25 Amazing Ways to Grow Your Followers

This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll make a little bit of pocket change to keep this blog up and running when you make a purchase through them. Thanks as always for your support!

As a relatively new blogger, I’m constantly looking to improve ways in getting traffic to my blog. It’s not easy, and I’ve tried so many things to get things moving in the right direction. While many things I’ve attempted to do to get more followers have failed, I’ve have had some good success with others. In today’s post, I’m going to share some of my most successful tips on how I’ve been able to grow my followers. I hope some of these prove to be successful in helping you learn how to get traffic to your blog.

25 Amazing Ways to Grow Your Followers

1. Put effort into your blog’s design

You may be wondering what your blog’s design has to do with increasing your following, but it has everything to do with it. A blog that’s well-designed (theme and navigational structure) attracts more readers. Make it easy for your visitors to find what they need without having to swim through mountains of ads and links. Your menu should have the basics (home page, about me, contact me, resources page). You only have once chance to make a good first impression, so spend a little extra time setting up your blog’s appearance. Trust me, it’ll make a difference!

Another aspect of your blog’s setup is to make sure it’s fast. Is your page taking too long to load? There is a direct correlation between site load time and traffic volume. The easiest way to find out how fast your site loads (beside trying to load it yourself) is to use WP Engine’s free site speed test. Site speed has a big impact on search engine ranking. It’s worth it to take the time to investigate and repair anything that’s slowing your site down.

When thinking about how your visitors get to your blog, remember that not all visitors are using the same device. While some prefer tablets or personal computers, many visitors are using a smart phone. Make sure your site is optimized for mobile viewing. When using WordPress themes, you can filter themes down by only those that have been optimized for view on multiple devices.

2. Respond to comments

This goes beyond just acknowledging that someone responded to one of your blog posts. Your response should be meaningful. Don’t wait days or weeks to respond. Show your readers you are extremely interested in their feedback by responding immediately.

Respond on other blogs as frequently as you respond to comments on your own blog. Most of the time, you have to enter your name, email and website whenever you comment. Hello??!! Free advertising!

3. Get to know other bloggers

Do you know other bloggers in your niche? If so, network with them. Engage with their blogs and provide them valuable feedback. By doing so, you are getting your name out there and creating a positive reputation. There are many ways to get to know other bloggers. Search for blogging groups on Facebook. These groups have been extremely helpful for me as I have grown my blog. Not only do you get to share your content, but you get to see other bloggers’ content as well. I get a lot of good feedback from the groups I’ve joined.

Social Media

One good piece of advice I was given is to be where your readers are. Social media is the number one place to do that. If you aren’t an avid user of Facebook or Twitter, get started today. Twitter really is a gold mine. Up until about a year ago, I wasn’t using it more than just to share my latest post. Unleash the real power of Twitter by commenting on other bloggers’ tweets. What I’ve found is that nine times out of ten, if I show engagement on other blog posts, that blogger usually reciprocates. If that blogger has 10,000 followers, all of a sudden I’ve shared my content with 10,000 more people! Amazing!

Hey, one more thought about Twitter. The great thing about it is that it’s easy to mention other writers. If you do mention or thank other bloggers who are on Twitter, make sure you include their Twitter handle in your post. By doing so, they get notified that you mentioned them (and all of their followers also see it in their feed).

4. Write more

I know some bloggers that post 2-3 times a day, while others post 2-3 times a week. I can’t give you an exact formula for success, but it has been proven that the more VALUABLE content you write, the better chance you have of driving more traffic to your blog. If this means you can spit out 1 or two valuable posts per week, then you’ve found your answer. For me, it’s been 2-3 on average.

When you start to think about increasing your writing frequency, you also need to think about increasing your social media posts as well. Plan ahead by making your own social media schedule and stick to it. The more blog posts you write, the more time you’ll need to share that content on social media. I use a scheduling tool called Hootsuite for my Facebook and Twitter posts, and Tailwind for my pins on Pinterest.

5. Create a freebie

Have you considered making a freebie for your readers as a perk for signing up for your mailing list? There are really so many ideas out there! While I don’t have a freebie for my own mailing list, I do have my own 7 day email course teaching bloggers how to create a profitable blog. I use MailChimp to create the campaign and have it set for emails to go out each day for the next week. Each email has a different tutorial on creating a profitable blog.

Another popular freebie idea is to create a eBook. Think about it. If you already have hundreds of blog posts, why not take that body of work and convert it into an eBook? You can start out by making the first book free and subsequent books can be a paid product. If you are going to use a third party to help design your eBook, I highly recommend Blurb to help with that.

6. Build a YouTube channel

If you are anything like me, the idea of watching myself in a video isn’t very appealing, but, getting your face out there to your audience is key in increasing engagement and followers. A lot of bloggers have their own web series in addition to their blogs. Videos don’t have to be very elaborate or long. Create a video to serve as a companion video to your blog posts.

You will be surprised at how many people actually prefer watching videos on a topic versus reading about it. Here’s an example: I needed to install a dishwasher I bought and wasn’t willing to fork out the money for a plumber to do it. I started out by doing a google search, but was left dumbfounded by the few posts I found that were partially helpful. So, I turned my search over to videos and immediately found a ton of them that were of high quality. I was able to see the work done and was able to use that information to install my dishwasher. (It’s still running today!) Again, you don’t have to go the elaborate route with a video, but make sure you have good lighting, good volume and of course, valuable information to provide to your audience.

If you do decide to create videos, make sure you include a call to action just as you do in your blog posts. Invite your audience to subscribe to your blog and social media accounts. If you come across as a trustworthy source, you will get followers. I guarantee it!

7. Allow guest posts

If you’ve blogged for any length of time, you’ve probably seen emails come in asking to guest post on your blog. Now that my following has dramatically increased, I get maybe 5-10 requests per day.

Allowing guest posts is a great way not only to get to know other bloggers and share their content, but it allows your blog to get in front of more readers. Most bloggers asking to guest post on your site will share their post with their followers. If they have thousands of subscribers, your blog suddenly gets more exposure.

If you do allow guest posts, make sure you create clear guidelines as to what is acceptable and what is not. Will you allow do-follow and/or no-follow links? How about length? I usually expect my guest posters to provide a minimum of 1,000 words.

Remember, you want to remain the dominant voice of your blog, so limit the number of guest posts that you accept. Proofread and reject posts that don’t fit your guidelines. Definitely don’t accept guest posts where advertising is the primary content. You don’t want your blog to appear as spammy and the same goes for the guest posts you publish.

8. Don’t publish garbage

Only write a new post if the content is going to provide value or a solution to a problem. Don’t publish just to publish. You’ve seen me talk about a blogger who only posts about running marathons. How does that benefit their readers? Oops, it doesn’t.

Don’t write garbage. Think of your blog as a marketing tool. If you were shopping for a new car, would you go into a run down building where everything was falling apart, and the salesman wore a tshirt and jeans? Probably not. If you’ve ever been in a car dealership, you are probably impressed by the quality of the showroom. The same holds true with your blog’s content. Post to impress. The more value you provide to your readers, the more trust you establish. The more trust your readers have with you the higher level of traffic you will see.

9. Make your readers want to return

Ok, so you’ve brought a new user to your site. Great. Are they eager to return? A good habit is to find ways to entice your readers to come back later. One way to do this is to run a good contest or giveaway. The more of these you host with quality products, the more interest you are going to see from repeat visitors.

Another way to make sure your readers return is by utilizing your newsletter. Have a good deal your readers will love, or offering up a freebie? Now’s a good chance to let your subscribers know. Make sure to encourage your subscribers to forward the email to their friends. You’d be surprised at how many people want the information your providing. If that information is provided on a regular basis, you’ll see a boost in traffic volume.

Would you want to return to a blog that had countless pop ups and ads all over the place? I’m not talking about one or two ads in a post, but pop up ads that cover up the content. I certainly would not return. If I’m searching for information and it leads me to your blog, the last thing I want is to have to close a bunch of windows just to read the content.

If you do choose to go with a popup for your email subscribe form (which does increase signups), make sure it is non-invasive and easy to close. A lot of visitors (like myself) immediately close out of popups. I am usually in a hurry when I’m searching for something and don’t want to have to spend my time getting past pop ups and ads.

10. Make it easy for visitors to subscribe

If you are serious about gaining more followers, one of the easiest ways to do that is to make it simple for visitors to sign up for your newsletter. If you are using WordPress (if not, why not?), you can put a sign up form in your sidebar (see mine over there??). You can also use Mailchimp to create custom sign up forms and embed them in blog posts.

Create solid call to action statements at the end of every blog post, and make encouraging your readers to subscribe a regular practice. The more you promote it, the more response you’ll get. You can also coordinate signups with your Facebook page. See mine as an example.

11. Update old blog posts

We all have those old blog posts sitting in our site from 2 years ago. More than likely, your knowledge of that subject and maybe even the subject itself has changed. By regularly reviewing your old blog posts and updating them, you show your readers you are committed to keeping your information relevant and current.

Reviewing old blog posts can also reveal how much traffic they are getting today. If you are in WordPress (again, if not, get on it!), you can go to your site stats and look up the post to see how well it’s performing. If the post hasn’t had very many views, why? Find out what’s happening and fix it. Or, if the content just flat out sucks, don’t be afraid to delete the post altogether.

12. Ask for feedback and suggestions

Have you ever wondered if the content you are providing is something your readers actually enjoy and want more of? If you aren’t asking them, how can you know for sure? It’s a great idea to ask them through social media or through polls on your blog. You’ll be surprised as to how many actually respond. If you are opening yourself up for feedback though, be prepared for the negative comments as well. Just because you are getting negative feedback, don’t get upset. The feedback you are getting is going to be used to make adjustments to your blog.

13. Pick the right niche

Ok, so maybe this one should be at the top of this list, right? What I mean by this is if you pick a niche that you don’t know much about, or, there isn’t a lot of interest in, you aren’t going to be able to write regular posts (and posts with quality). Pick a niche that allows you to write about something you love. For me, I love helping others succeed with their blogs. I know a lot about how to do that and love sharing my experiences and expertise with them.

You want to pick a niche where you can write about something new every time. While it’s okay to focus on a subject in your blog, make sure you put a new twist on it so that the content is fresh and exciting. If I’m a food blogger writing about baking brownies, posting about brownies over and over will get old fast. Mix it up and make it new to your audience. How do you do that? Make a video or info graphic. Offer a free tutorial. Do something that generates interest above just writing about it.

14. Make yourself available to your readers

How do you interact with your readers on a regular basis? Skype? Email? Facebook? Blog comments? Let your readers know the best way to contact you, when to contact you and how long it will take you to respond. A great place to put this information is both in your call to action and in your Contact page.

Making yourself available is more than just posting your social media links and contact me form. When someone does contact you, you have to be able to provide a valuable response. Always respond professionally and respectfully. You’re going to get very weird emails from time to time. Remember to not let it get to you personally. Turn a negative into a positive. If someone is complaining about something on your site it means that you have pushed a button. It’s good to generate a little heat from time to time, but be ready to support your readers and keep things as cool as possible.

I once wrote a blog post about the misconceptions non-Catholics have about Catholics. Since I’m a Catholic convert, I once believed some of those misconceptions too. The post I wrote about it generated a little heat and I got a lot of questions from my readers. It’s good to create a little controversy. It means readers are engaged with your topic enough to strike a nerve. But again, be prepared to defend your answers!

15. Offer a service

Offering a service is something every blogger needs to be able to do, and do well. If you’re good at photography and graphic design, offer up your services to your fellow bloggers. If you are good at training and leading others, create a webinar or video tutorial series. If you do this and do it right, your following will increase as your reputation gets around with other bloggers.

16. Share with family and friends

Sharing your content with your family and friends (and asking them to share) is easy. A lot of bloggers get embarrassed to do this, but in reality, they are your greatest support circle. Tag family and friends in posts on Facebook and you’ll see an increase in likes, comments and hopefully subscribers to your blog.

17. Create an epic resources page

A resources page is an opportunity to provide your readers with a list of everything you find valuable and useful. If you click on my link above, you’ll see my own resources page. It’s kind of small and growing at this point, but as I learn about new blogging tools and products, I make it a habit to update my resources page. Share your resources page regularly with your readers. Whenever you add something new, share it! Don’t forget to give a shout out to the creator of the product on social media. Again, do everything you can to bring in views.

18. Make your About Me page stand out

Would you say today that your About Me page stands out above the others? I’ve read in the past that it’s the most important page on your blog. It’s the opportunity to tell your readers about how you can help them. It’s NOT an opportunity to self-promote. Consider your About Me page like a brochure. The whole purpose of your About Me page is to draw your readers in to what you can offer them and why they can trust you. Provide links to some of your most popular posts, and of course, list ways on how they can contact you.

19. SEO is everything

I know, I know, you’ve heard a lot about SEO. So have I. I’m still trying to become an expert at it. It’s a difficult concept, but so important in generating traffic. I use the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress that does a lot of the work for me, but there are things I need to do on my own to increase SEO rankings. Things like:

  • Use keywords in post titles and meta tags
  • Use headings and subheadings (and include keywords in them)
  • Limit affiliate links and ads in posts. The more you link to these the harder it will be for sites like Google to rank you high in search results.
  • Link out to other good sites. If you are writing an informative post where you may have gathered information from other bloggers, link out to them (and make sure to give them credit in your post).
  • URLs should be short and contain keywords. (Yoast SEO helps with this)

20. Use images

Integrating images into your posts is a good way to break up the content for your readers. I make it a rule not to use low-quality images. Any image I use is directly related to my content and is a good visual aid for my readers.

When using images, make sure to name them something related to your blog post topic. Did you know search engines can find images? Don’t name them some oblivious name. Make sure you are also include alt tag descriptions that relate to your post as these are also crawled by search engines.

Alongside images, you can also include videos, charts, graphs, info graphics and slide show presentations. Vary it up the best you can, but don’t over do it. The more images you have on your site can actually hurt you as they take up space on your site, cause your site to load slower and may detract your readers from staying focused. My rule of thumb is 1 or 2 images for every 1,000 words.

21. Participate in affiliate programs

You’ve seen me go on and on about affiliate programs and how they have increased my blog income. Yes, they are a good source of passive income, but offering high quality products on your blog is a great way to generate interest. There are many different affiliate marketing sites, but the one I use the most is ShareASale.

Of all the affiliate programs I’m a member of, the top income producer for me has been Candy Club. Have you read my review of Candy Club? If not, you should. I got the chance to sample the candy and fell in love with it immediately! It’s one of those products that have sold very well through advertising on Facebook and Twitter. I usually see a few sales come through every time I share my review post.

You can also visit merchants directly to see if they have an affiliate program. The application to join is usually at the bottom of their website. Keep in mind to limit the affiliate programs you join to only those you use and truly believe in. Don’t over do it. The last thing you want to do is come across as an advertiser only and not a niche influencer.

22. Showcase your popular posts

Your blog is a prime place to show your readers everything you have to offer. Why not showcase your popular posts? There are great plugins and widgets for WordPress that can put your most popular posts in your sidebar. I use a free widget called Top Posts & Pages. This widget automatically looks for posts that have had the most activity over the time period you specify and puts them in your sidebar. I limit mine to only 5 top performing posts (not pages or categories). There are other good plugins and widgets out there, so find one that suits your needs and get it up and running.

23. Reference your other posts regularly

The longer readers stay on your site will reduce your bounce rate. This is definitely a plus for you. A good way to keep readers on your site is linking to your other internal posts. You can see examples of that in today’s post. I’ve found ways to route readers to more information I’ve written about these tips that will be of value to them.

If you are going to do refer readers to your other posts, this goes back to tip number 11. Make sure you are keeping the other posts you are linking to updated and accurate. The better organized and updated all of your posts are, the more trust you are going to build in your readers, and your traffic volume will increase.

24. Stay mobile

One advantage to running a blog is that I can do it from just about anywhere. I use the WordPress app to keep my blog updated when I’m on the go. Whenever I go on vacation, I don’t have a laptop, but I can use my tablet or smartphone to respond to comments, write new posts and answer any emails that come in. Being mobile helps you to stay connected and visible to your readers.

25. Use a consistent profile

Every single medium you use to promote your blog gives you the opportunity to create a profile. Do everything within your power to make every profile as consistent as possible with your other profiles. Doing so makes you look more professional. Profiles are also a great opportunity to gather email sign ups. Even if you can’t gather them in the post, you can still ask your readers to sign up using the form on your site.

Are you ready to boost blog traffic?

I hope today’s post has provided you with a ton of useful information and sets you out on a course to seeing a rise in traffic. I’m here to help, so please reach out to me at jeremyatkins1@outlook.com or in the comments below and I’ll be happy to help.

Facebook Group

Want to be a part of my Blogger Share and Promo Facebook Group? Click here to join. There are daily threads giving you the opportunity to meet other bloggers, share your content and boost your traffic.

Pinterest Group Board

I also have a Blogging Tools and Tips Pinterest group board with over 12,000 pins and more than 140 contributors. I’m always accepting new contributors so please follow me on Pinterest then fill out my Google form to request contributor access to the group board. You can share as many pins as you want as long as you share another blogger’s pin for every pin you share.

Please share this post with your readers and get it going viral!

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How to Make Money Blogging

This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll make a little bit of pocket change to keep this blog up and running when you make a purchase through them.  Thanks as always for your support!

How to Make Money Blogging

Hey gang! I am super-psyched about today’s post because it’s all about how to make money doing what we all love – blogging! The tips I give you today are a combination of things I’ve learned on my own plus tips I’ve picked up from other bloggers along the way.

I only made about $1,000 in my first year blogging and then about $5,000 in my 2nd year. Whatever I’m doing seems to be working, so I’ve captured everything I do into this little post just for you.

By no means am I at the point yet where I can make writing/blogging my full-time income, but I really believe one day in the near future, my blog income will be sufficient enough to support my whole family.

The great thing about blogging is that you can be your own boss, set your own hours, work from anywhere in the world and get paid to do what you love. If all of these things sound amazing to you, then you are in the right place!

Let’s get started…

1. How to get started blogging

This may be a stupid question, but it’s really not if you think about it. Before you can start creating content, developing a following and earning income, you have to set your blog up the right way. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve hopefully read my other posts about how to start a blog.

You can’t focus on earning income in the beginning. The first thing you have to do is decide on a blogging platform. There are several big ones out there, but to me, WordPress is by far the most superior one of them all.  Click here to view my detailed post on how to start a blog.  I also have a free 7-day email course designed to help you start a profitable blog. Both of these tools are great starting points if you’ve never dabbled in the blogging world before.

Once you’ve learned the ins and outs of how to set your blog up, you can get started on your way to creating amazing content!

Make your blog design amazing

With WordPress, there are unlimited options to customize your blog. If you don’t do anything else with your blog’s design, make sure that you don’t use the default WordPress themes. Not only do they point you out as a newby, but they can also make you appear lazy. Thousands of people are already using the default WordPress themes, so why be one of them?

Go the self-hosted route

You may hear “free” vs “self-hosted” a lot when researching WordPress. Here’s the low down – there are two versions of WordPress. WordPress.com is the free version. It’s ok if you are starting out with no intention of growing and monetizing your blog. WordPress.org is the self-hosted route. By self-hosted, I mean you are using WordPress with a web hosting provider from which you have purchased a hosting plan and domain name. If you need a domain name, you can register one right now from NameCheap.com starting at $.88 cents! For web hosting, there’s really no better one in my opinion than SiteGround. I switched to them towards the end of 2017 and have been extremely pleased – both with the price of their service and with their customer service!

Related Post: Why I Moved My Site To SiteGround

WordPress Themes with a bang

2. Drive traffic to your blog

There are so many popular ways to drive traffic to your blog:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • StumbleUpon
  • Flickr
  • SEO
  • Sponsored Posts
  • Instagram
  • Email Marketing

One of the biggest drivers of traffic to my blog is Pinterest. In 2017, I signed up for the unlimited plan with Tailwind. I pin about 100 pins throughout the day. The rule I made up for myself is for every pin I share from my own blog, I repin 3-5 pins from other bloggers.

As you can see from my list above, Pinterest is just one of the many ways you can drive traffic to your blog. My recommendation is not to try everything at the same time. Pick one or two and focus on building a strategy to drive traffic. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to mix it up.

When you are trying to think about the best ways to build traffic, think about the places you go to find traffic. Do you go to forums? Facebook groups? Twitter? Think like your audience!

Related Post: 15 Little Tricks to Get More Blog Traffic

3. Write stellar content

Like I’ve said before, anyone with an internet connection and time can sit down and write a blog post. Not everyone can sit down and write QUALITY blog posts. This is where you come in. Write valuable and shareable content. What are people looking for?  What type of information are they seeking? If you write about things that don’t get a lot of attention, you aren’t going to see much traffic.

If you are planning a blog post about new cars, do a quick search on Google or Pinterest for new cars. Then, you’ll be able to see what readers are looking for when they search for new cars. Are they looking for trucks? Mini vans? Blue cars? Red cars? Cars under $30,000? Do a little keyword research and find ways to insert those keywords into your content.

I highly recommend (and use) Google AdWords

Related Post: How I Write And Publish Quality Blog Posts

4. Don’t write just to write

I can’t stand when bloggers just write a post to write. You know, the ones that have no purpose for the audience other than “hey, look at what I just did!” I often refer to a blogger who only posts about running in marathons. Enough of the bullshit. If you want to chronicle your life like that, get a diary. If you want to serve a purpose and get readers interested, your posts need to accomplish something for THEM, not YOU.

Focus your posts on the needs of your readers 100% of the time, and you will be surprised at the results. Don’t try to shove your personal life down our throats. We already see it every day on social media. Solve a problem. Provide a tip. Write a tutorial. Record a how-to video. You see where I’m going with this?

5. Only promote relevant/high-quality products

Once you sign up for sites like Amazon Affiliate or ShareASale, the temptation is going to be there to sign up for many different programs that promise a good commission. Resist! I make a rule to only promote products that are relevant to my readers, are high-quality or are products that I have used myself. If you promote lingerie on your sports blog, you probably aren’t going to see much commission.

Please, please please do not shove your affiliate links or banner ads down your readers throats. You are trying to build their trust, not turn them away. Find creative ways to integrate your products into your posts. The more you build trust with readers, the more conversions you will see.

Wondering how to make money with affiliate links? Check out this post.

6. Create a Tools/Resources Page

If you don’t already, create a separate page on your blog for tools and resources you use. You can also include products you recommend. This should be a page that is regularly updated as you learn of new products and find better tools to blog. Take a look at my resources page for a good example.

Your resources page should NOT be a page full of affiliate links and ads. While you can include some affiliate links to products you use, make sure you create a good balance. The primary focus of your resources page is to help others – not yourself.  If you run a parenting blog, a list of good parenting tips, books, baby products, etc. is a good idea to start with.

Add to your resources page regularly, and make sure you put a “last updated” date on your post to let your readers know your page is constantly updated.

7. Be yourself

I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve read in the past where I could tell the blogger was writing to try to impress someone. My rule of thumb is that I’m no different writing a blog post than when I’m talking to someone. The more truthful and genuine you are, the more your readers are going to trust you and your expertise. After all, you started a blog because you are an expert in some field, right? Let your voice shine and don’t try to be someone you aren’t.

The key to making your connections real with your readers is truly to be real. What they see is what they get. Don’t try to deceive or hide something from your readers. Be honest, forthcoming and be willing to take criticism. You are the voice of your blog, so let that voice speak when you are writing your next blog post.

8. Implement a solid email marketing plan

I don’t care which email marketing tool you use to gather user emails and to send out your newsletters as long as whatever you are doing is consistent. I personally use MailChimp. It’s got great free options until you get a large number of subscribers, and it is very useful if you are trying to create an email course like mine.

Related Post: How to Skyrocket Your Email List in 30 Days

 

Ready to start writing?

You can do it! It’s time to bear down and do the dirty work that will eventually pay off. I hope these tips help steer you in the right direction to better and successful blogging. Don’t forget to share your posts on social media and look for ways to network with other bloggers. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me!

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How To Start A Blog in 2018

This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll make a little bit of pocket change to keep this blog up and running when you make a purchase through them.  Thanks as always for your support!

Web Hosting

Happy New Year to you! I hope that 2017 was a very successful year for you, and that 2018 is even more successful. Are you ready to finally start that blog in 2018? If so, I’ve provided some tips in today’s post that will help drive you to success. Some of these tips come from my post, “How to Start a Blog in 2017” and some are brand new!

Why start a blog?

Before we really dive into the steps on HOW to start a blog, we need to talk about WHY you should start a blog. If you already know why you want to start your blog, you can skip ahead in this blog post. If not, here are several common reasons why people like you start a blog:

  • You want to share information on topics you know a lot about.
  • You want a way to chronicle your life.
  • You are looking to become a better writer and communicator.
  • You want to supplement your income or even make writing a full-time job.

Blogging is fun, but there is a lot of hard work involved in making it succeed. Anyone can sign up for WordPress, find a web host, and post content. Only those who are committed to continual success will find success. If you need any help along the way, please contact me and I’ll be happy to help. 

How to Start Your Blog

  1. Decide which platform to use
  2. Select a web hosting provider and domain name
  3. Set up your blog
  4. Write your first post
  5. Share your post with the world
  6. Monetize your blog
  7. Useful tools and resources

1. Decide which platform to use

There are several well-known and widely-used blogging platforms out there today that will suit your needs. For me, there really isn’t any other choice other than WordPress. WordPress is the standard in the blogging world. Over 80 million bloggers use it today. You can’t go wrong with it!

WordPress can take a little time to figure out how to work, but once you get comfortable with it, there are so many possibilities with it that you won’t want anything else. With thousands of plugins and themes, it really is the best bet for any serious blogger.

You’ll see two types of WordPress sites out there today. WordPress.com and WordPress.org.  Wordpress.com is not a self-hosted option, which means you are limited in what you can do and the income you can earn. WordPress.org means you are self-hosted and can do more in terms of options and income.

2. Select a web hosting provider and domain name

If you are looking to make money with your blog, you must go with a self-hosted WordPress blog. Before you can really dive into monetizing your blog, you’ll need your own domain name and a web hosting provider to host your site.

  • Domain Name: The domain name is the URL of your blog. Readers will type your domain name into their browser to get to your site. I highly recommend Namecheap.com for domain names!
  • Web Host: The web host is the company that houses all of your files for your site and displays the site on the web for you. For web hosting, you definitely can’t go wrong with Siteground. If you do sign up with Siteground, they have a very easy WordPress install process.

3. Set up your blog

Here’s where the fun begins! Now that you’ve purchased your domain and hosting accounts, you can dive in and design it to your liking. If you are using WordPress, you have access to thousands of free and premium themes. I highly recommend ThemeIsle for a great selection of themes that will make your blog stand out.

I usually opt for a clean theme that allows me to customize the look to suit my niche. There are some themes that will allow for full customization, while others are limited in the number of features you can customize.

Wordpress Themes

4. Write your first blog post

Now that your blog is ready to go, it’s time to write your first post. I do want to admit that my very first post sucked badly. This is because I had no clue in how to structure a blog post. Now that I’ve done my research on the best ways to structure blog posts, readers have given me positive feedback. My trick in structuring my blog posts is by using an outline. An outline allows you time to think about where you want to place your headers and links, and gives you time to analyze the structure before you write it down. Outlines do take a little extra time, but in my opinion are worth every second because it makes the post much easier to read and follow.

In WordPress, you have the option to save as a draft, which is a great feature if you like to write in pieces and then come back to finish up. There are several other options you’ll want to pay attention to as you are creating your post.

  • Categories – Categories are like the table of contents in a book. Let’s use my site for an example of how categories work. Look to the right of this post into my sidebar. You’ll see a drop down menu called “Categories.” Let’s say you want to see every post I’ve written about sports. I created a “Sports” category and selected it every time I wrote a sports-related blog post. If you select “Sports” from the Category menu, you’ll be presented with any post I’ve written about Sports. Go ahead and try it, but come back to this post!
  • Tags – Tags are more like an index than a table of contents. Tags are keywords that tell the reader what the post is about. Go ahead and scroll to the bottom of this post. You’ll see I’ve included several tags that tie to the subject matter of this post. Tags are also a good way to group related posts. Think of them as being just like hashtags on Twitter. If you click on a hashtag in Twitter, you’ll be presented with any posts that include that tag. It’s a great way to read related content.
  • Featured Image – The featured image is the image that will show up at the top of your blog post.  Look at the top of this post. Do you see the very cool image I’ve created for this post?  That’s the featured image.  Whenever you share your post, unless you’ve told WordPress to use a different image, by default, it will use the featured image. I use a creative featured image for every blog post.
  • Sharing –  Under the featured image is an option to select which social media sites you want to share the post to once you’ve hit publish. While you can connect to any service you want, I usually share to the big boys – Facebook and Twitter.
  • Post format – I don’t mess with this feature very much, but can be useful depending on the type of post you are writing. If you are only posting an image or a video, this feature will format the post to that particular medium. Since I primarily post in regular text and images, I leave this setting at “Standard.”

5. Share your post with the world

You’ve spent hours writing and perfecting your post before publishing it. The next step is critical in getting readers to it. I always share my posts through a variety of mediums: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Flipboard, etc. I take the extra steps in sharing my new post inside the many Facebook groups in which I participate.  For Pinterest, I highly recommend you try out Tailwind. It is doing wonders for my blog traffic and engagement!

6. Monetize your blog

If you are looking to make income with your blog, and don’t want to rely on Google Adsense, affiliate links are fantastic income producers. If you find the opportunity to incorporate an affiliate link to promote a product that relates to your post, do it. I wrote a very informative post on how to make the most of affiliate links. I recommend checking it out, as well as my post on how to make passive income with affiliate marketing.

7. Useful tools and resources

The following articles are tools and resources to help you in your blogging journey:

That’s it! I hope these tips will help you on your quest to starting and running a very successful blog!

Have fun!

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Why You Aren’t Getting Clicks On Affiliate Links

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting Go Ask Your Daddy!

Hey guys! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Today, I want to talk about ways you can boost the amount of clicks you get on your affiliate links – especially when you are not a marketing expert or salesman.

Affiliate links and banners look fantastic if placed right on your site, but are useless without visitors clicking on them. You want to make your site one of the best blog sites on the web and take advantage of the affiliate income benefits that can potentially come along with it.  Whether you make your own blog or you have someone else make a blog for you, make sure you have the best affiliate marketing strategy possible to maximize income.

New to all of this and want to know how to start a blog? Join my free 7-day email course to learn the ins and outs of how to become a blogger.

Let’s get started…

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You put too many links on your site

Have you ever visited someone else’s site and were immediately overrun with ads and affiliate links? Have pop up ads gotten you frustrated? If so, then you are a victim of too many links and ads. If your site is overrun with links and ads, you will detract from your readers’ experience. I usually close out of the website and look for another site with the same information just to avoid the clutter of ads. Posting too many links reduces the faith your readers have in you because they get the impression you are just there to make a sale.

Your links don’t relate to your post

If I’m writing a blog post about baking, the last thing I should link to is a link about fashion. Writing a blog post about one thing and linking to another doesn’t lead to sales. Make sure the links you leave are related to your post and are of value to your readers. Don’t link to a toaster if you hate the toaster.

You aren’t connecting enough with your readers

By now, I hope you have some type of email marketing plan and are actively using it properly. Connecting with your readers more than just sending them your latest blog post is a great way to establish real relationships and build trust. The more your readers trust you, the more they will trust the products you promote.

You aren’t monitoring the source of your traffic

Do you monitor the source of your traffic today? If not, it’s time to get started. Understanding where the traffic is coming from is key in maintaining your site’s success. The best plugin for WordPress is Google Analytics. It gives you all the crucial information you need to organize your affiliate links for the best possible conversion rates.

You aren’t writing powerful content

If you aren’t getting many, if any, clicks on your affiliate links, not writing powerful content could be a major contributor. Focus your content around a carefully chosen keyword that is known for boosting loads of traffic. I recommend Google’s Keyword Planner for this. Alongside proper keyword planning, make sure your content is valuable, focuses on your readers’ needs and drives them to making a decision that will solve a problem.

You aren’t incorporating a social media strategy

Did you know you can put affiliate links on Facebook and Twitter? Utilizing your social media accounts to boost your affiliate links can be done, but do so smartly. Make sure to disclose in the post the presence of an affiliate link and use popular hash tags to increase visibility on your post. If you have a strong presence on Pinterest, it’s a great spot to post your affiliate links. Most of my affiliate traffic comes from my pins. Of course, I don’t use Pinterest without the help of Tailwind.

You’re choosing the wrong products to promote

When you first sign up on sites such as Shareasale, it’s very tempting to join many affiliate programs. Resist! Only promote products of value and products that you use. The better products you recommend, the greater trust readers will have in what you have to say. Choosing the right programs to participate in is key in driving success and earning a solid income through affiliate marketing.

Sound off!

Are you ready to go back and improve your affiliate marketing strategy? Are there other tips you’d recommend that I add to this post? Sound off in the comments below!

Visual Marketing from Tailwind

2 Years Blogging + The 7 Best Tips I’ve Learned Along The Way

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission. Thank you for supporting me!

Guys!!! Guess what??  It’s my 2 year blog-a-versary!  I can’t believe I’ve kept with this for so long and am still going strong with it. Blogging has been hard work, but a really fun side gig for me. I still occasionally go back and read my first posts from 2015 and chuckle a little (laughing now!).

I’ve learned so much along the way in the past 2 years, so I’d like to share the top 5 things I feel are the most important in running a successful blog.

2 Years Blogging + The 7 Best Tips I've Learned Along The Way

1. Don’t be spammy

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve arrived at someone else’s blog to read their content and was immediately met with some sort of advertisement or promotion. Don’t get me wrong, monetizing a blog is a great way to earn extra income, but there’s a fine line between proper ad presentation and shoving that crap in my face. I don’t want to have to minimize a ton of pop ups just to get to your main blog. If that’s the case, I’m hitting the close button on my browser.

I follow the same rule above for affiliate links as I do for banner ads. You may have read one of my earlier posts where I said that I only insert one affiliate link per one thousand words. If you stick to that rule, search engines will love your site. Can you believe that 9 out of 10 blogs I visit where there are obvious affiliate links promote their links within the first paragraph? It’s b.s. Please don’t be one of those bloggers!

2. Organize your thoughts well

Ok guys, so I’m totally OCD. I am not embarrassed to say that, nor am I trying to change myself. I am who I am. Being so OCD really forces me to want to organize my thoughts. I’m one of those crazy people who use outlines for every blog post.

Outlines help me to make some sense of the madness that is the brainstorming going on inside my head. I find myself sticking closer to my topics when I create an outline versus when I just sit down and write. I’m not saying by any means that sitting down to write without an outline is necessarily bad, but there is a greater chance you aren’t staying as organized.

Believe me, there are some bloggers who write very well. This doesn’t just happen at one sitting. Like myself, many other bloggers put days, and sometimes weeks, into one blog post to make it perfect. Writing a perfectly organized blog post is a craft. I am jealous of those where this happens organically! For me, I have to put a lot of thought and rewriting into my work. Do whatever works for you to stay organized.

3. Be careful allowing guest posts

Guest posting is all the rage for bloggers these days. It’s a great way to allow someone else to post their content on your blog so that it will drive traffic your way. It’s also a fantastic way to build connections with other like-minded bloggers. But, be careful allowing guest posts. If you are going to allow them on your site, create firm guidelines and stick to them.

I have backed off from allowing most guest posts today unless it’s a paid opportunity. I probably get 20-30 requests per week from other bloggers who say “I’m a big fan of your work” and “my post would be perfect for your site.” I’m not buying it for one second.

4. Provide value to your readers

We can write all day and all night, but if what we are writing provides no value to our readers, what is the purpose of our blogs? Too many bloggers tend to focus on writing what interests them, and fail to recognize the poor value it provides to their readers.

How do you provide value? Research has shown that readers love posts that provide helpful and detailed information. Writing tutorial or how-to posts is a great way to convey value to your readers. Love a particular product?  Write a helpful product review. You can also stray away from the writing part of it and create podcasts or videos to reach your audience on an even more personal level.

5. Be active on social media

Your static blog site isn’t the only place where you can reach your audience. More and more bloggers are taking to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Snap Chat. In the early beginnings of my own blog, I wasn’t doing very much blog post promotion anywhere other than Facebook. Pinterest is now one of the best referrers of traffic to my site.

When I say to be active on social media, I don’t mean spam your accounts with your blog posts. I mean to engage with your readers, post meaningful comments and have thoughtful conversations with your audience. Twitter chats are a great place to start doing this.

Facebook groups are becoming more and more popular these days. Not only can you find groups that focus on your niche, you can connect with like-minded bloggers, find more bloggers to follow and capture some really cool ideas for your own blog. I will say, being a Facebook group owner, make sure to follow the group rules. It’s important not to join just to spam a group with your content. It’s a great way to get removed from the group. Most groups, like my own, have their own rules you must follow to remain an active member.

6. Mix up your content

It’s important to show your readers that there’s an actual human running your blog. If you post about the same exact thing every day, even if it’s your niche, you’ll struggle to get a lot of followers. Did you take an interesting family vacation? Share your experience, even if you don’t normally write about family activities.

7. Keep it short and sweet

The longer your blog posts, the harder it is for your readers to stay interested long enough to read it. My rule of thumb is to stay as close to the 1,000 word mark or below as possible. Most of your readers don’t dedicate more than a few minutes of their time browsing for information, so keeping things short and sweet is a good way to maximize the time in which you have their attention. Don’t just write fluff so that your post looks longer. Always get right to the point.

And now it’s YOUR turn!

How long have you been at this blogging thing? Have you found other tips that have helped you succeed? Share in the comments below.

10 Ways You Are Destroying Your Blog

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission. Thank you for supporting me!

Did you ever think that instead of making your blog sizzle that you are actually hurting it???

Yes, it’s possible. And too many bloggers are guilty of this than you’d think. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Blogging is a huge investment of time, focus, energy, and money. Just like any other business, the more you put into it, the better the output.

Are you guilty of hurting your blog? You may be and not even realize it. Take a look at 10 big ones I’ve identified below and see if you fell victim to any (or all) of them.

10 Ways You Are Destroying Your Blog

1. You picked the wrong niche

If you don’t pick the right niche, you’re in for loads of trouble. Picking a niche where you can be successful is important to do right away. If you start off blogging in a niche you know nothing about, you are going to have a hard time selling confidence to your readers. Trust me when I say you should pin down the right niche well before posting your first piece. It’s so much easier to switch your niche before you’ve purchased a domain name, designed your blog, and written 10+ posts.

When I was thinking about what my niche was going to be, I wrote down topics that interested me. I’m a dad, so naturally writing about my parenting experiences made sense. I also enjoy helping others learn how to blog, so that was another opportunity. If you are a basketball player, does it make sense to start a baseball sports blog? Probably not. Same holds true with any other niche. Don’t dive into a world of unfamiliarity. Stick with what you know and what you are good at. Remember, you are writing for your readers. If you sound like you have no clue what you are talking about, you are going to lose your readers’ trust (and probably see a spike in unsubscribe emails!).

2. You’re too focused on making money

Far too many bloggers only start a blog to make money, but fail to realize that connecting with their readers and instilling value in what they write is what drives more affiliate sales. If you are too focused on banner ads, affiliate links and other monetization tactics, you become less focused on creating high quality content. The advice I always give other bloggers is to establish a readership first, then jump into monetizing.

I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing to want to try to earn money from your blog. Monetizing a blog can be a great way of earning extra income. As a daddy of 4 kids, and a household of 6 people, I’ll take any extra side income I can get. Don’t let the idea of earning money take over. Yes, you should try to monetize with affiliate links, but it should be a background to your main content.

3. You aren’t self-hosted

If you are serious about blogging, and I mean serious enough to want thousands of followers, you must go the self-hosted route. When you don’t have a professional domain name and stick with a free blog URL, you limit yourself and you tarnish your reputation from the start. To be taken seriously, you have to look serious.

Which blog are you going to visit first? www.makemillionsofdollars.com or www.makemillionsofdollars.wordpress.com? Probably the first one, right? Some bloggers have actually argued with me that it doesn’t matter as long as the content is superb. I politely disagree with them that your blog is like your marketing material. Spend the time and money necessary to make it WORK FOR YOU not AGAINST YOU!

4. Your blog’s design sucks

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – the overall design of your blog is crucial to its success. If everything isn’t displayed and organized wisely, your readers will become confused. Make sure you have a theme that’s mobile-friendly, and a layout that puts your best foot forward.

Do not use the default WordPress theme. I know it’s simple and already ready for you, but resist the temptation! If you do, you are going to shout to the blogging world that you didn’t take the time to make your blog unique. Need a theme? I highly recommend ThemeIsle.

5. You don’t plan ahead

Are you guilty of this one? I think all bloggers can say that we have sometimes felt rushed to get a post published versus planning ahead to make sure the post will perform well. One way I stopped myself from doing this is by creating an outline for every post. An outline forces me to stop, organize all of those potentially great thoughts in my head, and make my post flow with a great introduction, a sizzling body, and a well-planned call-to-action. If you do this every time, your blog posts will look more organized.

6. You don’t provide any value to your readers

I can sit here and write all day until my hands are numb, but if the content I’m spitting out isn’t helpful or valuable, I’m just wasting everyone’s time. My rule of thumb is that if my post doesn’t teach someone something, or provide valuable information to help them, I don’t post it. I see so many other bloggers just writing to write. That’s fine that you chronicle every freaking marathon you run, but how does that help me?

7. You aren’t using social media to your advantage

Social media is so important to my blog. I depend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to help spread the word about my posts, as well as give my readers an insight to who I am when I’m not blogging. If you aren’t already connecting all of your blog posts to social media, now’s a great time to start. If you are using WordPress, you can connect most of them through your sharing settings.

8. You focus on yourself first

I want to elude back to the blogger that only writes about running marathons. Every time I read one of these posts, I wonder when he/she is going to focus on what their readers want and need. Focusing on yourself makes it very difficult for your readers to become engaged and see value in following you.

You may argue that your blog’s content should be about you, because you are the blogger after all, right? Wrong. If you are trying to gain followers and their trust, you have to focus on their needs. Does this mean you can’t ever write a post about yourself? Of course not, but not every post should focus on you. This post I wrote today focuses on my own experience as a blogger and how that experience can help other bloggers succeed.

9. Your images are low quality

If you aren’t using high quality images on your site today, you are damaging your reputation. Images add so much engagement and value to your site. While there are multiple free stock image sites available, try taking your own pictures to make your site more personal. Images do a great job of driving SEO and also are good ways to break up your content. I’m a visual learner, so if I see a picture that goes along with an idea, I do a better job of making connections and understanding what I’m reading.

10. Your email marketing strategy isn’t working

How many of us can say we are actively emailing our subscribers? If you can’t say it, you are missing out on talking directly to your readers. Use your content marketing system already in place to reach out to your readers and gauge their wants and needs. Selling affiliate products? Email marketing is a great forum to announce a great product you support and use. DON’T use this as an opportunity to spam your readers. Not only will you look spammy, but you’ll lose readers in the process.

Sound off…

What other ways have you found that have been detrimental to your blog? I’d love to add them to this list. Let me know in the comments!