Blogging Tips from an Accidental Blogger

A few people have e-mailed and asked how my blog has grown so quickly in one year.  My first thought was, “I don’t really know…I never dreamed that it would grow so fast with so many sweet people sharing bits of their lives with me.  I am not a very organized, goal-oriented person.  I didn’t start this blog a year ago and have it as my goal to have 5,000 Facebook followers.  It just kinda happened.  I’m still surprised that people are interested in reading what I write!”

But the more that I thought about it, the more that a few things popped into my head.   Here are just 5 things that I think contributed to the growth.  Take these with a grain of salt…I’m certainly no blogging expert!

Blogging Tip #1:  You must have passion.  
As I shared with you on my blogiversary giveaway post, I tried and failed at my coupon blog.  The main problem was that I wasn’t really passionate about blogging about deals.  And I love a good deal more than anyone, but I didn’t feel fulfilled when I shared the latest coupons with the world.  Plus, there are thousands of other bloggers who have the niche pretty well taken care of.

Sharing my passion for teaching (especially teaching my own children) and knowing that the things we do these first 5 years in our children’s lives have a profound impact on them is what keeps me motivated.  When I blog about things I do with my kids, I feel fulfilled.  I enjoy love it!   Bottom line:  If you want to blog, find something that your passionate about and blog about that.

Blogging Tip #2:  Post Frequently.
I recently looked at the number of posts for the past year.  I’ve written a whopping 502 posts in 365 days…wowza!  I certainly don’t know that I can keep up with that pace for the following year, but I’ve made it my goal to post once each day.  There will be days that this doesn’t happen.  And that’s okay with me as long as I try to be consistent.  Keep in mind that posting every day won’t work for some blogging niches…that’s okay!  Find what works for you.  Bottom line:  Consistently posting keeps people coming back to your blog. 

Blogging Tip #3:  Host Giveaways.
Hosting giveaways on my blog has been one of the single best methods for blog growth.  When I first started, I stalked people on Etsy and Zulily…e-mailing every person I could think of.  Begging and pleading.  This is what was the most time-consuming for me in the beginning.  But it gets easier.  Once you’ve worked with a company and the giveaway has been a success, they’ll most likely agree to partner with you again in a few months.  Don’t be afraid to be assertive and ask…the worse thing they can do is say “no.”  (This is SO much easier for me to do in an e-mail than in person…I would NEVER be able to ask someone to sponsor a giveaway in person.)

Make sure giveaways do not dominate your site.  Your first goal should be great content.  I once read that a ratio of 1 giveaway for every 10 content-filled posts is typically a great way to encourage new followers while still keeping your blog relevant.  Also, it is illegal for you to require something of your readers when entering a giveaway (I just found this out a few weeks ago from this site on blog law).  Extra entries can include following, liking, etc., but the main entry cannot.  Bottom line:  Intersperse relevant giveaways with great content.  


Blogging Tip #4:  Utilize Social Media.
I started my blog’s Facebook page about the same time as I started the blog.  It is one of my highest traffic sources!  If you are blogging or you want to start a blog, you need a Facebook page!!!

Other people have had great success with Twitter as well.  I am not quite as fond of Twitter…mostly because I feel a bit ignorant with all the #’s and @’s.  It doesn’t show pictures with posts, which is a huge turnoff to me.  Pinterest is the new up-and-coming social media outlet that I absolutely adore!

If you’re going to have a Facebook or Twitter page, make sure you don’t just post your blog’s postings.  Interact with your readers.  Ask questions.  Make it feel like somewhat of a community.  Post other things you find relevant from other blogs on occasion (but not ALL the time).  Bottom line:  If you’re gonna have a blog, you have to be on Facebook.


Blogging Tip #5:  Guest Post and Submit Your Ideas to Bigger Blogs.
My blog has grown mostly due to the willingness of other bloggers to share my ideas.  The blog certainly wouldn’t be where it is today had this not happened.  To this date, my single greatest referral (according to Google Analytics) has been Money Saving Mom (thank you Crystal!).  More than Facebook.  More than Feedburner.  Certainly more than Twitter.  Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with bigger bloggers.  Once again, the worst that can happen is they say “no.”

Likewise, seek out blogs to guest post on.  Don’t be afraid to step out of your blogging niche either.  Every few months or so, I get an itch to write something about saving money just because I enjoy it!  It’s actually more fun (in my opinion) to guest post on blogs that are different from yours because it gives you a chance to write about something new!  Bottom Line:  E-mail the authors of other blogs you enjoy to see if you can guest post or to share an idea!

Other Quick Tips I Couldn’t Resist Sharing:  
-Don’t do it for the money.  You will make next to nothing (in the first year at least).  The last few months, I’ve averaged about $4/hour (which is half of minimum wage, people).  It has slowly been increasing and I noticed a (bigger than usual) jump in earnings this last month…but slow and steady wins the race, right?

-If you want to monetize your blog, put ads on your site from the beginning (even when you are earning $0.02 per day).  I made the mistake of not doing this and once I did start putting a few ads, a few readers had harsh words for me.  :(

-Have someone design your blog.  I’m not good at graphic design stuff, so this was a necessity.  My friend Rachel at RV Blog Designs does a fantastic job for blogs hosted on Blogger!

-Invest time in learning how to take decent pictures.  Even if you only have a point-and-shoot camera, you can still make the most of it.  If you see pictures on other blogs that you like and wonder what their tricks are…ask!

-Buy your own domain name.  This makes it easier for people to find your site and looks a little more “professional”.  It’s typically about $10 per year.  It’s worth every penny in my book.

-Don’t let it overtake your life.  I spend lots of time on the computer and have to remind myself of my priorities…God, husband, kids.  :)

Other Great Blogging Resources (that I stalk):


BloggingwithAmy.com:  Super blog with easy tips and tricks.  Amy shows you how to start a blog from scratch as well as suggestions for transferring your blog from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress blog (which I’m considering doing).

Money Saving Mom’s series on How to Make Money Blogging:  Crystal is still writing weekly posts on this every Wednesday!  She knows her stuff…she’s the best blogger I know!

Christian Personal Finance’s Series on How to Make Money Blogging:  Awesome Resource, especially the section about Google AdSense!  There is also a chart that shows blog earnings that is really helpful.  It shows that the first year yields next to nothing with it spiking significantly after that!

Once again, I am far from an expert.  But I hope these tips are helpful!

Did you happen to notice that I’m wearing my fingerprint charms on my necklace in the picture???  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

If you’re a blogger, what’s your #1 tip???
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Filed Under: Blogging

Comments

  1. hilljean says

    So…I've totally been taking your advice today and sucking up my fear to ask people. You are awesome! I love this blog post–it was so helpful! Do you have any advice on like the protocol for "how" to ask people? Like do you just shoot bald emails asking them to give stuff away on your blog?

  2. Julia says

    I have a question for you. You said you average four dollars an hour. Is that assuming a 40 hour workweek, or do you mean four dollars for every hour you put into it?

  3. Sarah says

    This is great advice! Thanks for sharing! I even took your suggestion and started a FB page for my blog. I'm not on Twitter yet, but I've heard that it's a great way to build a blog following, mostly because you can quickly communicate with your readers. I'll have to try it out sometime. Again, thanks for sharing these tips! :)

  4. says

    Thanks for your post. I like many people that commented is new to blogging. I know you first stated that you are no expert, but based on some of the books on blogging I read you have hit the top items they recommend. Thanks for your honesty and sharing what has worked for you!

  5. says

    I am looking in starting my own blog, I read your post and had a question regarding putting up ads. How do I go about doing that? Also where can I buy my domain name?

    • says

      There are many companies that provide you with ads to display on your Blog. Some do that after approving your Blog while some directly do it.

      For Example
      Google Adsense ( It first approves your Blog)
      Qadabra (It does not require any approval)

      You can buy domain name from any Domain Registrars like Godaddy ,Namecheap,Hostgator etc.

      I purchased it from Namecheap

  6. says

    I wonder why did you say that we should display ads from the beginning?

    If my blog gets about 220 views per month , should I still display the ads on it?

    Because it gives motivation , seeing the number of pennies go up ?

    Please clear this point

    Thanks

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