Alright blogging beauts, I’m about to dish out some tough love: You are probably wasting your time. Not in general. In fact, having a blog in itself probably means that you have some awesome time management skills to begin with (not everyone can balance running a kick-butt site on top of the craziness of life!) but I’d say that the majority of new bloggers are wasting their time promoting their site to the wrong people.
If you’re a blogger, then you are probably aware of the amazing blogging community and the Facebook groups that go along with it. I’m a member of around 25 groups, and active in maybe five. You see, I learned a while ago that a lot of those groups are a waste of time.
Let me draw you a quick picture of the groups I’m talking about: They are the ones that post daily ‘link-dump’ threads. Where around 100 different bloggers are going to leave the links to their latest post and then get the heck out of there. These same groups have ‘follow trains’ where you post a link to the social media of the day and you’re required to follow the five people who posted above you.
The problem with most of these groups are that most of the bloggers involved are not your audience. In the groups I’m in, at least, there is a huge mix of mommy bloggers, food bloggers, fashion bloggers, DIY bloggers, business bloggers, and the list goes on. Having a mix like that is great for bouncing ideas and getting different perspectives, but the truth is a lot of the members simply don’t care to read your blog.
And there is nothing wrong with that – not everyone is going to connect with every blogger. But when you’re dropping your link, sure you might be getting a page view or a comment from them, but you are not growing your audience and chances are the blogger who left the comment will never visit your site again.
Trust me, I’ve been there done that. In the early days I would bust my booty making sure to comment on every single link that was posted in hopes that people would reciprocate. I would sometimes spend over an hour doing so and in return I’d get 15 page views and three comments. And I would consider that a success.
Now you better bet that if I’m spending and hour of my time promoting my blog it’s going to be for a much larger return than three half hearted comments and a handful of page views.
Unfortunately, it took me months to learn how to properly promote myself to people who would be excited about my content and bring value to my blog with their insightful feedback and comments.
But I have your back. I’m not going to let you waste your time any longer. Instead, let me tell you some of the best ways you can spend an hour to get major traffic to your site.
Pinterest (aka the a bloggers BFF)
If you know me, you probably knew this was going to come up. But if you’re a blogger and you’re not spending your time on Pinterest then you are missing out in a major way. As a little anecdote, you don’t need a ton of followers on Pinterest for the platform to be impactful; I had a post go crazy there, bringing my site over 30,000 views on one post in one day before I even reached my first 500 followers.
How to utilize Pinterest.
Alright, Pinterest is great; everyone knows that. But let me tell you how Pinterest can be great for you. I will focus on two things:
Group Boards: Ok, group boards are something you need on Pinterest. I only have around 3600 followers on Pinterest, but that doesn’t matter because I am part of a group board with ten times that. That board is the one that helped me go viral, and I’ve gone viral several times since then due to a well designed post pinned at the right time.
Pin Design: Having nice images to pin will go a long way on Pinterest. If your content is golden but your graphics are lacking, people aren’t going to click, and they aren’t going to pin. As far as nice images go, all you really need is a pretty stock image and a classy font. Study the popular page on Pinterest and figure out what works and what doesn’t (but don’t copy!)
Bonus: If you can spare a few dollars a month, BoardBooster is amazing. It automates your Pinterest for you so you can spend less time for a larger reward. Where I used to spend a few hours a week on Pinterest, now I’ll spend fifteen minutes here and there adding new content and letting BB do the rest.
Remember when I was preaching the wonders of SEO a few days ago? Well I promise you that an hour working on optimizing the SEO of old posts is going to go a lot further than an hour promoting yourself on those Facebook groups in the long run.
The only thing is, SEO benefits you in the long term, so you won’t get that instant gratification. But I will tell you that once you start getting steady search engine traffic, it will be worth it.
If you have been blogging for a while, then I challenge you to spend a free hour going back through your old posts that are awesome, but not getting the attention they deserve. Optimize them a bit, and wait for the magic to happen.
Ok, so I know it might have sounded like I completely wrote Facebook off. But it can be used for good! Like Pinterest, I have two ways that you can spend your time on Facebook!
In groups: OK, so groups aren’t all bad. Remember when I said that I’m active in a few? There are groups that are catered to specific niches and demographics and those are the groups that are going to benefit you because those are the groups that your audience hangs out in. I’m still pretty anti ‘follow for follow; like for like; etc,’ but those groups are valuable for making genuine connections and finding your tribe.
On your own page: Plenty of people are going to tell you that Facebook is dead, but I’m going to tell you right here and now that it’s not. If you aren’t using it correctly (guilty as charged a lot of the time) you aren’t going to see results, but if you put in just one hour a week to get everything scheduled and set up you should see results.
Really, there are a million different ways you can spend your time promoting yourself; social media, ads, word of mouth, SEO, the list goes on.
What is important is first diversifying your traffic channels and then finding what works for you. Finding out where your audience hangs out can be tricky (mine is all over Pinterest!) but once you find it, take advantage of it!