As you read this post, I’ll be en route to my second getaway of the month! I’m in Austria for the week, exploring Vienna with my brother and sister — we always make a point of going away together as we’re so close! — and for some reason, I’ve decided to continue posting rather than take another break from regular scheduling.
Blogging today is on a whole new level: often there’s a sink or swim mentality and if you’re not producing or publishing fresh content on every channel in a timely manner, it’s easy to feel like you might get lost on the wayside. Of course that isn’t the case at all, I wholeheartedly believe that if you build a wonderful space that your personal audience resonates with, they’ll come flocking back time and time again, gravitating to your brand essence. Pretty cool, right? I’m borderline obsessed with this online space of mine, and so I thought I’d share a few of the ways I personally like to keep my blog ‘ticking over’ even when I’m not around.
1. Introduce guest bloggers
Back in the day, it was a popular tactic to ask fellow bloggers to create a post that you could share whilst you were away for whatever reason. I found it incredibly useful not only to take a shedload of weight off my shoulders when I was on holiday, working to Uni deadlines or other reasons, but to promote my blog to my guest poster’s audiences too.
Today, however, it’s a whole different ballgame. Long-form content with meaning, purpose and a clear objective performs incredibly well and it’s a great opportunity to invite fellow bloggers to create specialist content that you might not necessarily be an expert in. Like-for-like guest posting encourages audience diversity — for example, you might ask them to cross-promote the link from your blog on their social media channels — and also elevates your content and SEO ranking. You never know, a perfectly worded guest post could even stand to become cornerstone or evergreen content!
2. Make use of cornerstone content
I personally keep a spreadsheet so that I can easily pull links for social media scheduling sessions. Within this are dedicated columns for the post title, category, keywords and URL, which makes it super simple for me to add a refresher promo Tweet or Facebook post to an older post. Some of my oldest posts, like ‘Mascaras for Asian Lashes’, still generate several hundred hits a day so it’s really worth taking some time to log your evergreen content and ensure you’re directing new and existing readers to those handy posts.
3. Reply to your comments
Ever since I received my first ever blog comment, I’ve made it my mission to reply to comments regularly. Whether that’s every night or once a week or something else, replying to those precious comments will boost the community spirit on your own blog. It’s great to participate in Twitter chats and RT several memes, but remember to fiercely protect the micro-community that YOU have built on your website.
Within my replies I like to take time to answer questions, share additional stories or relevant links, check out their blogs and generally get to know my readers and followers. It’s physically impossible for me to follow every single person back, but know that I’ll always get back to your comment, DM, email or Tweet.
4. Run a website audit monthly
One of the key services I offer my copywriting business clients is a website audit, where I block some time out to analyse their online presence and provide my recommendations. And it’s absolutely worth applying to your blog! Once a month (if time allows), visit your own blog like you’d expect a reader to and make a list of everything you need to fix, want to enhance or feel like you could work on. This could be things like, ‘update About page’, ‘redirect email link’, ‘research caption HTML’ or something else.
Then, ask a friend or family member who doesn’t typically read any blog to visit your site and get them to list 3 things they like and 3 things they’d change. It might feel harsh or even pointless if they don’t read blogs, but this will let you delve in to how useable and accessible your blog is to a non-blogger. If I had to guestimate, I’d say about 45% of my readers do not have a blog.
5. Track your referrals
For a long time, I didn’t use Google Analytics except for when January and August rolled around and I needed to collate a report to send to the British Fashion Council to support my London Fashion Week applications. I found looking at numbers stressful and they’d fluctuate so much that it’d send me into a spiral. (Of course, I wasn’t following any sort of editorial calendar then.) But I’ve been analysing my blog numbers for about a year now and what I find really handy is a monthly check-in of my referrals and top-performing posts.
To do this, I simply log in to my GA dashboard and see what my top two or three referrals are and make note of it in my bullet journal once a month, usually at the start. I then use this to inform my post promotion ‘strategy’. Right now around 44% of my traffic comes from Pinterest, compared to 12% from Instagram, so I’m making Pinterest graphics a priority over Instagram #linkinbio references. And the same goes for my top-performing posts: I’ll make a note of the two most popular posts and use that to inform my post planning for the next month. Think-pieces doing well? I’ll plan in an extra one if I feel I have something to say. Beauty not doing so well? I’ll click in to my ‘Beauty’ category and see if there’s a common denominator that I can address and improve on.