Slideshow Widget

How to have a great blog and lots of lovely readers

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lately, I have seen lots of forum posts, personal emails and blog posts from new bloggers who are trying to figure this whole blog thing out. Everyone mainly wants to know how to get more traffic to their blog or what they should blog about.

I'm not a blog expert but I thought it would be a good thing to talk about here. I have been blogging since the end of December. In approximately 8 months, I have made over 150 posts, have almost 400 followers and actually started to make a little money from ad space on my blog. Not too shabby! Having a good blog and lots of readers doesn't happen by chance, though. It takes creativity, time and dedication.

"If you build it, they will come!"
It's true, before you try to increase your traffic, focus on your blog. Believe me, people will stumble upon your blog by chance but once you have those little fishies in your net, you have to keep them there. If you can catch a reader's attention, they are more likely to return and maybe follow you. Personally, I love blogs with lots of pretty things to look at, funny or educational posts and topics that I'm interested in. There are two main focus points for creating a great blog. If you don't have good content and nice images, most people won't want to come back to your blog.

1.) Content- For me, content is SO important. In my blogging, I try to have my images accompany my content, not the other way around. Good content makes for great reads. I love the pretty pictures too but pretty pictures won't keep me hanging around for longer than a few minutes. So, what do you want to say to the world?
I keep a blog notebook and every time an idea pops into my head, I jot it down, that way, I never run out of ideas for post topics. I like to do theme posts too. My Friday Night Fashion and a Movie posts are always fun because I get to watch a movie I've never seen (or an old favorite) and share it with other vintage lovers. I love my tutorial posts because I'm a very DIY kind of girl and I know people really like how-to's. I've seen fellow bloggers talk about celebrities, history, fashion designers, etc. If you don't know much about the topic, take your time to research it. Use the internet and library as your resource. For us fashion bloggers, talking about online shops and small businesses is a great way to improve our content for our readers and give a shout-out to those businesses that we love. The bottom line is, write about what you love! Not everyone will agree with you and not everyone will be interested in what you have to say but if you put it out there, people will read it. This is YOUR blog, YOUR happy place, so write about what makes you happy!

2.) The pretty bits
Your images, your banner, your blog layout are all key components to a great blog. My lay-out was crap until I recently got help from a very kind, very talented reader and fellow blogger. If you are like me and are not techno-savvy, ask for help from friends, relatives and of course, your blog friends! A blog that really -pops- will catch your readers eye and keep them coming back for more. Make your blog easy to navigate by trying to keep your side bars de-cluttered. This is not always my strong spot. I'm a pack-rat even on the web. When taking fashion pictures of yourself, if you can't get a friend to act as your photographer, try learning to use your timer on your camera. Avoid using your camera phone (unless you're a really good camera phone photographer) I recently came across a blog with camera phone pics that were sideways and upside down! It was ridiculous to try to figure out what I was looking at. Take the time to edit your pictures and at least rotate them so they're right-side up. For editing red eye, color adjustments, cropping, etc. I use photoscape. It's free and idiot-proof- perfect for me. I also use shape collage to create groups of several photos. It's also free.

How to increase your traffic

You've been posting great content, taking fabulous pictures and still no one is reading your blog. Well, first of all, there are more people reading than you think! Followers are people who want to subscribe and read you regularly but there are LOADS of people who just drop by and read one post or people who lurk around by bookmarking your blog instead of setting up an account to follow you. Still, even with almost 400 followers, I do the happy dance every time I get one more. So, how do you get more dedicated readers? Find them!!
1.)Post links!
Post a link to your blog on forums, in a comment on another blog, on your facebook or other social networking site. Don't just randomly leave this comment, though
"Check out my blog at http://pleasepleasepleasereadme.blogspot.com"
...because that drives people crazy. Instead, say something interesting that pertains to the conversation or blog post. Funny comments, questions, compliments, etc all get attention. If you grab someone's attention, they will be more likely to want to know more about you and they will click on your link. When you leave a link on another blog, you are not only leaving the link for that person, you are opening yourself up to all of their readers as well.
2.)Give and you Shall Receive
If you want someone to read your blog, read theirs too. If you follow other blogs, that also gives you the chance to comment on them and leave your link, thus getting more traffic.
3.)Host a Giveaway
Giveaways are an amazing way to boost your traffic. You can list your giveaway on other blogs, giveaway sites and forums. People love freebies so they'll visit your blog to see what you have to offer. You can either purchase something to give away or ask a small business owner if they would like to collaborate on a giveaway. Having a sponsor support a giveaway is a win-win. They get business, you get traffic. If you have a business collaborate, it is VERY important that you link that business, talk about what kinds of products/services they offer, etc.
4.)Meet people in person
It sounds so ridiculous saying this, but I have business cards for Va-Voom Vintage. Stupid? Not at all. I've walked around stores, parks, malls, etc and had tons of people stop me, asking "how do you do your hair?" or "I love your style, I wish I could dress like that" or whatever. This is your chance to say "Oh, well I have a tutorial on my blog for how to do hair like this" or "I write a fashion blog, you can read it here!" I never randomly pass out business cards, only when asked. But it happens all the time! This is also a great way to meet new people, make friends and keep in touch with readers in your area.
5.) Use your tags When you're writing a blog post, there is a box at the bottom for "labels for this post" use those labels. Fill that space with words pertaining to your post. Not only does this help your readers to navigate your blog but it allows search engines to pick up on your blog.
6.) Connect with the blogosphere- Email other bloggers, respond to comments, nominate other bloggers for blog awards, write guest posts on other blogs, interview other bloggers and post about it. Blogland is a community and if you want to be noticed, be part of it. Jump on in, the water is fine!

A Few More Tips

1.)Keep track of your traffic
You can see how many people are checking you out by setting up an account with Google Analytics and by setting up a visitor counter on your blog. It's really fun to see how many people in how many countries around the world are reading what you have to say. This will also give you an idea of which posts are the most popular so you know what to write about in the future.

2.)Keep it moving
Always strive to evolve your blog. Change the colors or layout every once in a while. If a reader comments with a question, respond with a post about it! Always brain storm for new post ideas and try to keep it fresh for your readers.
3.)Stay Inspired
Read other blogs, flip through magazines, watch movies and listen to your readers for inspiration.
4.)Don't be an annoying billboard

I love having ads on my blog. My blog takes a LOT of my time. So, with advertising, I make a little money and small business owners get the attention of my readers. That being said, don't be too much of a billboard. I only write about businesses and products that I do or would use. If you're writing a fashion blog, would you advertise for a car company? probably not. When it comes to ads, stay true to your readers and to your topic by choosing who gets to advertise on your blog. If you want to advertise, Project Wonderful is a great place to start, but make sure you have good content, 30 posts or more and of course, lovely images.

If you have questions, comments or advice about blogging to share, please leave it in a comment below....oh, and if you have a blog, even a new one, leave a link so I can read you!! p.s. sorry for no pretty pics, I'm a bad blogger! :)

Learn everything I know about blogging and DIY blog design with my ecourse Bloggerific: A Guide to a Beautiful, Successful Blog 

37 Responses to “How to have a great blog and lots of lovely readers”

  1. Hey there, I've just found your blog after going to a rockabilly/1950s night last weekend, which made me search for some tutorials on victory curl hairstyles. I'm so glad I found your blog! Your hairstyle tutorials are really helpful and your blog is so fun to read! I am a newish blogger so these tips were also really interesting and hepful, thank you!! My blog is http://floralskirtsandteaparties.blogspot.com/
    Angela xx

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  2. These are really great ideas!! I'm going to try a few of them, including linking to my blog in comments. I'm also going to take the time to tag my posts. Thanks Brittany!!

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  3. Thanks for tips. By the way, your post on your other blog about scheduling housework has transformed my life. Thank you so much:)
    nomoresweatpants.blogspot.com

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  4. gracias,great tips..I only found out about the labels button,lol

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  5. So happy to help! Lori, that's so sweet! It's a silly thing but it really helps me! Without a schedule, my whole house falls apart! :)

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  6. Great post. How do you use the Google Analytics? I have tried and can't get it to work.

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  7. Sirens Sexy, this is probably the best step-by-step that I have found to set up your blog with Google Analytics:
    http://www.wikihow.com/Add-Google-Analytics-to-Blogger
    It will take 24 hours for google to gather enough information to generate a report. If you have problems after following the instructions on the site above, check out the google analytics help center for troubleshooting. Good luck! :)

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  8. awesome post. it is good to see some support for all us newbies!

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  9. Thanks Brittany! Your blog has definately become one of my favorites. I especially like the outfit posts (and the movie nights) :)

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  10. Thanks Brittany! I definitely need to work on content. I can take pretty pictures, but I find it difficult to think of anything to say to go along with the picture! :)
    Your blog is amazing, it's one of my daily checks on my links bar.

    www.ohetredanslamour.blogspot.com

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  11. great post, although I'm not sure what the blog forums are exactly (ifb?)
    also, it's unclear to me if it is bad etiquette to leave links to your own blog in other people's?

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  12. another helpful post from you, thanks again!

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  13. Thank you for giving me a much needed kick in the butt to make some changes;)

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  14. I absolutely agree with your last point... I don't want to name names, but a very famous Australian vintage blogger is writing 9 sponsored posts to every outfit post! It's so incredibly frustrating - plus, half the items she talks about aren't even related to the vintage lifestyle (one was even a car, like you mentioned! And I think she did stuff on dog food as well...)

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  15. Melina-The forums can be blog forums like Independent Fashion Bloggers or anything that has to do with your blog. For us fashion bloggers: Chictopia, weardrobe, etc. For vintage lovers: vintage life network worldwide, pin-up lifestyle network, vintage crafts forums, etc.
    Sure, I think it's totally acceptable to leave your link in a comment, as long as you're not spamming, of course! I've seen people comment and all they leave is a blog link! That makes me crazy. But, like I said, if you post a good comment, longer than "great dress" or whatever, it's perfectly fine to leave your link. In fact, I LOVE when people leave blog links here cause I can go check them out!! :)
    Emmi- that is TOO funny!! I don't think I know of that particular blog. It cracks me up that they advertised for a car! *LOL*

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  16. Thank You (again!)

    FF xo

    fully-fashioned.blogspot.com

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  17. Great tips, Brittany! I agree that (after actual content) the most important thing of all is to keep active in the blogosphere.

    I have business cards too! I often forget to carry them though. But I just got some fabulous promotional postcards printed up to hand out at Vintage events (and some will be available as a giveaway soon).

    xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha'penny Vintage

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  18. I'm glad I"m not the only one with business cards. It seemed so presumptuous at first but after writing my blog address on the back of napkins, scrap paper, receipts, etc I thought "maybe my mom is right and I need business cards!"
    Oh, back to the topic of link etiquette, I found this site, which explains in detail the respectful way to leave your link in a comment: http://www.ehow.com/how_5878643_leave-using-proper-etiquette-respect.html
    Happy Blogging, everyone! :)

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  19. It's great that you're willing to give some advice to those of us who are fledglings, Brittany. I'm really enjoying your posts.

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  20. The worst thing was it was a van, and she was trying to convince us that it was glamorous! Uh, no thank you~

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  21. Thanks for this post! As a new blogger, all this stuff is constantly going through my mind. Your critque of my blog is most welcome if you have the the time and inclination. I think my photos are the worst part though!
    www.KittysVintageKitsch.blogspot.com

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  22. Wonderful, perfect information! Good for people to know. I've blogged for over 2 years and have ups and downs. It's easy to get out of the "downs" by reading others' blogs.

    Glad I found your blog today :-)

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  23. Really great tips here, thank you for sharing!

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  24. i read your post on your blog about how to attract more readers, and i am excited to know that some of the things you suggested were some ideas that i already was thinking of doing. i have a new blog of my own and was wondering if u could offer any constructive criticism. www.breakingthemode.blogspot.com

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  25. Great advise!
    Let me know what you think of my blog:
    currentlymisplaced.com
    Thanks! : ) x

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  26. Great post Brittany :) found you via IFB! Lovely blog - now following xx
    http://citygirldiariesec1.blogspot.com/

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  27. Great post, really helpful. I think I need to focus on my header and rope someone in to take photos, I would love to do more outfit posts but self timer and putting a camera on a stack of books doesn't create the best results!

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  28. Really informative, helpful post! Thanks for these tips. I found you on IFB, and wanted to come check out your blog. I really appreciate you posting this, I will definitely apply my newfound knowledge :)

    xo,
    ~Kirstin Marie

    http://www.kirstinmarie.com

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  29. wow, you have spent a lot of time and care with this advice. Thanks. As a new bloggertheressome brilliant stuff for me to think about here. Thanks xx

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  30. I NEEDED THIS! Yes, they are in caps.

    This was great advice. As a new blogger, I'm clueless. Thanks for taking the time.


    www.MaycieAfterFive.com

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  31. SUCH a great post, lady! Thanks for the tips. :)

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  32. Thank you for the informative tips. Always looking for ways to improve! http://stylecrone.com

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  33. This is really helpful!! I'm always trying to generate more traffic!!! Thanks xx

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  34. great tips

    http://mwanwan.blogspot.com

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  35. thanks for the tips, I would be really happy if you wanna criticize my blog, im having problem with layout, do you think my layout is alright? www.sisterhoodfash.blogspot.com

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  36. Dear Brittany,

    this post, "10 Do's and Don'ts of Blogging" and "7 blog post ideas to boost traffic in 2013" were all very interesting to read and very helpful! I've started writing on my blog this summer and am looking for ways to improve in order to increase traffic and gain more regular readers. Thank you so much for sharing these great tips!

    ~ Sesame

    daysofscarlet.com

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I read every single comment (even on old posts) and they make my day! If you have a question, please email me at brittanyvavoomvintage@gmail.com. Thank you for reading me!