It’s been two months since I wrote my first post on Style Context and I’m going to celebrate by sharing some blogging secrets with you. Note: the following advice would be most helpful to fashion and beauty writers newly entering the blogosphere. As a novice blogger myself, I will readily admit that I’m not (yet!) an expert on driving traffic to blogs. Nonetheless, I believe that reflecting on and sharing what has worked for me over the past two months would be useful to other beginners. And as my image above suggests, I’m an avid pinner of all things blogging related. So without further ado, here’s a list of five ways you can generate traffic to your blog:
1. Network with other bloggers. More than any other industry, success in the fashion depends on your clout (and Klout) and gonnegtions (shameless reference The Great Gatsby). There are three main ways I’ve tried to achieve this thus far. First, I joined Independent Fashion Bloggers, a community of fashion bloggers that also includes a wealth of information on blogging. If you’re on IFB, you’ve probably been inundated with dozens of messages a day from members asking you to follow their blog with the promise that they will follow back. And while it’s very easy to make “friends,” that friendship is contingent on reciprocal following and most often doesn’t go much further. But despite some of my hollow interactions on IFB, I’ve made some loyal contacts, and most recently collaborated with one member on a blog post. So while it’s an effective starting point, you shouldn’t rely on it solely.
Another way I’ve networked is through Twitter. Admittedly, IFB helped build my initial fashion following base, which, in turn, led to more followers. One helpful tip that I’ve picked up from IFB is to interact with at least three people a day on Twitter. In addition, participating in Twitter chats such as #bblogging #fblogging has introduced me to new, amazing people.
Finally, commenting on other bloggers’ posts is a simple way to make blogger friends and gain exposure. But don’t just shamelessly promote yourself when commenting; provide a thoughtful response that speaks to your credibility. If you’re commenting under your WordPress account, you don’t even need to link to your blog.
2. Be prolific. Last month, I came across a Blogging Challenge that called for bloggers to post at least three times a week. Not only does this help you get in the mode of writing regularly and cultivating your voice, but it demonstrates your commitment to your blog to readers, brands, and potential followers. The more you write, the more they will visit. However, this doesn’t mean compromising on quality; put considerable thought into each of your posts and your readers will reward you by becoming loyal followers.
3. Harness social media. This includes sharing content to Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Socialbliss, Chictopia, Lookbook, Tumblr, Linkedin, etc. As of now, I get the most traffic from Pinterest and Twitter. When posting to Pinterest, be sure to pin images that are visually appealing and that contain a short description and link to your blog. If you own the rights to your image, add a watermark with your blog URL. When tweeting your links, include relevant hashtags (but not more than 3!). If you’ve written about any brands in your post, remember to mention them in your tweet. Many brands will interact with you by replying or retweeting/favoriting your tweet, which gives you more exposure. Finally, when linking to your content, make your tweet is worth clicking or retweeting. You can check on the number of clicks using Twitter Ads. Phrase your tweet in a way that hints at containing useful information (“6 habits of successful women”) or that seeks engagement (“personal style blogging: is it dying out?).
4. Utilize SEO. By far, the top referrer to my blog is the good old-fashioned search engine. This is one of the few ways emerging bloggers have control over traffic. A simple way to optimize your content is by creating a title that contains search keywords. In other words, make your title as descriptive as possible (that means no vague one-word titles). Think of your title as a series of relevant search terms and your post as the answer. Additionally, having a strong social influence on Facebook and Twitter leads to higher rankings on Google.
5. Give useful advice. Evaluate your priorities: are you blogging for yourself or for an audience? If it’s the latter, you’ll need to provide readers more than just an update of your day-to-day or what you’re wearing. In the Pinterest/Etsy-era, audiences demand more how-to’s and DIY tutorials. So far, my most popular posts have both been how-to’s (I’ll leave it up to you to guess which one’s they are!). Unfortunately, in 2013, personal style blogging can only go so far if you’re a newbie blogger. That’s why it’s important to balance personal style with useful, helpful content. In the end, it’s the latter that will have the most longevity.
Of course, there are other ways to generate traffic to your blog, but this is what has worked for me. I hope it works for you! If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know in the comments section or tweet me @stylecontext.