I am very excited to present WEEK 1 of my new “Blogger behind the Blog” series. For the next ten weeks, the series will run on each Wednesday here at All Things Thrifty. I have asked some super-star bloggers and even a communication professional to answer some questions about blogging, and they have been great to participate.
The first question was, “What have you done to grow your blog?”

Shelley from House of Smiths
In one word: NETWORKING.

Linking up on a blog party, joining in a twitter chat, or simply exchanging emails are great, easy ways to network. This is how I started out. Make yourself known, but don’t go overboard and become an annoyance. Nobody likes someone who is an OVER self promoter. One of the things that I tell my readers when they ask this same question is… “Be patient. If you have great material, passion and pride in what you’re doing, then people will come! If you’ve got it, you’ve got it! If you don’t… you don’t.”  Nobody wants to say or hear it, but we all know it’s true.
Do something that nobody has thought of, take a different approach, be original, and you will stand out from the crowd! I promise.

I feel that once you’ve established yourself, then I recommend “face time” with other bloggers. Meeting like-minded people face to face and connecting on another level is a great way to build a community and support team. This way you can band together with a few other bloggers and hopefully help promote and spread word about each other! 

Beckie’s Top 5 Tips for helping your blog grow…
1.  Give content away.  I know we all want to keep our content…especially DIY craft and home bloggers.  After all,  A LOT has gone into our projects.  But when you guest post on other people’s blogs you are exposed to a whole new audience that might be interested in you and come check out your site which increases your pageviews and followers.
2. Great content.  Never veer from giving your audience the very best content you can.  Content is why people come to see you and follow you.  Never sacrifice great content!
3.  Consistency.  Set an editorial calendar for yourself and stick to it.  Your audience needs to know what to expect from you.  If you blog once every three weeks and then 7 times in one day it confuses your readers and they don’t know what to expect.
4.  Link arms with like bloggers.  Nothing has grown my blog more than finding women who want to link arms with me to help grow together.  We tweet, facebook, stumble, pin and encourage each other to continue to grow and expand our brands.  We all bring something to the table and learn from each other.  Plus it is awesome to have that support system when you grow weary or get discouraged.  The bloggy blues happen to the best of us.
5. Expose yourself.  NOT IN THAT WAY SILLY.  Link up to linky parties, submit your content to be featured on sites like Knock Off Décor, Roadkill Rescue, Remodelaholic, I Share Crafts, Décor Hacks, One Pretty Thing, Ucreate, Better After, Make and Takes, Craft Gawker, etc.  Try and get your content featured on as many places as possible.

Five factors that have helped my blog to grow: 
  • I think the first is that I blog about something that I am passionate about. I love creating projects and trying out new things. I started it as a place to store my creative ideas, not knowing it would grow into something bigger. 
  • The second factor is remembering why I started blogging; it helps me maintain my passion for creating and keeps me from burning out. 
  • The third thing is being featured. I was featured a few times by a few different bloggers and those features really pushed my blog along. Consequently, having had those great experiences, it has made me really love to give back. I love to feature people and in some small way I hope to do the same thing for other bloggers. 
  • The fourth factor is networking. I loved linking up to linky parties and going around and commenting on every project. It was fun to get to know people through those parties and I made some wonderful friends that way. 
  • And the last thing that has helped my blog to grow has been surrounding myself with a tribe of other bloggers who all promote and support each other. It’s nice to have a group of people to bounce ideas off and who will give you advice when you are having a bad day.

Mandi from Vintage Revivals

First I need to say that this is SUCH a fun project Miss Brooke.  And I totally dont belong alongside these amazing ladies…but I am sure glad that I am!!
The very most important thing to grow your blog is to remember that content is why people come to your site.  If you have great stuff people will come back.  If you don’t then they won’t.
Do you know what your point of view is?  What you are sharing that can your readers can learn from?  Is your blog a place where they leave feeling better about themselves, more inspired to tackle the ever growing pile of crap in their garage, and empowered?  
Each of the blogs that I read leave me feeling like this.  They make me FEEL something. 
You can link up to parties all day long and get some traffic to your site but you dont want random traffic, you want loyal readers. The way to get that is to
1. Be yourself.  Above all be yourself.  Talk to your readers the way you talk in real life.  Shelley is a perfect example of this. I have met her IRL and she is exactly the same.  Awesomeness.
2.  Make sure that what you are sharing is worth their time reading. I know that when I go to Donna’s blog each post I read I am going to learn something new or look at things a different way.
3. Find ways to connect with other bloggers. Leave comments, send tweets and emails.  Not just by building a tribe but by building relationships with your other bloggers and your readers.  Jen is one of the best relationship builders I have ever met. She finds the best in people and shares it with the world!  Most of us are indebted to her forever for the traffic she shares.
Sometimes people get caught up in comparing their junk with other peoples.  Which is LAME.  Who in the world reads just ONE blog?  Not a soul.  If you build people up they will build you up.  Golden rule people, golden rule. 
Sorry about the tangent…what was the question again?
Love your guts
Mandi


Funky Junk Interiors
Donna from Funky Junk

It’s all about content. You can pull every trick in the book to get your blog to grow, however if you don’t consistently deliver your personal best, followers either won’t stay or won’t follow to begin with. Offering unique content, excellent photos, good writing and frequent posts are all part of that magical recipe.
Other helps: hosting a weekly link party, linking up to other parties for exposure, guest hosting, and using social media to bring them back to your blog.

Jamielyn from I heart Nap Time

The best thing that has helped my blog grow is getting featured on other web sites. Whether that be from guest posting, link parties or featured posts… that has driven the most traffic to my blog. The best thing you can do is to put yourself out there. Start asking bloggers (similar size to your blog) to do blog swaps and e-mail some of the bigger bloggers as well. I’m sure most of them would love to feature you! 


Another thing that has helped my blog grow has been through search engines. By making sure your pictures and posts are tagged with key words you’ll be able to drive more traffic from people searching for your ideas. 


Tauni, a communications professional from Snap.
Blogging is such a unique medium, but the key to really growing your site is similar to almost any type of business – it’s all about relationships.

By building a relationship with your readers, your blog will flourish. Here are five ways you can work on building relationships of your own:
• Incorporate a story into each post – even your tutorials – that will provide the reader with a little insight into who you are.
• Comment on other blogs and respond to comments on your site (we’ve just posted some great tips for this on the SNAP! site).
• Utilize social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to provide additional insight and further the conversation.
• Guest post! It may or may not drive a lit of traffic to your site, but it will broaden name recognition and reputation.
• It can be a little odd at first, but meet with as many of your readers as you can in person! There will never be a substitute for personal contact.




Hi readers, it’s me, Brooke again. The answers have reiterated to me that this series is going to be AWE-SOME. I cannot wait to learn more each week. Thank you to all of our amazing contributors who answered this question!

Next week’s question: 
How do you keep up with your amazing websites AND take care of your families. 

Stay tuned every Wednesday for more Blogging 101 discussions!

Comments

  1. says

    Great first post. However, what are linky parties? Never heard of that. It is great to hear from several bloggers and the advice is similar, which sort of makes it more valid in a strange way. Thanks so much for putting this together!

  2. says

    Hi Brooke, this series is so helpful to someone like me who is a newbie & has no clue what is goin on! I'm getting it though piece by piece :) I look forward to following you! All the suggestions were great ladies Thankyou… Now I need to go and google instagram (is that what it's called?!) ha Mandy, your LAME comment made me laugh :)

  3. says

    This is so cool! I'm familiar with many of the ladies here and I've wondered for ages just how they managed to get so "big". How neat is it to be able to pick their brains like this? :) Thanks so much to everyone for the advice!

  4. says

    Brooke, Your Blogging 101 series is so perfectly timely for me. No one could need a 101 class more than I do, having just -just! – started Sassafras Salvation. [http://sassafrassalvation.blogspot.com/]

    These ideas are wonderful. I'm so looking forward to the rest of your series! Thanks so much!

  5. says

    This is so helpful! I am having trouble growing my blog. I feel like my content is solid and consistent, but I dont seem to have very many followers. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.

  6. says

    WOW! Thank all of you so much for sharing your insights. As a novice blogger, it has really given me ideas on how to focus in on what I'd like to provide to my readers and how to get more. You're amwesome!

  7. says

    Your 101 class is a brilliant idea. The advice from these talented women is worth its weight. I've been blogging for about a month and a half and am still trying to figure it all out. Thanks, ladies, for your advice and, Brooke, I look forward to future installments.

  8. says

    Thanks so much for coordinating this . .gathering all the info. . posting it all. . .thanks for the time and energy you are giving this series. . .it is a gift to us bloggers who wish to grow. I look forward to next week!!

  9. says

    This is Donna from Chaos, Cookies and Laundry. I love this idea, it is exactly what I need to get me new blog going. I look forward to reading the advise from the experts. Thanks again!

  10. says

    Thanks so much for sharing all of this! It can be hard to put yourself out there at first and feel impossible to believe that people will want to read what you have to say. Thank you so much for the encouragement and amazing tips!!

  11. says

    Thank you! I am very new in the blogging world and these tips are just what I need!! Adding them to my "notebook" of to-do's (gosh, that list just gets longer and longer). But, in all honesty, it is hard just finding the places to link to…

  12. says

    I have to say, it is not often that I read EVERY single word in a blog post. But, I just did exactly that. I soooo needed this, and look forward to reading more!

  13. Brooke @ www.allthingsthrifty.com says

    Hi readers! I wanted to answer the recurring question, "What is a linky party."

    A linky party is a place on a blog that you can share your project and provide a link for people to come and check it out.

    There are a TON of linky parties out there in blogland and each party is usually consistently on the same day each week or month.

    For example, every Friday Miss Mustard Seed has a "Furniture Friday" linky party where you can share your furniture transformations. OR, every Saturday night, you will find a linky party at Funky Junk Interiors. OR, at Thrifty Decor Chick, you will find a before and after party on the first Monday of every month where you can share your latest creation.

    These are a few examples, but honestly you will find scads of linky parties out there if you search. It is a great way to strut your stuff.

    Feel free to share linky parties in the comment section if you would like.

  14. Heather {Simply Cottage Love} says

    Wow! This is a great resource! It's wonderful to hear what all the "big names" have to say! Love it!

  15. says

    Great serious you've started. I found that submitting to sites like Craftgawker have brought me the most increased traffic. Even if you have all the tools, I think the main thing is not to give up and be patient! Happy blogging!

  16. says

    This is a great series!
    I wanted to subscribe immediately but I hit a snag and found the solution. You might not be aware of it but the links to your RSS feed button and the Email subscribe button have been swapped. I figured it out and so I am now a new subscriber.

  17. says

    I am so happy that you are doing this. Not very many people want to help out by giving advice. I will definitely be incorporating these ideas into my blog. Thank you and I will be sticking around for this series : )

  18. says

    Brook, I am new to the blog world. I just started a blog myself and this was so helpful. I have had the nicest ladies comment on my blog. They are so encouraging. I would love if you stopped by and emailed me some ideas. Thanks so much. So glad I found your blog.

  19. says

    I'm so glad I stumbled upon this. I've been blogging personally, for ten years. My personal blog doesn't get much traffic, which I'm OK with, because I've been the popular blogger back in the day (when there were only like 20 of us ;o), but I've recently started a home dec/diy blog and I realized that it's been so long that I've been blogging, that social media has changed so much, that I don't even know where to start to promote. I know how, but I don't know how, if that makes any sense. So thanks for the kick in the pants.

  20. Erin says

    THANK YOU so much for doing this series! I love and follow the gals you are featuring and am thrilled to be getting such great advice from bloggers I admire as I am just starting out. :)

    Erin

  21. Brooke @ www.allthingsthrifty.com says

    Dawn,
    You can only join a linky party if the party is live. Most linky parties are only open for a day or so. It is all about timing.

    When the linky party posts go up, all you need to do is put your link (of a post that fits the requirements for that specific linky party) into the form.

    Here is an example of Thrifty Decor Chick's September Linky Party

  22. says

    Thank you so much! These girls gave us some much-needed, great advice! They all shared some common traits too, they are all givers, all very positive thinkers, and funny! I so enjoyed this! I'm so happy to find the help and encouragement I need! I just haven't learned to do linky things yet, but soon! Love and blessings! Linda

  23. says

    Thanks to all of the contributors for taking the time to share what you have learned about blogging. I am in the process of putting my own blog together at this very moment so all this information is so timely. I LOVE blogs!!!!!

    Lisa

  24. says

    This was so helpful! I have JUST started and feel a little intimidated. I'm gonna go down the comment list and start following these blogs and hopefully we can all start networking!!

    -Ms Militia
    deathbydiy.blogspot.com/

  25. Brooke @ www.allthingsthrifty.com says

    The Smarty Pants Family,
    If you click on my widget at the VERY bottom on the words "Facebook social plugin" you will be taken to a page that you can get one too! :)

  26. says

    Thank you for this – I have been reading wonderful blogs for years, but I just started my own a month ago with, I'll admit, a fair bit of trepidation and a "what am I doing" here state of mind. Wonderful advice, I am looking forward to the rest of the series!

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