There was a time when I imagined a day would come when I would have the opportunity to write a post all about “How to grow your blog” – and it would be titled something catchy – like: “How to grow your blog”, or “How I tripled my followers in 2017!”
I tripled my followers in 2017. I think.
I don’t remember how many followers I had at the beginning of the year. That was a long time ago, when I was still saying things like, “I really need to work on my blog more”, because I posted a picture of a hat or a scarf once every three or four months and made some comment about… I don’t know, what did I write about? Hats and scarves? Things fashion bloggers write about.
Anyway – moral of the story – now I have over 1,000 followers. So, I *think* I tripled my following? – assuming I started the year off with 200-ish (sounds about right).
“How did she do it?”, you’re asking. “What’s the secret sauce?”
I had always assumed this post would be a lot more professional-sounding. I imagined talking about things like “SEO tools” and “brand content” and “how to plan your blog posts”.
I assumed I would actually know what those things were by the time I got around to writing this post. If I can write a post about “tripling my traffic” – you’d think I’d know something about traffic tools. But I don’t. I had to Google “What does S.E.O. stand for?” And the last time I tried to plan out my blog posts for the month… I just couldn’t. It was hard. I was expecting these posts to be GREAT!-AMAZING!-WONDERFUL!-PULITZER-PRIZE-WORTHY (forget the fact that the Pulitzer is an award given to outstanding achievements in journalism, which is hardly the same thing as being a self-proclaimed blogger… but you know what I mean).
I was giving myself time to write the posts. It wasn’t something I was just throwing out into the world all willy-nilly-“let’s just word vomit all over this page” like I usually do (like I did with this post). Unfortunately the extra time just made me extra stressed. Things didn’t SOUND right. They didn’t jive. They didn’t feel… bloggy. Blogger-y? Blog worthy. You know, since I gave myself all of that extra time to write.
And then I started Googling things like, “How to grow your blog following” and “How to drive traffic to your blog” – because I thought maybe I’d get an extra confidence boost if more people started showing up and reading my stuff, even if it wasn’t up to my weird, unattainably high standards. Maybe other people would appreciate the… heart? Sure, let’s go with that.
But when you Google things like “How to drive traffic to your blog” – all of this stuff pops up about, like… numbers. Blog numbers. “Hits”. SEO. Online marketing. Technical Internet jargon. “RSS feed”.
That was one of the things. “Make it easy for blog visitors to subscribe to your RSS feed”. And I was like – do I even HAVE an RSS feed? I don’t know what that is. Is it like the comment section?
They’ll also tell you to invest in promotion (“For $10, you can boost a post on Facebook to reach wider audiences!”), or “Incorporate keywords to improve your SEO”. How do I know what the “keywords” are supposed to be? Is there a list? How do I incorporate them? Is it like a hashtag?
There’s other stuff Google will tell you – all kinds of stuff, you can read for hours and learn alllllll about the technical side of blogging if you want to – but every time I try to, it makes my head spin and I get overwhelmed and flustered and a part of me thinks, “This is too hard. I’ll worry about this part later.”
Blogging can literally be a full time job. That’s why some people do it as a FULL TIME JOB. And those are the people who can work on things like SEO and online newsletters and “hits” and RSS feeds. But if you’re like me – and all you want to do is write and take pictures, that’s okay too. Your passion project doesn’t need to be your full time job. Sometimes it’s important to remind yourself not to get too caught up in this stuff – don’t take the fun out of it. That’s why you started doing this in the first place.
But if you’re interested in how I grew my “traffic” this year… well, I don’t really know how I did it. I think it was a happy accident. But here’s what I can tell you that I started doing this year…