When I first started, I thought blogging was fairly simple. I mean, how hard can it be? All you do is write a post, take a photo and hit publish. Well it turns out that there is whole lot more to it, ha! Self-hosted sites, widgets, plugins, SEO. These were all foreign terms to me and it has been a steep learning curve. It has taken me a while to learn the behind the scenes work of blogging, but now I can make it easier for you!
Improving my page views has made a big impact on the amount of companies that are willing to partner with me for sponsored posts or freelance work. It has also gotten me that much closer to qualifying for the ad network that I want to use for my site. Page views are a great way to gauge how you are doing, and it is so encouraging to see how far you have come in a year.
SEO is hands-down the most important term that I have learned when it comes to blogging. So what does SEO stand for? Search Engine Optimization. By improving the SEO of your site, you give search engines a reason to direct traffic to your site.
A lot of people focus on social media growth alone, and while it is important, it’s not consistent. You want search engines to determine your site is relevant. Here are some ways to improve SEO….
- Install the YOAST plugin, this will help you see if you are optimizing your posts as you write them. Make sure that you are still writing your posts for the reader and not just for SEO.
- Write a META description for each post and for your website. This is the paragraph that will show up when your post appears in a search. If you don’t write one, google will pick one for you. See example below..
- Write an Alt Image description for all the images on your site. This helps the search engine read that specific content since they can’t “see” pictures or images.
- Research and use Keywords that your audience is actually searching for. And then you want to use that keyword in your URL and in your post, but don’t go overboard or it won’t be enjoyable for your reader.
2.) Make Your Content Shareable
This is something that I really wish I had done sooner (especially for Facebook). I use Canva to create my social media images. It is important to make them visually appealing, nobody wants to share an ugly Pin or picture to their personal social media page.
I also installed Social Warfare to make it easy to share my content. I purchased the pro version which allows me to optimize each image for a particular social media channel. For example, when you hit the Facebook share button, it shares the image that I selected and includes the description that I wrote. Edit: I no longer use Social Warfare due to a breach in their security. I now use Social Pug and have been happy with it so far.
3.) Use Pinterest Effectively
- Join Group Boards that are popular and in a similar niche as yours. I even created my own and it has grown my Pinterest following significantly.
- Pin frequently, but not just your own content. Pin others as well (in the same niche).
- Organize your boards and make sure you are only pinning content that fits within your brand.
- Make sure you have a business profile and enable rich pins.
- Re-design Pins that aren’t doing well (I use Canva).
4.) Create Quality Content and Post Regularly
This may seem like a no-brainer but it takes time to learn what ‘quality content’ actually means and if it is what your readers are looking for. There have been times when I created a post or recipe that I was sure was going to be popular and it just flops. I could choose to be super discouraged or choose to analyze the data and see where I went wrong.
Take your time with your posts. Read them, edit them, re-read them and make sure it is up to your standards before you hit publish. Double check links and social share buttons. You want your readers to have the best experience, so that they will come back.
As for images and photography, you have a few options. For a lot of blog posts/articles, you can use stock photos. But for food blogging, you should use your own photography. It takes time and a lot of practice to improve these skills. As you can see below, I have come so far, but there is always more to learn.
Posting your content regularly ensures that the search engines will continue to find new and informative content when they ‘crawl’ your site. It also keeps your readers interested and coming back for more. To stay organized, I have a calendar hanging over my desk with a schedule of when my posts will go live. I also use a Business Planner to stay on top of all the things I need to get done. Don’t forget that you can schedule posts to publish on a specific date so that you can get work done ahead of time.
5.) Research, Learn, Ask Questions
I am constantly reading new books, listening to podcasts, and asking my fellow bloggers for help. I join blogging forums on Facebook and I engage with the community. Believe me when I tell you that there is always more to learn. Here are some of my favorite resources……
The Food Blogger Pro Podcast
The Goal Digger Podcast
But what do you do if you have a lot of old posts that don’t fit these requirements? Take what you have learned and go update them! You might have some amazing recipes or posts that aren’t getting the attention they deserve. I focus on creating new content but also taking time each week to edit old ones as I learn new information.
And please remember not to compare yourself to others, this can be so defeating. I remember seeing a fellow blogger get to a full time income within months of starting a blog and I felt like such a failure. This journey is not going to look the same for everyone. Stay consistent, keep learning and always remember your ‘why’.