Thus far, it is working pretty well. I have more than doubled both my daily blog hits and my Google Reader subscribers.
I work really hard on this blog. It is my outlet, and a lot of the reason behind my sanity (or insanity) at times. It's like my baby. I feel passionate about it (by the way, I am still working on figuring out my life's true passions).
I'm not going to lie - sometimes it is tough to find motivation to write and to keep plugging away when I am not being monetarily compensated. Oh shit, I can't believe I just said that. That's uncomfortable to admit, and maybe some of you won't like it, but it's the truth. A lot of the popular blogs I follow talk about how they just happened upon their thriving blog like it was a penny on the ground waiting to be picked up. No real effort, just a happy coincidence. That type of scenario is great, but it doesn't help those of us that...I don't know...are working at it a little?
Obviously, it's not all about the prospect of money. If it were, I would have quit a long time ago. Some of us are writing for ourselves. Others enjoy interacting with their readers. I mean, come on, blog comments are like crack. As bloggers, we can become addicted to comments.
The point of this post is that it would be nice to be able to help and motivate other small blog writers to keep growing and expanding. A simple online search about "how to expand your blog" turns up thousands of hits. For the most part, they say the same things. There has to be more to this. And consequently, I am making this my little ongoing project.
To start things off, here is my working list of tips.
1) Give YOUR opinion. People will visit your blog to read your voice and your perspective. If I wanted to know the latest summer dress trends, I would google "latest summer dress trends". Do you think the latest summer dresses are f-ing ugly? Tell us.
2) Don't be afraid to share stuff about your life. Pictures help a lot. This tip is weird for me to be writing. I mean, I once wrote a post about valuing my privacy. Then promptly after that, I started telling TMI stories about my experiences at the gyno. I worried people would think I had no tact. In actuality, I have realized that being truthful and honest with your readers is one of the most refreshing perspectives you can give. Readers don't know you from Mary. You have to let them get to know you! (This is something I continue to work on daily.)
P.S. This doesn't mean complain about anything and everything. It's a thin line. Too much complaining = turn off.
3) Get your ass on Twitter. I wrote a post about how I'm no good at Twitter. I'm still no good at Twitter, but I'm working on it. If you are trying to get yourself and your blog out there to the world, Twitter can actually be quite useful. Most importantly, it is a great way to connect with your favorite popular bloggers and exchange information. I have been sneaking on at work, and thus far, haven't been fired. Fingers crossed it stays that way.
4) Be part of an online community. As many of you know, I blogged for Weddingbee. I not only have the support of my fellow Bee bloggers, I also have support from all of the members of Weddingbee. This has been huge for my blog. But even now, I am constantly trying to reach out to other newlywed bloggers and twenty/thirty-somethings. There are online communities everywhere (some of them centered around popular blogs). Spend some time on the boards, and make friends!
5) This one is obvious (and has been said a million times)...but blog regularly. I farted around with this blog (back in the old school wedding planning days when I was known as "Westside Bride") and some months I only posted 4 or 5 times during the ENTIRE month. If there is nothing new to read, there's no need to visit. I made a vow in February/March of this year to start posting daily or almost daily. It has done wonders for my blog traffic, and I suspect it has helped my writing, too.
6) How do I manage to post so often? You have to schedule your posts ahead of time. There is absolutely no way you can sit at your work desk or sit in class and pump out a wealth of decent material. It takes commitment and chunks of free time. It also takes a caring partner who won't bitch and moan at you when your face is glued to your blog every evening.
7) Original content, please. I don't know how to say this without sounding like a biznatch, but if I see one more blog where people are modeling outfits without any actual text or description or anything, I think I might shoot myself in the foot. I love looking at what bloggers wear. Heck, I've done "what did I wear?" posts. But, you've got to put some spin on it, or it doesn't really grab my attention.
8) Seek out journeys and write about them. Life is all about the journey, right? I have found that people like to read about personal journeys. Whether you are planning a wedding, pregnant, designing a home, or running a marathon, it is always interesting to tap into how someone gets from Point A to Point B. Sometimes you don't have to seek out a journey. It just comes to you. Recounting some of my health struggles has been an ongoing adventure, and I have bonded with a lot of readers by sharing my experiences.
That is all I can think of for now. I desperately want this to be a series! Bloggers, let's help each other out. Do you have any tips for small-ish blogs?
*If you are interested in guest posting for The Less Than Domestic Goddess about finding your blog passion, growing your blog, finding your voice, etc. email me at carlysdreams at hotmail dot com. Or maybe you have another idea for a guest post? Email me or comment.