Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Growing your blog for free

Lately I have seen a lot of discussions on twitter about new bloggers buying followers, paying a lot of money for advertising on other peoples blogs, paying for advertisements on Twitter/Facebook and just generally spending a lot of money to boost their blog. I also saw a tweet saying that blogging is a very expensive hobby. I thought about it for a while and really couldn't see how it is expensive, well maybe if you buy yourself a DSLR and a top of the range laptop to increase the quality of your content. For me blogging is free and is a great way to save money. It distracts me away from the temptation of online shopping and the bingo sites, leaving me money for a few treats each month. 

I first started blogging in 2012 but as a fashion/beauty blogger. Things went quite well up until recently when I decided to become a parent blogger. Things have changed quite a bit in the way that people promote their blogs. I used to take part in free badge swaps, guest posts and sponsored posts. I was also a member of a few bloggers forums where no one really talked, it was just threads of follow for a follow/ follow back. I was very guilty of being one of these annoying people but it worked out for me. This was all I did to promote my blog for the first few months, without ever paying a penny. We all helped each other out and that was great, especially as it developed into some lasting friendships. 

Being a parent blogger in 2015 is completely different to fashion blogging back in 2012. I still follow a lot of fashion blogs and it seems like they all feel like they have to splash the cash to be successful. They have to have a top blog design, pay for advertisements, buy lots of clothes for haul posts, and purchase new makeup products as soon as they hit the shelves. I could not afford this being a single mother and I am so glad I moved over to parent blogging. I don't feel pressured to spend any money. 

Today I wanted to share a few tips on boosting your blog for free that have picked up over my time as a blogger. My methods have worked quite well for myself. I am not really interested in gaining 10,000 followers over night but would rather see a steady growth of followers that actually read my blog and interact with me on the social network sites. 


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Image: Tumblr


Guest Posts
A great idea is to find a blog with similar stats as you and ask if they would be interested in doing a post swap, you post on their blog and they post on yours. It benefits the both of you and will reach out to more readers as well as helping you to gain new followers. I wouldn't recommend reaching out to blogs that are way more established as yours or contain a completely different subject matter. They will more than likely say no to you. For those that you think would enjoy a day off from blogging to make room for a guest post, do not be afraid to pop them an email to see if they will allow you to post on their blog.   You have to deal with a few nos in this business, someone will eventually say Yes. 

Link ups
It seems to me that link ups are the most popular way to promote your blog in the parent blogging communities. Link ups have brought me so much traffic and have really helped me gain new readers. I love them so much that every post I write is linked up. I went through a stage of thinking that I was only writing for other peoples blogs but now I see it as a great way to discover new blogs and interact with fellow bloggers. My favourites are my sunday photo, country kids, living arrows and the list, all inspire me to be a better blogger. If these don't interest you then twitter and google are the best places to search for ones that do suit your blog such as outfit of the days, beauty, home decor or cooking. Link ups are also great for beating the dreaded writers block as they are a great way to discover great ideas for a new blog post. When you do enter link ups, be sure to really involve yourself in them. By this I mean to visit the other blogs and comment on their posts. Most blogs have an option within the comments to add your website which will then include your latest blog post. I have gained a ton of traffic this way. 

Button swaps
Most bloggers will have an option to 'grab my button' on their sidebar. Pop them a message to see if they fancy putting your button on their blog in exchange for you adding theirs to your blog. The same rules will apply to this as guest blogging. Don't try and ask a blogger who has higher stats than you to button swap. They will say no and it's not fair, you may gain lots of readers but they won't get as many. Also insure that when people of another blog click on your button, you want them to find content they are interested in. 

Social media/Networking
To be really successful at blogging I recommend joining every social media going and stay as active as you can. I gain the most traffic from Twitter with my Facebook page a close second. Pinterest is also  a great place to promote your blog if you know how to use it. I also use bloglovin, google + and Instagram to let readers know of my latest posts. Don't just use social media to drop links, network! Keep people engaged and interest in what you have to say. A lot of my blogging friendships have grown because of our interactions on social media. Networking on blogs and your on own blog is also very important. If you read a post on a blog, leave a comment. They will really appreciate it and may even get them to visit your blog to repay the favour. If someone leaves a comment on your blog, make sure to reply. They will love that you are interested in their views and will hopefully stick around to read and comment on future posts. 


I hope some of these tips helped. If you want to add any other advice you can think of to help new bloggers then feel free to add them in the comments below. 

Gem x

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15 comments

  1. Some fab tips, I've really found a love of linkies too so much that I've even started my own, #SundaySweets, eeek! If you have any cakey, bakey or sweet treat posts then I'd love you to pop over & link up :)

    Gym Bunny Mummy | Bloglovin’ | Facebook

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    1. Thank you. I have seen sunday sweets. I can't join in until I learn how to bake but will come visit to check out the posts. :)

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  2. You have the right idea--promote yourself in like places.

    This is the first I've heard of 'buying' followers. How silly. I want people who are actually interested in my blog to visit and comment. That's why I link up to photography memes.

    All that being said, I just blog for myself and don't really worry about numbers.

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    1. People do buy followers but apparently the sites are cracking down on it. They will delete any spam accounts so it is a waste of money. Its good that you blog for yourself, too many people forget why they started.

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  3. Great tips! I personally don't spend a penny on my blog but can understand how fashion / beauty bloggers do keeping up with the latest trends!

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    1. Thanks Kim. I don't spend a penny either. Blogging is a hobby for me.

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  4. I agree, I don't know why it has to cost anything? Linkys are great and I find just being social, commenting and regularly visiting other blogs really helps x

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  5. Love it Gemma .. thanks. I totally agree that blogging is an inexpensive hobby and its one that didn't take me long to absolutely love either. x

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  6. I randomly found your blog, but already love it! Everything is so beautiful! Great job!

    Diana Cloudlet
    http://www.dianacloudlet.com/

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  7. I am a very novice blogger and this is great advice. I want to enjoy the blogging experience and I think interaction is the biggest part of that so buying followers wouldn't be for me. I haven't taken part in any linkys yet but have followed quite a few so maybe I'll give that a go this week. Great post.

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  8. These are really helpful tips! I never even knew about button swapping. But its nice to hear how other bloggers find ways to interact with the community and gain viewership! Thank you for sharing your tips :)

    X, Carina
    Running White Horses | Fashion + Travel

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  9. Some great tips. Just came across your blog and I've really been enjoying it and have just followed.

    Rebecca x x
    www.percyandgrace.co.uk

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  10. Lovely tips! I shall start using Pinterest more :)


    http://www.eat-train-dressup.com/

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