I’ve now been blogging for seven years! Since then, Instagram has arguably become the most essential social media platform, often overtaking blogs themselves even when it comes to bloggers. Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? Although growth and popularity seems more enticing on a visual, community app it’s also important to take care of your blog. After all, there you’re in charge and there will be no sudden and drastic algorithm changes or fickle engagement rates to mess with your long term strategy. Blogs provide a relatively stable place to build your portfolio and really find your voice, not just your aesthetic. When I was perusing some of the huge blogs that have been around since I started or even before me, I realised that a lot of these websites are missing out on huge opportunities. Because of their size and readership, they’ve overlooked (and can afford to to some extent) critical points that for any newer or smaller blog would be detrimental. So here we are, a post on blogging 101, how to get readership and what you could be missing to bring your website to the next level.
Learn basic SEO
In late January, I gave a talk at my university UCL about a career in social media and journalism. A lot of the audience were actually in other industries looking to move and pursue their passion. If you’re one of them and you’re trying to figure out how to strengthen your blog and build up an audience, learning basic SEO is essential. Most blogs use a plugin called Yoast. Download this and follow all the checkpoints it asks for to make sure your site is as Google-friendly as possible! This means that when people search for terms like, ‘best red shoes on sale 2018’ and it matches with what the subject of your post, you’ll have a higher chance of coming out on top of the results.
Okay, ready for something a little more advanced? Monitor your domain authority and page authority. I focus more on the latter because Google updates have less of an impact on it and it’s therefore easier to track progress. These factors are can be followed via this link and it takes into account all of the websites (root domains) that have linked back to you, as well as how much you link to yourself within posts. What this creates is a little network that says to search engines, ‘this is relevant information and because other sites with a good PA/ DA have linked to it, this is more trustworthy and not spam’.
Many blogs with high viewership for example, big Instagram accounts that don’t really update their blog or write very much, aren’t looking after their SEO health. This means that they don’t rank well on search engines and their posts have hardly any shelf-life once it’s written because it’s not easily searchable. Not only is this a waste of time but it means that whatever the source that’s directing traffic to your blog, if it’s ever compromised or falls out of fashion (for example, back in 2012 my top referral was Tumblr, which isn’t so popular now) so will your stats.
Update old posts
When I started blogging full time, on the top of my to-do list was to update all of my older posts. This meant trawling through nearly 200 different articles, some absolute crap, others surprisingly interesting, to curate what needed to be updated, deleted or repurposed.
- Updating meant putting in internal links to newer content to strengthen the network of my site.
- Deleting is pretty obvious, when it came to deciding which ones to cull, it depended on the quality of images. Sometimes my outfits would be so mortifying it was best left for the dredges of the Internet – the bin.
- For many that were repurposed, this meant assigning them a stronger keyword for Google search, take a look at this post for ideas on how to SEO your old content. With the others, I combined series of images to make a post look better like this.
Invest in your blog
If you’re serious about growing your blog, whether you view it as a backup to Instagram, a way to upsell content to clients or a portfolio, it’s essential to put money into it. I took the leap when I did a huge website overhaul after the code of my custom HTML theme was corrupted early last year. After recommendations and lots of calls with the marketing team, I joined Chloe Digital, a subscription service for web development. At $99 a month, they helped me to personalise my template from Pipdig and were on hand to troubleshoot any technical issues that arose. Totally worth the money!
Post at least 3 times a week
I know that formulating meaningful posts, shooting for them, editing everything and then SEO’ing is hard work. Even I struggle with three posts a week, although it was substantially harder back when I was still at my day job. Now it’s a top priority. I found that in the months I was hitting 6000+ views, even before I had upgraded all my posts and added my fancy custom bits, it was the clicks to other articles that was boosting my dwell time and overall readership. The more newness that’s on your blog, the better for Google search and for fresh eyes that have just discovered you and want to know more about your content.
This information is enough to keep any blogger busy for months! Want to share with me your tips on how to get seen? DM me (@fleurandrea) or write me an email.