Today’s guest post is from Courtney of Women Living Well. She has some wonderful tips and words of advice for you!
I have been blogging at Women Living Well for nearly 4 years. This is my journey to the first 5000 followers BUT I want to give full credit to God because it is he who has given the increase. It makes me squirm a little to share my numbers but I want to help. I think it’s only fair that I share the progress. Okay – now that I got the disclaimer out of the way – let’s get to it!!!
I began blogging in August of 2008…late one night I registered for http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com. At the time, I had no idea that I had just chosen the longest and most difficult website address ever! lol! If someone found me and liked me – there was no way they’d ever find their way back to me without subscribing!
I started out blogging 5 days a week – Monday through Friday and I continued 5 days a week for the next 2 years straight with NO breaks – none! I remember blurry eyed nights and dark early mornings tapping away on my keyboard – praying that God would give me a word for my readers. I was not on Facebook or Twitter and Pinterest didn’t exist at the time, so there was not as much to “keep up with” as there seems to be nowadays.
One day – a year into blogging – I decided to make a YouTube video (which is no longer accessible…too embarrassing). I posted it and received next to no comments…but I did get a phone call from my best friend (who now runs Good Morning Girls.org) and she LOVED the video! I told her I was embarrassed and she said – “don’t stop – make another“! So I did…I made one titled “How to Be the Wife of Your Husband’s Dreams“. I completely winged it – it’s SO bad – I’m in my bathroom because it’s quiet there!
Obviously I had not read Problogger yet! But this is where my feeble preparation met God’s sovereignty. I posted this video on October 14th, 2009 and 15 days later I appeared on the Rachael Ray Show because a producer had found that video.
It was at this time that I decided I should get a Facebook page. So I started my page in November 2009 and the first record I ever wrote down of my numbers was in January 2010 (1 year and 4 months into my blogging journey). I had:
323 Feedburner followers
426 Facebook followers
I was averaging 300 readers a day…
Being on the Rachael Ray Show did not bring a barage of readers. My website was not mentioned on the show…so it did not spike my numbers (as you can see my numbers above reflect what I had 2 months after the show aired)…but it did give me confidence and some credibility as a blogger.
By the following January 2011, I had:
3,059 feedburner followers
3,824 Facebook followers
And I hit my first 5,000 exactly one year ago in May of 2011 (2 years and 9 months into my blogging journey).
What practicial things did I do to get to my first 5000 followers?
1. I wrote 5 days a week for 2 years straight. Which equals discipline (5 days a week) and diligence (2 years straight). Sometimes we may feel that someone got lucky -like being on the Rachel Ray Show…but don’t underestimate hard work.
2. Content is KING! People follow and spread “amazing” not blah. It’s not possible to create “amazing” five days a week but we can’t predict what post will spread like wild fire. Some posts I agonize and spend hours on and get 5 comments. Then others pour out in 15 minutes and they get 55 comments. I honestly have no way of predicting which post will get the best response (if I did – I’d write it everyday lol!) so keep writing.
3. I left my link after my name everytime I commented. I know that some may feel this is bad ettiquette but I welcome it on my site :)! I think if you are taking the time to read someone else’s content and are leaving a thoughtful comment (not a spammy comment) the writer is thankful your comment popped up. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to another blogger and their community.
3. I built friendships with other bloggers. I privately email many bloggers. Get to know them on a personal basis – brainstorm together, dream together, encourage each other, promote each other and pray for each other.
4. Try something that none of the other bloggers are doing – I made a video in my bathroom – I mean – who does that? lol!!! But seriously – it was a game changer for me. Don’t be afraid to be different and swing for the fences. I felt terribly awkward making videos! Without my friend’s encouragement, I would have stopped making videos…but now nearly 500,000 views later – I’m so thankful I didn’t give up on the ideas that were bouncing around in my head.
In year 2 everything changed! I joined Facebook and Twitter – made nearly 20 YouTube videos – and because a speaker was unable to attend Relevant – I was invited as a fill-in speaker at the Relevant Conference.
In year 2 these are some of the new things I did:
1. I participated in a gazillion link-ups! THIS was a traffic bonanza for me! And once I discovered it – I maximized it! I HIGHLY recommend you participate in these – they work! Ashley has a great list of link-ups – start with these.
2. I joined Facebook and began interacting. At first, Facebook was like a baby. I fed it every 2-3 hours! Some are going to have boundaries and not approve of this…but here’s my truth. My Facebook page is growing rapidly and it’s like a toddler. I feed it about every 4 hours, 6 days a week.
3. I joined Twitter because everyone else was doing it! I only visit twitter once a day to check for mentions and talk back. I have it set up so when I post on Facebook it automatically posts on twitter. Sometimes, late at night I’ll hop on Twitter and read 🙂 It’s an interesting animal.
4. Guest posting and contributing – In year 2, I was invited for the first time to contribute on two different group blogs. Participating in link-ups were more effective than contributing but it was an honor to be asked and I love the community and friendships I’ve made as a contributor on group sites.
5. I started a second blog with a partner. I had started Good Morning Girls groups on my blog and they began to take over my site…so I needed a second site to spin off and my best friend Angela was up for the challenge and has done a beautiful job running GoodMorningGirls.org!
All of the above brought me to the 5,000 follower mark.
Since then I’ve cut back to writing 3 days a week. I’ve done summer book clubs, created series and challenges for my readers, I’ve asked a real life friend to contribute once a week to give me a break, I’ve started a weekly Wednesday link-up, (open to all types of bloggers 🙂 – hint!), I’ve joined Pinterest and just started offering a free ebook to subscribers this year!
Last June I moved from that very long blogspot name – to WomenLivingWell.org. I added a tiny word at the end of my header ~ “Ministries.” My blog started out as a hobby, a passion, a joy, an overflow and a labor of love and it has birthed into a ministry. I encourage you to surrender your blog to God’s purposes, to never go to your computer until you have first opened your day in prayer and God’s word, and to remember that “the integrity of your writing starts at home. Your family is the first book your readers will ever read.”~Sally Clarkson.
Now let’s lock arms together as sisters in Christ and go into all the world and pierce the darkness!
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Walk with the King,