I cannot even believe May 15th will make my 2 year blogiversary. I remember waking up the morning of 5/15/2017, having prepped months for my launch and having so much anxiety yet so much excitement for what I was going to share with the world. Little did I know how much my life would eventually change. Today I’m sharing my 5 top tips on how to grow your blog and opening up about my 2 year blogging journey. Grab a cup of coffee or heck break out the champagne because this is a long one but filled with so much great info and written straight from my heart!
SHOP MY LOOK:
If you are new around here you can check out the very first post I put out on HOLB here and you can check out my 1 year blogiversary post here. There were times I wanted to hit delete on that first post because the photos were so bad. But now I look back at that post and see how brave I was. I put that post out with a mission and never looked back. My post from last year — I was proud of that one too. I thought I came so far in a year. And now 2 years later I look at this post I’m writing you and all I can say is damn girl — you worked your butt off.
There is no easy way to grow your blog. This post will not have all the answers because quite frankly there is no one answer or formula to follow. You gotta find the formula that works for you. You gotta hustle like you never hustled before and you just gotta work, work and work. I’m going to share my 5 tops tips below on how to grow your blog in a couple of years but also check out this post of when I announced I transitioned into a full time blogger. That post has lots of great info on what it takes to be a full time blogger.
TOP TIP #1: CONSISTENCY
The biggest tip I can give on how to grow you blog is consistency and it’s probably the hardest. Since launching my blog I never, ever strayed from my schedule. I used to put out 2 blog posts a week. They were always on the same day and always 2 a week. Eventually I went to 3 blog posts a week but still they are always the same days a week (unless it’s a holiday).
You can’t expect to grow a loyal blog following if you are sporadic with your posts. When you go to a store you know what days they are open and what their hours are. Do you ever go to a store and say oh they aren’t open today? Rare. Treat your blog like a business (more on that later) and give your followers a reliable posting schedule to follow.
Same goes for social media. Your followers are following you because they want to see your content. Try to post at least daily and at the same times everyday.
I know early on in blogging it isn’t easy. You are searching for content to share and often building content from nothing. I get it. I was there too. So just come up with a formula that works for you and that you can stick to. If it’s 1 blog post a week and 1 social post 5 days a week then stick to that, but do not veer from it. Hold yourself accountable. You would open your store doors everyday at the same time if you owned a store, right? Your blog is your business. Do the same.
TOP TIP #2: TREAT IT LIKE A BUSINESS
There is nothing wrong with hobby blogging and I think it’s a great creative outlet for people to share their love and passion for things. However, if you want to grow your blog into a brand you have to treat it like a business.
It’s not an easy business and most blogs that are put out into the world won’t make it and I think it’s because most people underestimate the amount of work that goes into growing your blog and making it into a business.
You have to invest in your business and you have to up your game over time. What do I mean by investing? Since starting my blog I always had a set amount of money that I put back into my blog. Early on this was tough as I wasn’t making money but as I grew I was able to increase my expenses. Invest in your marketing.
Whether that is hiring someone to help with SEO, Pinterest marketing, Instagram marketing — decide what you want to work on that month and put some dollars behind it to help grow. Analyze and track your growth and make adjustments accordingly.
Awhile back I had paid for Pinterest marketing but it didn’t pay off for me. I decided to take my budget and adjust by hiring someone to help me with SEO. That paid off tenfold for me. Measure, track, and keep track of what marketing is working for you.
And what do I mean by up your game over time? When Erik and I first started out we used an old Canon Rebel camera. He snapped. I uploaded. Eventually he got this book, started watching YouTube videos and pretty much self taught himself photography. Then we invested and got a better lens around the time I started blogging full time. Now that I’m getting consistent sponsored blog work I knew it was time to up our game and get the best camera and lens we could afford.
I’m not saying go out and buy the best equipment from day 1 but over time, as you grow and you feel that momentum in your business up your game to keep making your blog better. If you are tracking the growth of your blog you should know when it’s time and where to invest back into it. I look at this way. If a brand is investing in me to deliver then I should be investing to deliver the best possible content I can.
TOP TIP #3: CROSS PROMOTE
This is probably one of my biggest tips on how to grow your blog. You have to cross your promote your content on ALL platforms. For me, I have my blog, Instagram, Instagram stories, Facebook and Pinterest and I utilize ALL those platforms consistently.
Anytime I write a blog post I line up my IG post and stories to share that post on the same day the blog post goes out. I then share the post on my FB page and make every photo from my blog pinnable on Pinterest.
Cross promoting goes beyond that though. Every Sunday I round up my blog posts for the week and share a recap in my IG stories and then promote the recap in several local Facebook groups.
Not all your followers will subscribe to your blog. Not all your followers are on IG or FB. You have to make your content reachable to them wherever they hang out so to say and you have to cross promote to reach new audiences.
Cross promoting also means attending events when you can. Get out there and go to any events that you can. Such a great way to introduce yourself as a blogger and connect with new audiences and maybe even spark up new campaigns. Just because it isn’t your event doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. Take every invitation you can and go. Exposure, exposure exposure!
TOP TIP #4: BUILD RELATIONSHIPS
Gosh this tip is so big. Build relationships with other bloggers, brands and your followers. I’m going to break this one down for you in regards to how to grow your blog.
Find your blogger friends because you are going to need them. While blogging is a very saturated market odds are you won’t know too many people in your close knit circle who do what you do or have any idea how hard the work you do is. Fortunately for me I have a few close blogger friends who I have forged great relationships with. We bounce off each other, support each other and strategize together.
You pretty much work alone when you blog so it’s nice to have girls who don’t compete with you but have the same goal in mind and can share ideas that have worked for them, can critique with and also vent with because like any job blogging comes with the same kinda stress as any other job.
You gotta find a support group to get through the hard days with and the same group who will be right there celebrating your sucesess with. I remember when I hit 5k blog views and 50K Instagram followers. I called my blogging BFF right away and she totally got what a victory that was. Find those girls and hold them close.
Just as you hold your blogging tribe close you have to do the same with brands you work with. Fortunately for me I have worked with some dream brands over the 2 years I have been blogging. I treat each brand the same for every campaign I take on. I over deliver, I deliver on time, and I go above and beyond.
Whatever a contract asks of me I almost always give them more than what is asked. If they ask for 2 Instagram posts I will often add in a courtesy Facebook post or try on in my stories. I always touch base during campaigns and I always follow up with a thank you and include all the work I did for them. Go the extra mile for the brands that believed in you. Trust me you aren’t the only girl on that campaign. Set yourself apart. Make your work memorable. All of that helps you build a relationship with a brand.
Every post you put out should be with your followers in mind for they are who believe in you the most. There are a million influencers they can follow but there is a reason they chose to follow you. Tap into and study your analytics. What posts do the best? Put more of those posts out for your followers. Answer your dms and emails. Engage with your followers by giving back to them when you can.
TOP TIP #5: DON’T COMPARE
It’s so sad how many girls I see get caught up in the comparison game. Want to know how to grow your blog? Stay in your own lane and just worry about yourself and your content. Growing a blog and your brand is not a race. It takes time. You can’t grow a loyal following overnight. I say loyal because anyone can buy a following and put up a facade that they have a huge following in hopes of landing brand deals. But honestly you aren’t doing any good for your own brand or the brands you work with. There are bloggers out there who have worked tirelessly, for months and years on end who have sacrificed so much to get to where they are.
Focus on putting out great content. Focus on creating posts that your audience responds to. If you are comparing yourself constantly to the next girl it’s simply not healthy. Perhaps that girl you are comparing to has been doing this longer. Maybe she is working differently than you are. Is she more consistent? Rather than compare and get down on yourself make some adjustments in your business formula. Stay true to who you are because your followers can pick up on that and other bloggers who recognize your hard work will support you. Put out good, consistent content and you will grow your blog over time.
I put up a question box asking if you had any blogging related questions you wanted answered in this post. Hopefully this blog post summed up how to grow your blog and gave you some better insight into what goes into blogging but to answer some reader questions:
QUESTION 1: “I just started out…any advice?”
Well first off congrats on taking that leap of faith! I know how hard those early days are when you are just trying to navigate the waters and the unfamiliar. My biggest advice is come up with a schedule that you can stick to and be consistent with it. Also, engage with everyone. Engage with other bloggers and with your followers. Really focus on putting out good content and building that relationship with those who are supporting your blogging journey.
QUESTION 2: “Who do you hire? Photographers? Help with PR, engagement, etc. It’s sooo much work to do it all.”
Thankfully my husband has been supportive since day 1. Hands down I would not be where I am at in my blogging career if it weren’t for him. #loveyouErik Once we realized photos were one of the building blocks of a blog Erik self taught himself photography so he does 99% of my photos. He read this book to really get himself started and asked questions from our family photographer. If you don’t have a spouse who can take your photos I’d suggest finding some blogger girlfriends in your area who you can meet up with weekly and take each other’s photos. Also, selfies can take you far. Set up a pretty mirror in a nice room in your home and take full body shots.
I do have someone I hired last year to help me with me with my SEO but all my engaging I do myself. I engage with other girls I follow and always respond to comments left on my blog and social posts.
It is all very overwhelming to manage. I totally get that. Take it one thing at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself and want to do it all at once. I was over a year into blogging before I hired someone to help me with SEO. Just make small goals and task lists and prioritze what is important at that moment. Again, it’s not a race. Take 1 month to do Pinterest. Take another month to focus on blog SEO. Measure and track what is working for you.
QUESTION 3: “How do you go about getting sponsors?”
Once you build a loyal following and have consistent blog traffic you can pitch to brands. I didn’t really get any paid brand work until about a year into blogging. Early on I would do product trade where I would post in exchange for a product. This is a good way to get experience working with brands as you are building your brand.
Nowadays I rarely do product trade unless it’s a brand I really want to work with. I also don’t have much time to pitch. Here and there I will pitch a brand but I’ve been fortunate that brands and PR companies reach out to me with campaigns and as I mentioned earlier most of my work is repeat work from brands and PR companies. It’s always harder to land a new brand so keep the ones you work with close to heart and go the extra mile for them. I also am part of different blogger platforms where I can apply for campaigns.
QUESTION 4: “Being a stay at home mom and trying to grow my influence. Where do you suggest investing money.”
So kudos for recognizing that you have to invest in your blog and brand because I don’t think enough people realize that. You gotta spend money to make money. I would look at what platform seems to be working best for you. If you are putting out consistent blogs then I would suggest looking into SEO services to increase your traffic so you can pitch paid blog posts.
Instagram is obviously a huge source of my income so I would absolutely suggest in investing some money there. Take great photos and invest in editing them to create a cohesive feed.
There are so many factors that go into how to grow your blog so I would just focus on one platform at a time and add more tasks and platforms as you get a handle on things.
QUESTION 5: “Where do you get your motivation?”
I sold insurance for 15 years before transitioning into blogging full time. While I had a very successful career I only did that job because I worked with my family. But I never loved my job. Once I started blogging it was almost as if I was reborn again. It’s crazy but I have never been more passionate about something or worked so hard in my life. Several times people would tell me I was going to burnout but honestly that’s not possible. I have seen what my hard work has turned into. More and more doors keep opening for me and that is what motivates me.
Having such a positive outlook, committed work ethic and amazing support system has all helped me stay motivated to keep growing and getting better. I also think the doubt of so many people that I could actually make this blog into a business helped drive me. I knew I could do it. It would take time. It would take sacrifice but deep down I knew I could make something out of nothing. That right there is motivation.
QUESTION 6: “Do you batch your posts? How do you structure your time?“
Yes, I batch shooting into either 1 or 2 days a week. I change in the back of Erik’s Jeep A LOT! Depending on how many campaigns I have determines if we shoot 1 or 2 days a week.
As far as structuring my time, I plan to write a blog post on what my day to day generally looks like but to give you a quick snippet I live off my white boards in my office. Each day I have listed what posts I’m putting out, which campaigns are due, drafts, etc. I usually have days where I strictly work from home and write blog posts for the week. Other days we are out shooting. Honestly, no one day is the same as the other but I will say I rely HEAVILY on white boards to keep me organized.
Still to this day the toughest part about blogging is not having much down time. I have never worked more in my life. You are always on the go, all days, all hours. I am still trying to find that balance.
QUESTION 7: “How do you respond to everyone so quickly?”
I’m on and off IG all day and am always checking dm’s so I try to respond right away or I’ll often forget. I also know followers are asking questions about sizing so I know in that moment they are shopping and if it were me asking a question as I’m shopping I would want an answer right away. So I’m always mindful of that.
QUESTION 8: “How do people find your page?”
I think I answered this earlier in the post when I spoke about cross promoting. My tactics for cross promotion has helped tremendously. SEO also helps with new page discovery. I try to use blog titles and keywords that people are searching the internet for so my content can be found.
QUESTION 9: “How do you become an affiliate/get in LikeToKnow.it/earn money and what do you do for health insurance?”
I applied to Reward Style after I had been putting out consistent content on IG for a few months. For those that aren’t familiar LikeToKnow.it is how we monetize the items we feature on our blog. When you buy from my links we get a small commission paid by the brand and it’s given to us through Reward Style. I’d suggest applying once you are posting daily on IG and have good engagement on your posts. You can also reach out to a blogger and ask them to submit a referral on your behalf as well.
Affiliate sales is one way I monetize my blog but the main source of my income is getting sponsored work from brands. More on that in this post.
As for health insurance, I am on my husband’s health that he has through work.
So this post will go down in history as the LONGEST post every written on HOLB. If you made it this far, thank you! I honestly look at every blogiversary with such reflection for all that I have accomplished. Every year I feel a little more seasoned, a bit more wiser and even more motivated. It takes a special, driven person to build something out of nothing. So for all my hustling blogging mamas who did it congrats and keep moving mountains.
If you are just starting out stay your path. Work hard and don’t lose sight of why you started your blog. My family’s life has changed tremendously in 2 years. I remember Erik told me we should give it 5 years to see if I could get to full time status. We did it in less than 2 years but it wasn’t easy. I make a full time income blogging but I also work around the clock and worked like crazy to get there. It is a ton of work figuring out how to grow your blog but with commitment and hard work you can absolutely do it.
Are people going to question you, doubt you and judge you? Absolutely. It still happens to me now. Actually it probably happens more to me now sadly. People just don’t get what we do or understand what really goes into blogging on a day to day (that’s a good topic for a future post). It can get hard. It can get lonely. But if it lights you up then keep going. The only one who can stop you from succeeding is you. If you want it bad enough you can make it happen. I wanted it bad enough and I 100% made it happen.
Thank you for all the support these past 2 years. It means the world to me that you are following along, that you believe in me and are inspired by my content. Let’s do this year 3!