Who doesn’t want your blog to have more traffic? Who doesn’t want to be bigger, which we all associate with with being better? Becca Ludlum, of My Crazy Good Life spoke at Type A in Atlanta with thirteen great ideas of things you can do in just ten minutes a day to grow your blog. Not all may apply to you, and the idea isn’t that you do each of them for ten minute – thus suddenly sucking up over an hour that you may not have time for – but that you find what works for you and simply be consistent in taking ten minutes every day to do something that will grow your blog.
Becca shared a large number of resources and ideas to grow your blog in just ten minutes a day, but the idea is that it takes just ten minutes. You know yourself and your audience. Anything you know works for your blog, do it for 10 minutes – or more if you can – each day, and you will be successful and your blog will grow, allowing you to reach more readers.
Review your site as a visitor
You have ten minutes a day to do something. Take just 10 minutes a day to look at your blog from the outside. Log out of your site, and see how it loads in incognito mode. Make sure you have a picture in your sidebar. The ideas seem basic, but they are forgotten.
For example, make sure there’s nothing you don’t need in your sidebar. If it’s old, get it out. If it isn’t doing anything for you, get it out. Contact information and your about page will help get you contacts from other people that you may want, so make sure that you have them updated and well written.
If a huge banner ads pops up when you go to your site, think about if that’s what you want. Maybe you tried it for a month then forgot about it, and now is the time to remove it. Is your information up to date? Do you have a list of posts from the last season that aren’t relevant anymore?
Sharing your content
Make a spreadsheet of some of your good and/or relevant posts, no matter how many posts you have. Create categories based on what type of blog you are. If you do recipes, create categories of Christmas cookies and apple recipes and crock pot recipes, or whatever fits for you. Then, those times when you’re on Facebook and people say they’re looking for apple pie recipes, you have an immediate inventory of relevant posts that you can share.
Create a category of your best trafficked posts and your best posts in a spreadsheet with the URLs and a short summary of the posts so you know what they are. By having the summaries already created, you can share on social media and you have all the info you need to post on social media without much effort. It will take a lot of time upfront, but it’s worth it in the end. You don’t realize how many posts you have that you forgot you wrote until you do this.
Get a support group
Find or create your support groups, and I don’t mean boost groups where you simply retweet others’ content. Many of you are in them already, and many want to be in them. A support group is something where rather than “I want to have comments on this post” you have people who are there to help you with whatever you need. It’s people who are related to you and care about you. It’s a great way to branch into a new niche, as well. If you want to be a tech blogger and are a lifestyle blogger, you need to find the tech bloggers and start to interact with them.
These are the groups where you can ask questions and get help for your blog overall. For example: I’m cleaning my sidebar, does anything need to change? Do you ever charge for guest posts? It is interaction, not necessarily just the retweets and the boosts.
Be a blog commenter
Leave blog comments. For every year we blog, we decrease our comments by about 50%. Taking just 10 minutes a day is enough time to leave about 5 comments. It’s a way to learn about new things and connect with bloggers. You reach out and you get a new friend because they’re going to click over to see your blog. Other bloggers who are leaving comments on that post are going to see your name and click over to see your blog, too.
Optimize previous content
When Becca started, she blogged for herself and her family. One of the posts she had was a “this is what we did for April Fools Day.” She wrote a post sharing what she did and what tricks they played on each other. She realized she needed a post about April Fools and searched April Fools on her blog then discovered this post. She had pictures of her boys and turned it into 5 easy April Fools Day pranks for school age kids. She simply switched it around and repurposed the post.
To do that, she made a pinnable image. It seems so basic, but people don’t do this. She pinned it, and it had a crazy response. She got search traffic because she SEOed it, too. We all have those posts. Go back to those first posts when you thought no one else will ever read this. We get to be better writers as time goes by, and you can repurpose that either as a new post or simply editing the existing post. Some people aren’t fans of this concept, but if it helps bring readers to you, then it helps accomplish your goal.
Use SEO to gain readers
Becca sees so many bloggers who say “I don’t need SEO on my site. I have Pinterest traffic or Twitter traffic.” If you ignore a source that could bring traffic to you, you are missing out on additional traffic you could have. In addition, you are putting all your eggs in one basket. What if one day Pinterest disappeared? Google is always going to be around; there will always be a search engine and the internet. That’s where SEO comes in.
Take 10 minutes to do SEO on just two to three posts. You can change everything but the URL, and you can improve your SEO significantly on those posts. You can change the title and keywords. You can add headings, put it in a list format, all sorts of improvements that will help get the green light from Yoast.
That said, don’t SEO all of your posts. The day my son got his braces off doesn’t need to be done. If I gave him a great gift bag with a cute printable, maybe that’s worth SEOing because it will bring traffic. You don’t have to SEO every post, partly because that stresses people out. Remember, it is your blog. You write the content you want to write. If it is a post where you can see someone sitting down and searching for the topic, definitely SEO it. Sometimes you can’t get that keyword perfect in your title or meta description, and that’s ok. If you do well everything else well, people will come upon it and share it. SEO isn’t everything or nothing. People stress about that. Let it go, and it’s ok. This is your blog and your content.
Content scheduling is huge. You need to push your content regularly, but at the same time you don’t want to constantly run to your computer to tweet and then go back to work. When you have things scheduled, monitor the retweets and conversation, but having content scheduled saves time.
Becca doesn’t often tell people what to use, but a huge amount of her growth over the last two years has to do with Buffer. This is a content scheduling tool, and you can get the free version with 10 posts at a time, but she advocates having content pushed all the time and upgrading to the paid version for $10 per month with a 30 day free trial.
The beauty of Buffer is that they’ve added features for their paid accounts. If you’re super busy, you can take all the tweets from the last 2 weeks about a topic that you’ve put in Buffer and literally drag them to your account again and they’ll go back into your queue to retweet for you. It has a repository of all the tweets you’ve scheduled using Buffer that you can easily drag and drop to reuse rather than recreating new content. Some are time sensitive and you don’t want to redrag, but in five minutes you can have posts scheduled for 2 weeks.
Buffer also offers suggestions to tweet. When Becca shares those suggestions, she gets retweeted and commented on, which tells her that Buffer has found great content that is worth sharing with my readers. If I see a great recipe or something about multitasking, I’ll pull that over. You can also take feeds from your favorite bloggers and add them to your queue. You don’t have to look through their posts and decide what you want to post about. You can set Buffer to share posts from friends all day without doing anything.
The key to scheduling, however, is to stay on top of your phone so you can respond quickly to what you’ve put out there. It gives you flexibility. Every hour, Becca has tweets scheduled around her new iOS post. It took ten minutes to pull over the posts.
Higher level social sharing
Pinning pins to multiple blogs is one of the things that really helped Becca. When you have a group board with 100,000 followers, pins move down a lot because of the traffic. She will pin multiple times to each board, with the understanding that the time between pins varies based on how busy the board is and how busy you are.
If a pin has been pinned 25 times, she’ll repin it. It will have new people looking at the board where you can get their eyes on it. You can do the same pins or test different photos to test what traffic you get and what is most effective. She also has a Pinterest spreadsheet that details information about each of her boards and regulations on what is allowed so she knows when and how to pin. If she’s sitting at my computer, she looks to see what is getting the most pins from her site then goes to her spreadsheet and notes the boards or the rules and if it’s a personal board or not so she knows where and when to pin that attractive post again.
Becca undervalued hashtags for a long time. She didn’t realize that if she shared a post and shared one with hashtags, it made a difference. You can do 5 minutes of hashtag research. Search a hashtag you might use and see what other hashtags come up and the traffic on those posts. Note the hashtags, as it gives plenty of other ideas to use and gain additional eyes on your promotions. Don’t just use all of them, but it gives you other hashtag ideas, and you can rotate them.
Strategic hustling is something Becca learned from Cindy Morrison. Cindy strategically stalks the brands she wants to work with. Becca has a column on Twitter that is filled with the Twitter handles of those she wants to connect with. If she wants to see what Kelby tweets and want to be able to respond to her so she can develop that relationship with her for Type A, she can. Maybe you want to work with iVillage or a brand or a person, strategically stalk them. If you don’t create a special column specifically to follow these people, you’ll never see the tweets from the people you want to connect with. Creating this column – or columns – makes it so easy to connect with people you ordinarily wouldn’t have seen.
Share things your readers would like
This doesn’t mean things from your own blog. It isn’t self-promotion. Becca knows she has a lot of parents and a lot of parents of teens. And she’ll promote information that they would be interested in. We naturally do it for our friends a lot, but Becca takes it a step further. She has a column on Twitter for bloggers who she may not read all the time but who she loves. Then she can easily share things she knows her readers will like – apps teens are downloading, for example – and she will share all those posts because she has that column.
This was Becca’s Saturday morning thing. She would wake up in the morning and look at podcasts or ebooks. You can skim to see what interests you – there are so many things people are sharing right now there and on webinars. Pick your topic and area of interest and pursue it. Things are constantly changing. The day you stop learning is the day you stop blogging. Becca listens to Scott Stratten’s podcasts, and though he rambles a bit, but there’s always tidbits about what a brand has done that’s really good or really bad, and that gives her ideas of what she can try with a client or a blog.
If a blogger writes great posts on tech or crafts or whatever you’re interested in, read it. It may give you ideas of things you can do or try. It keeps you inspired, so you can be sure you’re keeping up with the times and staying fresh.
You think to yourself that you have to share that post for the brand, and you log onto Facebook. You see that you have 15 notifications and 2 friend requests, and fifteen minutes later you haven’t done what you’re supposed to do. Close everything else and do the tasks you need to do. Make your spreadsheet of posts for 10 minutes. Go comment on new blogs for ten minutes. But shut down everything else in the meantime.
Schedule your 10 minutes a day. Close everything out, which requires a lot of self control. If you don’t focus on your tasks, they’ll never get done.
Don’t do it all in one day. Do just one thing for 10 minutes a day. Think to yourself, “I’m just going to put the fall posts into my spreadsheet today.” “Today is the day I’m going to share other people’s posts and get them scheduled.” Don’t say I’m going to repin this and then redo this and tweet this because it will be too distracting.
Create a schedule for your ten minutes. Write in what time you will do it and what you’re going to do. On Monday, it makes sense for me to repin others’ blogs. Every Monday, I’m going to do this. Have your calendar scheduled for 7:40 to 7:50 because you know you have an open slot there, and that’s what I’m going to do.
Set a timer to monitor your ten minutes rather than relying on the clock on your computer or your phone. Looking at something will take you away from your task. If you pick up your phone to check the time, you know it is distracting.
Like what Becca had to share? She’s written a book called Everything But the Posts that goes into so much more detail on her tips and advice for bloggers. She also created a website that shares her resources, including the spreadsheet templates. Just be sure you copy and paste them into your own document as they are on Google docs, and you don’t want to take over the master doc!