Rise and Fall

At the minute, most days are what I would describe as being ‘inoffensive’ – the hours generally pass without euphoria or incident, and I generally go about my business with a sense of contentment. Sometimes I experience enormous high moments, and on rare occasions, absolutely crashing lows.

Today was such a day. In direct contrast to the beauty of yesterday, my Tuesday was filled with constant lateness, rudeness, apathy, lethargy and tantrums.

All. Bloody. Day.

I can be extremely short-tempered in my personal life, but I’m surprised by the levels of patience I’ve developed over the years when I’m in professional mode and it takes an awful lot for me to lose my temper. However, I had to be conscious of taking deep breaths, communicating in a low, calm voice and frequently reminding myself that today was just ‘one of those days,’ and that it would be over soon.

It’s amazing how quickly the old feelings return during moments of weakness. I haven’t felt truly anxious or panicky in a long time, but this afternoon I returned home with a stress-induced headache, a tight chest, nausea and knots in my stomach.

As always, the person I consult in times of anger (or, for that matter, happiness, sadness and anything else on the emotional spectrum) is mum. The fountain of all knowledge, she knows exactly what to say to put things into perspective, and combined with enjoying a cheeky cigarette (I know, I know) and listening to the ultimate 80’s stadium rock playlist while lying in a hot bubble bath, I now feel a little more on-track than I did.

I also discovered something awesome happens when you sing Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious to Siri… It didn’t quite understand my accent (and yes, I sang all the right words before you question it)…

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I’m easily amused…

And while today has sucked monkey balls, I know that tomorrow is a new day and I’m privileged to be living it… And it will be better…

Blog Advice 1: Increasing Your Traffic

How to increase traffic to your blog

One of the most common questions I am asked by fellow bloggers is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult to provide a definitive answer to:

How do I increase the traffic that I receive to my blog?

Before I begin, I think that it is important to note three crucial points:

  • Building a following and, consequently increasing your traffic, takes lots of time and effort. You are extremely unlikely to receive thousands, or even hundreds of views simply by pressing the publish button.
  • Content is key. Well-written posts will draw new people in, and encourage them to visit again. Posting page after page of inspirational quotes looks pretty, but will leave your audience bored after a while. Be yourself, make no apologies and believe in what you are creating.
  • I am not an expert, nor have I ever claimed to be.

I know very little about SEO, so I don’t feel experienced enough to comment on it. However, in my experience, there are number of things that you can do that will always pull in extra views.

1. Visit other sites. Like and leave a meaningful comment (but don’t leave a link to your blog – this is often viewed as poor blog etiquette and could be classed as spam).

2. Tag your posts effectively. I use between 15 and 20 relevant tags on most of my posts, and this will allow others who are writing about similar things to find you.

3. The more you post, the more likely your blog is going to be seen.

4. Share the work of others. There are some bloggers that have been extremely generous when promoting my posts and as a result I have gained lots of new followers. I like to return the favour by reblogging posts from some of my favourite blogs. I have also invited lots of guest bloggers to write post for me, and have guest blogged on other sites. You will find that other people will return the favour.

However, over time I have picked up a few hints and tips that has helped me increase my traffic further.

The Daily Post

When I first started blogging one of the most useful and effective ways of meeting other people and discovering new blogs was by following The Daily Post, which has millions of members. Each day, a prompt is given that encourages anyone and everyone to be able to interpret the prompt in any way they like and link back (these are called ping backs). All of the posts that are created in response are collated under the original Daily Post prompt, making it possible for everyone to visit each others blogs, and some will visit yours in return.

The Daily Post also hosts a photography challenge on Fridays, which is extremely popular, and on Mondays they host the Community Pool, which is essentially an enormous blog party.

Blog Parties

A blog party is simple: create a post that invites others to leave a link to their blog in the comment section. The participants then visit each others blogs. It’s a great way for bloggers to meet each other and will automatically increase your views on that post. You may find that followers of participants will find your blog and join in themselves. (However, it is worth noting that these are unlikely to generate traffic unless you have a larger following to begin with).

There are lots of blog parties that take place across the blogosphere regularly, and I would advise that you take part in as many as possible. Say hi, leave a link to a post with a little bit of information and then go and visit other participants. You don’t have to follow the blog to participate, but it is usually better if you do.

Want to participate in a blog party? There is currently a blog party going on at Hugh’s Views and News. Go and visit – Hugh would love to see you there!

Social Media

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Love it or loathe it, I’ve found that social media is crucial for building your following and getting others to visit your site. It took me a long time to add social media accounts to my blog and it has always been one of my biggest blogging regrets that I didn’t start sooner, as they are now responsible for about 75% of my overall traffic.

These are my stats that show how many views I have had from my social media accounts from the last two years:

Facebook: 81,000
Twitter: 38,000
StumbleUpon: 17,000
Reddit: 10,000
Tumblr: 3,500
Bloglovin: 200
Pinterest: 50

These add up to almost 150,000 views.

Admittedly, I got lucky with Facebook – one of my posts went viral a year ago on there, but only after I had posted it onto my Facebook blog page and my personal page, where it was picked up and shared by my friends. However, some don’t feel comfortable with doing that. For me, Twitter is the quickest and most effective way of getting your posts seen on a regular basis, and it’s all done through the use of hashtags. Others prefer Pinterest, while others like Tumblr. Some even create Vlogs to go with their posts – my friend Steve often does this for his ‘Now This Is What I Would Call Music’ blog. Regardless of your preferences, create separate social media accounts (don’t use your own) and start linking your blog posts to them.

Twitter Hashtags and Retweet Accounts

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There are several different parties that go on during the week that are easy to use. Each follow the same format – share your link on Twitter and use a hashtag next to your post. Once posted, visit the hashtag and go and read and retweet other people participating.

Monday: #MondayBlogs. This is the ultimate hashtag party. It’s been going for two years, and was started by @RachelintheOC. Thousands participate each week.

Wednesday: #WWWBlogs (Women’s Writer Wednesday) and Ronovan’s #BeWow.

Saturday: #ArchiveDay (for sharing old posts from your blog), #WeekendBlogHop and Part Time Monster’s #WeekendCoffeeShare.

Sunday: #SundayBlogShare, which I created. I started it last November and within just a few months there were hundreds of people participating. Last week there were over 1500 posts shared, and my traffic each Sunday has increased considerably because of it. This is how I did it:

  • I decided on a hashtag name and checked to see that it wasn’t already in use (just type your proposed hashtag into the ‘search’ on Twitter and see if others are using it).
  • I created a post on the blog which explained what it was, the rules for using it and invited all of my followers to participate.
  • I registered the hashtag via Twubs.
  • I created a basic button that advertised the hashtag.

Note: it isn’t possible to own a hashtag like you can a domain name. However, if you register it against your name you can at least have proof that you host the party regularly. And here, regularity and consistency is key. #SundayBlogShare has happened every single week, and when I haven’t been able to do it, I’ve invited other bloggers to host it for me.

However, there are more hashtags that I have found useful and use them at any point.

Are you a beauty blogger? Use #bbloggers after your post.
Life Blogger? #lbloggers
Fashion Blogger? #fbloggers
Parent? #pbloggers

There are also several accounts that exist simply to retweet your posts, and you can include them next to your link if you want them to do so. For me, some of the most effective ones are:

@FemaleBloggerRT
@UKBlog_RT
@TheBlogGuideRT

Note: there are no rules when it comes to the amount of times you should tweet. However, I find that once or twice every few hours is enough, and I try and retweet others where I can.

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Follow For A Follow?

Some very popular, or ‘Power’ bloggers, gain lots of new followers by following them first. The blogging world seems to be very divided about this process. For me, I don’t do it myself – I follow about 250 as any more than that would be impossible to keep up with, but I don’t have a problem with those that do. It has worked for them, with great success, and kudos to them! However, don’t go and start demanding that people follow you just because you have clicked on their blog – it’s more likely to have a negative effect.

Other Ideas

I enjoy trying out new ideas. Some have worked, some haven’t, but like everything, blogging is a learning process.

Competitions: Lots of beauty and fashion bloggers regularly hold competitions, with the prize being a beauty product of some description. As I barely how to know how to use make-up without looking like an inexperienced drag queen, and have the fashion sense of a teenage boy, these sorts of things wouldn’t be of much use to me or my followers. However, I have done several lots of free advertising in the past as a competition prize and I have always received a good response from this.

Questions: On several occasions I have created a set of questions in an attempt to get to know my fellow bloggers. I have then collated their answers into a single post. Again, I received new followers when others reblogged the post.

Join other networks: I am a member of Mumsnet Bloggers, despite not being a parent myself, and I post on the weekly link up on the SITSGirls website. I’ve been featured twice on both, generating several thousand extra views to my posts.

Phew! There you go – some ideas to increase your traffic. Hope it’s useful! 

What about you guys? Have you got any hints and tips to increase traffic on your blog?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks