Thursday, 7 June 2012

Celebration 500 - Post 5 - Pimp Your Blog part 2

Hi Goddesses

So yesterday we looked at the things you need to think about before starting your blog.  Today I’m going to talk you through the things you can do to make your blog successful.  As I mentioned yesterday, I haven’t done some of these things myself, but I will mention them if I have seen them work for other people.

Ready ?  Here we go …..

Have A Schedule
Ideally, you should know how often you plan to post on your blog.  Loyal readership is built on people knowing when you have new material to read.  Think about your favourite TV program – would you ever have been able to get into it if you hadn’t know when it would be on ?

Most (but by no means all) bloggers try to post every day, or every day except the weekend, ensuring they have fresh material everyday.  That’s great, IF you can accommodate it.   Life is hectic.  Don’t over commit.  It’s better to always post on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday than to have a helter-skelter schedule.

Set Up A Facebook Page
Now, not every blog has a FB page but I am a big fan of it for 2 reasons, one of which will be our next topic for discussion.   How annoying is it when you have a friend who won’t shut up about something that bores you ?  How many of you hated seeing constant Farmville or Mafia Wars updates from your friends cluttering up your feed?
Well, this is why a separate FB page is a good solution – it allows you to put all your nail polish related stuff in one place without pissing your friend off!  If they’re interested, they will Like your page.

Like As Many Companies As You Can
Let Facebook do the work for you.  Like all your favourite brands.  And when you do a mani featuring that brand, post the photo on their wall, with a link back to your blog. I cannot stress this one enough.  It’s one I do a lot, and I know it has helped grow my blog.   Use the thousands of followers those companies have as an asset (but don’t overdo it!)

A lot of people under-estimate how much other people rely on Facebook.  FB makes information immediate.  FB allows people to click on your blog instantly, rather than trawling through Google images or Blogger looking for cool nail blogs.  It’s also a really good way to understand what is popular.  FB will notify you when your photo gets Liked on the brand’s wall – it’s a really good gauge of what’s popular with your audience.

Use different media, if you are comfortable doing so.  I don’t use all of these, but I am a big fan of pinterest.  Here are some options for you – remember, different readers will like different media.  The more choices you give them, the more they are likely to engage with you.
Networked Blogs
Hello Cotton
Blog Lovin

Join Facebook Groups.  Above all else, you are looking to connect.  How boring would your whole life be if you didn’t engage in conversation with anybody?   Facebook groups are a great way to share your obsession, share your posts and pimp your blog.   More than that, they are a great way to make friends.  I have some fabulous people in my life because of the groups I’m in.

A word of caution though – it can take over your life!  Be selective, you don’t need to join every group.  Or, join a few, and then only stick with the couple where you feel like you belong.

Enter Contests
This is something I NEVER do, but I know a lot of other bloggers do.  Why?  Well sometimes it’s for the prize, sometimes it’s for the competitiveness, sometimes it’s because it’s a great way to get your work seen by other people.

To do this, you’ve got to be good at nail art or stamping (which I’m not) – but they are a great way to connect with other bloggers.  Talking of which …

Comment on other people’s blogs. You know how you love getting comments, well guess what, so do other people!  Let people know if you’ve loved their work, or if their post has inspired you.

Bloggers are nice people – if you follow other people and comment, quite often they will reciprocate and follow you back.

I have several friendships that have started through blogging comments and grown from there.

Nail art challenges are just that – challenging.  However, you don’t have to do the 31 day ones, or even some of the longer ones I do; there are plenty of once a week challenges or smaller ones.

But why do them ?  Well, it builds a sense of community, and helps you connect with other bloggers, especially if you’re doing them through a group.  Also, it’s another way of getting feedback on what works and doesn’t – you often get more comments from posting your photo in the FB group than you would on the actual blog post.

There’s no doubt about it, Giveaways work.  They give you an instant injection of followers, but be wary – a lot of those same followers *can* drop off once the Giveaway ends.

Some people have grown their blogs massively with regular and well chosen giveaways, others like to use them as a thank you for hitting a huge milestone.  I have no rules about how often you should use them, however ….

Remain True to Who You Are
If you’re a competitive person like me, it can be easy to get swept up in the rush for new followers.  Before you know it, you’re having *another* giveaway and then one day you think, “shit, are these people following me for free polish, or because they really like me?”

Now for some of you, the answer to that question won’t matter.  For others, it will matter a lot, and that’s why we’re ending exactly where we started.  Know who you are, and why you’re doing this blog.  If you’re doing anything that doesn’t fit with that original vision, Stop Doing It (unless you changed your vision).

It’s very easy to want to be the best, or the most respected, and I see a lot of bloggers on a daily basis desperately trying to come up with the new cool thing.  But do you know what?  The best bloggers are the ones who know themselves, and what their blog is about, have communicated that to their readers, and have achieved it.
This, goddesses, is called authenticity, and it cannot be bought at any price.  There are literally thousands of blogs out there, but the only ones that will stand the test of time will be the ones that stand out and stand tall, confident in who they are and WHY they are.

Step forward Chalkboard Nails, Nailside, Let Them Have Polish, The Polish-aholic.  These ladies have a tried and tested formula.  If you go back 6 months in their archive, you will find posts completely congruent with what they are blogging about today.  So, the lesson ?  Don’t cheat on your readers.  Don’t become something you’re not, or something you promised them you wouldn’t.  And for God’s sake, don’t copy anyone else either.

Be yourself. It’s where we started.  It’s where we end.

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