A Blogging Hangover

imageWow.

Yesterday I hosted a blog party to celebrate my two year anniversary. I had been looking forward to it all week, and had put some time into promoting it across the blog and my social media accounts. With the response that I had received from eager bloggers wanting to participate, I expected it to be quite busy.

However, I didn’t expect it to be THAT busy. Over the space of about fifteen hours there were hundreds of links shared from bloggers all over the world, I had received over 600 comments, 2000 views and lots of people embraced it wholeheartedly, following, commenting and sharing each others posts. It was fabulous, and I’d like to say a massive thank you to everybody who took part!

I fell asleep with square eyes and a mild headache after staring at my phone and iPad screen for so long. I had to charge both of them up overnight as the batteries had been exhausted. When I awoke, I excitedly checked the page, to discover that the party had been continuing in my absence, and I had a whole new set of comments and links to go through. I have a blogging hangover.

It’s been said that the best cure for a hangover is to have another drink – ‘hair of the dog’ so to speak – so today I’m going to do just that! My Twitter party, #SundayBlogShare is in full swing already and I’m looking forward to jumping back in there and reading lots of posts, as well as working my way through the wonderful links that were shared on here yesterday.

Want to carry on sharing with me?

I am going to leave the blog party open, so that anyone can join in anytime they like. If you wish to share a post on the blog party, click on the image below:

image

Want to share your posts with the hundreds of people participating in #SundayBlogShare? Click on the image below for the rules and then get your tweet on!

image

 

Don’t forget that there are also six very interesting and exciting blogs in my sidebar – give them a click and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

You can find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and feel free to visit my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks and give me a cheeky like!

 

Advertisements

A Party Invitation

image

This week marks my two year blogiversary, and in celebration I would like to cordially invite you all to attend my blog party this weekend!

It has been quite a while since I last hosted a blog party, and I absolutely love them! It will start on Saturday (please don’t post anything here), which gives you five days to select your favourite post. For those of you that have never participated in one before, the rules are simple:

1. Choose your favourite post from your own blog. The subject of the post can be anything you like – blogging, food, parenting, life, travel, thoughts, photography… Note: This should be only one post at a time or it will get sent straight to the ‘spam’ folder and I may not be able to find you for a while.

2. Paste the link to your post in the comment section of the party post ON SATURDAY.

3. Enjoy! Relax, pull up a chair, meet new people! Find new blogs, comment on their posts, follow, reblog and share. Let them know that you met them here! This is a really useful way of discovering new blogs, particularly if you have only just joined the blogging world and when I have participated in similar things I have really enjoyed them!

You don’t have to follow me to participate, you don’t have to be an established blogger – you could have written just a single post – and feel free to invite your friends!

Feel free to share this post on all of your social media accounts too! You can find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to visit my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

See you on Saturday!

Want To Boost Your Traffic? Advertising Opportunities on Suzie81 Speaks

Advertising

Are you looking to boost your blog? Suzie81 Speaks is looking to give sponsored and advertising opportunities!

There are two different types of advertising opportunities available: a monthly sponsorship space and a single ‘Blog of The Day.’

Here are a few facts about Suzie81 Speaks (of which proof can be provided if necessary on request).

  • Since Suzie81 Speaks began in April 2013 (two years ago), it has received nearly 386,000 views.
  • Total number of views in 2013: 72,556
  • Number of views over 2014: 265,800
  • Average number of views a day in 2014: Between 600 and 1500.
  • Current number of followers: 11,500 (approx 6,450 WordPress, 4,950 Twitter, 130 Tumblr). I also have a fairly new Facebook page with 285 ‘likes,’ and it is growing weekly.

 

MONTHLY ADVERTISING SPACES

I am offering advertising spaces here on Suzie81Speaks every month for a period of four weeks (and I say four weeks because some months are longer) at a cost of £25.00

A £25.00 advertising package will last for a period of four weeks and will entitle you to:

  • A 185 x 185px button/banner in the upper right corner of the page, with a direct link to your blog/company, which is a fixed feature for every page of Suzie81 Speaks.
  • A reblog of one of your posts throughout the month
  • Introductions via social media to some of my favourite bloggers.
  • Promotion in the form of links to your blog/company during my #SundayBlogShare party each Sunday on Twitter.

PLEASE NOTE – the conversion rate from USD to GBP is 1=0.6254, which means that the total in US Dollars will be approximately $38.49

If you wish to advertise your blog for the next four weeks, please email me at suzie81blog@hotmail.co.uk where we can discuss the terms and conditions of the advertising.

Feel free to check out the sponsors that I have in my sidebar – I’m sure that they would love to see new people!

 

BLOG OF THE DAY

This is available to WordPress followers only and there is a single space for one blogger every Sunday. There are two price options available:

Option 1: £9.00

  • A single promotional post about your blog with links to all of your social media accounts on Sunday afternoon
  • A reblog of a post of your choice on Sunday evening, during my highest traffic.
  • Promotional tweets to my #SundayBlogShare Twitter party during the day.

Option 2: £12.00

  • A single promotional post about your blog with links to all of your social media accounts on Sunday afternoon
  • A reblog of a post of your choice on Sunday evening, during my highest traffic.
  • Promotional tweets to my #SundayBlogShare Twitter party during the day.
  • Promotional tweets to all of the Twitter parties throughout the week that I participate in.
  • Introductions via social media to some of my favourite bloggers.

Disclaimers:

  • I cannot guarantee an increase in following, or traffic, but everyone that has been featured as Blog of The Day so far has indeed received higher views than their usual traffic.
  • I cannot (and will not) offer opportunities to any blogs that promote content that is racist, sexist, homophobic or promote any form of cruelty to animals. This includes hunting for sport and the wearing of fur for fashion.

Interested? Email me at suzie81blog@hotmail.co.uk.

Similarly, if you wish me to review products for your company, also feel free to email me at the same address.

Note: all payments are made through PayPal and are required in advance.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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

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

image

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

image

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.

image

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

Blogging Hints and Tips: What Do You Want To Know?

image

I’ve been emailed many times over the last few weeks with requests for blogging tips and advice. As I had a little bit of time free last night, I sat down and wrote everything I could think of that I deemed to be useful, and then proceeded to edit it and go through the word count.

It was over 4,000 words long.

As I realise that most people don’t have the time, nor the patience to read an epic post of that length, I have decided to break it down into a series over the space of several weeks. This would coincide perfectly with my blogiversary (I don’t care if you don’t like that word, I’m using it anyway) at the beginning of April and would be a great opportunity for me to be able to share what I’ve learnt from my little adventures over the last two years.

To make it as useful as possible, I need your help here:

What is it that you want to know? Feel free to email, tweet me or leave a question in the comment section below and I’ll do my best to answer your questions in my next few posts.

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

Slow Burning Posts

imageFor those who are interested in their stats and want their words to be read, it’s always a buzz when a post immediately does well. However, what I’ve discovered is that some of my most popular posts are not ones that have achieved this instant success. I refer to these as ‘slow burners,’ as they slowly build up my stats on a monthly basis, constantly bubbling away in the background of my weekly ramblings.

A year ago I posted ‘23 Things You Should Actually Do Before You’re 23′ in response to one of the most popular articles of 2013 on Freshly Pressed. It did quite well, being shared across Twitter and Facebook numerous times. However, while it didn’t light the blogging world on fire, over the last year I have found it to be a consistent feature in my daily stats, being viewed between 10 and 50 times a day. I’ve done very little to promote it, occasionally sharing on Twitter during hashtag chats, on my Facebook page and putting a link to it in the sidebar of my blog and the numbers are still there.

image

For example, if you look at the graph above you can see that it is constantly achieving the same number of views on a daily basis, with the occasional spike when I have highlighted it on my Twitter or Facebook page.

While these number may appear small, they all add up. In 2014 it was viewed a total of 8,710 times.

This isn’t the only post that I would consider to be a ‘slow burner’. Nine Things We Don’t Owe Anybody has followed the same process, again with occasional spikes every few months when it has been shared on social networking sites. In 2014 it was viewed 8,399 times.

image

46 Reasons Why Women Are Amazing was one of the first posts that I created. I don’t actually like it – my writing style has changed and I find it to be very superficial, but this is a post that receives regular traffic from search engines. I consistently find that sentences like ‘women are amazing’ or ‘why are women amazing’ in my search terms, and am hesitant to remove it based on the views that it pulls in and the positive emails that I receive about it. It was written in July 2013, but in 2014 it was viewed 1,218 times.

image

Those three posts combined added 18,327 views to Suzie81 Speaks last year.

So, don’t always go for instant gratification and get disheartened if your posts don’t receive the views that you want immediately. Instead, create articles that will consistently appeal to readers over a long period of time and occasionally share them on your social media sites – those ‘slow burners’ may make all the difference to your stats.

What about you guys? Have you had long term success with any of your posts?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and don’t forget to hop on over to my Facebook page and give me a cheeky ‘like’ http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

 

Questions, Questions, Questions: The WordPress Community Experiment

image

Last December I asked a set of seven questions to the WordPress community and invited anyone and everyone to participate. The response that I received was incredible, and the resulting answers gave me a small insight into the blogging world and it’s members.

Since then, my following has tripled, I have received nearly A QUARTER OF A MILLION views (I still can’t believe that) and over the last eight months I have ‘met’ and formed small relationships with lots of wonderful people, so I thought it would be a nice idea to do this experiment again. It isn’t a blog party, so please don’t leave links to your general posts, but it (if enough people participate) will provide a great opportunity for bloggers to meet new people who share similar interests. You don’t have to follow this blog, or have a lot of blogging experience to participate.

Here’s how it works:

Answer the questions below, either in your own post (link it back to this one) or in the comment section below. They can be as short or as detailed as you like.

The post will remain open for the next three days, during which I will compile all the answers. Any answers you provide will be directly linked to your blog, and I will include examples of everybody’s answers in the follow up post.

1. How did you create the title for your blog?

2. What’s the one bit of blogging advice you would give to new bloggers?

3. What is the strangest experience you’ve ever had?

4. What is the best thing that anybody has ever said to you?

5. When presented with a time machine, which one place and time would you visit?

6. If you had to pick a new first name, what would you choose?

7. If you were a B Movie, what would it be called?

 

I’m looking forward to reading your answers! Feel free to invite your bloggy friends to participate – share, reblog, and retweet to your hearts content!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and you can also find me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

THIS EXPERIMENT HAS NOW ENDED. COMMENTS HAVE NOW BEEN DISABLED ON THIS POST. THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED!