One of the best things I’ve learned as a blogger & online biz owner is to NOT fall prey to the belief that I need to do all the things in order to grow my blog.
Instead, I spend a significant amount of my blogging/working time focusing on tasks that align with my core goals. That means I only do things that help to grow my blog, serve my audience (good information is the key, my friends!), boost my subscribers, engage potential new readers, and ultimately bring value to the online world.
So today I wanted to share the 5 most important things I do every week to grow my blog and online presence in the hopes that maybe you will find inspiration to do the same . . .
Write at least one really good blog post
When I am asked what the #1 way to grow your blog is, my response is always “writing great posts”. Yes, marketing those posts (social media!) and engaging with readers is crucial, but if you have crap content to begin with, all the marketing in the world won’t matter!
I am a huge advocate for working smarter not harder, and the smartest thing a blogger can do to grow their blog is write kick-butt content each and every week! Focus on writing quality content that will teach, engage, grow and inspire your readers (even if you only have 10 of them!!) and do the same for you as well.
Remember, I started this blog with an online diary mentality and people loved it! I shared my stories as a new mom – warts & all! – and it’s what gave me success and sustainability in a very noisy online world. Content was always the key to my success online and it will be the key to yours as well.
[As a side note: stop worrying about having perfect content. Put out the best content you can but be gentle with yourself. Not every post will knock it out of the park, not every post will be free of grammar or spelling mistakes, and not every post will read exactly the way you wanted it to…and that’s ok! Getting out your message (even with errors) is way more important than being perfect! I promise!]
I wish I could tell you that I batch my blog posts but I just am not inspired to write that way. Instead, I sit down on Monday morning and write one really good post that I can promote throughout the week. In my eyes, a good post is over 1000 words, includes text and visuals, solves a problem/gives advice/encourages/tells a story, and comes from a place of service over profit!
Schedule one week of social media posts
There is a false belief floating around that the only way to be “real” on social media is to post things in the moment & as they’re happening. BUT THAT JUST ISN’T TRUE!! Social media is the best way to to grow your readership and engage your blog audience, but it certainly isn’t only authentic if you’re posting in real time. Actually, I find some of my best posts – the ones that truly share my heart and strike a chord with readers – are best told when they are well thought out and scheduled ahead of time.
Each Monday, I sit down and schedule out my Instagram posts (I use Later.com because it’s free and awesome!), a few Facebook posts (I schedule right on Facebook…here’s some more info about that if you’re interested), and a few Twitter posts. Now, notice I said “a few”. I don’t go crazy and schedule tons of posts each day because that does take away from authenticity and the ability to actually get social on social media, but it does help ease the burden of feeling like I have to be online 24/7 and have to be on display more than I would like.
Scheduling out a few social posts for your week gives you something to look forward to (honestly, I get excited knowing that certain Instagram posts are coming up!), a sense of purpose for the week and a bit of a break if/when life inevitably happens and you can’t jump online as much as you would like!!
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Engage, engage, engage!
The word “engagement” is floated around a lot in the online space but I don’t think we can ever say it or do it enough! Engagement is the lifeblood of a blog and it comes in so many forms – comments, likes, shares, tweets, private messages, emails, videos, webinars and so much more!
Every single day I focus on at least one form of engagement with my readers and with potential audiences! This may come from jumping on Twitter or Facebook for 15 minutes and commenting on posts. I may hop on Pinterest and save pins from some of my favourite bloggers or click over to a few blogs and leave comments. Maybe I film a new video for YouTube to answer a question that I have been asked a lot. Sometimes I send out a few emails to new people and introduce myself or email my mailing list and let them in on some new things that I’m working on or something that I have been testing out recently.
Whatever it looks like (and it is and should be different every single day), taking time to engage is critical. That engagement from you is what keeps your blog breathing and developing – make it a focus and see growth follow!
This is a tough one for some of you, but if you want to grow your blog each and every week you need to be visible. Yes, I know you’re scheduling social media and engaging online like we just talked about above…but how VISIBLE are YOU!? The blogger behind the blog – how much does your audience see of you? Visibility (the act of showing yourself to your audience) is a critical and often overlooked element of blog growth and if you’re not putting yourself out there for others to see, then your growth will be slower and even stagnant.
How can you make yourself visible each week? There are so many ways: share a picture of you that isn’t posed or perfect, do a live video where you chat about your week, InstaStories!, film a YouTube tutorial or chat (you can use your webcam…it doesn’t need to be perfect!), explain to your audience why a charity or a certain article resonates with you personally, laugh at yourself and encourage others to find humour in your flaws, put yourself in the spotlight and be interviewed as an expert on a podcast or television show, OR maybe just ask a question or write out a struggle in a Facebook group or online forum.
I’ll be honest, sometimes being visible is uncomfortable…but it is the best way to grow each week. Don’t hide behind your blog posts because they don’t always reveal the real you. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, authentic, honest, engaging and YOURSELF and you will see such a difference in your readership. In this noisy online world, the thing that sets you apart the most is who you are – so show your readers and potential audience exactly who you are and why you are someone they should get to know!
Take a break!
Ok, I know this is a weird one to throw in but a break is critical. You cannot go 100 mph all day every day without experiencing burnout and frustration! Whether it’s a coffee and Netflix while your baby naps or a week vacation in Florida – don’t be afraid to unplug and chill out a bit.
Trust me when I say that I know the desire to push harder and work more when you’re trying to achieve a goal or grow your blog. I am guilty of super late nights and early mornings, 18 hour days of work, and taking on way more than I can handle…I get you! But I have learned (and I hope you take this advice) that a break each week is not just good but 100% necessary in order to be at my best.
I have started adding workouts to my day and regular breaks away from my computer and phone where I just chill out and let my mind rest. I can’t say it’s easy because those breaks have meant that something doesn’t end up getting done (the Virgo in me can’t stand that!).
BUT, here’s the crazy thing…since I have started taking breaks and giving myself time away from my blog, I have almost TRIPLED my readership, grown my email list by 200 people EACH WEEK, and felt more engaged and inspired than ever before.
I love to work (too much!) and I push myself hard and pride myself on being the hardest working person in any room, but it hasn’t always served me well. Giving myself grace and allowing myself to step away from my to-do list and just chill has been the best thing I have done to grow my blog.
So this week I want to encourage you to give yourself a daily break – at least one hour a day where you don’t do anything blog related – and see how that begins to change your relationship with your blog and your readers. I can almost guarantee it will make a world of difference!
Leah | Five for the Road says
I should have known you were a Virgo!! Me too!!! These are great tips. I think taking a break is overlooked but can actually help you work better. I have been trying to build moments into my day and it makes me happier and more focused.
Sarah Newcomb says
GOOOOOOOOOO VIRGO!! 🙂 <3
Clearissa Coward says
I was just saying last night to my husband, that I need a break but I am afraid to be away from my blog. I don’t have a large following…YET! But I need to learn to use a new machine I got for Christmas and I just haven’t made the time. I also think I am beginning to feel a bit of burnout. How do you feel about taking a couple of weeks off to learn something new and then returning with a new skill to share and refreshed? Great article.
Sarah Newcomb says
You know what? Taking a break from my blog always brings me back with a vengeance! Be prepared for your traffic to dip while you’re away but that’s ok. When you come back refreshed you always write better content and that often doubles my traffic!!
Kate - Griggs and Woodward says
This is probably the most helpful post about blogging I’ve ever read and I’ve read a lot of them. Thank you for sharing! Now to get back on the blogging train…
Sarah Newcomb says
I’m so glad it was helpful!!!! Blogging is a grind – trust me, I totally get that! Knowing what actions bring the biggest payback is the key to not feeling crazy and overwhelmed or frustrated.
Mary Leigh says
I love this post so much! I am just starting a new blog and sometimes feel like trying to do all the things. To be honest, I’m still trying to get eyes on my blog. I have thought a lot about working to focus more on creating great content first, but it can sometimes be a little difficult for me to know the best way to promote that content. These are all really useful and practical tips!
Sarah Newcomb says
There are so many bright shiny objects out there, aren’t there!? I’m so glad this was useful for you!!!