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.

StatsScreen

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!

thBFGA1IHA

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)

internet-marketing-jokes

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.

 

Back to Blogging Basics

I spent some time yesterday crafting a post about how toddlers are assholes. It was basically just me ranting about my tremendously crappy day that resulted in me crying while my son ran off to pee on the floor. (#momlife at its best 🙄)

But I didn’t post it because it wasn’t a full article type post with a point and perfectly prepared pics. Ha! Try saying that 5 times fast.

My original blog, the anonymous one about my IVF experience, really gave me an emotional outlet. I didn’t care about stats and likes, I just shared to get it all off my chest. But things changed when I decided to do a “real blog.”

My posts became more planned out. I started thinking of them more like magazine articles. And sometimes I’m doing paid posts and it starts to feel like a homework assignment!

It’s making it all more like work and less like the emotional and creative outlet that attracted me to blogging in the first place. So while I still plan to keep that part going, I’m also going to just pop in here with no big agenda, no sponsored links and just write about life and enjoy myself.

So the blog continues to evolve… even if it is something of a step back to a simpler time. A time before I knew what an Amazon affiliate was… lol

blog-humor

I Got a Felt Letter Board, Now What?

When I first saw bloggers posting about upping their Insta-game with a felt letter board, I didn’t really get it. And then when I saw it, I was like, well now I have to have it! It’s a framed felt board with little slots to stick in letters and numbers. The more I looked, the more I saw them being used and felt like I needed to give it a try.

funny letter board quote

I did some research and found a cute post on NestingWithGrace.com where they found a lot of good uses for their board (photo above) and another with good tips and tricks on keeping your letters straight and setting up your layout.

I got this 10×10 wooden framed letter board by Shiny Vita off Amazon and was ready to think of something brilliant to share with the world. (If you feel the burning need to get one too, go ahead and click my handy affiliate link there and use code “geekmamas” for 25% off.)

felt letter board 10x10

The board comes with little scissors and 680 letters, symbols and numbers attached to plastic grids. About half of them glow in the dark so you can marvel at your witty quotes even with the lights out. It also comes with a little bag to keep your letters in, however, I found the best way to organize everything is to get little plastic containers with dividers. I got a 3-pack of plastic containers which was enough to organize everything in its own individual space so it doesn’t take an hour to find the right letter or symbol.

But before I could get started, I had to get snipping. And snipping. And organizing…

Snipping letter board numbers

After I finally snipped them all off (ok most of them) I was ready to put something on it! But what?? Stuff I made up? Quotes from other places? My super witty insights into #momlife? I stared at that board for a long time and only managed to come up with this:

mom life felt letter board

So maybe I’m not ready to join the Instagram letter board brigade just yet…lol.

I have at least found some other creative uses besides quotes:

sagaform and tryazon party
Hashtags at sampling and promo parties
happy birthday nanny
Special message for Nanny on her birthday!

And next I’ll probably use it as a sign at my son’s birthday party. So it has come in handy, although I kind of find putting all those little pieces on the board extremely tedious and want to quit halfway through and find some better use of my time.

But then I think…how will my husband get through the night without gazing on my wisdom glowing in the darkness? And I just keep going…

Feel free to inspired me with your favorite felt letter board quotes and posts!