Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ultimate Blogging FAQ: How to Get Readers, Traffic, Advertisers, & More!


I've written thousands of words to help small businesses and creatives. I'd say: Mission Accomplished! I'll report on breaking news in the field when I encounter them but until then, I'm wrapping up the small business series and focusing on inspiration. I'm finishing it off with a helpful FAQ Series, starting with the questions I get the most on blogging:

1. What's the #1 thing you did to get your blog to where it is now?
Working hard on the content to make it as helpful and entertaining as possible for the reader. Content is paramount! When your content is good people will read, come back, and share your work.

2. How did you increase traffic and readership?
I participated in blog link parties to get a head-start and still do for my haul posts, but other than that I just genuinely interacted in my field. Comment on blogs and forums you like with genuine feedback.

3. How did you create a "community" around Thrift Core?
Genuine communication is key. Ask your readers questions in social media and on your blog. Start a conversation.

4. When should I put advertisements on my blog?
Not right away! I was blogging for two years before advertisements even crossed my mind. Start a blog because you're incredibly passionate about it and LOVE the subject, NOT because you want ad revenue. You'll know it's time to think of ads when you have consistent page views and traffic, and of course, when people start asking you if they can advertise.


5. How did you get sponsors for your blog?
I just wrote an announcement on the blog saying I now take advertisers and let people know what they'll get if they choose to advertise on Thrift Core. People also contacted me directly. I handle it all myself and don't use a third party program at the moment.

6. Did you make the layout/graphics on Thrift Core yourself?
Yep, and I take all the photos, write the content, and do the marketing, too. I do social media, PR, and marketing plans freelance as well as graphic and web design. I especially love making banners/logos for blogs and Etsy shops to help beginners establish a clear identity. E-mail me if you need help!

7. Do you have an editorial schedule or plan posts in advance?
I plan posts 1-2 months in advance, but leave things flexible in case there's breaking news I want to post about instead. I rarely write posts the morning-of, but it happens sometimes. My best posts are always ones I work at and edit/perfect for at least a week.

8. How much do you feel your blog posts help your business?
My blog is the most important part of my brand! No question. It drives traffic to my Etsy shop for sales, I sell from it directly all the time, and get leads for side work from it. I love the friends and connections I make here!


9. Should I start a blog myself?
Absolutely! Even if it's kept private, I think everyone should start a blog. Writing daily keeps your mind sharp and it's a journey to self-discovery as well as a powerful networking tool. Check: My detailed guide to starting a blog.

10. How do you keep motivated with your blog?
I have notebooks full of ideas so I'm never out of content and I schedule blog post/blog work time throughout the week and don't stray from it. Write a post idea in your notebook, then think of ways to break down that post into more posts, you'll have hundreds of ideas in no time!

I don't blog for the money, but I'm so glad it's helped me establish a career as a freelancer. I enjoy the genuine connections I make locally and around the world every day through Thrift Core. Blog because there's a burning force and passion for it and improve with every single photo you take and post you write. Work hard and there's no way you won't be successful.

Got any blog tips to share in the comments? Leave a comment if you have questions and I'll answer 'em.
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

35 comments:

  1. Thanks for the wonderful post Van! Definitely what I needed to get motivated!

    I'm starting to get reals serious about getting advertisers and making my blog super legit. I just redesigned it and there are still more graphics I gotta make but I feel like I'm taking steps forward! I'm building an advertising page and I modeled it off of yours since it's so nice and straightforward. :)

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    1. I'm glad it helps! You're doing an excellent job evolving your blog, it's excellent practice for your career field too.

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    2. Thanks! That means so much! I've been following your blog since before I started blogging and it has been so great to see how you've progressed and changed and refocused over the years!

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    3. Thank you! It really is a constant evolution...gonna write about that next week :)

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  2. Great info! You can tell you work on your blog a lot-- it shows. By the way, thanks for visiting mine!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Diane. Love your crafty blog. I'm gonna list on Etsy and actually get to painting and crafting today like your blog always inspires me to. No more excuses, art must be made!

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    2. Good for you!! Be sure to post your creations!

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  3. Have you picked up on the Pinterest bandwagon in relation to driving traffic to your blog?

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    1. I made one just because forever ago, deleted it, made one again...don't really use. I just dislike the platform. I'll play with it more, but don't like how it's not about communication or creating your own unique content. I use Facebook and Twitter primarily for social media and those are top traffic providers for me.

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    2. Different things work for different bloggers that's for sure. I know bloggers who do well from Pinterest pinning content from their blogs (often DIY and tutorial) posts along with other stuff not from their blog. But they say they get awesome results from Pinterest. I can see definite potential in it working for my blog and business, but I have been a late adapter in getting into, so I'm still learning. Facebook and Instagram are my other two streams with social media I enjoy. Twitter I still haven't picked up how to flow with, but I find it most beneficial for connecting with other bloggers, brands and pr.

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    3. I've read pinterst shouldn't be for pinning your own content, but big bloggers do it all the time. It just rubs me the wrong way, especially since a lot of us content creators have lots of stuff floating around on there uncredited. I'm organizing content though so I may pin it on pinterest while I'm at it and track the results. Makes me feel dirty, haha.

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  4. Thanks for this post! How does one get in on these link parties? I've got my geek set covered, but I also post about thrifting and can't seem to court that audience.

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    1. It's tricky to change the subject on your blog, I see even the biggest ones lose the conversation when they switch topic. I want Thrift Core to incorporate more whole/healthy living, art, and personal thangs but as you can see from yesterday's post comments compared to today, I get WAY more feedback when I stick to writing about thrifting. I say write about your passions no matter what and keep doing your thrift posts, and start to network (like I am, slowly) with other blogs about the topic you're trying to branch into. Link parties are a GREAT way to do this. Here are the ones I actively participate in:

      http://www.alivingspace.com/

      http://www.apronthriftgirl.typepad.com/ (hasn't been posting for a bit but will likely return)

      http://www.heywhatsfordinnermom.com/

      http://sirthriftalot.blogspot.com/

      Every Sunday/Monday they post their haul post, then allow you to share links to your haul post at the bottom of the post via an installed ap. Participate in these and you'll find the audience for your thrifting posts.

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    2. Thought I would add The Thrifty Groove blog. She has a thrifty link up on Thurs/Fri.

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  5. Such great tips- its true getting out there is key and meeting lots of new friends :)

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    1. Very true, people won't find you otherwise. It's like standing in a room talking to yourself without networking and social media.

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  6. Thanks for sharing all this great info! Never heard of the link parties either, I haven't really tried to expand my blog but thinking about it now. It's been more like a creative outlet for me but would love to get more traffic in. Great post :-)

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    1. It's good to start it that way, so you get a grasp on what you want to write and what you want your voice to be. I blogged for a year before I started to actively seek traffic. Good luck!

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  7. I love your business/blogging advice posts, they're so helpful for people like me who are still relatively new to blogging (mine isn't even a year old!). I agree that writing interesting and informative content is key, I know that's what keeps me coming back to some blogs and not others. I also think great blog layout and photography are important (something I'm hoping to keep improving on my blog!). I was wondering with regard to advertising is there a certain number of pageviews/followers that is used as a benchmark that should be reached before someone considers offering advertisements? Like I said, I'm still super new to this so I have no idea!

    Thanks for putting out a great blog!
    -Melissa @ Scavenger Hunt

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    1. I've read and least 4,000 to 5,000 consistent page views per day but the numbers aren't consistent. Some people can get away with ads for less page views and ads because even though their audience is smaller it's very engaged.

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  8. I've been wanting to start my blog for over a year now. I purchased a domain and everything for it. Van, I think you're a follower at vintiquehomes.com but I have yet to post my first entry.

    I really didn't know what I wanted to write about but I think now I just want to share my experiences with selling online and provide useful content that would help other sellers with their online endeavors. I have to take the first leap though and your blog is definitely an inspiration.

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    1. Glad it helps, Jay! Looking forward to what you'll write. If you need more help this step by step checklist should clear things up: http://www.thriftcore.com/2012/11/your-essential-top-10-blog-checklist.html

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  9. Thanks for the great tips. I esp like tip # 10 - "Write a post idea in your notebook, then think of ways to break down that post into more posts, you'll have hundreds of ideas in no time!"

    I have been tip-toeing around starting a blog for almost a year now. I know I'll get to it eventually, as I love to write and share my thoughts and ideas. One of the main things holding me back is the pressure of keeping up with it once I start.

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    1. I love that method for figuring out what to write, you can literally never run out of ideas. I also wrote an article with plenty more tips on how to never run out of things to write here: http://papernstitchblog.com/2011/04/26/writers-block-five-endless-wells-of-inspiration/


      I always say it's best not to blog daily if you don't think you can. You can blog 1-3 times per week and be fine, quality is always better than mere quantity.

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  10. Great tips Vanessa! I've blogging now for 5 years and just recently as you know starting a new site for our online/local thrift store. Even though I'm not new to the blogging world, it's a like starting all over again finding new and better ways to connect with readers and sharing our passion about thrifting. There's such an unexpectedness about it, such an energy of excitement, because you never know what you will find. I feel energized walking into a thrift store, like I'm going on a treasure hunt and I want our customers and readers to have that same experience.

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    1. I definitely recommend a blog, it's the most powerful business tool I have and earns me more than anything else.

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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