Hi lovely readers!
Still no real workout since last week, at least not until I get my strength back 100%. I would hate to go back into a terrible relapse of Bronchitis! Yick!
Thank you for your well wishes over the past few days, I am feeling MUCH better! I’m just waiting on this head congestion and ear infection to clear up so I can finally hear again 🙂 Until then, call me an old lady because I can’t hear you!
Yesterday I was finally able to get out and go for a walk. I took the Monster Truck and she wore her new harness. It’s still a bit of a struggle, but she walks on it perfectly. However, if we stop or if she catches sight of her leash then she tries to whip around and grab it in her mouth. I have a feeling once she gets more used to it, she will be just fine!
Today we’re chatting about…
my blogging tactics!
I’ve been asked a few times what I use, when I blog, how I blog, etc, etc, and thought I would sum it all up right here.
First, I use a self hosted WordPress site. WordPress is SUPER easy to use, MUCH more customizable than Blogger, and the user interface is pretty darn simple. Literally, if I can figure it out, you can figure it out. Plus, there’s a HUGE online support community, so you’re sure to never have any questions.
I always think of ideas for blog posts throughout the day or when I’m out and about, and I like to jot them all down in my planner. That way, on days when I don’t have anything specific to blog about I can use my list as a resource.
When I started my blog I knew I wanted to belong in the “healthy living/runner” blog niche. I try to keep the majority of my posts relevant to that category, but sometimes there are a few random posts here and there. I think to have a successful and cohesive blog, it helps to keep things pretty consistent. Your readers come to your blog for a reason, so you don’t want to always throw them off with topics you don’t ever talk about. If I started blogging about crafts randomly, I would lose relevancy in the healthy living blogosphere!
I typically write my blog posts either at night before I go to bed, and then schedule them to post sometime the following morning, or on occasion I’ll type up a quick blog post before work in the morning. In case you didn’t know, this is where you schedule your post…super simple, but if you aren’t looking for it or don’t like pushing buttons you might miss it!
I always like to try and be aware of when my readers are on my blog. You can find this out by looking in your Google Analytics to get an idea of when your traffic is the heaviest. (Easiest way is to look at an hourly view). Here’s an example of the hourly view for a random Tuesday. I can see that the majority of my traffic comes in before noon, so I like to have posts up sometime in the morning.
But on the contrary, here’s a random Sunday afternoon. Traffic is mostly late at night, so getting a post up first thing Sunday isn’t so much a priority. And when you think about it, most people aren’t on their computers on Sunday mornings anyways.
It’s a good idea to just have a general knowledge of what your traffic is like. You want your posts to be posted at times when they will have an impact, and not just sit there. So just be smart about when you post! It can make all the difference in the world. If your traffic dips dramatically on the weekends, then don’t post your favorite post on the weekend, save it for Monday morning.
You can also just figure out what your niche is and think about when YOU are looking at blogs most often. Obviously, it works to your advantage to have your post show up in someone’s Bloglovin’ or Feedly account at a time when they’ll see it on top of their list. This is important too when it comes to social media. Try and think about when your READERS are online, and post at those times. I found this infographic and thought it was interesting! It’s pretty logical too, since all of the social media networks are really tailored to specific groups of people. I.E. Pinterest traffic is heaviest late at night…how many girls do you know that stay up too late pinning? So posting something on Pinterest in mid-afternoon isn’t going to be seen as much as if you posted it at 9 that night.
So, figure out what your traffic behavior is like, post accordingly, then remind people again on social media when they’re actually ON social media. There are different programs out there too that can analyze what your specific audience is doing, but I’m not going to go into those 🙂
And speaking of social media, I LOVE Buffer!
Buffer is where I schedule most of my tweets! You can go to bufferapp.com to learn more. But basically, you can link up your social media accounts (I’ve only linked my Twitter & Google+) and it gives you time slots for when traffic is heaviest during the day for each account you connect. So like, it will give you a queue to put 5 or so already typed up tweets, and will schedule them at certain times of day for you. You can also use their link shortening tool so you don’t use as many characters. I absolutely love using Buffer because it’s SO easy, and once I have 5 or 6 or however many tweets scheduled to go out over a few days, I don’t have to worry about logging into Twitter and tweeting them myself! This is especially useful on the weekends! (Same with Google+)
So those are the 5 default times it chooses for Twitter to send out your tweets based on the research Buffer has done. You can add posting times, and the next one you add will be the next busiest time. For my Google+ account, it defaults to a little bit different times, because traffic on Google+ isn’t the same as Twitter. So in my Buffer dashboard, I can switch between Twitter and Google+ and change the times if I need to.
In my Twitter queue, I only have 3 tweets scheduled, as an example, and this is how it will look! My URLs are shortened and they are scheduled at the most popular times.
In your queue you can rearrange your tweets and decide when you want each tweet to go out. So if you schedule something for Saturday morning but you’d rather it tweet Sunday night, you can just click and drag that tweet and Buffer will change it for you.
I personally prefer Buffer over Hootsuite, but that’s just me! There’s also Klout which is pretty cool…it will tell you how much of an impact your content makes and give you a score accordingly. I actually really like Klout, I just end up using Buffer more!
Ok so now plugins and widgets! I keep it pretty simple and don’t add a lot of bells and whistles.
-nRelate Related Content
-Simple Share Buttons
-Comment Reply Notification
-SEO Yoast (All in One SEO Pack works great too)
-Wordpress Popular Posts
-Alpine Photo Tile for Instagram
I think that’s about it!
I use Google AdSense for my ads. Not that they’re lucrative or anything. I mean really. We’re talking pennies. Baby steps people!
They’re super easy to set up. Here is the back end so you’re less intimidated:
You have control over the size of your ads, the name of them, the style of them, etc.
Once you create your ad, you will copy and paste a code snippet into a html widget on your blog. If I remember correctly, it took a day or two for my ads to show up and actually start working.
And now for SEO tips!
Just a few off the top of my head:
1. Keep your URL structure simple and clean. (For example, in WP you can set up your URL structure to be sweetmiles.com/post-title instead of sweetmiles.com/2014/blog/category/post-title or whatever the long messy chain is)
2. Your post titles are important to search engines. Your post title will show up in your URL. Put some thought into it if it’s an important post. Instead of titling your blog post, “I ran on Saturday and loved it + weekend recap” title it “Pink Elephant 5K Recap”. A person isn’t going to type into a search engine, “I ran on Saturday and loved it.” They are going to type in whatever that run on Saturday was, i.e. Pink Elephant 5K. And if your post URL has those keywords in it, it’s more likely to have a chance at showing up in results, and even better, if it has its’ own meta description, you’re even more ahead of the game. But on the flip side, you want your title to be both engaging, relevant, and written for humans as opposed to trying to write it strictly for the search engines. If that makes sense. Basically, your post titles are one of the first things the search engines will see and if they see that it’s relevant to what the user searched for, you’re in good shape.
3. If you’re talking about a specific topic, be sure and keep your keywords consistent. Don’t overuse them, though! Keyword stuffing is annoying, tacky, and looks bad to the search engines.
4. Always try to link within your blog, and link out to other credible sites. An even better scenario is if credible sites are linking to YOU. And when you’re setting up links to websites other than your own, make sure you check the box that says, “open link in new window/tab” that way your visitors aren’t immediately directed away from your site.
5. For your images, PLEASE give each image you upload a clean file name, an image title, and ALT text.
Just a few thoughts 🙂 Blogging can be as complicated or uncomplicated as you want it to be! If I didn’t work in web stuff full time, I wouldn’t care nearly as much about the technical stuff! And of course what works for me, may not work for you. And I’m really bad at explaining things, so hopefully I didn’t confuse you or mis-word anything!
What is your blogging process like? Do you have any tricks of the trade?