Welcome to 2017. It is crazy to think that we are already nearing the end of the first month. How does time fly by so quickly?! I am sure I am not the only one who has hopes and dreams for blog growth in 2017. Bruce and I have been spending lots of car trips, lunch dates, and walks around the block processing 2017. It will be my first whole year as a full time blogger and that’s pretty exciting and nerve wrecking all at the same time. We do want growth. We want to connect with more readers who really get and benefit from Oak + Oats. We want to encourage and inspire others to live intentionally and in community. We want to partner with new brands to spread life & hope and be able to save for a new house. We want to learn new things, go new places, take better pictures. We want growth. Spiritually, mentally, and financially.
Wanting to grow your blog is a great goal yet it is a vague goal. And it can become so suffocating if we get caught up in numbers, statistics, and comparison. As we start a new year, take a step back and look at your blog. Read through these five tips and do something intentional to move your blog forward. Growth takes action.
CLEAN UP/ TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT YOUR SITE
What are you blogging about? Do you like blogging about all those things? Is there a series or a topic you loved to share about but no longer do? Are there posts you are feeling obligated to post? Ask yourself these kind of questions as you look through your categories and recent posts. We can often get stuck in ruts and habits. You do not (and should not) be continuing to blog about things you no longer have a passion for. Posting content out of obligation will not attract readers, it will in fact turn them away. Make sure you are sharing topics that fuel and inspire you. Also look for categories and labels you may want to add. Now is the time to switch those things out.
While you are at it, take a look at your sidebar. Clean it up. Make sure all the links go where they should go. Maybe even update your bio and welcome photo. These things can be (and should be) changed ever now and then to keep up with you and your brand.
GET SERIOUS ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY
The blogs you love? The pins you pin? Yes, they all have great photography. It is important. We know that we are drawn to blogs that have great photography, therefore improving on your photography will draw readers to your site.
Invest in gear. Buy a DSLR. Learn how to shoot in manual and edit in Lightroom. I know all these things seem slightly overwhelming but if you want to grow, you need to step outside of your comfort zone and push yourself. There are SO many great resources out there and I would love to help you get connect with them. You can do this!
This is the most important thing ever. Without you, your blog is nothing. I mean it! You bring the life, the voice, the passion to your space. You bring something unique that no one else can bring to the table. Are you being yourself? Are you letting your quirks show? Or are you trying desperately to be like all the other bloggers you look up to and admire.
Step back and find yourself. Let that person write and guide your blog. People want to read your blog because they feel like they know you. Update your about page on your blog and your social media bios to reflect who you are!
I am not just talking about hiring an assistant (but by all means, hire an assistant if you need to and are able!) I am talking about investing in the right tools so that you can spend your time doing other things. There are so many things to be doing all the time to blog well & grow a website but there are also so many wonderful resourses!
If you are on WordPress this one is most likely the one that you want! It starts with a free trial so that you can check it out and then if you want to continue with it you have to pay monthly. I honestly think that you would never need more than the cheapest one ($15 a month) unless you have a bigger team that you want to be able to use it. What I love about Coscheudle most is the ability to use the plugin to link with my blog posts. While I write a blog post I can continue scrolling down and schedule all the posts I want related to that post! I can link pictures schedule announcing posts for when it goes live, and even schedule out a couple for months down the road! Chunking in your scheduling with the actual post writing is genius and a huge time saver for me! I use this mostly for my Facebook page and Twitter.
This one is also a Pinterest Scheduler that I use. The cool feature it has that makes it super worth it to use Ahalogy and Boardbooster is that it does this thing called “looping.” Looping is where you can essentially tell Boardbooster to cycle through your old pins and repin them. They then delete the ones that have the lowest repins on it. This is a great way to keep your boards active and cleaned out! Also they send you weekly emails of your growth and have pretty awesome stats to work with! This one has a free trial that is totally worth signing up for to check out looping (aka sign up for it now) they also have one of the best payment options out there and if you love it you can pay as little as $5 a month on 500 pins a month! If you are wondering how the heck looping would even be valuable for your Pinterest board it has a lot to do with Pinterest’s algorithm and it is all explained in Pinfinite Growth (this is a killer resource people!)
PS: If you don’t know how important Pinterest is for your blog/business/brand you need to sign up for Pinfinite Growth right now. You WILL NOT regret it.
Tailwind is a way that you can schedule Pinterest pins. I love it because you can add the plugin to your bookmarks bar and then when ever you are on your site or another site, you can schedule pins by clicking on it! It is so easy. Then you are just spending your normal time reading blogs and Tailwind posts on Pinterest throughout the whole day making you more active on Pinterest than you really are!
I LOVE Later for Instagram! I can post, write, and schedule my Instagram all from my computer. I set aside time to schedule ahead and organize my feed and then Later does the rest. It send a notification to my phone whenever it is time to post with the photo and the caption. It saves me so much time and helps me create a beautiful feed!
The graphic in this post was created with Canva! Canva is a great way to make graphics for your blog. It is free (you pay for templates if you want to use them) and it is easy! You can create some wonderful graphics for your blog that are great for pinterest and look really well done!
I mentioned this above in photography, but invest in lightroom to edit your pictures. There are some freeware versions out there but they just are not the same. At first Lightroom was so overwhelming but there are so many tutorials out there to walk you through it. Shooting your photos in RAW and learning to edit them in Lightroom really makes a big difference.
MAKE NEW FRIENDS
Step outside of your bubble. When I started blogging, I was all alone. I didn’t know anyone else who blogged or even know how to find other people who blogged. Then I started reaching out and building a blogging community. Reaching out and making other friends is a great way to grow! You can start collaborating and sharing ideas. One of my goals this year is to make more local friends in the creative community! I want to be able to grow my reach to include my city and the people in it. Blogging is not a solo sport, a rising tide lifts all boats! Collaborate, inspire, share, and grow!
You can totally rock your blog in 2017 and reach your goals. What are some of your goals for your blog in 2017? Do you have a question about growing or blogging? Fill out this form to have your question featured in a future Blog Tips post!
Photo Credit: Kaylee Sorrells Photography