Blogging Tips from an Accidental Blogger

IMG 4630 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. Kristen @ Busy Kids = Happy Mom says

    This is great, great information! When you request to blog on a bigger blog is it a post you've already written or a new one? You've done so well – congrats!

  2. Jenae says

    Kristen, typically you'll want to write a new one. Unless of course, you've been given the go-ahead from the blog author to post something that's already been written. :)

  3. Sara @ Mom Endeavors says

    Great post, Jenae! Everything there is so true! :) Although, you've got to get on the twitter bandwagon–it's GREAT!! :)
    Happy Blogiversary!

  4. Ali says

    Good tips! I've had a family blog now for almost three years (mostly as a journal that I can print out as a scrapbook) but recently I started a new blog that I could use to link up to others to share ideas. I love the feature that you and others use where you post picture links at the bottom (Show and Share Saturday) because through those links I have found so many new blogs to follow!

    My biggest thing now though seems to be that because there are SO many good ideas/resources out there I feel like I have a hard time coming up with an original idea of my own. I often get ideas from other people and then share them (of course referencing where I got the idea) but still……do you ever hit road blocks like that??? I love all of your posts and have shared your site with others who absolutely love it. Keep up the good work!!!

  5. Mindy Harris says

    thanks for sharing your knowledge, jenae! want to do a guest post on my blog about something to do with early child development?!?! maybe i can do something on yours?
    i am going to check out those links now!

  6. Lacee says

    This was such a helpful post! I am a newbie in the whole world of blogging and still have so much to learn. Thank You so much for all this info!

  7. Tutus & Tea Parties says

    Congrats on your blog success! You have shared great tips and I will be reading up on the links you suggested too! Best of luck in the coming years. I love your blog!

  8. Jenae says

    Sara, great question!!! That is one thing that I did do right from the beginning. I've used Blogger, but I paid an extra $10 a year for my domain name (WITHOUT the .blogspot.com). Totally worth the money!!! I would DEFINITELY recommend doing this if you're wanting to grow your blog.

  9. Jenae says

    Erin, I think there are just more features that can be customized using a self-hosted WordPress blog (or so I hear).

    I was really irritated when Blogger was out a few months ago and I couldn't post any new content for 3 days. These types of things don't happen as often with a self-hosted site (again, so I hear).

    Plus, some people think it is more "professional" than using Blogger.

    I personally LOVE Blogger (and its simplicity) and dragging my feet. It will be a while if/when I switch over. New things (especially technical things) scare me. :)

  10. Anonymous says

    Thanks for your post! A friend and I are considering starting a blog (we both have personal ones already). I've discussed it with my husband, and he's on board, but I've been a little nervous about starting and a little clueless about what I'm getting myself into. This was a big encouragement (especially your first point about the passion!). I'm excited to take the first steps and appreciate your reader-friendly, not super techy tips. :) -Desiré

  11. Jenae says

    Sara, what files are you referring to? Blogger stores my uploaded pictures (though I did have to pay a fee to increase the amount of storage because I exceeded it already). I have used 4Shared to host some printables, though those are very few and far between.

  12. sara says

    Well I was reading about the blogging tips on Christianpf.com and they were talking about using a website to host and back up your files for instance bluehost.com or hostgator.com. I didn't even know these existed til I read that.

  13. Jenae says

    Sara, that's only if you're self-hosting your own blog through WordPress (or some other blogging platform). If you're using Blogger, you don't need to worry about that.

  14. sara says

    Ok thank you!! I am trying to research how to start a blog and I am feeling a little overwhelmed!!

  15. Britni @ Our Eventual Homestead says

    Thanks for the advice! As a new blogger I am trying to find as much useful info as possible. I have a long way to go but it will be an exciting journey!

  16. Sara @ Saving For Someday says

    Thank you, Jenae, for linking to my blog. I'm glad my post was helpful for you.

    Sara

  17. The Chick says

    I have been blogging for a few years now on a personal, family blog and have just recently dove head-first into establishing a niche blog (it's a weight-loss blog-very intimidating to be so vulnerable with people, but it has been so, so rewarding as well and the positive feedback has been overwhelming). I don't have any great tips since I am not making any money yet but I wanted to thank you for this post. It is very helpful. I agree with the passion aspect and having a facebook page. That has really helped me connect with readers on a more personal level, and network with blogs/pages similar to my own. My only piece of advice would be to just ask. If you want to get into advertising or giveaways/promotions-just ask, like you said. The worse they can do is say no but often times they won't and you have just earned an opportunity to promote your blog and develop a mutually beneficial relationship. Thanks again!

  18. Kara O says

    Thanks so much for this post! I've been blogging for almost a year, but until recently, hadn't quite discovered what my focus was. I thought it was going to be a family blog, but it has developed into more of a calling where I want to write and speak truth to women about being transparent and honest about the battles we face, how to be better managers of our home, and mostly about women's ministry. I have SO far to go, but like you wrote about above, I am passionate about it, so I LOVE writing it each day. I have a desire to see it grow, but I'm tryi8ng to remember that whether 2 people are reading it or 2000 as long as I'm being obedient to the things that God is telling me to write, then that is enough. Thanks for your awesome blog. I love it! http://marcusandkara.blogspot.com

  19. Kendra @ Blendra says

    These are all great tips I was told when starting my blog. I think the hardest one for me is to get myself out there, by commenting and linking to other blogs from my blog. I think that's a very important one that I'm trying to do. I'm a big blog stalker. (;

    Great job on your awesome blog, I check back on ideas to teach my littles.

    I was reading thru the comments and noticed you use blogger still to host. Is that what you were saying? I wasn't aware you could do that. How does that work? Do you pay a fee like self hosting thru hostgator?

  20. Tabitha @Growing Up Homeschooled says

    I love to send traffic to my favorite blogs from my Facebook and Twitter pages. I have ended up with several new bloggie friends that way, and in turn, more readers.

    The way I do it is to post links on my Facebook walls, mentioning why I love a particular article, and then tag the blog so they will know I mentioned them.

  21. The Happy Hearted Hostess says

    Thank you so much for sharing! I am a fairly new blogger and loved the tips! As an elementary school teacher and fellow Christian mother, I love to read your blog!!! Feel free to check my blog out anytime at http://www.thehappy-heartedhostess.blogspot.com! Thank you for writing such an encouraging blog with such creative ideas for moms!

  22. Mrs. Coe says

    Hello,
    I am wondering if I can share this link on the TBA We Teach forum. I think it has valuable information for all of us!
    littlemisskindergarten.blogspot.com

  23. Amber says

    Another one referred from Crystal.

    Thank you for this post. I have read/thought about several of those things, but you opened my eyes to a few new things. You also encouraged me to press on in other areas.

    I am now following along, as I also am passionate about being my child's first teacher.

  24. SmartShoppingGirl says

    Thanks for the helpful tips. I started my blog recently and still am trying to get into a routine in posting, making my blog look better, and acquire more traffic. I love to post online deals as well as some instore ones. Its taken a lot of work but I am getting there.
    http://www.bargainshoppergirl.com

  25. Jennifer (Miami Coupon Goddess) says

    awesome info! I saw your link on money saving mom by the way. I am also a new blogger so this has helped me a lot! Thanks :)

  26. nerdywisconsinmama says

    Thank you, thank you! I've been rather dilletante about my blogging the last year or so, but this was the kick in the pants I needed.

    I think that we need to find one thing, and one thing only, that we do well. I do the 'nerd' thing very well, so I decided that my 'mommy blog' is going to be about nerdy things. Because, hey…why try and fight what God made you to be? :)

    Thanks, I lurk all the time, and love your blog!

  27. Ann says

    Thanks so much for all of the information. I started a blog about 6 months ago and really need to work on all of the points you touched on.I seem to write a few posts then stop for awhile because i run out of things to write about.

  28. londonsnobonabudget says

    Great tips!
    I am fairly new on the blogging scene, I started in the spring and have really taken off in the last month and a half.

    Do you post the same things on your FB that you post on your blog?

  29. Sarah Heredia says

    Thanks for this post! You've been very helpful with me on the blogginwithamy.com Facebook fan page when I asked her a question.

    From that, I've liked your page and clicked on the "3 Posts on Blogging You Should Read Link" on moneysavingmom.com.

    Anyhow, these are some great tips for my two blogs still in infancy. Thanks also for referring us to Christian Personal Finance. I've been looking for Christian Blogs to try and figure out how to glorify God in my blogs by reading other blogs that do it too.

  30. Amy @ TheMombot.com says

    I was going to ask the same thing as Kelly. I have a love-hate with link parties. I feel like it generates traffic to my blog, but at the same time, it results in very few followers or returning readers. I want to use it as a way to help followers who are interested in my content find me, and get annoyed when people just come and leave a comment asking for me to follow them back…

  31. Heather @ REOlistic Renovation says

    Thank you for all this great information! I am just starting out so this is stuff I can def use!

  32. 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?

  33. 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?

  34. 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! :)

  35. 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!

  36. 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

  37. 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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