I don’t know how it’s already the middle of January 2019, but here we are. And we’re talking about blogging tools you can try in 2019 to grow your blog! These 11 tools are things that I used in 2018, one each month. (Nothing in December due to The Fiasco.) I spent a month on each of them because you can’t do these things once and expect it to magically grow your blog. Then, once that month was over and I was moving on to the next tool, I kept using that tool from the previous month, too. I like doing this approach because it’s less overwhelming. Not to mention that it gives me a good idea about whether or not each tool works!
11 Blogging Tools To Try in 2019
January: SEO – I’ve included SEO (search engine optimization) in my blog strategy for a little while now, but in January I decided that I would double down on it. I had gotten rather lax with using SEO, so I figured a month focusing on it would help me get back into the rhythm. In the 12 blog posts from January, I used SEO in 8 of them. Out of the ones that I didn’t use SEO, 1 was a sponsored post (required to use nofollow links), 1 was the Currently post (no real good idea for SEO in an all-over-the-place post like that), and I just decided not to use SEO in the other 2. As a part of my SEO strategy, I use the SEO term in the URL of the post and in the file names of my images. This helps them stand out in searches in general, but especially so on Pinterest, as Pinterest is really a search engine. It made a huge difference! For basically the entire year, over 50% of my blog traffic has come from Pinterest.
February: Instagram – In February, I tried to use Instagram as a way to gain blog traffic. I want to be clear here: I did not focus on growing my Instagram but instead worked on getting traffic from my existing Instagram audience. Some of the things I did include changing my profile a bit, using Linktree, and started pinning from my Instagram. Linktree is a site that lets you make a page with the links you want people to be click and then you put that page as the link in your Instagram profile. After a few months, I stopped using Linktree and made my own page, the Instagram Links page.
March: Link to other posts – If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I do this all the time. If there is an existing post that is very similar to a new one, I’ll link to that existing post at the beginning of the new one. I’ll also link similar posts throughout the new one, and at the end of the post, I include 3-5 links to similar posts.
April: Use more of my own photos versus stock photos – This is one that helped make my blog more professional, but I was unsure if it would help my traffic. I think it depends; if I posted more about fashion, having my own photos would make more of a difference.
May: Ads on social media – I used to do this more in the older days of blogging! This time around, I did several ads on multiple social media sites this month, including Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. For me personally, Pinterest ads had the best results.
June: Be more personal – While I do share a lot of my life in my blog posts, I also intentionally keep a fair amount out. In June, I wrote 4 posts that were more personal, although they weren’t always personal in the way you might think; in one post, I posted a picture of myself without makeup, for example. What I found this month is that personal blog posts can help, but only if they’re the type of personal posts that people want to read. Even though some of my followers voted on my blog post topics, many didn’t, and those posts weren’t as successful as I hoped. Did more people not want to read those personal posts than those who did? Or did I just give my followers not-great post ideas to choose between? Should I have written posts that were even more personal?
July: Write content that no one else is writing – If you want to stand out, you need to be different than everyone else or do something differently than everyone else. Blogging has become a saturated industry; there’s definitely room for everyone, but it takes more to stand out than it did when I started blogging. I wrote a post about the emotional side of my surgery recovery; very few people write about tarsal coalition surgeries, which has led to many people finding me and my blog. I wrote about how publishing blog traffic reports can bring traffic to your blog, something I’ve never seen a post about. Find what no one is writing about or share your unique view on a topic that others are writing about.
August: Write very specific posts – This has been SO helpful. As Allie from SavvyMamaBlogger says, “The best kinds of keywords to go after these days are those that answer specific questions. These questions often end up being great long-tail keywords too. Generally you’ll see forum results and poorly written content show up in the top of the search results on Google. THOSE KEYWORDS ARE ABSOLUTE GOLD! If you can write longer, more helpful content then you could easily outrank that content in a matter of weeks and months. Better rankings translates to more traffic!” (x) Some of my most popular posts from August to now have been posts where I used these keywords. I strongly recommend trying this.
September: Mailing list – I’ve had my mailing list for a while, but in September, I worked on using it to grow blog traffic. The first thing I did was change how often I emailed my subscribers; I was only emailing them twice a month and switched to once a week. I also changed the set-up of my emails. The first and third ones of the month are very simple, just a recap of the blog posts from the previous week. In the middle of the month, I feature what has happened in my life and on the blog in the first half of the month, provide a preview of upcoming blog posts, share what I’m currently reading, feature a free printable, and share some of my blogging resources. At the end of the month, the newsletter has all of the above, plus I share my favorite blog posts from the month and your favorite blog posts from the month, aka the most popular posts.
What works for me, though, might not work for you. Figure out what your subscribers like. Some bloggers send a newsletter every time they have a new blog post, others send one every week, others send them multiple times a week, whatever. It might take some time to figure out what your readers like!11 things you can do in 2019 to grow your blog Click To Tweet
October: Relaunch old posts – By this I mean that some of my posts in October were posts from years ago that I added and/or changed to make them better and post them in October. This is GREAT to do if your life gets busy or hectic and you have less time to blog. It’s also great to do if you’re like me and you have hundreds of posts from years ago but they’re not great by today’s standards.
November: Make shareable content – This is something that I have struggled with for years. I can make posts easier to share – see the tweet above, social media sharing buttons on the left, the “share this” buttons at the end of this post – but I struggle with making posts that would count as shareable content. Nevertheless, I tried. Here are some resources if you want to try this: The Art of Creating Shareable Content for Your Blog and 6 Types of Share-Worthy Content.
What blogging tools have helped grow your blog traffic?
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