As I sat writing this blog post this morning, I felt a bit like a fraud. I feel like I've written this sentence multiple times already, but: March was a bit of a rough month for me. The very first Friday of the month, I got the flu and was sick for a solid 3.5 weeks. Just as I started to feel 100% better, I woke up this morning with a sore throat again. How's that for getting better? As a result of being sick, a lot of things have fallen to the wayside, the main one being this blog.
So, yeah, I feel a bit like a fraud writing this post knowing I won't have hit my goals for March in terms of page views and growth. But, that's life, isn't it? Some months you do everything right and have a great month (January); some months you achieve your goals even when you aren't sure why (February); and some months, you really want to try, but you just can't (March).
Anyway, what I'm saying is: blogging should, at the end of the day, be about passion. If it's taking it away from you, you need to adjust what you're doing. I know a lot of people start blogs in the hopes of doing it full time, but I highly discourage this behavior. We've seen multiple "blog bubble bursts" in the last few years--the first round of very famous Mommy Bloggers are currently in the process of downsizing their homes, selling off all the trendy furniture they bought, and locking down real jobs. I'm not kidding. All I'm saying is: don't put all your eggs in one blogging basket. Be realistic: blogging is, at most, a supplemental side gig. Use it to supplement a full time position.
Ok, that's my only little PSA/soapbox. Let's get onto some tips for actually hitting those blog goals.
1. Actually Set (Realistic) Goals
I mean, duh-est of duhs, but you should actually set blog goals. Every month, on my editorial calendar, I write a few little goals: usually a page view increase of 3-5% (nothing crazy), and a certain number of Twitter or Instagram followers. The most important thing is to set realistic goals. You might see some people claiming to gain 2,000 Instagram followers in a month, and not to doubt those people, but buying followers doesn't count. Using hashtags and an increased Instagram strategy, I've gotten about 150 followers in 4 months or so. Yeah, that's realistic. My goal every month is 10 engaged followers on Instagram.
2. Strategize Social Media, but Don't Go Overboard
Here's the thing about social media: it's easy to let it drive you crazy. When you're trying to schedule posts for Facebook, for Instagram, for Twitter, for Pinterest, and more, it gets really overwhelming, especially if you're also a full time student, or parent, or worker. The truth is, you probably just don't have time to do all that managing. I decided to stop scheduling Twitter posts recently (unless something really tickles my fancy). Instead, I focus on scheduling posts for Facebook and that's it. I get a higher return from Facebook, so that's where my energy should go. My goal for Instagram is two posts a day (one around 10am-1pm, and then one after 6pm).
Ok, but what about Pinterest? Every day, I spend about 20 minutes pinning 5 of my blog posts to two group boards. That's it. And I get a ton of traffic from Pinterest by repinning, by creating dedicated boards to specific topics that are popular on Pinterest, and by creating graphics that look good on Pinterest. You don't need to pay a whole heap of money for a fancy Pinterest scheduler, I swear. I do most of my Pinterest work from my phone while my son sleeps.
3. Join Facebook groups.
I really groaned about including this one tip. Because it feels a bit like cheating, doesn't it? Facebook groups dedicated to blogging are great places to promote your blog posts, join threads where people share your most recent post (and you share theirs), and learn how to optimize and improve your blog. It can be really time consuming to try to do everything though. I am only a member of three groups and I participate in maybe one thread a week. That's my goal for the moment! For some good Facebook groups to join, I really like this blog post.
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