I started this blog in November of 2014. Before that, I did start other blogs and I had been actively involved in writing for other bloggers. I was well aware of all the work that went into maintaining, writing and promoting a blog. Knowing that, I willingly and enthusiastically threw myself into getting involved in the blogging community on all of my social media accounts for this new blog.
It took a lot of time but I was meeting some great people, learning a lot and starting to see a significant increase in traffic to my blog as a result of all my efforts. But honestly, it was draining and I felt like I was spending all of my time online. I knew there must be a better way to get pageviews, even when I was offline.
Then January 2015 rolled around and my mother went into hospital for emergency surgery. Little did I know she would be there for four months. During those months, I was there everyday for sometimes up to 12 hours a day. I did not write a single blog post or look at my social media during that entire time. Of course, my blog pageviews tanked.
In April, when my mother had made somewhat of a recovery, I thrust myself back into my blog. It was a great escape and it was nice to get back to doing the thing I loved, blogging. I spent literally every waking hour working on my blog. My traffic and pageviews recovered. Then my mother went back into the hospital in May. Here we go again, I thought. All my work is going to go into the toilet again.
I thought to myself that there just has to be a better way. It is unsustainable to continue relying on my blog pageviews being so strongly dependent on the number of hours I spend on social media. Besides the fact that I was getting burnt out and resentful of the constant care and attention I thought I needed to spend promoting my blog. My writing was suffering too.
So I made a list of all the things I did everyday on social media. I then analyzed each item for its effectiveness and decided if it was something I could in fact eliminate or at the very least, reduce time spent on it.
My Biggest Time Wasters
Hashtags on Twitter
Virtually everyday on Twitter there are hashtags that may be used by bloggers to promote their own posts and find other bloggers to connect with. If you are a newbie blogger, this is a great place to start. However, for myself, I was literally spending all day, reading, commenting and re-tweeting other bloggers. If someone commented, liked or re-tweeted me, I felt obligated to reciprocate. As you can imagine, this became a huge task.
After reviewing the results of my efforts, I decided this needed to be cut right down. The payback was just not worth the time. I now only participate in one hashtag, #sundayblogshare. It has always been a very good traffic source for me as well as a wellspring for finding great content by other bloggers.
The biggest bonus for me with eliminating most of my participation in the Twitter hashtags is that I now can like, comment and share the posts of other bloggers that truly inspire me and not just because I am returning the favour.
Facebook Share Threads
There are probably hundreds of groups on Facebook for bloggers. Again, it is a great place to go for a new blogger. You can participate in all sorts of share threads. Basically, you leave a link and then depending on the rules of the group, you must like, share or comment on a number of people in the same thread.
Types of Threads:
- FaceBook Fan Page Likes – Though this is a great way to increase the number of likes to your own fan page, this also means that you will be following a huge number of other bloggers’ fan pages. My experience has taught me to turn off the notifications of the fan pages I do not have any interest in and I am pretty sure many have done that with my page as well. If you don’t do some weeding, you may never see posts from friends, family and the blogs you really enjoy. If this is a process that you are still participating in, please be aware that the Facebook algorithm is not kind to pages with high numbers and low engagement. It is better to have 50 engaged followers then 5,000 who never like any of your posts.
- Blog Share/Comment – This particular type of thread I found to be my biggest time zapper. You leave a link for your own blog post and then depending on the rules of the thread, you must reciprocate, read, comment and share other posts in the thread. Many times I had to do this for blogs that were far outside of my niche. I am not saying that the blogs were not any good, The posts were about things that I had absolutely no interest in. Not to mention, there were so many bloggers that would spam their link in threads across almost every group I was a part of and never, ever followed the rules of the thread or engaged. It was very frustrating and I found myself getting angry, a lot.
I now limit myself to belonging to five groups on Facebook. I found I now have more time to actually write blog posts and ideas flow effortlessly for new content. I got my life back and am starting to reap the benefits.
Luckily I did this analysis of my social media management because…
At the beginning of 2016, my mother, once again, went into the hospital. This time my blog did not suffer and in fact, flourished. For the month of January 2016, I reached my goal of 45,000 pageviews per month and was well on my way to achieving 50,000 pageviews per month.
Fast forward to January 2019 and I now get over 150,000 pageviews per month and make an average of $3-5,000 a month.
So how did I do it?
How I Get Tons Of Pageviews When I Am Offline
1. Schedule Posts To Social Media
All of my blog posts are now scheduled for Twitter and my Facebook Fan Page. I use a paid service from Buffer for Twitter and schedule directly on Facebook for my blog page. There are plenty of schedulers out there that you can choose from. My tweets and my Facebook posts are all pre-loaded. Including content curated from other sources.
The reason I love Buffer so much is because of how fast and easy I can load all of my posts, right on their easy to use dashboard. I add new posts and can schedule shares from others by adding their feeds to my dashboard.
The scheduling of my posts means I never have to think about them. Now when I get a chance to go on social media, I can look at my timelines, read, comment and share the posts of other bloggers that I enjoy. If I am having a really busy day and have no time, at least I know my posts are getting out there.
2. Pinterest Pinterest Pinterest
Pinterest is by far my biggest referrer for traffic. You must set it up properly and have great pins, but after that, it is a breeze. I have literally re-done ALL of my images/pins and am constantly going back and adding more pin worthy images. If you just don’t have that kind of time, I strongly suggest you hire someone to create pins for you. Some designers also create templates. That way, you only have to pay one time and then you can create subsequent pins on your own. Fiverr is a great place to look for graphic designers.
Pinterest requires the least amount of effort. I use Tailwind to schedule my own pins, curate other pins to share and monitor my group boards. I literally spend approximately 15 minutes a day TOTAL. And now that they have added the SmartLoop feature, you can schedule all of your pins once! Talk about set it and forget it!
It is not unusual for me to wake up in the morning and already have 2000 refers from Pinterest. If you are not using Pinterest, I urge you to get on it. If you need help getting started, check out the Pinterest Ninja E-Course by Megan Johnson. For a small upgrade, you can also have her do a Pinterest Profile Audit. Totally worth it in my opinion if you have been on Pinterest for awhile and are not seeing the results other bloggers like myself are seeing.
3. Improving SEO
I am far from an expert when it comes to SEO and honestly, who can keep up when algorithms seem to change so frequently. I know nothing about ranking and really I don’t care. The only thing I care about is the traffic that is generated from browser sources. I have seen an increase by doing the following things:
- Making sure every post is automatically shared on Google Plus when published.
- Installing and properly using Yoast SEO.
- Making sure my posts get the green light by Yoast.
- My images are properly sized and alt text is filled out.
- Use keywords to link both internally and externally within each post.
When it comes to SEO, I leave it to the experts. My go to gal is Niki Robinson from Posts By Ghost. She is an awesome source of trusted information. Not only does she have easy to follow posts but she has some really great services. Whether you are a total newbie or a seasoned blogger that wants to drive more organic traffic, you need to rank on Google. My advice is that if you are totally in the dark about SEO, go visit Niki.
I remember years ago, reading the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. The most important thing that I can tell you that I took away from that book is that you must create passive income. Basically that means that you have to create income that does not rely on you working on it constantly in order for it to produce.
While a blog is not exactly the same thing, as it does require an influx of new content to continue to grow, I have tried to implement some tools that generate traffic without my constant output of time.
I hope my experience can help you and if would like to share some of the strategies that work for you, please share them in the comments.
Newbie here, found you on Pinterest. This is good perspective I have not seen talked about a great deal. I need to figure out how to post to Google+….Thank you for sharing. Pinning to read again. 🙂
Thank you so much Mary! I have my posts automatically share to Google when I publish. If you are on the WordPress platform, it is easy to connect your Google Plus account under sharing.
I have been blogging for four years and have nowhere near the number of page views you have. I never analyzed it like you. My mind doesn’t work that way but it should. I’m getting frustrated. I’m not sure how you set your accounts up and figure out who and how to post them automatically. If I ever get free time I must figure it out. I write for others sites to get paid and the days I post my blog post I do reciprocate to everyone who comments on my blog or shares it. It really does take all day.
Great post, Elena. I have a lot to think about and do. You are the best.
Hi Elena, what a great post. It’s so helpful to read how successful bloggers plan their social media. Thanks for the tips. Your posts are varied, interesting and helpful – I look forward to each one.
Thank you so much Mrs. P.
I’ve just started a new blog, after closing a business blog several years ago (and, my oh my, have things changed!). This was really helpful. I’ve joined some good Facebook groups, but have felt very uncomfortable with the page share posts. I’m glad to read your take on them too, and that I’m not so far off on my reasons for not joining in!
It is amazing how much things change and so quickly. Do what makes you comfortable Carrie and keep writing. You will find some kindred spirits along the way and that will be enough.
I just love how every time I read something of yours, I’ll rush out and do your suggestions and boost the crap out of my traffic. You are gold, thank you for doing all this research and giving us the tools to create great blogs, great traffic and great stomach pains!!!!
Thank you so much Skinny! And I think you can take some Tums for the tummy pains. lol
I’ve only just installed Yoast SEO and I’m starting to find that I’m getting competitive with myself in terms of how many checkmarks my posts get before I publish! Definitely a nifty piece of kit.
It is very nifty but the real magic is setting it up properly, outside of the posts. Make sure you check out and complete as many fields under all the tabs as you can.
Awesome! I really want to figure out how to spend my time more wisely. Right now I feel like I’m jumping through every hoop I see! Great tips, thanks so much.
You are very welcome Jamie. Hoop jumping gets really tiresome.
You share just great information, Elena. It’s a joy to follow your blogging journey!
You are the best Paula! And I am going to drag you along with me!
Elena – Thanks for all of the great information. Wow, I realize I have so much to learn. I’m looking forward to digging in and trying out some of your tips and pointers. Here’s to a great week ahead.
Thank you Renee. Blogging is an on-going learning process. Soon as you think you have something down, everything changes. You just do what you can.
Great post with so many useful hints & tips – thank you! I really need to plan my blogging week better!
Planning is my downfall too Nicky. I am a procrastinator. So do as I say not as I do. lol
Lots of great info in here. I try to schedule my social media posts on hashtag days that I participate in and then just check in a few times during the day to RT and like others. It works when I do it. What’s that they say about the road to hell being paved with good intentions?!? I will be referring back to this post and will comment on any epic successes or fails I have. Thanks for the great info.
I have to remind myself to keep on top of it too but I try to remember how much easier my life is if I take five minutes and just get on with it. I look forward to your updates.
Hi Elena, I am very happy to meet you through the Midlife Bloggers Assoc. I enjoyed al these helpful tips, I have been at this for six months or so and it can get overwhelming. I relate to posting comments on blogs you have nothing in common with! I tried hard to find something to say about breastfeeding when my children are grown! I look forward to more content on your blog and getting to know you.
There sure are a lot of mommy bloggers out there! I’m so glad you found me and hope you can use some of my tips. Thank you for taking the time to drop by and comment.
It’s an ever-evolving process. Thanks for sharing where you are and what’s working for you.Hoping to move further along myself and it’s good to see your example.
Thank you for dropping by Jane. I love to share my experiences and leave it up to the reader if it is useful to them. Everyone has to find their own rhythm.
Oh, Elena, you give us such good guidance…I struggle to find the time to put it all into action since I’m crazy-busy with my “real” job. I know that if I could get more organized about social media, it would save me time – and deliver greater benefits – in the long run. One of these weekends….in the meantime, thank you for sharing all you’ve learned!
Yes, put it on the “list”. lol There is never enough time Roxanne.
Great tips here, Elena. I realize that I haven’t completely explored Pinterest as a source of traffic to my blog. And I do agree about cutting out things that don’t work for you – even if they come highly recommended from other bloggers!
Everyone has to find out what works for them. Unfortunately that can be a moving target too. I have learned to read other bloggers’ recommendations but only use what works for me.
I use a paid service too, coschedule. I do pretty well scheduling my blog post but have not been doing the scheduled social media posts, like I did when I first subscribed. Thanks for the reminder about what a time saver this is. I also want to explore your SEO suggestion. Great post!
Thank you Molly! I love scheduling my stuff because then I have time to just explore what other people are writing. Otherwise, I get bogged down in my own crap and not sharing which I hate to do.
so much to think about – you are really on the ball with all this stuff and I feel like a 1950’s housewife in comparison. I’ll just keep plugging away for now and hope for the best – but I’m pinning this to remember the tips!
Sometimes it feels like my head will explode. It isn’t fair that we can’t just write and let someone else deal with all the rest. I could make a pretty impressive resume now with all my new titles. lol
Hello Elena, after working at my blog for 15 months and knowing nothing about social media at all at the start, it has been a huge learning curve that has sapped my energy at times. I came from a print editorial background which is a completely different ball game based on how good we were as writers/photographers. Quality was King. But with blogging, it seems to be those who shout the loudest go places.
I have found this all really hard to get my head round because it is SO different to when I simply used all my time to write/photograph and get the pay cheque at the end of the month! This has given me more food for thought – especially the blog/share comment thing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, experiences and ideas and I hope your mum is doing ok. It’s tough trying to deal with aging parents on top of working 25 hours a day!
The game has definitely changed and I can understand that it is hard to get the whole social media aspect. Sometimes it is about who does it best and that can be very frustrating. I think it is more important to just take your time and endure. The most successful seemed to be the ones that never gave up.
Good tips, I will check out Ashley. I still need to make my pins rich but am confused. Can’t remember if I need a business account.
I will check out Ashley who you recommend. Thanks #midlifeluv
Ashley knows it all, you should definitely check her out!
Great information here … thank you so much … I see I need to get pinning!
Pinterest is awesome! You should give it a try!
Some very useful tips here and much food for thought. W’re all aiming to be as efficient as possible – at least I am but I’m not always succeeding! This will help though. I know I’m very time poor but content rich so thanks for sharing your tips.
It so easy for time to slip away. I have to remind myself to keep on track.
Thank you for sharing this advice. I can be buried in social media and see such little gains! Awesome advice!
Especially when everyone is so friendly!
Thanks, Elena. You have been quite a find for me. This is a useful post indeed.
I am having an issue completely understanding the following. If you have a chance….could you explain it further to me? Either way thanks for your help. “My tweets are all loaded for at least a week in advance and my Facebook for months. New blog posts are added to the rotation after a few days of heavier promotion which I schedule separatel”
Hi Cathy. I have loaded every post I have into Buffer. Because I only post a few times a day on Facebook, I have weeks in advance in the line-up. I hope that answers your question.
I’m in the process of redoing a lot of my older pictures and while I enjoy doing it, I do find myself distracted by all of the blogging groups that I’ve joined—time to rethink why I belong in each group. And I’ve never thought to pin my own information more than once or twice a day—another form of shyness!
It always good to re-assess your strategy every once in a while. And don’t do anything you are not comfortable with Jennifer. You only end up regretting it. Small steps are best.
Thank you for the mention, lovely lady. My pin picture services are standing by.
You are very welcome and worthy!