Archive: March, 2011

Thursday
March 31, 2011

Blogging 101 Part 2: Driving Traffic

Do you love your blog? Well, you should! Loving your blog is not about being cocky or conceited. Your new blog is like a newborn that must be cared for and nurtured every day. This is the key to gaining an audience. Your readers will only enjoy your blog as much as you do. & if they do, they will make a habit of checking in with you everyday.

I am going to start where I left off last week with my Blogging 101 series. Today I will talk about driving blog traffic. Keep in mind that this advice is for new bloggers looking to make blogging their business. It is not for those that are blogging to share photos/information with family and friends.

There are 2 things that you should do TODAY (right now) before you start thinking about driving traffic:

1. Install the Alexa Toolbar. It only takes a few seconds! There are toolbars for Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox. (I use all 3 of these browsers and have an Alexa Toolbar installed on each one!) The Alexa Toolbar will allow you to keep track of your daily Alexa traffic rank. This will give you an idea of how your efforts are paying off. You can also use it to check the Alexa Rank of any other website. Be motivated but not overly obsessed. The Alexa Toolbar is a handy tool, but it is not the end all be all of blogging success.

That said, here are a few Alexa Rank examples: Facebook is ranked a 2, Pinterest is a 35, Blogspot is a 45, Anthropologie is 5,702 today, and Spearmintbaby.com is a 233,895 today. Try it now! Your Alexa Traffic Rank will most likely fluctuate daily and the lower you are the better.

2. Install Google Analytics on your blog. Google Analytics is an extremely helpful tool for keeping track of your website traffic. (where people are coming from, the most frequent landing pages, how long they are on your site, what key word searches are leading people to your blog, etc.)

You need to sign up for a free Google Analytics account, accept the terms/legal agreement, and then paste the code they provide into your blog html. It is not incredibly difficult, but takes a little bit of time. Once you have this set up correctly, you will be able to track data in about 24 hours. Need help with installation? Read this: installing Google Analytics.

After completing these 2 steps you are ready to begin driving traffic…

So, you’ve been blogging for a few weeks now. You’ve come up with the perfect blog name and you’ve been posting interesting content every day. Your blog layout and design is a work in progress, but it looks presentable and clean and you are ready to have an audience… (bigger than your mom, dad, sisters, and husband!)

Today i am going to discuss 3 simple things for bloggers to do to build their audience. They may or may not be helpful to you. But remember that experimentation is key. You will be able to see which things are more effective at driving traffic by checking your Google Analytics data at the end of each day. UPDATE: this article was originally written pre-Pinterest. If you are blogging and NOT on Pinterest, go directly to Pinterest and get pinning!

1. Visit Forums & Chat Rooms.

Once you define your blog niche, you can easily become part of online communities that are relevant to your blog. Most forums & chat rooms will allow you to include your blog url in your signature. People that read your forum posts will often click over to see what your blog is about.

When I first started Spearmint Baby, I was already an active community member on thebump.com and thenest.com forums. I added my blog url to my signature and i would get many visitors from their sites each day. The editors of The Bump quickly took notice and named Spearmint Baby as the Editors’ Pick for Baby Design Blog. Click on the link and you will see how my blog used to look, HA! Spearmint Baby was only 6 months old at the time and this drove a lot of new traffic to my blog. I’m not sure that the editors of thebump.com would have known about my blog had I not been an active community member.

A few other mom/baby related forums that i visit: Circle of Moms, Social Moms, Baby Center, Just Mommies

One thing to note is that you should NOT go to forums specifically to promote your blog. Community members can be VERY unforgiving to bloggers who post messages specifically about visiting their blog. In fact, this is a good way to be kicked off of a forum/chat room site. In addition, go in with a little caution. Forums/chat rooms can be full of drama!…which is best to just ignore.

2. Sign Up IMMEDIATELY for Facebook, Twitter, & LinkedIn Pages (& now Pinterest and Instagram!)

The first year and a half that I spent blogging I totally neglected all of these free social media networking sites. It was a huge mistake! It is only in recent months that I have become active every day in these communities and it has made a HUGE difference in my blog traffic.

Follow Facebook & Twitter pages for businesses & bloggers that you like or want to network with. Write nice comments on their Facebook posts, post replies on Twitter, retweet their posts- these are great ways to get them to notice you. Great relationships can develop through social media.

Also, update your Facebook page & Twitter status daily or multiple times/day. Soon this will become a super fun habit!

There are many ways to use LinkedIn and I am just starting to explore it. I follow up with business professionals by adding them to my LinkedIn contacts. I also network with PR reps through LinkedIn. Having all of your contacts in LinkedIn is so much more convenient than scrolling through old emails.

There are also LinkedIn groups & forums. These can be great networking places. One that you may see me on is M2MOms.

3. Be An Active Member In Your Blogging Community

Remember the advice i gave you last week?:
pick 4 or 5 blogs that you really enjoy and read them EVERY.SINGLE.DAY! study what they are doing, how they relate to their audience, their formatting/design style, etc. you may want to take notes of similar things that you would like to do on your blog.

Have you been reading your favorite blogs every single day? If so, you need to take it one step further and make them aware that you are stopping by everyday.

POST COMMENTS OFTEN: friendly comments are a good idea… “oooh, i love those shoes,” or “my 17 month old won’t let me brush her teeth either!” At the end of your comment sign your name and include your blog URL. Most bloggers enjoy reading comments and have no problem if you include your blog URL. In fact, most bloggers actually want to know who you are and will often click over to visit your blog. Other commenters may also notice your blog URL and visit too.  This is a super easy thing to do so no excuses! UPDATE: most blogging platforms now allow you to link your name directly to your blog so adding your URL is unnecessary!

Ok, that is all for today. Next week I will be writing more about driving blog traffic.
Shari

p.s. Feel free to add your own advice. I would love to hear your tips for driving traffic.

to cont. reading: Part 3: Blog Hops

Categories: blogging tips
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Thursday
March 31, 2011

Petite Maloles Shoes


the latest trend for little feet is – Petite Maloles! these are simply the most gorgeous shoes around. i recently purchased a pair for my daughter but instead of letting her wear them, i keep them in the box tucked deep inside the closet. then when i need something beautiful to look at and caress, i take them out. i put them in my hands and feel the soft supple leather. take in the meticulous attention to detail. when i’ve had my fill, i put them back into the box deep inside the closet. a little neurotic maybe? yes! but i know some of you will understand ;). the good news – the brand also makes a women’s line for all of you shoe lovers out there.

Categories: Accessories
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Thursday
March 31, 2011

show us your BABY BUMP!

I absolutely love reading your blog! I get a lot of good ideas that are helping me to plan my nursery – My husband and I are not finding out what we are having and we have created a blog of old wives tales’ that I do each week to try and guess! I’ll be posting some pics of the nursery when we get it completed, if you have any ideas for gender neutral owls, I’d love to see them! Thanks so much, I hope you enjoy this blog as much as we do! (Also, If you’re still looking for a guest blogger, I would love to help out!)
Take care, and happy blogging!

Shari
Scottandsharischeider.blogspot.com

thanks, Shari! it is so rare to meet someone with my name! so exciting to be expecting a “surprise baby! my husband and i always say that if we have a 3rd, we will keep it a surprise. i can only imagine the excitement in the delivery room when they say…””it’s a BOY/GIRL!” xo, shari

are you PREGNANT?

send a photo/s of yourself (and your BUMP) to Spearmintbaby@gmail.com

feel free to include wks pregnant, boy or girl, 1st/2nd/3rd baby, cravings, and/or something interesting about your pregnancy. we all enjoy reading fun pregnancy details!! if you have a blog, etsy store, or website we would love to give you some link love!

p.s. i have received sooo many adorable pregnancy photos….and will be featuring one of you every Wednesday & Thursday so check back!!

Categories: Baby Bump photos
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Thursday
March 31, 2011

Vintage Nursery








theselby.com

Categories: Featured Nursery
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Thursday
March 31, 2011

photo of the day

I wanted to share with you a photo of my six-month old son, Fin. He was born just over 7 weeks early, but he is growing like a champ. We are so proud of how much he has progressed.
Abbie
aglimpseofthegirlnextdoor.blogspot.com

yay for a big, strong, healthy boy! he is so cute in those helicopter pajamas. please share where they are from :) XO, shari

do you have a photo you would like featured for “Photo of the Day?”
please email it to spearmintbaby@gmail.com (subject: Photo of the Day)

Categories: Photo of the Day
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Thursday
March 31, 2011

chatty twin boys

this video is soooo hilarious! for those that have twins, you will probably understand better than the rest of us. check it out & ENJOY a good laugh.

learn more about these cuties @ twinmamarama.com

Categories: Video
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Wednesday
March 30, 2011

Thinking Ouside of the Basket

It’s Violet’s first Easter this year, and I’ve been at a bit of a loss when it comes to a basket. The H-Haus is teeny tiny, and storage for big woven Easter baskets is virtually non-existent.

So I thought instead of a traditional Easter basket, why not go with a handmade cloth bin? You could find one that’s covered in bunnies and eggs or go with a more neutral choice that can be used year-round – they’re great for corralling books, toys, you name it! And bonus – most fold flat for easy storage. Here are a few of my favorites:


Clockwise from top left: linen bunny, morning glory, blue stripe bunny, pink bunny, custom blue stripe, green bow

Easter’s just around the corner, so hop to it!

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Categories: Etsy, holiday picks, storage
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GILT