I started this blog in November of 2014. I have had blogs before and have been actively involved in writing for other blogs so I was well aware of all the work that went into maintaining, writing and promoting a blog. I willingly and enthusiastically threw myself into getting involved in the blogging community on all of my social media accounts. It took a lot of time but I was meeting some great people, learning a lot and starting to see a significant increase in traffic to my blog as a result of all my efforts.
Then January 2015 rolled around and my mother went into hospital for emergency surgery. Little did I know she would be there for four months. During those months, I was there everyday for sometimes up to 12 hours a day. I did not write a single blog post or look at my social media during that entire time. Of course, my blog pageviews tanked.
In April, when my mother had made somewhat of a recovery, I thrust myself back into my blog. It was a great escape and it was nice to get back to doing the thing I loved, blogging. I spent literally every waking hour working on my blog. My traffic and pageviews recovered. Then my mother went back into the hospital in May. Here we go again, I thought. All my work is going to go into the toilet again.
I thought to myself that there just has to be a better way. It is unsustainable to continue relying on my blog pageviews being so strongly dependent on the number of hours I spend on social media. Besides the fact that I was getting burnt out and resentful of the constant care and attention I thought I needed to spend promoting my blog. My writing was suffering too.
So I made a list of all the things I did everyday on social media. I then analyzed each item for its effectiveness and decided if it was something I could in fact eliminate or at the very least, reduce time spent on it.
My Biggest Time Wasters
Hashtags on Twitter
Virtually everyday on Twitter there are hashtags that may be used by bloggers to promote their own posts and find other bloggers to connect with. If you are a newbie blogger, this is a great place to start. However, for myself, I was literally spending all day, reading, commenting and re-tweeting other bloggers. If someone commented, liked or re-tweeted me, I felt obligated to reciprocate. As you can imagine, this became a huge task.
After reviewing the results of my efforts, I decided this needed to be cut right down. The payback was just not worth the time. I now only participate in one hashtag, #sundayblogshare. It has always been a very good traffic source for me as well as a wellspring for finding great content by other bloggers.
The biggest bonus for me with eliminating most of my participation in the Twitter hashtags is that I now can like, comment and share the posts of other bloggers that truly inspire me and not just because I am returning the favour.
Facebook Share Threads
There are probably hundreds of groups on Facebook for bloggers. Again, it is a great place to go for a new blogger. You can participate in all sorts of share threads. Basically, you leave a link and then depending on the rules of the group, you must like, share or comment on a number of people in the same thread.
Types of Threads:
- FaceBook Fan Page Likes – Though this is a great way to increase the number of likes to your own fan page, this also means that you will be following a huge number of other bloggers’ fan pages. My experience has taught me to turn off the notifications of the fan pages I do not have any interest in and I am pretty sure many have done that with my page as well. If you don’t do some weeding, you may never see posts from friends, family and the blogs you really enjoy. If this is a process that you are still participating in, please be aware that the Facebook algorithm is not kind to pages with high numbers and low engagement. It is better to have 50 engaged followers then 5,000 who never like any of your posts.
- Blog Share/Comment – This particular type of thread I found to be my biggest time zapper. You leave a link for your own blog post and then depending on the rules of the thread, you must reciprocate, read, comment and share other posts in the thread. Many times I had to do this for blogs that were far outside of my niche. I am not saying that the blogs were not any good, The posts were about things that I had absolutely no interest in. Not to mention, there were so many bloggers that would spam their link in threads across almost every group I was a part of and never, ever followed the rules of the thread or engaged. It was very frustrating and I found myself getting angry, a lot.
I now limit myself to belonging to five groups and participate in at the most, two group threads a week. I found I now have more time to actually write blog posts and ideas flow effortlessly for new content. I got my life back and am starting to reap the benefits.
Luckily I did this analysis of my social media management because…
At the beginning of 2016, my mother, once again, went into the hospital. This time my blog did not suffer and in fact, flourished. For the month of January 2016, I reached my goal of 45,000 pageviews per month and I am well on my way to achieving 50,000 pageviews per month. So how did I do it?
My Plan For Pageviews When I Am Offline
1. Schedule Posts To Social Media
All of my blog posts are now scheduled for Twitter and my Facebook Fan Page as well as my Facebook blogging support group. I use a paid service from Shareist but there are plenty out there that you can choose from. My tweets and my Facebook posts are all loaded. Including content curated from other sources.
The reason I love Shareist so much is because of how fast and easy I can load all of my posts, right on their easy to use dashboard. I set new posts to recycle on a schedule I choose. I never have to touch them again unless I want to.
The scheduling of my posts means I never have to think about them. Now when I get a chance to go on social media, I can look at my timelines, read, comment and share the posts of other bloggers that I enjoy. If I am having a really busy day and have no time, at least I know my posts are getting out there.
2. Pinterest Pinterest Pinterest
Pinterest is by far my biggest referrer for traffic. You must set it up properly and have great pics, but after that, it is a breeze. I have literally re-done ALL of my pictures and am constantly going back and adding more pin worthy pics. If you just don’t have that kind of time, I strongly suggest you hire someone to do it for you.
Pinterest requires the least amount of effort. I use Board Booster to schedule my own pins, curate other pins to share and monitor my group boards. I literally spend approximately 15 minutes a day TOTAL.
It is not unusual for my to wake up in the morning and already have 200 refers from Pinterest. If you are not using Pinterest, I urge you to get on it.
3. Improving SEO
I am far from an expert when it comes to SEO and honestly, who can keep up when algorithms seem to change so frequently. I know nothing about ranking and really I don’t care. The only thing I care about is the traffic that is generated from browser sources. I have seen an increase by doing the following things:
- Making sure every post is automatically shared on Google Plus when published
- Installing and properly using Yoast SEO
- Making sure my posts and my pics are properly labelled
When it comes to SEO, I leave it to the experts. My go to gal is Ashley Rader from Blog Genesis. She is an awesome source of trusted information. Not only does she have easy to follow posts but she has videos, a Facebook group, webinars as well as some really great services. My advice is that if you are totally in the dark about SEO, go visit Ashley.
I remember years ago, reading the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. The most important thing that I can tell you that I took away from that book is that you must create passive income. Basically that means that you have to create income that does not rely on you working on it constantly in order for it to produce.
While a blog is not exactly the same thing, as it does require an influx of new content to continue to grow, I have tried to implement some tools that generate traffic without my constant output of time.
I hope my experience can help you and if would like to share some of the strategies that work for you, please share them in the comments.