Category: blogging tips

Friday
March 22, 2013

Blogging 101, Make Blogging Your Business

blogging1013
Happy Friday!

I’ve decided to repost my Blogging 101 series (written back in 2011.) There are some updates since the blogging world is constantly changing but most of the content still holds true. I originally wrote this series after I began receiving emails from other SAHMs asking for blogging tips/advice.

Though I am no expert, I’ve learned a lot since I started Spearmintbaby.com in April 2009. This advice is targeted at those looking to make blogging their business, not for those that are blogging to share photos/information with family and friends. I’ll start at the very beginning. Feel free to add your own thoughts/advice in the comments below!

PART 1: Going In With An Open Mind

ANYONE can be a blogger. If you love to hear yourself talk you will probably make an excellent blogger. You do not have to be a journalist or english major to write a blog. Blog audiences are surprisingly forgiving. After they make a connection with you/your blog, they will not care about the occasional misspelled word or run on sentence! (I think I may have already written 1 or maybe 2 run-on sentences!) Everyone has something to say– a view, or an idea that could be interesting to others.

Picking A Blog Name:
Before you even start your blog, it is important to think of a good blog name. Said perfecly by Hannah Queen, “I’m not going to start a blog until I have a name I love.”

What is the purpose of your blog? Is your blog being created to drive traffic to your online store? If so, it is probably a good idea to include your store name in the title of your blog. Keep things consistent to build your brand. Perhaps you want to start a blog as a stepping stone to a future business venture?- a possible brand, online magazine, or book? Or maybe you are looking to become an online expert or even a celebrity like Martha Stewart, Oprah, or a real housewives style mama? (think BIG!) If that is the case you may want to use your name in the title of your blog. Either way, thinking of a name that you love as well as a name that will resonate with your audience is important.

It took me about 1 week to come up with my blog name, Spearmint Baby. I knew that I wanted the word “Baby” in the title, since I wanted to talk mostly about baby stuff. I just wasn’t sure what should go with it. After an exhausting search conducted on Go Daddy I felt like every name I could think of had already been taken! So, I turned to the good old thesaurus. Eventually this led me to the word “Spearmint!” I knew that was it. I loved the flavor. It felt refreshing, unrestricted, and somewhat weird. I tested the new name, Spearmint Baby, on family and friends. The reaction was pretty much the same: they thought it was unusual/weird but they wouldn’t forget. That pretty much sealed the deal on my blog name. Somewhat UNUSUAL/Weird = memorable!

Blogging platforms:
When starting Spearmint Baby I decided to use Blogspot as my blogging platform. It is FREE and to me it is the most user friendly for someone that is not very internet/tech savvy. (since originally writing this article I’ve moved my blog to WordPress) I don’t know that much about other blog platforms so will leave it at that.

The next thing that you can do if you are ready to invest a small amount of money in your business is buy a dotcom domain. NAME.blogspot.com is ok, but if you are trying to look a bit fancier you can spend $11.99 and have your blog redirected to the www.NAME.com address. I suggest GoDaddy.com for purchasing domain names. They are available 24/7 with customer service reps that will walk you through the entire process of redirecting your blogspot blog to it’s new domain if you need help. (they also answer the phone within minutes which is important if you have little patience left by the time you get your kids to bed!)

The next thing I will say is the most important tip for today: Go in with an open, positive attitude. There are millions of Mom Bloggers on the internet. You have 2 choices: you can join the blogging world and think of all other bloggers as your “competition” or you can consider every blogger as a potential networking tool. (you may even become good friends with some of your favorite bloggers through your blogging journey!)

So, who are the bloggers that you admire most? Would you like to achieve similar blogging success? I encourage you to pick 4 or 5 blogs that you really enjoy and read them EVERY.SINGLE.DAY! Study them and take notes. How often do they post? How do they relate to their audience? How do they make their posts eye-catching/interesting? What is it about their blog/design style that makes them visually appealing? You may want to try similar things with your blog. Your blog is YOUR’S! That means you can experiment/change/add/delete/reformat/redesign/etc. at any time. And keep in mind that your content may be original, but no blog segment idea is completely original. We all take ideas from each other. So, study other bloggers. I still bookmark and take notes 4 years later!

Finally (for today), do not underestimate the time you must put in to become a successful blogger. When I first started my blog, I worked around the clock. I was on the computer probably 12 hours a day. Adding new content daily is so important when you are first starting. (initially I even posted on the weekends.) To me, blogging is similar to losing weight. If you want to lose weight you must make the effort to exercise and change your eating habits. Otherwise it will just NOT happen. Same goes with blogging. Success does NOT come overnight. It comes from hours upon hours of hard work. (ask any successful blogger!)

That will do it for Part 1. Next week I will get into more details about blogging as a career. I hope I have motivated at least 1 you!
shari

If you enjoyed this article you may want to read my personal blogging journey:
Why Do You Blog

as well as Blogging 101:
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

& also:
How Much Do Bloggers REALLY Make?

Categories: blogging tips
Posted by:
Friday
March 8, 2013

How To Add A Custom “PIN IT” Button To Your Blogger Blog

pinterestingclick here to download

It’s been a BUSY week. Aren’t you always so relieved when Friday comes around?

So, not much blogging for me this week- I’ve been working on another project. Two of my besties just started a blogspot blog & I’ve been re-learning Blogger so I can help out. Blogger has changed so much since I used it years ago for my own blogs (before I switched over to WordPress.) It has come a long way and there is so much more customization that you can do with a blogger blog without needing a lot of coding experience/skill.

So, one of the things my girlfriends asked me for help with was adding a hover Pinterest “PIN IT” button to their blog. After a little research, I learned that not only is it EASY to add a hover “PIN IT” button to a blogger blog, but you can customize your “PIN IT” button just like you can on a WordPress blog! (see my tutorial for how to add a Pinterest hover button on your WordPress blog) I used this little tutorial from Bloggersentral that works brilliantly!

Here ya go:
1. Design your “Pin It” graphic & save it as a PNG file. I use photoshop CS5 for grapics, but you can easily make your own “PIN IT” button using a free application like picmonkey.com. Or feel free to use one of my buttons (above)
2. Upload your graphic to a photo saving website. I use Photobucket.
3. Go into your blogger account and go to Template > Edit HTML.
4. Scroll almost all the way down the template until you locate the </body> tag.

5. Click over to Bloggersentral to copy & paste this code right before the </body> tag:
blogsentral

A few notes:

*Your png “PIN IT” button code should be pasted over this code:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-y3xzTGiGzH0/
UK4XOaUpdaI/AAAAAAAADw8/Z1MH4Jr4Efo/s1600/pinterestx1_72.png

Feel free to use one of the buttons on my photoshop page, like this one:
http://i666.photobucket.com/albums/vv24/spearmintbaby/pinit80.png

* you can also change the position of your “PIN IT” button. Find the part of the code that says “center” & try changing it to topleft, topright, bottomleft, bottomright. Play around with position to see what visually suits your blog.

6. Click SAVE & then refresh your blog. It should instantly update with your “PIN IT” button anytime you hover over a blog image.

After adding the hover “PIN IT” button to my friends’ blog, Mammagranate.com, I started experimenting with all of the other fun things you can do with blogger. I’m helping to redesign the blog and here is where we are at. (check out the hover “PIN IT” button in action on their blog!)

Here is the BEFORE:
mamma5

& Here is what we’ve done with it so far:
mg1

Categories: blogging tips
Posted by:
comments closed
Monday
February 11, 2013

How To Add A Custom “PIN IT” Button To Your WordPress Blog

pinterestingclick here to download

Over the weekend I added a “pin it” button for the photos on blog posts. Pinterest has become such an important tool for those of us that make our livings with our blogs! It is an incredible driver of traffic.

I had a “pin it” button before, but it was very touchy-feely. It would only show up when it felt like it! After trying about 8 different WordPress plugins I finally found one that works with the most updated version of WordPress, 3.5.1. So far, so good…

The plugin is called jQuery Pin It Button For Images (version 0.9). It allows you to customize your own Pinterest button. It also has a “fade in” feature that allows you to choose a level of transparency when you hover over images on your blog.

Try it yourself:
* First design your “Pin It” graphic & save it as a PNG file.
* Upload your graphic to a photo saving website. I used Photobucket.
* Now you are ready to upload the jQuery Pin It Button For Images plugin.
* Once activated, go to plugin settings.
* Adjust your transparency setting. (I am using 0.4 on the scale). I like that that this level just fades my photos a tad when you hover over them.
* Check the box that says “use custom image.”
* Copy/Paste the URL address of your graphic and then adjust the height/width of your graphic. (all buttons you see on this post are 73 x 73 pixels)

Update your settings & voila! You have a cute pin it button for your blog.

Categories: blogging tips
Posted by:
Thursday
July 5, 2012

How Much Do Bloggers REALLY Make?

I hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July. Our’s was low key/relaxing– we spent the day at the pool watching our little fishies grow stronger. This afternoon I got motivated to start working on blogging goals for the next year.

My 3 year blogging anniversary was in April. I feel pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished since then, but I still have a long way to get to where I’d like to be! Last week I was researching how much money bloggers really make and was surprised by all of the statistics. (I’m not sure of accuracy, but so far the stats are pretty similar in every article that I’ve read.) (more…)

Categories: articles, blogging tips
Posted by:
Tuesday
May 8, 2012

Why Do You Blog?

The photo above is my motivation for blogging. I often daydream about the flexibility a really successful blogger has. Making money while sitting at the pool on a tropical vacation, or even spending a year in a faraway village, just to learn about a new culture/language.  A blogger has the ability to work ANYWHERE that there is an internet connection.  So, if I can make enough money doing this, I can live anywhere I want.  Not sure where that would be, but it sounds exciting, RIGHT?

I began blogging while pregnant with Harper. If you don’t know me personally, you probably don’t know that THIS was my first blog. It was a pretty simple blog.  Including details like my pregnancy weight gain, pics of my belly growth, a sad memory of the loss of our dog Rocket, and some of the details about the birth of our baby girl. Looking back on it is kind of funny. I used the most basic blogspot template, with nothing unusually interesting/creative about it.  I was a newbie to the blogging world and had no real SKILLS!   Eventually I added a few ads to the blog and would get really excited when I’d make up to $0.33/day!  It was this blog that gave me the inspiration to start a blog with a different purpose…TO MAKE MONEY!

When Harper was 4 months old I decided to start Spearmint Baby. The idea was to somehow inspire other Mamas & attempt to make a living while doing so. I knew that this would take time, hours in front of the computer writing posts/driving traffic/selling ads, etc.

I had NO MONEY to invest in a pretty logo/fun design & if you’ve been on this journey with me, you remember my original/simple blogspot design:

I was pretty proud once I figured out how to manipulate HTML code into a 3 column template, was able to sell ads, and include clicky links! Making money was SLOW & tedious! BUT, it did happen.  I finally saved enough money  to have a professional redesign Spearmint Baby.  I approached Jo Klima, my designer of choice and things ultimately became more beautiful.

So, at this point in my blogging career (yes, I consider it my job, even though most people are confused when I tell them this!) I bring in a few substantial paychecks/month. They make me smile/proud.   I’m not supporting my family YET, but I know that the potential is there.

WHY DO YOU BLOG? Do you have an online store, a business, or is it just personal?

P.S  My blogging 101 series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Thursday
May 19, 2011

Thursday

Happy Thursday! I’m at Starbucks & about to get a Roma Tomato & Mozzarella Sandwich. It is my fave sandwich here- I’ve never really tried anything else. I am a complete creature of habit and ALWAYS get the same thing at cafes/restaurants…
McDonalds = double cheeseburger & large fries
Champs = cobb salad, no bacon, italian dressing on the side
chinese restaurant = beef & brocolli, steamed wontons
Chipotle = steak burrito with guac, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, hot sauce and NO beans!

Anyway…

I wanted to share the new Spearmintdecor.com logo now that we have officially started working on the new blog design.   The logo that you will see on the blog is the second one.   The new blog will coordinate with Spearmint Baby, but have different colors/details. I am super excited about it. My blog designer is fantastic!

I’ve noticed quite a few bloggers making the switch to WordPress recently. How do you like it compared to Blogger? I have to say I’m really starting to like it better. After the initial intimidation, it is working out really great. I cannot wait to have all of my blogs switched to this new format.

For those wondering, I’m using Dreamhost for hosting. It came out to $119.39 for the year, but this includes unlimited domains. So for all 4 blogs it will be about $2.49 each/month. –pretty good deal, right?  What are you using for hosting?  Do you like it?

Ok, off for my sandwich break!  Have a lovely afternoon. xo, shari

Posted by:
Thursday
May 12, 2011

Blogger to WordPress

I’m back to my regular routine at Starbucks today. Our babysitter was in Mexico visiting her family the past 2 weeks, and we are soooo happy that she is back! It has been a busy, and somewhat stressful week launching the new blog. I am a creature of habit and for me Blogspot was such an easy blogging platform. Using WordPress is an adjustment.

I am slowly feeling my way around WordPress. I’m currently having trouble with my Google Analytics ID just randomly changing at the end of the day- not sure why. Uploading photos is also an issue, I am not sure how to size them best. I am loving all of the fun plugins. I am also exploring new advertising companies. If you are using WordPress I’d love to hear any handy tips you can offer.

I hope you are all enjoying/getting used to the new look. You can learn more about my blog designer Joanna Klima at thedarlingtree.com

If you have not yet explored the toolbar, we’ve added some handy pages for exploring nurseries, toddler bedrooms, DIY projects, baby showers, birthday parties, baby bumps, & birth stories.

We have a lot of new banners. There are many different sizes so feel free to switch out your old banners.

I’ve had a few other bloggers ask me why I decided to switch to WordPress, so I thought I’d address this this afternoon. There are 2 main reasons why I decided to make the move:

1. The need & want to customize my blog. After blogging for 2 years I really wanted a new, professional look and there were so many limitations for customization on Blogger. In addition, there are so many useful plugins on WordPress – one of which I LOVE is the Ad Management plugin.

2. The fact that Blogspot blogs have started disappearing into thin air! About 1 year ago, one of my blogger friends, Rachelle of kenziepoo.com had her blog literally disappear! She had to start all over -this time using WordPress.

I started imagining how freaked out I’d be if my blog just disappeared. On Blogspot, you do not own your blog (Google hosts it) so it can accidently become labeled as spam and taken off the internet. I’ve worked so hard the past 2 years, I didn’t want to have to worry about this. On WordPress I am paying for my own hosting so this is not a concern.

I think that sums it up. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email: spearmintbaby@gmail.com
or you can send me a message on Facebook or Twitter- I am much better at keeping up with these!
xo, shari

Categories: blogging tips
Posted by:
Thursday
April 21, 2011

Blogging 101 Part 5: Making Money With Google Adsense

Enjoying your Thursday? I am back today give advice to new bloggers.

If you missed the first 4 parts of my Blogging 101 series you can read them here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

By now you have been working over a month to drive traffic. You are posting interesting content around the clock and are anxious to see your hard work pay off. Let’s make some Money!

One of the first ways that I began to make money on my blog was to subscribe to an ad network. Ad networks display ads on your blog without you having to do a thing! Genius!!

A few ad networks that I considered were BlogHer, Federated Media, & Google Adsense. I immediately ruled out BlogHer, because I found their rules ridiculously strict! (not sure about their rules today, but back in 2009 they had rules like no payed reviews, ads had to be above the fold with no competing ads above them, etc.) I am still considering Federated Media, and would love to hear from others who are using them.

My ad network choice was Google Adsense. (UPDATE: as of 2013 I now use Adsense & Glam Ad Network). Back in 2009 I was able to sign up for Google Adsense and get their ads on my blog within 24 hour. Nowadays there is a wait time. I believe you must be keeping a current blog for 6 months before being approved for their ad network. (if I am wrong, someone feel free to post a comment about this.)

I do know that if you get denied into the Adsense program the first time, just keep on blogging and reapply within a few months! They will re-review. Once you are accepted into the program you can display up to 3 ads at a time on a page. There are many different sized ads and you can even customize them to fit your blog.

After you place your Adsense code in your blog, Google bot will crawl your pages and take the information back to Google’s servers to process. With this information, Google will begin to place relevant ads on your web page. The ads displayed for each reader of your blog will be different, because Google also takes into account each reader’s preferences. For example, I was just online shopping at West Elm and when i visited Spearmint Baby, it was displaying West Elm ad targeted at me.

Google Adsense is primarily a pay-per-click ad network. You will make money by people clicking on your ads. You will also make some money from page views. Never click on your own ads or ask your friends or family members to click on the ads. Google will drop you from the program immediately if they notice suspicious clicks all coming from the same source. Once your ad revenue hits $100 Google Adsense will send you a check. Or you can set up a direct deposit which is quite handy! Don’t forget that you need to PAY TAXES on this money.

When I first started with Google Adsense I was super excited to make even $0.30/day on my blog! It took a LONG time to get my first check, & was a huge accomplishment for me! Nowadays i enjoy a nice monthly check directly deposited into my business bank account.

So, take a good look at Google Adsense for your blog. There is so little work involved. & please comment if you are using another ad network. I am currently exploring other options and would love some recommendations.
xo, shari

cont. How Much Do Bloggers REALLY Make?

& my personal story: Why Do You Blog

Categories: blogging tips
Posted by:
Thursday
April 14, 2011

Blogging 101 Part 4: Content Sharing/Exchange

Happy Thursday! I am enjoying a sunshine-y morning near a window at Starbucks. For those that may be new, Thursday is my day to myself to dedicate to my blog. I sit at my computer at the nearby coffee shop from 10:30 am- 5:00 pm. Sounds like a long time, but i never get enough done.

I started writing this Blogging 101 series to give advice to those looking to make blogging their business. A lot of us SAHMs also want to contribute financially. Blogging allows for a flexible lifestyle & the potential to make a good amount of money! I am sharing what I’ve learned during my 2 years of blogging. It may be helpful to some of you that are just starting out.

In case you missed Parts 1-3:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Today I’m talking more about driving traffic. Don’t worry if you feel like you are spending sooo much time driving traffic, but not making much money. Driving traffic to your blog comes first, which will make making money a lot easier!

Good content alone will NOT drive traffic. If no one knows that your blog exists, all of the great content you are creating will be a waste. So, the focus for today/this week is CONTENT SHARING & EXCHANGE! UPDATE: This post was written pre-PINTEREST. Pinterest has made content sharing much easier! GO directly to Pinterest if you have not yet.

Creating a really original post once in awhile (like a unique DIY project) is a great idea. If all of your content is original, more power to you!

Spearmintbaby.com has a mix of unique content, submissions from readers, & things/ideas that are re-blogged & credited. I understand the importance of creating something new/interesting. For example this Blogging 101 series is original/written by me.

One of the most popular, original posts on my blog was a “how to” for rainbow cupcakes. I cannot tell you how much traffic this post has driven to my blog (& continues to drive to this day!)

I realized right away that my rainbow cupcakes were a big hit, so i began emailing other bloggers asking if they’d be interested in sharing them on their blogs. (again, this is pre-PINTEREST days.) One of my FAVORITE bloggers, Jen, of Made by Girl, was the first person to want to share my cupcakes on her blog. I cannot tell you how excited I was when she posted them. Not only was it a huge accomplishment for me to be featured on such a successful blog, but it drove a TON of traffic to my blog!

I’ve “pimped out” my cupcakes to quite a few other blogs as well. Sometimes they were featured and other times I just got a thank you, rejection email, or no email at all. Remember, well known bloggers cannot possible reply to every email. If you feel that you have a winning post don’t let it go to waste. Be prepared for a lot of bloggers to say “no” before you get a “yes!” Try not to take things personal.

For those of you with excellent photography skills, try submitting posts to sites like craftgawker.com & tastespotting.com.

What about exchanging content? Networking with other bloggers is so important and once you have done so you can approach you blog friends about “exchanging” content with them. In other words, you guest post on their blog and they guest post on your blog. This is a great way to exchange readers with each other. Many readers will click on your link to learn more about you.

Content exchange with other bloggers works best if your blogs have similar traffic patterns. For ex, I know that asking Celebrity Babies People.com blog to exchange content with Spearmintbaby.com would be a stretch!

So, take this advice and go out there and network. CONTENT SHARING/EXCHANGE drives traffic and is an easy/free way to get your blog and all of your hard work recognized.
shari

to cont. reading PART 5: Making Money

Categories: blogging tips
Posted by:
Thursday
April 7, 2011

Blogging 101 Part 3: Driving Traffic Through Blog Hops

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Grab This Banner:


How is your Thursday? Today I’m blogging from Starbucks, my favorite place to get work done. This afternoon I am continuing with my Blogging 101 series. If you haven’t been following, you can start here:
Part 1
Part 2

What is the purpose of a blog hop? How are they good for you? How do you participate? Should you eventually host? YES!

Blog hops help you to discover new blogs, network with other bloggers, and most importantly gain new traffic to your own blog. A blog hop is a linky list where you link your blog URL or a specific post. Often you can add a photo from a specific post or your blog badge/button. A blog hop can be simple, like the one I am hosting today. This particular blog hop is just for you to tell me your blog name/URL so I can check you out. Sometimes a blog hop may have a theme. For example, a “DIY PROJECT” blog hop would invite bloggers to post a link to their recent DIY project and the name of the project. Often, there is also an image uploader which you can use to upload the best photo of your project. The photo will be turned into a thumbnail on the host’s page and you are encouraged to visit other DIY projects that look interesting to you. There can be several hosts of a blog hop. In fact, this is the new trend. It encourages more participants, which may lead to more traffic to your blog!

So, lets try it. Here are the rules for this blog hop:
* add your blog name & URL to the linky list below.
* follow any blogs on GFC that interest you (be sure to leave a friendly comment on their blog letting them know that you are a new follower so they can follow back!)
* feel free to grab the Spearmint Baby Blog Hop banner & post on your blog to get more people involved in the hop. (the more the better)

to cont. reading: Blogging 101 Part 4: Content Sharing & Exchange

Categories: blogging tips
Posted by:
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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Categories: blogging tips
Posted by:
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Subscribe via RSS
Subscribe via Email

We'd love to hear from you! Please email us at spearmintbaby@gmail.com









GILT