One of the most common questions that comes up in my blog coaching work, after presentations that I make at conferences, in emails that I receive and yes, while standing in line for coffee (never tell a stranger you are a blogger — explaining what that means will take longer than the pour-over process) is:
WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING TO GROW MY AUDIENCE/MAKE MORE MONEY?
For a long time, I tried to list all of the most common strategies for success:
- posting more often
- posting less often but with better content
- optimizing for SEO
- building email lists
- analyzing analytics
- writing better headlines
- using Facebook and Google ads
- etc. etc. etc.
And yes, a combination of those and other processes will certainly make a difference. But more and more, I’m answering the question with two of my own. My poor clients will read this and roll their eyes, because I really won’t move forward unless and until they can tell me:
What is WORKING?
What is FUN?
At the end of the day, I truly think the answers to those two questions are better than an hour spent in consultation with me, than in a webinar from the smartest, most successful strategist, at a conference or in reading e-book after e-book.
What is working?
For me, the most successful audience-building strategy has been optimizing my site and my posts for search engines. Far and away, search drives the most traffic to my site, so while I use an email list, I share on social media, I work with other bloggers to try to increase my referrals, etc., those are secondary to my focus on search.
But for others? Search doesn’t work as well. Pinterest, for many bloggers, is the best sharing tool and should get 90% of the time and attention. YouTube can be an awesome resource if that’s where your audience is (and you’ll really only know that if you test, measure and refine your sharing strategy there).
There is no one-size-fits-all process for growing your blog, and I cringe when I see/hear people referencing one. Are there great tutorials on growing each platform? Absolutely, and I’d be a fool to tell you not to try everything. But if I could back up any claim that “this works in every case,” I’d be selling it for millions of dollars.
What is fun?
Forget the numbers. Forget what works. What gets you excited to sit down in front of the computer? Is it sharing the latest story about your fitness, your kids, your cats, your newest recipe? Do you love the time spent scrolling through your Instagram feed, or watching videos on YouTube?
Do more of that. Even if it doesn’t lead to measurable traffic. If all you do is think about the audience/money/followers/subscribers/insert-metric-here, you’ll burn out, and FAST. While there are certainly some people who get into blogging solely for the paycheck, most of us started our websites as side hustles or hobbies, to share something about ourselves that we thought the world should know.
Get too far from that original mission and it won’t matter how many people come — you’ll get sick of the process.
Is it that easy? Two questions. No. Once you answer them, you’ll still have to decide how to spend your limited time and resources. But I hope that it helps you filter out the overwhelm that has you feeling like you have to be everywhere, doing everything.
Find out what works and what’s fun. And do THAT. Do only THAT, at least for a while. If Pinterest is not working and isn’t fun, don’t spend time on it, even if your blogging buddy/neighbor/coffee shop stranger says it’s required. If creating newsletters makes you stressed and isn’t giving you a big boost in your traffic, let it go!Ask yourself: what's working? What's fun? #blogging #seo #marketingClick To Tweet