While away on #ourUSAadventure I undertook an inadvertent experiment on my other blog, My Home Truths. Originally, I had decided to write and schedule 26 posts on both blogs to cover the time that we would be away – I figured it would be handy to have fresh content and would help keep up engagement during our holiday.
As it happened, I was only able to write enough posts for My Home Truths so before our departure I scheduled a post for every second day and decided to just go with a break here on Smarter Happier. For the record, I intended to write an A to Z series on working from home and that is still going to happen – just give me some time 🙂
While we were enjoying our time in the US, it was interesting to see how posts performed on My Home Truths without the benefit of active promotion, commenting or linking up. I was hoping that having fresh content on the blog on a regular basis would hold page view levels and would help keep interest alive.
Sadly, that was not the case. Sure, I had fresh content ticking over to help maintain my status with Google but it did nothing to help my blog. Page views fell and engagement became non-existent. I have to admit it is lowering to think that I would be so easily missed. However it went a long way to confirming three undeniable blogging truths that can get easily overlooked, especially by veteran bloggers like myself.
Now, how do I know these truths are the cornerstones of blogging success?
The minute I was back on board with blogging, reading, commenting, linking up and engaging with my audience, my page views and reach rose. Immediately. There is no doubt about it – my inadvertent blogging experiment has gone a long way to confirming the following blogging truths:
1. The power of actively engaging with your audience. It’s all well and good to write quality posts but if it’s clear you’re not around to engage in conversation, people will be less inclined to comment and engage because they will not be guaranteed a response. I added an introduction paragraph to my family holiday posts explaining that I wasn’t around but would get back to people on my return. However the promise of a future conversation was not enough. Be visible. Be vocal. Be immediate. Reply to comments. Engage on social media. Invite constructive feedback and conversation. That is the number one way to increase page views and encourage engagement on your blog.
2. The influence of being a regular commenter on other blog posts. While I was away I did not have the luxury of being able to comment on or read other blog posts which really did affect the standing of my blog. One of the cornerstones of growing your audience is to actively read and comment on other blogs in your niche. It is a foolproof way to create networks, form connections and find potential readers for your blog. When you are not an active participant in the blog community, you can’t expect others to be active in your own space. Take the time to read and comment on at least 5 other blogs each day. It will definitely start making a difference to your own reach and page views.
3. The advantage of using linkups to promote your posts. I had long suspected that a lot of my page views and reach were due directly to linkups, either hosting them or participating in them. As I rarely publish a post without linking it up I did not know this for a certainty. However, after publishing 3 week’s worth of posts without the benefit of joining in with linkups, I now know that they form a cornerstone of my blogging success. As long as you take the time to participate in them (please don’t link and run), linkups can be a very valuable way to make connections, encourage commenting and build page views.
The experience has prompted me to re-evaluate my blogging goals on both websites. It is clear that my content needs work and I want to be in a position where I do not need to rely on linkups to find readers and increase page views. I would love to have readers who follow me for what I write rather than where I linkup, if that makes sense.
My goal for both blogs for the remainder of the financial year is to set up proper email lists and create a value-add offer for those who wish to sign up. Eventually, my aim is to provide products and services that are needed by my readers, on both websites, together with more shareable content.
There is a lot of soul searching ahead as I re-position the blogs to better target the readers that I need and who need me. It is a journey that I will be sharing here on Smarter Happier, together with details of my ongoing bid to continue to work from home. I hope you can join me 🙂
In the meantime – do you have more blogging truths to share?