I thought about writing this post with a blaring billboard of numbers, declaring how quickly I have grown my blog and offering tips for how I have done it, so you can follow my formula to explode your blog. But the truth is, I haven’t done it. God has. Makes it kinda tricky to come in here and claim “know-it-all” status, huh. Maybe tricky isn’t the right word. Hmm…perhaps prideful.
The truth is, I am hardly an expert at this blog growing thing. In fact, with just nine months of blogging under my belt, I am really quite “wet behind the ears.” But in these short and crazy months, my blog has exploded in the most unexpected of ways and I want to share those with you.
Most people know about SEO, great blog design, and excellent use of social media. We know that pretty pictures do say a 1000 words and that engaging conversation brings in readers. Those things are great. They WILL help grow your blog for sure. But if that is your entire focus, I think you will miss what is most important. I am not here to sell you the one size fits all blog solution. Honestly, there isn’t one. Blogging is VERY hard work. It takes time, dedication, and most importantly, obedience. I don’t think there is a magic formula that works for everyone. However, there are some unexpected ways to explode your blog.
1. Pray and then pray again
Uh-huh. I pray before every post is started and before I hit publish. I pray when I can’t get the words to fall on the page like I think they should. I pray before committing to a review, a series, or even a guest post. This step is crucial, because if we are walking against what God has for us, then we will not find the long -term success we are looking for. Believe it or not, God is not out to grow every single one of our blogs to 100K viewers a month. Sorry to bust that bubble. He has diverse plans. There are so many ways for Him to work through you and I. Maybe it isn’t lots of readers on your own blog, but rather your blog is the catalyst for a greater ministry. DO NOT discount that, embarrassed that he didn’t grow your blog with numbers. People are not numbers and if we are changing lives…every life matters.
2. Work hard
I know- we all want a quick fix. I blame Burger King for this. Ya know, years of indoctrination in “have it your way.” Truth is, we can’t always have it our way. Most good things, most successful things, require hard work. As a new blogger, I still clock a good 6-8 hours a day on my blog. It has calmed down some…but it’s still a huge chunk of my time: writing, editing, sharing, social media, SEO, learning new things, commenting, promoting others…you get the idea.
3. Write only when you have something good to say
When I first started blogging, we were living in the land of – post daily or die. Ok, not so much anymore. Really smart (and highly successful) bloggers are now saying that it’s better to write great content a few days a week than good content everyday. That’s something to think about. I can’t say what that number might look like for you. What I can say is- you know when you are just trying to slap something up there because you feel like you need to. Resist the urge. Wait until you have a good topic and a well-developed idea. Honestly, as a reader of 100′s of blogs daily, I can say that content is what makes me hit the subscribe or unsubscribe button.
4. Love people
I really mean this: love your readers. Love your fellow bloggers. If you write because you want to help them, it shows. If you write because you want them to change their behavior, it shows…and it causes people to hit the unsubscribe button. I know that sometimes people aren’t so smart. People will always be that way. Your blog isn’t going to change that, but a great post that gets them thinking will probe their heart rather than accuse it. For example, if it drives you crazy that people don’t put their carts in the car return, don’t write a bashing post. Write a post about how we can minister to other people when we return the cart. See the difference? Your readers will, too.
This love thing also extends to comments and emails. Read them. Respond to them. Make yourself available to help your readers, especially in your area of expertise. This is one of those time draining things. But for me, my blog is first a ministry. The other stuff can wait.
5. Be authentic but not messy
This is probably one of the biggest reasons that my blog has readers. I try to be as real as possible. I don’t put on my Sunday best before publishing that post. Life is raw. It hurts and it’s a struggle. Share your struggles. People can relate. Trust me. I will warn you though…don’t be messy. No one wants to see your dirty laundry. You can tastefully express your hurts without slandering others or even pointing fingers.
This also applies to the topics you choose to tackle. Write about YOU. Write about your story, your life, the things that you struggle with or the things that you are pretty good at. Don’t try to write about things just because other people do. BE REAL! I’ve written on two of the most polar opposite topics out there: homeschooling and single parenting. Yet, did you know that one day God prompted me to start a private group for homeschooling single moms that now has nearly 200 members? I thought I was surely the only one is this unique position. It’s such a lie from the enemy. You are not the only one in your situation…whatever it is.
I know it seems counterproductive to give your best secrets to others, but I promise that sharing is the best way to grow your blog. That’s because it’s just plain Christian. And even if God doesn’t explode your pages with lots of visitors, you are still shining a light in a very dark place: the internet. We need a lot of people to accomplish that task and we need to support each other. So get out there and network, comment, guest post, and give away all of your secrets. Sharing is sure to grow you.
7. Guard your white space
I know, I know. Most of us need sidebar ads and other means of monetizing, but my heavens. I am not going to read your blog if I can’t find it for all the neon lights. Know what I mean? We have to find a balance here. Be tasteful and keep as much white space as possible. Think hard about what you recommend to your readers and don’t compromise your values for a few dollars. In the end, it won’t be worth it.
Obviously, these ideas are just the beginning of what makes a blog successful. I once read that there are so many blogs that we should all be proud if more than just our grandma reads our blog. So, there is good news, friend. Your blog is successful! Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and He will speak to every reader who lands on your bloggy corner of the world. Even if you write just for a handful of people, know that your words are changing lives… and EVERY life maters.
Kim is just a girl, crazy in love with Jesus. After teaching 8 years in public school, she traded her M.A. in Early Childhood for sippy cups and homeschool co-ops. She leans toward classical education, but loves to meld together the best of all homeschooling methods to meet the many needs of her children. When she’s not homeschooling, organizing, or folding cloth diapers, Kim blogs at Not Consumed, where she encourages others to rest victoriously in the hands of God, rather than allowing life’s difficult circumstances to consume. Kim is passionate about healing marriages, homeschooling and root beer. Um, yes, root beer. A girl has to have one bad habit, right?