The Unfollowers, or The Super Annoying Trend of Following Just to Unfollow

I recently tried a marketing lesson thing that was supposed to unlock some sort of magical secret to using Twitter effectively and growing your audience. The main lesson I got out of it:

1) Follow a bunch of people

2) Unfollow them if they don’t follow you back

3) Repeat

It got more detailed than that of course, and there were some good tips for someone just starting out on targeting your market. But this seemed to be the core curriculum, and I just don’t agree with the method. It just seems a little silly, childish even. “I’ll follow you only if you follow me back!” And it’s not just Twitter. This happens a lot on Instagram too.

I follow people because I’m interested in their stuff. I’m not going to stop following someone unless they just post irrelevant content I’m not interested in. Likewise I’m not going to follow someone just because they followed me.

Will this method gain you lots of followers really fast? Yes, probably. Will these people necessarily care what you are writing? Probably not. Pretty sure the German DJ and air conditioner place that followed me yesterday aren’t interested in my potty training stories. But they are interested in my follow back.

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The Number One Thing I Did to Increase My Blog Traffic

A lot of people ask me about starting a blog and how I got readers. I found one thing that made a HUGE difference in my blog traffic. If you look at my blog stats from where I started with my first post to now, you can see exactly when I implemented this strategy, and how I went from about 200 views a month to 20,000.

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So here’s the big secret: I owned it. I basically “came out” as a blogger. Meaning I put it everywhere and I told everyone about it, and I told people it’s what I do instead of just acting like it was a little hobby or not important. I made it important.

I had my first blog for probably 10 years, and I thought I had a good readership. Overall I got maybe 2000 views a month. I wrote about my costume shop, cosplay events and conventions. I never had very many comments or likes, and I didn’t really pay much attention to it. I had no idea how big a blog could be once you really focus on it.

So how do you make it important?

First, make sure your blog is on all your social profiles. I started getting a lot of traffic from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter when I started sharing my posts there. Then I created a LinkedIn account, put on there that I was a blogger and linked my blog. I felt pretty official after that!

I also got a little more focused and accepted the mom blog thing. At first, I wanted a mostly geek-centered blog with crafting, plus movie and book reviews. But what I really enjoyed writing most was my personal stories and doing product reviews. So instead of a geeky blog run by a mom, it became a mom blog with a dash of geek. Once I had a focus, I felt more confident telling people I was a blogger because I felt more secure about answering the usual questions that follow, like, “What’s your blog about?”

It’s been six months since I made the change and became a blogger, not just someone with a blog. While the change was sudden, it takes some dedication to keep the momentum. I notice my stats slipping when I get quiet and stop sharing or commenting on other blogs. It does take at least a small amount of engagement to bring in new readers and stay connected with current ones.

So that’s the big secret. If you want to BE a blogger, you have to let everyone else know you ARE a blogger. Even if it’s just in your own mind to start, lol.

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So what’s your number one strategy for increasing blog traffic?

Mommy Bloggers are Crazy

For many years I had a blog for my shop. Boutique news, convention wrap-ups, costume stuff, etc. So I thought I knew what I was getting into with the new blog thing, but noooooo. Just like everything else that relates to parenting, I was wrong about the Mommy Blog.

crazy mom blogger

Mom blogging is a different world. There are networks, tribes, pods, loops… and you have to learn to navigate through them. It’s easy to get sucked into the networking thing and then next thing you know all you are doing is posting and liking and commenting in exchange for the same on your stuff.

And these people aren’t necessarily interested in what you are actually posting. They’re only interested in the reciprocal like or comment or share. It’s all a big numbers game where people want tons views and followers so they can be seen as an “influencer.” The more influence you appear to have, the more likely you are to get paid for things and get more free stuff.

I lasted about ten seconds on an Instagram follow loop. And most of the follows I earned from that have already unfollowed me anyway so it was a total waste of time. It seems like Twitter has a never ending supply of parent bloggers tweeting and retweeting every little thing. I’ve been pretty stingy with my blog follows, only following back the blogs that appear to have content I’m interested in reading on a regular basis.

I’ve been able to stay out of the mama drama for the most part. I participate in one Facebook group with a small group of blogging ladies that are pretty awesome. Our rules are relaxed and we haven’t had to do the dreaded Facebook ban on anyone.

I don’t plan on getting sucked into it since I don’t have the time to go leave fake likes and comments all day. And I prefer my readers to be real as well. So if you are reading this, liking and commenting, then thank you! I really enjoy reading the comments and knowing they aren’t just some reciprocal compulsion.

I still have a lot to learn in the business of mom blogging and blogging in general. My goal is to keep things fun and keep enjoying it and definitely Not get too obsessed with stats and shares and how many likes something gets. Of course I pay attention to that stuff! But really, it’s just exciting to be writing something people are actually reading. So again, thank you for being here!

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I Don’t Read Your Blog, and Here’s Why

I’m just going to come right out and say a lot of “Mom Blogs” annoy me. They are so bogged down with ads and giant photos that I can’t even figure out where the article starts and ends, but I can figure out where to buy a Vitamix blender, save on auto insurance and get the latest bundle on Direct TV.

I know, I know…you’re just trying to make a little money, right? Utilize all that advertising space? But do you have to do it RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of your damn blog post? It’s at the top, bottom, sidebars and sandwiched all up in there so much that I’m thinking maybe this is really just a GEICO ad that somehow got meshed with an informative piece on dealing with tantrums (observation based on an article that inspired this post, that pushed me over the edge and almost made me have a tantrum)

So here’s my Top 5 List of Reasons Why I Just Can’t Read Your Blog:

1 – Your photos are enormous, so they take forever to load and dominate the page. If you have a photography blog, great, that makes sense. But if you are trying to tell me a story and break up your text with HUGE photos, it’s just annoying. I post photos. Sometimes they are on the larger side, but I try not to have them dominate the text.

2 – You have large blocks of uninterrupted text. Writing for the Internet is different and massive paragraphs without line breaks make it hard to follow. You need to break it up and throw in a photo now and then. Just not a giant one.

3 – You have pop-ups. Does Anyone like these? No. My first instinct is to go around clicking all the little x’s to make them go away. I don’t even care what they say.

4 – Ads everywhere. Look, I understand we need to make a little extra money and even I have given WordPress Word Ads a try, but when they are at the top, at the bottom, in the freakin middle of your blog post…I can’t concentrate on the text at all.

5 – You don’t proofread. Spell check was invented for a reason, use it! And don’t stop there, read over everything and edit for grammar, punctuation, etc. We all make typos, but repeatedly doing so throughout the blog just makes it painful to read. And I know I’m not perfect, but I do make a considerable effort to proofread several times before ever pressing publish. (except that one time I published my rough draft and then wanted to scream and hide under a rock)

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Now I know what you are thinking…except for maybe #5, all these things are being done by popular blogs that actually make money. So maybe the trick to making money blogging is to cater to the advertiser and your google stats, and not the reader. And if that’s your thing, then you didn’t get into this for the love of writing and that’s OK. Since I started blogging I’ve learned there are ALL types of blogs from the personal diaries to product reviewers to business machines where you buy into a blog network and craft it to appeal to your local community. There’s short stories, poetry, beauty blogs, foodies, overall lifestyle blogs and my personal niche, the mommy blog. There’s a blog for everything and everybody!

But if you are going to put the time into writing articles you want people to be able to read and enjoy, just please clean it up a little, cut out a few ads and make it easier to read. I’m incredibly distracted already, I don’t need your flashing pop-ups and wallpaper sized photos competing for my limited attention.

 

Gift Crushes for Mother’s Day – or Just Treat Yo Self!

Mother’s Day is coming up fast! Maybe you’re trying to figure out something really good to ask for, or what to get your own mom this year besides the usual flower bouquet. Babbleboxx has assembled an impressive collection of gifts sure to please any mom on Mother’s Day. (or really, any woman, any day!) Read on for product details and special discount codes from Sandisk, Dermaflash, Maidenform, Bellame Skincare, Davina by Vince Camuto and Edible Arrangements.

mothers day gift ideas

1) First up is the iXpand Flash Drive from Sandisk
I think I took about 50 photos a day after my son was born. Photos of EVERYTHING! I would burn through my phone’s memory and have to find time to download them all the computer. The iXpand Flash Drive for iPhones makes it super easy to save all your photos and back everything up! The little device plugs right into your phone and works with an app to quickly free up your phone space so you can take even more photos and videos. And if you don’t have an iPhone, there’s also the Ultra Dual Drive m3.0 for Android users so every mom is covered!

2) When mom’s skin needs a little pampering, look no further than the Dermaflash 2.0, which is a unique tool for an exfoliation process called dermaplaning. It removes the top layer of dead skin cells and peach fuzz, leaving a smooth prepped surface that lets skincare products absorb more easily and make-up glide on smoothly. My skin felt super smooth after just one use!

Click here to shop the Dermaflash website and use code MOTHERSDAY to save 20% on your purchase!

3) After mom gets done dermaplaning, she’ll need to pamper her skin with some luxurious skincare products and Bellame Skincare has just the thing – the Acqua Lumiere Hydrating Cleanser and Hydrating Serum. The ultra-luxe European style cream cleanser is known as the “dream cleanser” because it packs a powerful punch from a high-powered hyaluronic acid to lift away impurities and omega-rich oils to nourish and hydrate. It’s so luxurious it even doubles as a moisturizing mask! Bellame also has the softest bamboo washcloths great for massaging the cleanser into skin and wiping away all make-up and impurities lifted by the cleanser. Right now you can receive a FREE set of six luxurious washcloths with the purchase of the Acqua Lumiere Collection on Bellame.com.

After cleansing, follow-up with the Acqua Lumiere Hydrating Serum, a liquid anti-aging powerhouse that delivers a highly concentrated dose of mineral anti-oxidants, collagen, omega-rich oil and Vitamin C to boost firmness, block inflammation and repair sun damage while targeting fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration. The very definition of “good things in small packages!”

4) Next up is something way better than flowers – a gift basket from Edible Arrangements! I absolutely LOVE getting these. I don’t know how they do it, but their fruit tastes better than anything I get at the grocery store, and not just because some of it is drenched in chocolate. It’s all so ripe and perfect – this fruit basket actually made me like melon! So not only is it delicious, but it’s good for you too. Our whole family has been eating fruit all week.

The fruit arrangement shown here is the Mother’s Day Swizzle Bouquet and it makes an impressive gift! Packed full of fruit, including melons, grapes, cantaloupe and chocolate covered strawberries and topped with a special Mother’s Day Gourmet Belgian Chocolate Pop. This is all sorts of YUM! Use code BESTMOM for 15% off $65+ purchases until 5/11. And if you wait until the last minute – no worries! They can deliver treats the same day!

5) Now that mom has transferred her photos, taken care of her skin and has a belly full of chocolate dipped strawberries, she’s ready to lounge around in her new Maidenform Loungewear Cami and Tap Pant Set. The cute and comfy microfiber and lace set is soft and easy to wear with an elastic waist and adjustable cami straps. The collection also comes in five different versatile options and is currently on sale!

6) And finally top it all off with a spritz of Divina by Vince Camuto. A summer scent that evokes a bright cheerful day with lots of floral notes. This long lasting fragrance is a blend of grapefruit, mimosa blossom and musk but had me thinking of gardenias in full bloom.

Hope you all have a very happy Mother’s Day!

What are you hoping to get this year?

* Post sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com  * SanDisk provided by Western Digital*