To say we are excited for today would be a complete understatement. Today marks exactly one year since this blog went live. For many one year may seem like pud, I mean blogs have only been around since the dawn of the internet. But for us it is different. It is a day we made a choice and a day that drastically changed the path for our business and our life. And heck, now the blog has been read by more than 100,000+ people in 189 different countries all over the world!
It all started Friday, February 27th 2015. I sat down after a long day at work and decided today was the day I was going to start taking my side hustle seriously. I hunkered down in my office. Sat behind my computer and declared I was going to build an entire website in a weekend. New to Squarespace and blogging I didn’t exactly know where to start, but start I did. By Sunday afternoon it seemed pretty obvious this thing was going to launch whether I was ready or not.
Monday, the 2nd of February, my first blog post went live and I knew I couldn’t just let it sit there. I had to share it with the world. So I posted about it on my personal Facebook page, revived my basically dead business page and even mentioned something on Instagram. 103 people showed up to read the blog that day. About 102 more than I was averaging on my old (essentially dead) website.
Content is King
It seemed pretty obvious all of one day in. This was the answer. Content was king. Blogging was the only way to get traffic and I had to continue.
So that first week I blogged 5 days. And then the second week I blogged 5 days. And this continued every week straight into the summer. I KNEW in my gut I had to take this seriously or it wasn’t going to work.
Now do we think you need to blog 5 days a week for 6 months straight to be successful online. Absolutely not! But let us just tell you what we learned from 1 year of dedication and a heck of a lot of traffic.
We could harp on this all day long. And you probably are rolling your eyes as we speak. But if we say it once, we'll say it a hundred more times. If the only thing you accomplish is being consistent than you will be successful. Think of your favorite blogs or even news sources. Do they post once in a blue moon or can you count on them for new and exciting content on a fairly regular basis. Now over 180+ blog posts later we generally blog 4 days a week.
Choose Your Title Wisely
A powerful headline can make the difference between total curiosity and "no thanks". Try using fun adjectives. Post a question. Explain what's inside. Or add a sense of mystery.
The Photo Matters
Images are attractive. And having one powerful Pinterest friendly image can make your blog post go from “blah” to “wow”. Often the image is what attracts that initial reader and it is crucial if you are planning on promoting via Pinterest. This not only sounds like it works, but stats only prove my point. By using a fun catchy image we have over 26,465 impressions on Pinterest, every single day.
Overwhelmed in how to capture your own creative images, here are a few fun tips and tutorials for you:
- How to Style Your Images for Branded Flat Lays [Video]
- Photography Tips: Indoor Lighting Tricks + Camera Settings [Video]
- How to Make Your Own Lightbox for Under $7 [Video]
- The One Thing You Must Do to EVERY Image on Your Blog
The Longer the Better
It may seem counter intuitive, but the longer you can make your content (without beating it to a pulp) you should. Longer content out performs 500 word posts every day of the week. Generally our posts average 2-5 pages when typed in a doc (yes, single spaced).
As you build up your library of content you will notice readers don’t always land at the current state in your journey. They might end up reading a post that is months old. Take this to your benefit. You may reach a point, which we know we have where there is so much out there that the average reader can no longer keep up. That said, keeping it fresh and consistent is what keeps the numbers up, so we will keep at it.
The Skim Test
Although longer posts tend to attract more traffic and rank higher in search results, it is important to make your long blog post readable. Include section headings. Bullet out your most important points. Pull out a quote that adds value or emphasis. Break up the content with quality images that add to the storyline.
A Strong Call to Action
Ask and you shall receive. Never miss the opportunity to give people options to stay on your website at the end of a post. You should aim for two calls to action. The primary one should be the most beneficial to you. Perhaps you ask them to sign up for a free download or content upgrade. The secondary opportunity should be an option to interact with you online, but in a different setting, perhaps pushing to social media.
Close the Deal
Push other content. Don’t miss the opportunity to keep your audience. Guide them to other related posts or content you believe they would find just as interesting or helpful. Related Posts are always a safe bet!
Looking for more blogging help - here are some of our favorites from the past year:
- The 10 Things You Need to Know Before Making Your Blog a Business
- 5 Challenges Every Blogger Faces
- How to Get People to Follow, Like & Buy from You
- The 6 Biggest Blog Mistakes That Will Make You Lose Visitors (And How to Correct Them)
A Promotion Plan
Being present online has been a major part of our success. Both growing and engaging our audience, while also reinventing how we utilize the platforms. You will us present daily on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Here is some of our best advice growing with social media:
- Quadruple Your Instagram (BONUS: 5-Day FREE Course)
- Insta Love: 21 Women Who's Feed Inspires Us
- Did You Just Steal That Image: Instagram Re-Posting Etiquette
- How to Sell On Instagram Without Feeling Like a Slimy Cheeseball
- Harness the Hidden Power of Pinterest
- (Re)Fall In Love with Your Pinterest
- The Daily Pinterest Formula to Jumpstart Your Referral Traffic
- Facebook Reinvented: The New Way to Combat Tricky Algorithms
- How Facebook Groups Can Grow Your Raving Audience
- How to Use Twitter to Meet Real People, Create Real Connections and Grow Your Business
- How the Heck to use a Hashtag
Planning & Analysis
As we continue to roll out new content week after week, we carefully assess what is and isn’t working. We use Google Analytics and the built in Squarespace Analytics to see which posts are the most popular and where people linger the longest.
We came up with methods to brainstorm new content, posing questions to ourselves and even our readers. We have done reader surveys and have also polled our newsletter subscribers.
Here are a few of our favorite posts to help you plan & analyze:
- Defining Your Goals: For Your Business & Your Life
- Blog Brainstorming: 20 Ways to Find Your Best Content in 30-Minutes or Less
- Knowing Your Real Audience By Utilizing Google Analytics
Keep and Stay Organized
There is no way we could have grown at the rate or pace we have without staying organized. Knowing when we are going to post, the topic, the outline and all the assets needed ahead of time needs a home and a plan.
Here is some tips on how we keep it all together:
- 28 Ridiculously Useful Tips Every Small Business Needs to Blog Better, Achieve goals and Grow Your List
- 10 Productivity Tools Your Small Business Needs to Organize, Plan, Streamline and Succeed
- Streamlining Project Management Using Wunderlist
- The 411 on Entrepreneurship: 19 Things All First Time Business Owners Need to Know
Your Free Blog Boost Weekly Worksheet
At Think Creative Collective we want to continue to help you grow and reach your potential. We want to see you succeed and be proud of how far you have come. We want you to go after a life and a business that you love.
And because we just love our readers and want to encourage them (that's you) we have created a printable perfect for keeping your blog on track. You can use it as your planning tool to title new content. Keep it around to check off your engagement across social media platforms. And assess the results every week - "hearting" your favorites and seeing the real traffic numbers. We would suggest printing one a week and using it to track for the next month. See if it helps you stay on task. See if there is new growth. Use it to see what is and isn’t working. Keep it in a binder so you can come back and look at it later.
What tools or resources have you used to generate new blog traffic? Comment below.