This post contains affiliate links.
Posts like… ‘How to Start a Successful Blog NOW!’ don’t actually tell you how to start a successful blog and get traffic do they? Sure they get you signed up but after that? Gooood luck! I want to show you just how easy it can be. Use my arsenal of tips to get you on the road to blogging success.
Be aware that hosting allows you to change your site’s CSS (back-end Cascading Style Sheets that control the appearance of your blog) on WordPress.com. You will need self-hosting and WordPress.org. See my post How to Start a WordPress blog with Bluehost for an easy setup guide to hosting with WordPress.org. If you’re already self-hosted, read on 🙂
Who Will Help You Get Traffic?
Once you write something amazing, you want people to read it right? This is how:
Adding your post’s link to StumbleUpon can take you from 0 to 500 views in less than 10 minutes. StumbleUpon is a predictive internet search that finds websites, articles, and pictures based on your selected likes. Anytime someone “Stumbles” an interest that’s on your blog your site, could pop up in their browser. To add your post: once logged in, select “Add a Page” and link to your blog post. It’s that simple.
Start connecting with your blogging community. Pinterest is a great place to start liking and commenting on posts. Get out of your shell and start interacting with other bloggers. Every follower is a potential share for any of your pins. Use a Pinterest Business account to take advantage of analytics and stats. Don’t worry you can convert your normal account to a business one easily.
Joining Pinterest Group Boards is something you need to start doing. If a group board has 100,000 followers, your pin will be seen by 100,000 people instead of your normal follower count. To find group boards check out your most popular friends’ profiles and explore their boards. Chances are they have some group boards you can connect with. Be on the lookout for boards with more than 10,000 pins to indicate a group board. Generally, group boards hide at the bottom of someone’s profile/ board page. Once you find a group board you will have to request access via board instructions. Here’s an easy one! Brand New board: The Rising Damsel Group Board.
You should be creating multiple images and multiple pins for each post that you create. You never know which image will go viral. Typically larger pins with text and warm colors do better on Pinterest. Optimal Pinterest Size: 700by1100px for creating larger pins. If you choose not to use your own images, search for free stock photos to enhance your pins. My favorite stock photo sites are pixaby.com and pexels.com. Since tons of sites with free photos are available, don’t get caught stealing someone’s work.
Every day is exciting with Pinterest. I love knowing my pins are beneficial to others and seeing my follower count increase is a great bonus!
Did you know that you should be pinning around 40 times a day to keep a steady increase in traffic flow? I used to avoid Pinterest. The only thing it did was give me plenty of delicious food cravings, impossible crafts and exercise routines I didn’t need. However, Pinterest exposure definitely gave my old blog a huge boost in views.
Enter Tailwind. Tailwind helped me take my marketing to a new level with optimal pinning times to increase viewership. When you auto pre-schedule pins to pin, it really feels less burdensome. I started looking at my pins from a business angle. Now I analyze the usefulness of my pins to my readers, with a personal added benefit… it helps keep my food cravings away lol.
Freebie alert! Tailwind is offering a free trial via The Rising Damsel! You will be credited with the ability to schedule 100 auto pins. I recommend for starters pinning 20 pins a day for 5 days. This will give you a good idea of what scheduled pinning can really do for your follower count. Continue normal use of Pinterest but add your additional free auto scheduled pins via Tailwind. Your influx of added followers will amaze you.
Another bonus of Tailwind is completely FREE ‘tribes’. Tribes are similar to Pinterest group boards. Tribes will give you immediate visibility to an endless number of people! I can help connect you with tribes. Meanwhile feel free to join my brand new Promote Your Blog-The Rising Damsel tribe. I’m an avid user of Tailwind and together we can all succeed.
Is very similar to StumbleUpon except that Flipboard allows you to ‘flip’ through your interests with more of a ‘magazine’ feel. Originally, it was a phone application that boosted 50 million users back in 2013, and it has grown to an amazing 300 million plus users. You’ll be able to search words, phrases or hashtags. Once you create a ‘magazine’, make sure to choose a picture to entice your reader and get subscribers. Flipboard is a program that I’m still getting used to. The general consensus from my research is that FlipBoard can provide just as many eyes as Pinterest does. The claim is that your ‘magazines’ have a longer shelf life than a pin.
If you haven’t had the chance to sign up for BlogLovin’, you’re missing out on a huge audience. Bloglovin’ is a community of blogs with a scrolling news feed. This enables 1 stop accessibility to all the blogs individuals follow. With BlogLovin’ your blog subscribers will get a notification (based on their preferences) of your new content. This works like a built-in subscription list.
Widgets and Plugins For Success
Be aware that without hosting you won’t be able to change any CSS (back-end Cascading Style Sheets that control the appearance of your blog) on WordPress.com. You will need self-hosting and WordPress.org. See my post How to Start a WordPress blog with Bluehost for an easy setup guide to hosting with WordPress.org. If you’re already self-hosted, read on 🙂
JetPack by WordPress.com Plugin.
Gets you access to all your stats, related posts, search engine optimization, social sharing, backup, as well as email list management. JetPack also makes it super easy to alter your menus with a ton of widgets. JetPack should be a standard plugin.
Social Media Icons JetPack.
Make sure your readers know of your participation with social media communities. Some of the best sharing platforms are Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. WordPress dashboard enables you to change the size of icons.
Blog Subscriptions JetPack.
Successful bloggers will always tell you that the money is in the subscription list. Let WordPress do the initial work for you by installing their Subscription JetPack for free. A notice will be sent out to subscribers when you post something new.
Top Posts and Pages JetPack.
Highlight what interests your readers. Sidebar pins are always a good idea for your favorite and most popular posts. Until you can do that let this widget do the work for you.
Yoast (SEO) Plugin.
Optimizing your blog’s performance from day one is easy with Yoast. SEO(search engine optimization) translates to: The ability of search engines to find your site. You’re also learning to use SEO effectively. Easily optimize your post title, meta description, slug, keywords, and readability which are all located conveniently below your post. Increasing your SEO stats later will be very time consuming and literally involve editing every post. Using best practices from the start, you will always attract search engines.
Supreme Google Webfont.
Life-saving plugin. WordPress.org will have you doing some coding to change your font settings. Yes, you are reading that correctly, the easiest way to change your font is with a plugin. This plugin gives you access to all of the google web fonts. You can also change the size of your font with this plugin, handy.
Ultimate Social Media PLUS Plugin.
Add social media ‘sharing buttons’ below your posts with this plugin. You can also float icons on the side for maximum viewability. This makes it foolproof for your readers to connect with you in every way possible. Once this plugin is installed, you will be able to select icons that match your website’s vibe.
Yuzo Related Post Plugin.
This is a great tool that allows you to show recent posts below your blog entry. Yuzo will highlight the post and include a picture if desired. Entice your reader to keep exploring your blog.
Simple Author Box Plugin.
News articles always have a photo and bio of the author, make sure you add yours also! With Simple Author Box, you will look professional and your blog will look tailor-made. It’s necessary to update your user profile bio to enable this plugin to work, as well as have a working Gravatar profile. Customize the author box’s appearance to match your blog colors.
Pinterest “Pin It” Button Lite Plugin.
Let’s be real, Pinterest is going to drive MAJOR traffic. Your reach grows exponentially with every new follower. With the Pin It button on every image, readers can easily pin to their respective boards. It would surprise you to know how many people skip pinning because of a missing “pin it button”… out of sight out of mind every time.
BlogLovin’ Button Plugin.
This plugin makes it easy for your readers to connect with you on BlogLovin’. Appearing on a reader’s news feed gives access to all your posts.
Looking to Monetize?
Affiliate marketing is an arrangement between you and a merchant. You’re essentially giving credibility to the merchant or product by recommending it to your readers. Some merchants are set up to pay you commissions, some are “pay per click” for directing traffic to their site. Once you are an approved member your unique member id will be included in your links. This will allow the merchant to track purchases that originated from your site. You can add affiliate links to posts, or your sidebar. Many people also opt for a popup (caution too many popups will slow your reader’s browser speed). You can also opt for email campaigning.
There’s no point in delaying blog monetization. Your hard work will pay off sooner than you realize. Check out my post How to Start a WordPress blog with Bluehost to enable quick host setup. Already self hosted? Read on for my monetization secrets.
Make sure that you are keeping your blog legal. When you monetize it’s important that your readers know that. A simple disclaimer on your main blog page, and above or below the post is perfect. Example: “This post contains affiliate links, and I may receive a commission if a consumer makes a purchase.”
If you aren’t familiar Adsense will set up and add advertisements from Google. These appear where you want to place them. All advertisements are based on AdWords and are optimized to your blog’s content. You earn money by getting views, or earning a commission when a product is purchased. Adsense will get you going in the right monetary direction. You will get a variety of advertisements as well as analytical insight in seeing what’s successful and what’s not. You can ban or add any ads through your Adsense dashboard.
Receive a commission on any for sale product on amazon.com. Amazon Affiliates is unique due to the shear number of products that are offered. If you read an inspiring book why not write a post about it? Better yet, why not add an affiliated link in that post, so your reader can easily buy it from amazon? Get instant credibility because you are dealing with a reputable company, and it’s a service to your reader.
I love my Shareasale merchants. Once you’re an approved affiliate you will be part of the merchant’s commission structure. You’ll have access to premade widgets for your sidebar and in-text links. I spent hours checking out all the available merchants. My favorites include ModCloth, PicMonkey, and StudioPress by Copyblogger. Another great company to check out is Commission Junction. Cj.com functions very similarly to shareasale. Brands that are available on CJ include: Stitch Fix, and Forever21.
More bloggers need to talk about Viglink. It’s by far the most convenient affiliate program out there. Once you sign up, all you have to do is activate the VigLink Plugin. The program will potentially monetize every link on your blog/site based on preset preferences. Even if an application was rejected by a vendor or marketing campaign, you can still monetize with Viglink! Viglink can also monetize a random word such as “jewelry” or whatever keyword might be in your post. All affiliate links go through to a verified website with a preferred commission structure. You can let Viglink do all the work or do you own mix once you start getting approved for different programs.
Promote Your Host.
An easy quick way to monetize is by becoming an affiliate of your host provider. Your reader will appreciate your first-hand experience. You can write several different posts that will motivate and inspire your reader to start their own blog. I only promote products I use. It’s even sweeter with companies like Bluehost that facilitate promoting them with premade widgets and help guides. Host providers have some of the best commissions available.
One Last Recommendation
Open Link in a New Tab.
For the love of all blogging set up your external links so that they open in a NEW browser window!!!! You’re definitely going to link. You’re using affiliates, that’s the point. Just make sure that you select ‘Open in a New Tab’ when adding links. In this way, your reader can easily navigate back to your site after they’ve clicked a link. Don’t send your readers away without a way to get back home. Always leave them a bread trail with an open browser window that has your site.
This is my growing list that I plan to update often. When you carry out my tips, you will see an increase in your traffic and an increase in your conversion rate. I promise!
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Questions and comments are always welcome. I really hope this post inspired you to monetize all the hard work you’re doing. Let’s Connect! Follow my blog with Bloglovin or find me ‘The Rising Damsel’ on Pinterest. If you are looking for a free Tailwind Tribe try The Rising Damsel’s brand new one: Promote Your Blog – A Rising Damsel Tribe.