I launched this blog 7th March, three weeks before writing this post. There's some things I could've done before I went live to be better prepared and lots I've learned since, so I'm writing this as a new blogger reflection and review for myself for how my first month went.
If you're thinking about starting a blog or are a new blogger like me, hopefully you'll find something helpful within this post.
There's some options when it comes to choosing where to start your blog. I chose Wix because I was familiar with it having used it to make websites before, and because from the little reading I'd done about my options (do more reading!) it was the free option.
But I soon bought the Premium plan with a free domain whilst it was on offer, so it does now cost to run the site.
I built the site from scratch (without a template) which honestly just meant it took much longer to make it look presentable.
I researched some SEO stuff and attempted to optimise the site, do take time to do this properly.
I've not told friends about my blog, which means all the sharing has been done through new @amodestargument accounts that three weeks ago had zero followers. This means reaching people and getting views has been a lot harder, but I'm building up an audience on social media and I wont start using my personal account to promote the blog just yet.
I paid for some ads on Facebook and Instagram to get started and this would've been less necessary if I'd shared the posts through my personal page. Facebook (and probably Instagram too?) has a 'click-farm' problem meaning if you promote in certain areas you'll end up getting a lot of 'fake' likes. That was disappointing!
If you're comfortable with it, share and grow your blog using your personal accounts to friends that you're already connected with
Don't pay for ads, it's not worth it until you have something substantial to offer- invite friends to invite their friends to like and follow your pages and accounts, and post quality content so that it's likely to be shared and then you can reach more people authentically
If you do pay for ads, be aware of and avoid 'click-farms'
One of the most helpful things I did was write lots of lists on Excel after reading this article.
In particular, I planned and scheduled lots of social media so that my pages were posting quality content often rather than just links to the blog and excerpts. You can get my free content calendar to help you plan your social media from the Resources page.
What does a blogger post on social media? Well, each week I post thoughts, statements and questions relevant to the blog (so on Islam and social issues!), a relevant famous quote, images of hadith and ayat, the blog posts (links, text and images), and prompts to connect on other platforms.
The content looks different on each platform- on the Facebook page I post an extra, longer quote/hadith and relevant links to articles. On Pinterest I have only been posting a 9:16 image that captures what that blog post is about, but today I've started to share the images I use across other platforms and linking them to the website too. Twitter is almost always text only. The most important thing is to post engaging content. What's engaging content? Things that people will respond to and share, and to engage with other people on the platforms.
Create and schedule additional content that is likely to get shares and comments
Notice the different audiences you have across different platforms and the best ways to engage with them
Don't just stick to what you know- for me, I needed to learn how to utilise Pinterest better. I'm now using Tailwind to make the most of Pinterest and it's really worth it, I had hundreds of more readers within the first week of using it! You can try Tailwind for free here. (affiliate link)
Engage with others- comment on and share their posts when it's relevant to your brand
So I wont go into too much detail but I will share some figures for the first three weeks the blog has been live.
This is the tenth post I've published and all of the accounts have, in three weeks, grown from 0 to:
1 subscriber to the blog (now we have over 40 in month 7)
493 post views/ 231 site visits (now almost 3000)
102 likes on the Facebook page (now over 500)
166 followers on Twitter (now 467)
227 followers on Instagram (now 887)
135 monthly viewers on Pinterest (now over 95,000! That's ninety-five-thousand. Thanks to Tailwind's scheduling)
I'm also on Bloglovin' and Google+ but haven't been actively using them to build audiences. Wix told me most of my social media traffic came from Instagram in week 3, but the majority now comes from Pinterest in month 7.
I've started using less hashtags on Twitter and maxing out on hashtags on Instagram, which apparently boosts engagement in both cases.
Lastly, to increase your social media engagement (which should lead to more views on your blog!) remember to post things that require or prompt a response, like a question or 'controversial' opinion. Think about the content you would most likely engage with- things that you would share or comment on.
Research which platforms are likely to get you the most traffic and learn how to use them
Know what content to share on each platform, including hashtag etiquette and optimal posting times
Create quality content, if you wouldn't like or share it, will anyone else?
Updated 23 Sept 2018
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Keep reading: How to Plan, Schedule and Promote a Blog
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Updated 22 Sept 2018