Do you want to use your blog to sell products or services? Perhaps you already do? Have you had much success with the products or services that you’re selling? Perhaps it could be better?
If there’s a saying that’s applicable to sales… pretty much across the board, it’s that ‘things can always be better’. There can always be more sales. There can always be more customers. There can always be more value.
Hold onto that word.
The primary error that most people make when it comes to sales is that they believe they’re selling a product or service. They’re not.
Sales is about fixing problems. Sales is about providing value. Sales is about creating a need for something that people didn’t even realize existed. Sales is not about shoving a deal down people’s throats.
Listen… when people buy cars, they’re not buying a car to have a car. They’re buying a car for transportation. They’re buying a car to save time. They’re buying a car that has room to carry all of their kids, soccer equipment, furniture and tools in one trip. They’re not buying a car because someone told them to. They’re buying a car because they need a car. They’ve determined that the car provides them value.
Does everyone need a car? No. Does everyone need what you’re selling on your blog? No. To those that do need what is being sold on your blog, what have you done to show them value? I ask not to offend, but out of genuine curiosity. Are you just leaving a link there and hoping for clicks? Are you trying to guilt people into purchasing? Are you showing them the value provided through purchasing your product and the problems that it will solve when they do?
Think of it this way: you could sell consulting services or you could provide prosperous futures. You could sell your book or you could provide a page turning cure for quarantine boredom. You could sell t-shirts or you could start new fashion trends.
Successful sales provide value beyond the good or service. This is because those selling are aware that people aren’t buying an item, they’re buying their own personal solutions. You can throw all of the discounts and special deals to the universe as possible, but if the value isn’t communicated, the message won’t register.
I love seeing bloggers succeed. I love seeing bloggers find their passions, build visions for their platforms and accomplish their desires. I love seeing bloggers selling their personal goods and services because I believe in the power of the entrepreneurial spirit. That being said, nothing pisses me off more than seeing “50% off! Today only!” on someone’s platform. 50% off of something that I don’t need is still something that I don’t need.
Instead of focusing on the deals, discounts, flashy pitches and shiny packages, ask yourself how many people need what you’re selling. Ask yourself if they know they need what you’re selling. I want you to make sales, so I want you to remember that 50% off of something they don’t need is still something they don’t need.
Can your poetry help anxiety sufferers? Can your graphic design help with Pinterest metrics? Can your book instill a sense of wonder and adventure within readers? Can your consulting help someone find their passions, financial freedom and hope for the future?
If you’re selling on your blog already, I strongly encourage you to reassess your sales tactics. Even if you’ve made sales, there’s always room for improvement. And, if you’re not selling yet but you’re considering it, I strongly encourage you to asses what values you can provide with the products or services you’re looking to sell. Quite often people aren’t even aware of the problems they have. They aren’t aware of the solutions that could be available to them because they’re so used to living with what is instead of what could be.
Show your audience what could be. Make those sales matter. It’s more than just money. It’s people. It’s passion. It’s relationships. It’s entrepreneurial spirit that knows your value and provides it through your offerings. Discounts don’t matter. Solutions do.
I haven’t shared any tips about blogging for a long time. It’s not for lack of wanting to, it’s largely been due to lack of time. Since I’ve started work, since I’ve moved, since I’ve basically uprooted my entire life for something new, the days seem to go by faster and disappear a lot more quickly. It sometimes feels like I wake up on Monday morning and fall asleep on Friday night, my weeks have been going that quickly.
All that being said, it’s been two months since I’ve shared daily posts on this blog. It’s been two months since I’ve even remotely had somewhat of a schedule for this blog. These days I don’t know if I’ll get enough time to update this blog once a week or four times a week. It all depends on what’s happening. It’s also been two months now that all of my analytics have taken a nose dive.
When I say nose-dive, I’m talking tens of thousands of less views, thousands of less likes, hundreds of less comments, a stark difference in read rates. Everything is 35-50% less, analytically speaking, then the averages I was accruing prior to starting this job.
I say this not to whine. I say this because I think that an important mindset to remember when blogging is that there’s ebbs and flows. Everything goes up and everything comes back down (unless we’re talking about Corona, apparently… but that’s a story for another day). At the end of the day, you have to be contributing to your blog for your own enjoyment. You have to be writing for you, sharing photos for you, interacting for you. If you don’t, you’re never going to be happy with the product you’re creating. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter if those views are tens of thousands higher… you’re never going to be happy with the statistics you’re looking at.
If you’re seeking attention with blogging, the attention you do get will never fulfill you. If you’re seeking an outlet, a place to share, a place to create, a place to vent or a place to learn and grow… you won’t care if there’s 100,000 people viewing your page or 100.
Virtually all of my analytics have taken a nose dive lately. And that’s okay. Honestly, this blog is still one of the things in my life that I’m most proud of. It’s a reflection of me. It’s a reflection of how I think, feel, act… what I know, what I seek to know, what I love. It’s my outlet. Was it really cool when my analytics were as high as they were in the earlier months of this year? Absolutely. But you know what? The people who I’ve made the deepest connections with on this platform, the people who’ve always been there, they’re still here. They still make fun of me for my stubbornness and call me out on my crap, celebrate my victories with me and share with me their own stories. They’re who keep me motivated to keep posting on this blog. Well that and the fact that a lot of crazy, weird shit goes on in my life and I need to talk about it somewhere!
To wrap this up, I say that if you’re solely blogging to garner attention, you’ll likely be forever unsatisfied with any amount of attention you do manage to find. My advice is to create your posts for enjoyment and catharsis.
Oh and weave a little SEO into your posts if you know enough about it to do so. Because there’s a lot of people in this world who haven’t taken the plunge to create their own blog/outlet yet, but they’re still taking to search engines to find someone they can relate to. Some of my posts from over a year ago are still being found on a regular basis through Google and Baidu searches.
Referral links is a common business practice when a company provides you a link that you can use to share with your friends, family, social media followers, YouTube channel or blog. If your friends, family, social media followers, YouTube subscribers or blog followers use the referral link to make a purchase, they get a discount off of their purchase and you get a credit towards your next purchase with that company.
This is different from affiliate marketing because, with affiliate marketing you make a small commission from someone purchasing a product that you’re advertising. This commission varies depending on the type of product, the following you might have and the amount of people who purchase. It can be as low as a few cents that you get per purchase that someone makes on a product that can cost fifty or sixty dollars. If you save that money up over time, it could turn into a pay cheque of sorts, but unless you have a vast reach across the web, it’s likely only ever going to equal pocket change.
With referral links, the company guarantees that if you sign up one of your friends or family members, one of your blog followers or YouTube subscribers, or someone from social media, the money is given to you in the form of a credit off of your next purchase. The value does not change, and the referral link is only for a certain period of time.
So, Company X will say ‘If you share this link with your friend and they make a purchase, they will get $20 off their purchase and you will get $20 off of your next purchase as a thank you for referring your friend to our company’.
Why referral links are so beneficial? If you’re smart about it, you can share with your blog, social media accounts, friends and family a referral link to a company that you already make purchases from. So, if one of them does make a purchase, then you’re essentially lessening the amount that you’re required to pay the next time that you order that thing or use that service.
Take for instance the company that I purchase my contact lenses from. I’m blind as a bat without some form of glasses or contact lenses so, over the years I have become frequent purchaser of contact lenses from an online distributor. This distributor offers their lenses at anywhere between $20-$50 less a box than if you were to purchase them from your local eye doctor. So you’re already getting a great deal. My contact lenses cost $140 every three months. Now, due to my frequent purchases from said company, the company has recently provided me with a referral code. This referral code is for $20. If someone uses my referral code to purchase contact lenses or glasses for themselves, they will get $20 off of their purchase and I will get a $20 credit for my next purchase. If three people use this referral code, each of them will get $20 off of their purchase and I will get $60 off of my next purchase, making the cost of my next order of contact lenses $80 rather than $140.
It’s a way that companies use their own customers to market their products to new customers. In the case of the company that I purchase contact lenses from, if I were to share my link and have just seven people make a purchase using my link, the next time I went to purchase contact lenses, they would be free.
Sweet deal, right?
There’s inherently more value to someone for choosing to use a referral code rather than trying to use affiliate marketing for their blog. Whilst referral codes might not put money directly in your pocket, they do make the items you use cheaper, thus leaving the money in your bank account that you would otherwise need to spend.
Keep in mind, if I referred even one person to purchase their contact lenses from the same company that I do, that’s $20 that stays in my pocket because I have a credit from the company. A program like Amazon affiliates, depending on the size of your following and how hard/fast you pump out the affiliate links, may take you several months to reach a $20 sum that you can cash out for money in your pocket. So, if you’re already using said service or program anyways, its a worthwhile consideration to see if there’s a referral code available.
Some examples of companies that offer referral codes (in no particular order):
RobinHood Commission Free Investing
Daily Harvest Meal Prep
Some companies, such as Uber, offer a referral code to every single customer who has an account. All you have to do is share this code with your friends to start earning credits towards the next time you need to take an Uber.
Other companies will send out referral codes to customers who are frequent purchasers from their company.
And some companies you can receive a referral code for sharing by contacting their customer service department.
Please note that the value of each referral link will be different as they are all set by each individual company. So, one referral code for a company might have a value of $20 whilst a referral code for another company might only be worth $5. I would highly recommend that if this something you’d like to consider doing, when doing your research on referral codes that you would like to share and use, make sure you don’t just share every referral code you can get your hands on, but that you choose to share the codes that will bring you the most benefit. If you don’t order meal prep then don’t share a referral code for Hello Fresh. If you do take Uber rides frequently, then share that code as far as your reach can reach.
I would also like to add and important point here in that Referral Codes are different from Discount Codes. Discount codes are those which a company creates to give to an influencer to determine their reach. The company keeps track of how many people use that influencer’s code to determine the value of working with that influencer for future projects. And, in turn, the influencer gets a small commission off someone using that code (usually a percentage of what overall purchases were made with said code). So, providing discount codes is essentially another form of affiliate marketing.
Referral codes are for anyone who uses that business or service. Whether you’re an influencer or not, whether you have ten followers on social medial or a million, you can have a referral code. Because the company banks off the fact that you’ll promote to more people than they’ll have to give company credits for, it’s largely free promotion for them. Also, a lot of people never take advantage of the credits earned. Which in turn makes the referral program even more valuable for a company.
If you use it properly though, stick to the referral links that are most valuable to you, you can purchase items that you need for free.
Considering referral codes? Do your research. Find out of there are companies that you shop with online, or through apps like Uber, that you can get referral codes from to start saving you money off future purchases. Stick to only companies that you use and make an effort to share that code as far and as wide as possible.
Personally, I haven’t seen too many bloggers use Referral Codes as a means of monetizing their blogs. But if done properly, it is a smart way to monetize your blog. If you have any questions about referral codes, leave them in the comments section below.
Lastly, for self promotional purposes, if you purchase your glasses or contact lenses online and live within Canada, The USA, Australia or New Zealand, you can use my referral code. In the case of “Clearly” (also known as “Clearly Contacts and Glasses”, it’s a referral link.
If you use my referral link to purchase your next pair of glasses or order of contact lenses, you will get $20 off your purchase and I will get a $20 credit that will go towards my next order of contact lenses.
If you’ve never heard of this company before but order your glasses or contact lenses online, have a poke around their website and see their prices. You might be surprised. They’re very competitively priced and base shipping largely takes only 2-3 days… even with the ongoing pandemic. Their website can be found here >
Who knows, you might like them and want to start ordering from them and ask the company for a referral code of your own if you’re blind as a bat like I am.
If you purchase glasses or contact lenses online and haven’t been getting much out of it CLICK HERE TO USE MY REFERRAL LINK > or seek out to get your own referral link from this company.
As with any marketing tips/tricks/advice provided on this blog, please take all information with a grain of salt. This information is not provided as the ‘be all to end all’ word. So, take what works for you and leave what doesn’t.
Not everyone is interested in Instagram growth. So, if you’re one of those people who doesn’t care one way or another, this advice likely isn’t for you. Which is totally fine. This information is being shared for those who might find it helpful!
Without further adieu:
Hashtags are a tool that allows Instagram users to find other Instagram users who post similar images, share similar interests or are like-minded individuals. When you post an image to Instagram, if you would like the opportunity for others on the platform to find said image, it’s imperative that you use proper and relevant hashtags that depict what’s in your image.
Put the hashtags within your caption, do not put them as the first comment. When you do not put the hashtags within the caption of the photo itself, you’re losing valuable time and real estate within the Instagram algorithm for people who could potentially be viewing your image.
You can post up to 30 hashtags per image. If you are a blogger, or running a business account, it’s recommended that you try to keep hashtag use to 9-11 hashtags per image. There are several reasons for this, most important of which being, if you limit the hashtags you’re using to 9-11 hashtags at most, you’re focusing on only the most relevant hashtags pertaining to the image. When people start reaching hashtag 15 and 16, they start just using random hashtags that don’t really pertain to the image and it can become very spam-like, overcrowding different categories on the platform. This is why you can search ‘#TheGreatOutdoors’ and see pictures of hamburgers and french fries.
When selecting hashtags, select categories that you would search for. Why? Because not all hashtags are as valuable as others. If you’re searching for something on Instagram, there’s better odds that someone else is too. More people are going to be searching ‘#TheGreatOutdoors’ than ‘#Tree’. As you type in the hashtags to Instagram, the app will actually tell you how many people have used said hashtag and similar hashtags. Example:
Include a selection of both popular and less popular hashtags within the 9-11 hashtags used per image. Using the screenshot as an exampe, #LakeLouise will have the potential for more people to find your image, and in turn, your page. But, with more people searching this item, your image will more quickly slide down the Instagram algorithm than if you use #LakeLouiseLove. For this reason, it’s recommended that you use a mixture of both popular and less popular (STILL RELEVANT) hashtags when sharing your image.
If you want to connect with others, ALWAYS use a caption. There’s nothing worse than finding an image that you truly love on Instagram and realizing the person who shared it couldn’t care less about people finding their image and connecting with their content. Use a caption – share the store of the image, or share a story that has nothing to do with the image but speaks to you and your character. If you want to connect with people, a picture won’t speak for you… no matter how pretty it might be.
If you’re specifically looking for growth, there are hashtags that are for bloggers to connect with other bloggers to help support one another. Using #BloggersUnder500 or #BloggersUnder1k, etc… are like flashing the bat symbol for bloggers to find other bloggers and help one another grow their platforms. If you’re looking for growth, use these hashtags to connect with other bloggers and help them find and connect with you.
Promote your Instagram account on other platforms. I follow at least a dozen bloggers on WordPress of which I had no idea that they had Instagram accounts until they followed me. There is no mention of their Instagram accounts ANYWHERE on their blog. Why not? If you have a blog, let people know that you have an Instagram too. It can’t hurt.
Location searches on Instagram can help you to connect with people in your area that you might not even know exist yet. This one might be especially beneficial in this time of social distancing. Want to connect with people in your area without connecting with people in your area? Search your local, nearest airport code or city abbreviation in Instagram. Make new friends. Reach out to people that way. This is actually a great way for small/local businesses to reach out and let public in their city/surrounding area know they’re there and open for business.
You DO NOT have to post every day, but much like with blogging, it helps with the growth of your page if you post somewhat regularly. People like to come to instagram to see new content. If you post once and then don’t come back for a month, then post three times in a week then disappear for two months, you’re going to have a very difficult time convincing people they should connect with you and and your content. If they can’t rely on you to connect with, why should they follow you?
Share other’s images to your Instagram Story. This one doesn’t help you at all. It’s not for growth. It’s not for any other reason than you might like an image. If you like an image that someone you follow has posted, share it to your Instagram story. It furthers their reach, gives them a form of cross promotion they haven’t yet had. Also, it allows you to share images of places you might not yet have been, or might not have seen. This is also extremely beneficial for any small businesses that you might follow. Especially if they’re still operating during COVID. A little share here and there might help their business immensely during these stressful times. So… sprinkle a little kindness in whatever you do!
Don’t just post things because you think they’re trendy. People aren’t so dense that they cannot figure out who’s being a try-hard on social media. While you might like the instant gratification of sharing something that’s been going viral day after day after week after week, the tired, tried and done a thousand times means being a trendy Instagram user gets old real quick. You won’t build connections, you won’t have the interaction you’re searching for and, you’ll lack authenticity. It’s 2020, people. Real is the new real.
Be nice. Hopefully this one doesn’t require an explanation.
You have to have 10,000 followers in order to post links. Unlike Twitter where you link every tweet, you have to reach a threshold of engagement to earn that ability with Instagram. So, if you’re looking to use Instagram to promote your blog, you’re going to have to get creative.
Don’t spam people. I don’t even want to tell you how many unread messages I have in my inbox of people trying to sell me MLM products or sign me up to work under their MLM business. If you spam people, it will annoy them. And if you are looking to grow your Instagram profile, I would recommend you not annoy people in the process.
If, and only if, you’re not worried about privacy, make sure this option is checked off under your settings tab:
If you’re worried about your privacy, or family or friends finding your page, and in turn, blog, then make sure this box isn’t selected in your settings. This could recommend your page to people in your area or people who you share mutual friends with. So, if someone you know follows your page, but not everyone you know is aware of your blog, be careful with this function.
If you are running a small business, or any business for that matter, stick to business and keep your personal opinions out of it. I recently witnessed a cafe in Vancouver lose 10,000 followers in less than 24 hours after the owner got on his Instagram Story to proclaim that the government was ruining everyone’s futures so that fewer people would die and that we should risk the deaths of those that could catch it anyway to ensure that business can keep going as normal. This cafe is one that’s been on several TV shows (Diners Drive Ins and Dives, You gotta eat here and a couple of others) and had grown a rather large following online because of that. And he threw it all away when he started sharing his personal opinions. Whether someone agrees, or vehemently disagrees with your opinions, they don’t want these opinions from a business. No one followed his cafe on Instagram to get advice on economics, government or politics. They followed his business account to find out what soup of the day he was serving for take out. What baked treats he could deliver that day. A move like that could quite literally kill a business reputation.
Lastly, for lack of better conclusion, if you made it this far, follow me on Instagram! @MillennialMe88
Over the past fifteen months I’ve seen a lot of really good bloggers up and quit. They stop coming online, or they delete their pages all together. People come and people go, that’s a fact of life. But burnout, is that avoidable? What causes burnout? What causes people to go so quickly? Even the promising bloggers, they say hasta-la-vista faster than anyone could say ‘please don’t give up’. Why?
People think blogging is easy. Too many people believe that maintaining a successful blog is simple. Too many people believe that all they have to do is hit publish and people will like/love/leave comments and subscribe. Over the night thousands of people will magically find their blog and they’ll be such a hit that people will hang off every word they say.
People take personal offense when expectation doesn’t meet reality. Far too many people will bitch and moan if they don’t get the number of comments on their post that they think they deserve. Instead of taking the opportunity to share, and be grateful for the opportunity to share, people will get angry if their post doesn’t get enough attention. This can lead to blogging burnout quite quickly. Anyone looking for, hoping for or seeking attention and gratification from others in what they post will likely always be disappointed with the results, no matter if it was five people who viewed or 5,000.
People lack the work-ethic needed to run a successful blog. In a world more connected than ever before, people seek content from online sources 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Anyone who runs a successful blog knows that they need to put time and effort into the posts they’re making and the content they’re sharing. Showing up every now and again to share something and expect a reaction is naive. A dedicated reader wants to come back to a blog and find something new to discover. If any potential reader has to come back again and again and again in hopes of finding something new, they’re going to give up quickly. If they give up quickly, the blogger tends to give up shortly thereafter.
People try too hard to be ‘trendy’. Just because something is being talked about on the internet does not mean that it’s going to bring any more traffic to a blog by speaking about it. A blog should be a reflection of the person composing it, not a reflection of trending topics from week to week to week.
People put too much money into their blog, assuming that monetary investment will equal success. Between premium/buisness accounts, custom layouts, custom logos, social media advertisements, google advertisements, taking blogging courses and son on and so forth, there are plenty of ways to spend plenty of money on a blog. That being said, spending money on a blog does not mean that blog is going to be successful. Spending money on a blog is a lot like spending money on a gym membership. No one would purchase a gym membership and assume that the simple act of having that membership means they will get six-pack abs, yet people will purchase all the bells and whistles for their account and assume that means their blog will make the money immediately. Unfortunately, life isn’t full of quick fixes.
What are some tips, tricks and tools that you use to avoid blogging burnout? Have you ever suffered blogging burnout? What brought you back? Also, do you have any blogs that you absolutely loved reading which the blog owner quit blogging? What do you think stopped them from returning to their blog?
From analytics to photo editing, writers block to blogging basics, all of the tips, tricks and suggestions that I provide with respect to growing your blog and social media presence online can be found by clicking here >
Please take any and all tips, tricks and suggestions that you read on this blog, and beyond, with a grain of salt. Blogging is not a one size fits all journey, so take what works for you and leave what doesn’t.
What can your analytics teach you? What should your analytics teach you? If you have a blog, or any form of social media, you have access to analytics. Do you use them?
346 people have visited my blog today from 53 countries and territories around the world. How cool is that? People from all over the world have found my blog, my words, my little corner of the internet.
3,321 people have viewed my published tweets.
1,106 people have viewed my Instagram page.
18 people found my blog through search engine results.
6 people found my blog from Facebook. And I don’t even have a Facebook account.
I don’t say this to brag, I say this because analytics fascinate me. I love tracking visitors, hits, interactions, popularity (or lack thereof depending on the post) and reach.
I use my analytics to determine what the best time of day is to post something, as well, what the best day of the week is to post something. I also use my analytics to determine what topics will garner more hits, and what topics won’t really resonate with my community. Also, on that note, I use my analytics to understand my community.
An estimated 40% of the people who read #MillennialLifeCrisis are Gen X-ers. That’s right, the largest group of people who read this blog are not even Millennials. That tells me that these things that I’ve felt alienated me for so long now are in fact, not generational, but more so just the overall human condition.
Quite often I’m asked different variations of ‘what’s your secret? How’d you get so many followers?’ What’s my secret? I don’t keep secrets. I use analytics. I’ve been using them since I worked in corporate settings and I can say without a doubt, that if you’re looking to grow an audience for your personal blog, analytics are going to play a major factor in your success, or lack thereof.
How many people viewed your blog today? What countries did they come from? What did you do as a measure to help convince them to return to your blog? How can you use your analytics to your favour?
Here, I’ll give you an example:
Let’s pretend that you live in London, England. Now, upon reading the base analytics that WordPress provides to EVERY user (regardless of if your account is free or paid), you notice that far and above anywhere else, the majority of your audience is from the United States. If you want the most people possible to see your post, I do not recommend hitting publish at 9:00 AM Greenwhich Mean Time. Why? Because for the majority of your audience, that’s the middle of the night and they’re asleep. Instead, I recommend you schedule your post to be published at 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. Your post will be top of feed for all of your American audience to see, and you stand a much higher chance of having farther reach.
If you’e blogging for a hobby and you don’t care how many hits/visitors your blog gets, analytics probably won’t matter to you. But, if you want to build a community, your analytics can be one of your best assets. They will tell you what you’re doing wrong, what you’re doing right and how to improve upon all of it.
I still post what I want when I want. But, I also know that if I do something like… posting this after 7:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, it’s going to get far less hits than had I gotten by butt in gear and posted this 10 hours ago.
That is how I use, or don’t use, analytics in my favour. Whether I post it at the optimal time or not, I’m still going to track visitors, hits, interaction. Why? Because I’m a nerd who loves data. Because I believe in the value of analytics. Because this blog is my pride and joy and I really appreciate knowing all that I can about it.
So what do your analytics teach you? How can you use that information to your favour?
If you liked this post and would like to read more of my blogging tips, click here. All blogging tips/tricks/advice/suggestions are all categorized under ‘Marketing’ on my blog’s main menu.
If you would like to support myself and the content created on #MillennialLifeCrisis, I have an official Patreon account with patron options starting as low as $1 per month. Click here >
In honour of reaching 5,000 WordPress followers in 11 months, and because I need a distraction, if you have any questions related to blogging, marketing, promotion and communications, ask away.
I will answer questions that are blogging specific, or can draw from my industry experience if that better helps what you’re looking to learn.
Do you want to know the best free tools to use? Do you want to know why analytics are integral to growth? Do you want to know how many hits I get in a day? Do you want to know the best website to use for newsletters? Do you waant to know industry standards for communication distribution? Do you want to schedule a time for me to look through your blog and ‘Audit’ it, so to speak, to help make it user friendly? Whatever you want to know, ask away.
With the exception of a very select few, every writer/blogger has been there before – when you want to write but you don’t know what to write. It’s one of the most frustrating feelings you can go through, writer’s block. And when you’re there, you’ll give anything to get out of your rut. How do you? You write. Write about anything. Write about everything. Write about the things that you may think are stupid and do all that you can to ensure those words hit the page. Write everything down. Even if it’s never going to leave your drafts folder, put those words on the page.
Here are some subjects that you can write about, things that you can share your opinions on, things that people enjoy reading about;
Write about how you wound up in the career you’re in now. Whether you have a common job – such as a nurse or a teach, or an uncommon job – such as a cardiothoracic surgeon, someone somewhere in this world is wondering what it takes to become a professional in your field. Sharing the story of how you got there could help a lot of up-and-coming professionals.
Write about the most incredible trip you’ve ever taken. Whether you’re a world traveller, or a one-and-done type of person, travel is a subject with one of the broadest audiences on earth. Even if someone is not going to the location you’re speaking of, they still will want to, and enjoy, reading about tales from your adventures.
Write about your hometown. Where are the best places to eat? Where are the best places visit? What are the funnest activities to do while there? Whether you live in the largest city on earth or a small town in the middle of nowhere, people will travel through your hometown each year. Why not give them a guide of things to do and places to see while there? Categorize it as ‘Travel’, because, while yo might not be travelling there, those that are travelling there will be the ones reading it.
Write about mental health, self-care, recovery and coping. This is one of the most broadly discussed topics on WordPress. If you have experience with mental health issues, either with yourself or a loved one, share your perspectives. Not only does it lessen the stigma, but it helps other’s feel less alone in their present situations. This might sound like a sad statement to say, but it’s nice to have a community, or friends, who understand what you’re going through.
Share your talents. Can you play the piano? Can you play the guitar? Can you kick a field goal as easy some people get up in the morning? Share that with the world. And, if it’s a talent you have that is teachable… something that others can learn, share. Pass on that wisdom. Millions upon millions of people take to the internet to learn new skills… even things as simple as the different ways to tie a tie. From second languages to second natures, if you’ve got the skills and wisdom to do it and patience to teach it, use your blog as a platform to teach it.
Talk about celebrities. People love to read other’s perspectives of celebrities. It’s quite literally why the Kardashian’s are famous. Share your opinions on celebrities. If someone agrees with you, they’re going to love your take and if someone disagrees with you, they’re likely going to want to talk about it. And, since this is the perfect opportunity, use your blog as a platform to remind people that two people can disagree with one another and still treat each other with respect.
Talk about true crime and mysteries. Does true crime fascinate you?Whether people admit to it or not, true crime fascinates a lot of the world. People disappearing, seemingly off the face of the earth fascinates people. There’s a natural wonder and curiosity within many people that wants to know what goes through someone’s mind when they commit murder. There are Youtube Channels of people just giving their take on different murders from around the world and these channels have hundreds of thousands of subscribers. On Sept 30 a woman in Anchorage, Alaska found an SD card on the ground that was labeled ‘Homicide at Midtown Marriott’. The SD card was filled with photos and videos of a man named Brian Smith sexually assaulting, murdering and then disposing of a woman’s body. I read a blog post a few weeks back about this story in which the author merely shared their opinion of what they think on the subject matter and the post had 3,200 likes on it. The post had more likes than the blog had subscribers. Why? People love crime.
Write about another blogger. Someone that you appreciate, or admire. Someone’s content you read on the regular. Spread the love. That blogger is going to appreciate the shout-out, and your community could possibly find themselves another blogger to love as well!
Make lists! People love lists because they’re short, easy to read and to the point. What are the ten best things about being female? What are the ten best things about being a male? What are your favourite songs of all times? What are your top travel destinations for 2020 and why? Make a list. They’re quick to read, allow you to share your opinions and are posts that people frequently like to comment on.
Whatever you’re writing about, write with your heart, passion and soul behind it. Authenticity is important in blogging. People will see if you’re passionate about what you’re sharing or if you’re just blogging to get attention. They can judge your character, even if they’re a stranger. So always make sure that you’re blogging about things that you love.
Write it all down. Put it in your drafts folder. Some of it might be stupid, sure. Hell, I’ve got a lot of stupid posts in my drafts folder. I can promise you that after it’s written, you might realize that some of it’s pretty freaking awesome.
So, I’ve been working in the Marketing/Communications/PR realm for a decade. I’ve held numerous positions with numerous companies which delved into the world’s of digital marketing, print marketing and television marketing.
When I speak these thoughts, please know they are my own personal opinions so please take them with a grain of salt. If you disagree with them, don’t take my word as the only, and please do what is right for your blog.
Your ‘ABOUT ME’ page is the most important page on your blog. If you don’t have one, you need to make one. And if you do have one, you need to make sure that it’s a page that will simultaneously tell the readers about you and your niche/niches, whilst enticing readers to come back.
The ‘About Me’ page should be the second item on any and every menu. This is because when people who don’t know you come to your page and read something they like, the next page they’re going to look for is to find out more about you and see if you’re someone they could see themselves following. If your ‘About Me’ page is hard to find, then you’re missing the opportunity to tell potential readers who you are.
Stop asking what’s in it for you and start asking what you can give. I saw someone on twitter the other day complaining that they commented on four blogs and no one came back to comment on their blog so they weren’t going to comment on anyone’s blog anymore.
Firstly, I can appreciate the hustle of just starting out. I can. And I am sure they are a very nice person. But when you say stuff like that you sound like a bit of a whiner, and also, verrrrrrrrrrry entitled. Please don’t just expect that if you comment on someone’s blog they’re going to come and leave a comment on your blog. They could, they might, but they’re not required to.
What if they don’t like what you write about? Or share about? Should they be required to comment on your blog solely because you commented on theirs? And if they are required to comment on your blog, solely because you commented on theirs, are they really going to leave that great of a comment?
If you want to bring something to the blogging community, then bring something to the blogging community. But stop asking ‘what’s in it for me?’ What’s in it for you? An opportunity to share your thoughts, an opportunity to connect and communicate, an opportunity to share and to hear other perspectives. But it’s worth noting you’re not entitled to any of those things. And you likely won’t get them if you’re going to complain and whine about it.
Layout of your blog matters. It always matters. If you’re just blogging for you, as an online journal and you don’t care who sees your blog, or if anyone ever does, then your layout only matters to you. But, if you’re blogging to find a community, grow an audience, hopefully become an established place for people to come and hear/see your thoughts, then your blog layout really needs to be clean, simple and easy to use. While you might like that neon green look, or the eight giant photos at the top of the page that need to get scrolled through to get to your actual content, most people likely won’t. And if you want their attention you need to make your blog layout appeal to them.
Think of it like the age old lesson they teach in real estate: a home with white walls is a whole lot easier to sell than a home with neon colours on the walls. This is because when people walk into a home with neon walls, they have a hard time seeing past the colours and cannot possibly picture themselves living there. A few people may walk into a home with a neon green kitchen and think ‘Yeah, I love that I want to live here’. Probably 90% of people can walking to a home with a white kitchen and think ‘Yeah, I love that and want to live here’.
It’s a simple fact of life, neutral colours appeal to more people. Neutral colours appeal to even those who loved the neon. So if you’re looking to grow an audience and want people to find your blog and fall in love, make sure that your layout is one that is neutral, one that can appeal to the most eyes that see it.
If you’d like to see what I speak in action – view the website of Nike, Nordstrom and even the WordPress homepage. All of these websites have something in common – they’re neutral to allow the content to speak for itself.
People focus far too much on getting readers to “click here for more” when they should be focusing on spreading their posts as far and wide as possible. I see a lot of people complain about how people just don’t click their ‘read more’ buttons. Well, I mean… I don’t really blame them. Unless you’re an established blogger, or my best friend, I’m likely not going to kick your ‘read more’ button either.
Without an established, guaranteed audience to read your content each day, the only thing you’re doing is making it harder for people to access your content. The more clicks required to actually view a single post of yours, the more potential audience members you’re going to lose in the process because they just can’t be bothered with clicking further.
Imagine someone clicks on a post and really likes what they’re reading. They then have to click back to your homepage to click another post to be able to read that. I’ve seen some layouts where you have to click on a photo to get the ‘read more’ button to click on that to actually read the text. In a world where there are 75 million blogs on wordpress alone, you’re really making it easy for people to just completely move on from your blog and forget it ever existed.
And hey, if you think ‘If they’re not going to click to read more then I don’t want them on my blog’, that’s fine, I respect that opinion. If that’s how you truly feel, though, then stop complaining about a lack of audience. Because if you really want to grow your audience, you need to make it easy for them to view your content.
Social media is not mandatory, but you will find more success with blogging if you have social media accounts for your blog. Social media is a beast that, if you use properly can benefit you immensely. I’m talking bringing hundreds, if not thousands, of organic hits to your website just with the sharing of a link to twitter, facebook and pinterest.
For reference, I have had a Pinterest Account for maybe 2 or 3 weeks at this point and the only posts I’ve actually posted to Pinterest are my travel posts. I have more than 3,100 hits to my Pinterest Account and more than a tousand referrers from those hits to my blog. You can say that 33 percent turning into actual hits isn’t that big, but I’d still say that 1,000 organic hits from Pinterest is more hits than I had before.
You do not have to have social media accounts. Not in any way, shape or form. But, if you make them, and you use them properly, they can drive organic traffic to your blog that you haven’t previously had. So I would strongly encourage you consider it.
If you don’t like what someone has to say, don’t leave them nasty comments. It’s a fact of life, you’re not going to agree with what everyone says on their blog. If that’s the case, find a new blog. You don’t need to leave them nasty comments calling them names or telling them they’re an idiot. You can simply just move on.
If you have any questions about anything I’ve said, feel free to ask.
If you’d like to read more of my posts about blog marketing, click here>
Without knowing it, many of you have taken part in an experiment over the past couple of weeks. What? An experiment? How sneaky of me, I know! The experiment was a test to see just how many comments could be collected on one post, if I asked the right questions. And let me tell you, your responses did not disappoint!
One of the most common things I see asked with respect to blogging is how do you get more people to comment on your blog. People ask here on WordPress, they ask on Twitter, my former bosses used to ask me all the time. How do you get more people to comment on your blog, your content and your message? It’s actually a question asked in the corporate world quite a lot. Even companies like Nike and Starbucks can struggle with getting people to provide feedback.
So how do you encourage engagement? How do you get more comments? How do you cause people to stop by your blog and think ‘I need to comment on this post!’
Suggestion 1: Ask them!
It seems simple, right? But many corporations and individual bloggers forget. We get so wrapped up in sending the message that we want to send that we forget to quite simply ask people what they think, how they feel, what their opinions are.
The two posts on my blog that garnered the most comments over the past few weeks were posts in which I purposefully went out of my way to ask you for your opinions.
And your perspectives, I got! If you read the comments section of these two posts: Absolutely (un)important questions and I would like to hear your opinion you will see oodles of different opinions. Each post has more than 100 comments on it. People went out of their way to not just share line or two, but to send me meaningful, thoughtful opinions of their perspectives.
If you want people to leave comments on your blog, ASK THEM QUESTIONS. Talk with them… instead of at them. Let them know that you want to hear their opinions. Let them know that their opinions, no matter if they align or disagree with your own, are welcome on your blog and then encourage them to share. People like to share their own opinions and will feel a lot safer to do so if you let them know their opinions are welcome on your blog.
Suggestion 2: Thank people who do share.
All too often I stop by someone’s blog to leave a comment and they don’t bother to respond to my comment.
This is totally fine. You don’t have to respond to your comments. But I truly believe that if you don’t respond to the comments people leave on your blog, they aren’t likely to leave another. It’s true for me, and as you’re reading this, it’s probably true for you. If you take the time to leave someone a heartfelt comment and they don’t bother to write back, why would you do that ever again?
This is why it’s really important that, if you do get comments on your blog, you respond. Responding to your comments lets people know that, whether they agree with your not, their thoughts are welcome on your blog. Responding to your comments encourages people to come back to your blog. Responding to your comments shows the people reading your blog that you’re thankful for their reading your blog. When your readers find you, let them know you’re thankful for every comment they leave.
Also – please remember, not everyone communicates in the same way. Some people have a way with words where they can leave you a really eloquent comment whereas others might just say ‘Thank you for writing this’. Please don’t devalue ‘thank you for writing this’. A reader is still valuable to your blog, no matter how long of a comment they leave.
Suggestion 3: Encourage feedback.
While not every post on your blog is going to be you specifically going out of your way to ask people for their answers to important questions, you can ask for feedback on your own content.
When you make a blog post, encourage people to respond. If you’re sharing your opinion, ask people for theirs. If you’re sharing a short story, ask people what they think of your short story. If you’re sharing your art, ask people to rate it on a scale from 1-10. However you see fit, whatever you see most aligning with your post, encourage readers to give you feedback.
Please note – When you’re encouraging feedback, don’t end your posts with a question that can be answered with a single word. End your post with a question that asks people for their opinions.
Example: You write a post about a truly orgasmic pizza eating experience. On the end of the post you leave a question.
Bad Questions: Do you like pizza? Do you like cheese? Do you like pineapple on pizza?
Good Questions: Can you tell me about a time in your life when you just couldn’t believe the pizza you were eating? What made that pizza so incredible? What about that memory sticks out so well in your mind?
The reason why the bad questions are bad questions is because someone can say “Yes. No. Yes”. It’s so simple that it doesn’t really encourage any informative feedback, it only asks yes or no questions. Yes or no questions that can be answered so quickly people might just skip over answering them at all. On the other hand, with the good questions listed, if people read that, they’re going to want to share their stories with you. They’re going to take the time to think about the best pizza they’ve ever had and they’re going to type up the whole story in your comments button.
Suggestion 4: Leave a comment on another blog.
Simply put, people are more likely to view and leave comments on the blogs of people who’ve left comments on their blog.
Now it’s important to note that with this suggestion, I DO NOT mean to spam people. Don’t just go to someone’s blog and write “Hey Check out my blog!” in their comments. I mean that you should go to someone’s blog, leave them a thoughtful comment and then mention “Hey, I also just recently touched on this subject on my blog. Would you consider reading it?”
It’s worth noting that this happens ALL THE TIME in the corporate world. The Oreo brand is notorious for leaving comments on other brands from KitKat to Boeing to American Eagle. They do this because they know that in doing so, they’re supporting other companies, but also supporting themselves. When people see a comment from Oreo on an American Eagle release, Oreo knows that’s going to put their brand at top of mind for a lot of American Eagle customers. It’s a small piece to marketing, but if you do it properly, an effective one.
Encouraging engagement can be difficult when you’re just starting out. But, it’s worth noting that things are always difficult when you’re just starting out. The important thing is that you try. That you put your efforts towards not just building a blog but building a community. Because people want to know they’re a part of a community and they’re being talked with, not at.
Take it slow and steady, one step at a time. Even Everest is conquerable so long as you go at your own pace.