2015 was a big year for Kate the (Almost) Great. My blog traffic increased dramatically from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2015, and it wasn’t pure luck. It was from a whole lot of hard work. So today I want to talk about 10 things I did that helped my blog the most in 2015 so you can do them, too, and get more blog traffic in 2016.
1. Posted blog traffic updates: Everyone loves traffic updates! But seriously, sharing my successes and failures has been great because I get feedback from others on what they did that helped or hurt them.
2. Switched to WordPress: I can’t emphasizes enough that self-hosted WordPress did wonders for me. It gave me so much more freedom and has helped me in ways that I can’t begin to explain. The largest way it has helped me is through plugins. They enable me to do so much, like improve my SEO and make a custom 404 page.
3. Settled on a style for my branded images: I know that this doesn’t seem like much. But branded images are necessary. I haven’t gotten to the point where all images on here are my own; I use a lot of stock photos. But I make them look the same with the same style and the same fonts. If you’re a regular reader and you saw my images somewhere like Pinterest, you’d probably know that they were mine instantly. Some people who have great branded images are Elle & Co, By Regina, and Olyvia.
4. Started the Quit Your Job To Blog course: This is NOT included in this list to sell you the course. It has genuinely helped my blog a lot. Helene is incredibly knowledgable about blogging successfully and making money from it. I haven’t thrown myself completely into the second part of that yet, but the first part is wonderful. What’s great about the course is that Helene helps you gain traffic by writing about what you like to write about. She isn’t trying to convince you to quit writing about what draws you and start writing about what will bring you traffic. She just helps you gain traffic and make money by writing about what matters to you. (PS – if you didn’t know, I don’t share the things that Helene reveals in her course because she charges for it and it wouldn’t be fair for me to go spilling her secrets.)
5. Began using a social media calendar: How does this help my blog? Because I’m building my social media presence, meaning more people to see my blog promotion. But people follow you online because you don’t just promote yourself. For example, during a 24-hour period, I schedule 7-9 tweets promoting blog posts, 1 promoting someone else, 1-2 with inspirational posts, and 1+ with something to encourage engagement. Everything else is done when I have time to be on Twitter. I post similarly on other social media networks. To learn more about social media calendars and how to create an effective one, check out Kayla Hollatz’s post on them.
6. Improved my use of SEO, or search engine optimization: This goes back to WordPress, as I use the Yoast SEO plugin, which has really helped me improve my search engine optimization. I thought I was using SEO pretty well, but it turns out I wasn’t. The plugin gives me a score on how my SEO in a specific post is, based on a keyword, and explains how I can improve the SEO in the post. This has led to more readers coming from search engines!
7. Sponsored other bloggers intentionally: By intentionally, I mean that I take into consideration what my money gets me. I want to make sure that I’m sponsoring people who will share my posts, run giveaways, and will have a sizable audience who will put eyes on my ad. I may spend more per ad, but I’m sponsoring fewer people, so my money is going far.
8. Wrote fewer posts per week, but improved the quality of those posts: It’s not worth it posting 4-5 times a week if I’m writing 4-5 low-quality posts. I’m now writing 2-3 a week, but I put a lot more into each of them.
9. Regularly promoted pins and shared Facebook ads: With both Pinterest and Facebook, you can choose audiences who like specific things for your ads. Plus, you set your budget! Spend as much or little as you want.
10. Scheduled promotions of 1 old post a day on top of other promotions: What I’m doing is going through my posts and scheduling tweets promoting one old post a day. (This is on top of my other promotions.) I’ve written almost 600 posts. That’s crazy! And it means that there are posts from months or years ago that aren’t seeing much action. So I promote one a day for months and then start it all over again. This way, as many posts as possible are seeing new readers.