, I made sure to brand my Pinterest so that it looks nice and people want to follow. Want to know what I mean by branding Pinterest? Click here. You'll notice that most of my board pictures have the same style as my blog. Pinterest is actually how my post The Ultimate Paleo Guide For Beginners went viral.
I Made Sure That I Was Someone's "Chipotle"
Now this concept is one that I gained from my good friend Chelsea of Rookie Notes. We were talking one night about blogging and she asked me what my favorite fast food restaurant was, and of course Chipotle is life. She then continued to ask me why it was my favorite. I answered because the menu is simple and good. Every time that I go to Chipotle, I know that I can order the same thing and that it will be just as good as the last time I visited. Then Chelsea challenged me to view my blog as someone's favorite fast food restaurant. If you are looking for seafood or burgers, you are not going to go to Chipotle and that's okay.
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That doesn't make Chipotle any less delicious. Chipotle doesn't try to please everybody and that's why it has a cult following. In the same sense, my blog doesn't have to appeal to every blog reader out there. MY mind was ABSOLUTELY BLOWN. Once I grasped this concept and realized that I didn't have to be everything to everybody, magic started to happen.
And there you have it. Thank you so much for all of your support throughout this year and for helping to shape Quirky, Brown Love into what it is today! Have questions? I'll try to answer them in the comments, or find me on Twitter.