Happy Wednesday! Today I’m super excited to share with you how to grow your blog. But first, let’s catch up a little bit.
I know it’s August. That it’s still summer. And come winter, I will regret this. But, ya’ll it’s too hot. On Saturday, Eddie & I ventured out for bubble tea and I was melting and wanted to run home. And on Monday, it was just as hot and my office had to turn the air down to help conserve energy. So I feel like I’ve been sweating for days now. I just feel like it hasn’t been this hot and humid in a while hence why I’m complaining. I just want to wear my new Levi’s jeans! Is that too much to ask for?!
Anyways, today I wanted to talk about how to grow your blog. Prior to starting my blog, I had a YouTube channel, which I loved doing. But it was so much work and I just couldn’t keep up with it (although I have something very fun in store for next year!). When I started my blog, I figured, this will be easy. It’s nowhere near as time-consuming as making videos! Boy, was I wrong! And I think it’s a big misconception among people who don’t blog or people who are just anti-bloggers. But, blogging takes a lot of time and work. As well as involving a little bit of an investment. So today, I’m sharing what I invest in for my blog & if it’s really worth it.
How to Grow Your Blog
An SEO Expert || Clem SEO
I started working with Clem at the end of 2017 / the beginning of 2018. I was feeling a little discouraged on my readership or lack thereof and was at a loss on what to do. I had read multiple articles on SEO and honestly, it felt like a different language to me. It still does if we’re being perfectly honest! I’ve loved working with Clem and she has done wonders for my site.
While I’ve been bad at this recently, I aim to plot out my editorial calendar for at least 2 to 3 months in advance. I’ll include the title, what outfit I want to pair it with, the category and some key notes. From there, Clem will do some research and give me the best keyword I should focus on and sometimes a revised title. After my post goes live, Clem will log in and do her thing and optimize my post. I’ve also reached out to Clem when I have a ton of rough ideas but don’t know how to structure them or what they should focus on or what the title should be and she helps me really mold my post and make it the best it can be. My organic reach has gone up and been amazing since working with her. I even had the opportunity to have lunch with her when she was in New York and it really felt great to sit down and chat about my blog goals and concerns and have someone understand and be really encouraging.
In terms of pricing, an average month is about $150-$200. It’s definitely not cheap, but for everything she does for me, I see it as an investment. I used to spend money on so many random things to help my Instagram reach like ads and giveaways, but honestly wasn’t seeing any real results and frankly, my blog is more important to me than Instagram. Working with Clem and investing in my blog, I know that each post has the best chance of being discovered and attracting new readers. Not to make this too long, but when I started blogging, I didn’t do it for money or followers or any of that, I started my site because I wanted a voice and a platform where I could just talk things out and I wanted to connect with people and I feel like investing in SEO helps me achieve that goal.
WordPress Support || WP Help
When I started working with Clem, she did a deep dive of my site and noticed I had to work on my site speed. From there she referred me to Guillermo from WP Help. He was so wonderful and answered every single one of my (probably dumb) questions. As much as I enjoyed working with him, their current packages were just a bit out of my price range. So he was kind enough to work with me and create a plan that worked for my needs and my budge.
I currently pay a little over $90. What I love about WP Help is that they are always checking on my blog to ensure it’s up and running, the speed is the best it can be, all plug-ins are updated and spam comments are deleted, among other things. They have really been my saving grace because I’m not technologically savvy at all. I normally have Eddie help me out, but he’s busy with his own life and job and can’t always be at my beck and call.
My site crashed earlier this year and they were right on it. I also had a problem where if you left a comment, you received an insult (kind of funny but kind of not!) and they were on it. I love that if I have any issues with my site or have questions on how to change something or just at a loss over anything concerning my site, I can reach out to them and they can guide me. Everyone is so kind and professional and they’re so patient with my 101 stupid questions. I genuinely could not live without them.
I started investing in Lightroom around 2015/2016, but honestly, I truly didn’t take full advantage of the program until last year. Lightroom is a photo editing resource and in my opinion, it’s the best out there. I have an annual subscription so every August I pay a little under $130.
Basically, I import all photos from my memory card into Lightroom and from there I organize everything into a category by outfit details, date, etc. What I love is that you can color code photos and rate your favorites. There are so many features to edit photos, most of which I’m sure I don’t even know how to use, but it really is the best editing tool out there. I also wanted to note that I have the free app version of Lightroom on my phone, but I just prefer doing it on the computer.
If you’re new to Lightroom, you can purchase presets and it makes it even easier to edit photos. While presets are a bit controversial in the blogging world, they have honestly helped me learn how to edit photos the way I like. I’m planning to do a post on presets and whether or not they are worth it, so be sure to look out for that!
Domain & Hosting Site
One of the big arguments for why you shouldn’t focus only on Instagram and instead focus on your site is because you own everything on your site and you control it. Which leads me to my domain & hosting site. I used to have a blog through blogspot. I feel like back in the day that was a right of passage. If you didn’t have a blog called blogtitle.blogspot.com, who even were you?! Kidding. Kind of. Anyways, I loved how easy blogspot was, but after realizing that you don’t own your work on blogspot, I quickly made the jump to WordPress. While it was a little complicated to navigate at first, it was so worth it. There are so many plug-ins and resources to make your site the best it can be.
I pay to own Live Laugh Linda, I pay to have my wordpress site and I pay a company to host my site. A lot of hosting companies charge based on your readership so if you want to support this amount of traffic to your site, you pay this much and if you want to support this amount of traffic, you pay this much. I won’t go on because honestly, I’m not a super pro at this, but I just wanted to share what goes into actually having a site!
Yep. I pay for my fancy schmancy email. This is just something I prefer. I like to have Linda@livelaughlinda.com rather than firstname.lastname@example.org. While it’s not a necessity, it’s also pretty inexpensive and I think it looks more professional. While I don’t have a “team” besides my mom and boyfriend who I bribe to help me out, it’s nice that you can add emails once you buy an email domain. So if you want to, you could have email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
What I Want To Invest In:
Now that we’ve talked about what I do invest it, I wanted to share a few things that I eventually would love to invest in, but just due to my current budget, I haven’t taken the plunge yet.
A Pinterest Scheduling Tool
I know. I know. This should absolutely already be on my list. I’m working on it! But, Pinterest is supposed to be amazing for gaining traffic. One of the reasons I haven’t taken the jump is because I know it takes a fair amount of time to create photos, schedule pins and do all that jazz. There are countless blog posts out there on it and I just want to read up a little more and prep some images before I fully take the jump. I want to make sure that I’m fully utilizing the service if I’m going to pay for it. The most popular one I hear everyone talk about is Tailwind, which offers a monthly and annual pay cycle, which I love because if given the opportunity, I will always opt for an annual payment!
Social Media Scheduling Tool
Whenever I finish working on a post, I have a routine. Create an image on Canva. Schedule Facebook post directly on Facebook. Schedule twitter post on tweetdeck. Airdrop my canva image to my phone so I can post directly to Instagram stories the day it goes live. And then randomly post to Pinterest throughout the day. Is this the most effective? Probably not, but this is what I currently do and what works for me. I know Instagram is tricky in terms of scheduling anything and I know there is a dedicated Pinterest tool, but I would love to invest in a facebook/twitter schedule tool to help me streamline the process. I just haven’t found/heard of a great one. So if you have any recommendations, let me know!
Okay, now that I’ve practically laid my checkbook out there, I hope you enjoyed today’s post. I’ve always been honest in that I don’t make a large income off my site and I need to work on my consistency, but I love my blog and I love having a platform and that’s why I invest money into it to give it a fighting chance and make it the best it can be. Thank you again for stopping by, I hope you have a lovely rest of the week!