{Smaller Bloggers} Laying a Foundation For Growth

By now I hope you’ve embraced your impact as a smaller blogger, are celebrating the joy of building relationship with your readers, and {just about} ignoring your stats altogether. It feels good, doesn’t it?

But…What if God calls you to enlarge your reach? Or what if seeds you’ve sown in your blogging journey suddenly ripen and you wake up one morning to triple the traffic you’re used to? Are you ready for that? Are you prepared if God decides to grow your platform?

Being a good steward of our platform involves laying a solid foundation for growth. Whether growth comes slowly, suddenly, or never, these are wise stones to set in place….

1. Solidify Your Vision and Brand

It’s essential to know who you are and what your personal goals are in this online space. As doors open and opportunities arise, a strong vision and brand will guide your choices and keep you from getting overwhelmed as you grow.

Resources for Vision and Branding:

  • “You’re Already Amazing” by Holley Gerth – this book helped me finally create a personal vision statement, which in turn allowed me to discern why I blog.
  • “You Are A Writer” by Jeff Goins – the chapter on branding alone is worth the price of this {awesome} book!
  • Your Mastermind Group (or closest bloggy friends) can give helpful insight and perspective as you nail down who you are online and why you’re here. Just ask them!

2. Make Your Blog Hospitable

To make your readers feel welcome, you and your blog should be:

  • easy to find. All your various social media platforms should lead seamlessly to your blog. Your avatar and contact info should be the same at each spot, and all the places you can be found should be listed in your email signature.
  • easy to navigate. Subscribe, contact, and share buttons should be easy to find (upper right corner is often recommended). Organized archives, labels, and pages make your guests feel welcome and as if you’ve prepared for their visit.
  • easy to contact. Display your email (with spaces to prevent spam, of course) prominently, install a contact form, or–if you wanna be really sweet–do BOTH so people can choose the reach you in the way that’s most comfortable for them. Be sure to install email forwarding so all your mail comes to one inbox allowing you to be prompt and organized.
  • easy to converse with. Make it as easy as possible for your readers to comment. Reduce friction–do the work of installing spam guards so your readers don’t have to register or type in CAPTCHA codes. Akismet will take care of spam on your WordPress blog, and Disqus is a great commenting system that works on all platforms to facilitate conversation and reduce spam.

3. Prepare for a crowd

Set up balanced habits and boundaries now so that if a crowd shows up at your doorstep, they feel welcome and you’re not overwhelmed!

  • Make your online presence scalable. Responding to every comment is nice–but will you be able to do that if your blog grows? Michael Hyatt said in this podcast that your comments are like a dinner party – you don’t need to dominate the conversation.

“You have the privilege as a blogger of introducing the topic, of initiating the conversation. Then you can comment as you have value to add, as you have something that will move the conversation along.”

  • Prepare for traffic behind the scenes. If you’re on a self-hosted WordPress site, sudden increase in traffic could crash your site. Install a cache plugin just to be safe. (most popular, for the techy, easiest install)

Sound like a lot of trouble? All of this is simply being a good steward of our platform so God can use it as He will. May I suggest: take one tip a week and tweak your blog as needed. I’m excited to see what God does next for you, sisters, as you seek to serve Him with your blog!

Photo Credit
  • Anonymous

    I’ve been considering installing Disqus. I think you’ve convinced me :) I love how it makes replying to comments easy for anyone and how that makes the conversation easier to follow.

  • http://staceydaze.wordpress.com/ Stacey

    Ah, thank you Trina. While learning to be content, I had suddenly fallen into the pit of, “What next?!” I appreciate you helping us stay on track. Redirection is always a good course. LOL 😀

  • Ashley Ditto

    Thank you for this! I m a small blog and this is wonderful advice!

  • Anonymous

    I always wondered what could be done to help with sudden traffic increases, I don’t know if I’ll ever have that issue, but I have a guest post on a bigger blogger’s website due in the next couple months and I wondered if there was a way to prepare. Thanks!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trina-Holden/515132083 Trina Holden

      You’re so welcome, Tammy! I’m excited that you’re guest posting – it’s a great learning experience.

  • Anonymous

    really appreciate this information.  a big “thank you”!!!!

  • Amanda Friddle

    Thanks for the great advice and great resources you included!

  • http://www.LifeintheWhiteHouse.com/ Jess

    Thank you so much for these tips. I went through my blog with each one and did some rearranging.Another great commenting program is IntenseDebate….it makes it so easy to respond to comments and follow readers back.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Trina-Holden/515132083 Trina Holden

      Jess, thanks for sharing that suggestion!

  • http://www.funkiplanet.com/ Debi Stangeland

    Great information.  It’s nice to see I’m on the right track.  I’m making progress in all of these areas.  Woot!!  Thank you.

  • http://bsidesdesign.com/ brandi

    Thanks for a great post! I’m a small blogger just starting out and it’s quite hard to not get discouraged. I just keep reminding myself that all of the large blogs started somewhere. :) I will definitely be reviewing my blog with these tips in mind. I hope you’ll visit me soon!

  • Realruralmom

    Thanks for the reminder and great information.

  • http://bumbersbumblings.blogspot.com/ Amber

    Thanks, really appreciated this!

  • http://www.CelebrateEveryDayWithMe.com/ Kristen

    Great post!  Thanks!

  • http://aboverubies.net/ jasmine

    Great tips. Thank you.

  • Megan Elzey

    Thank you for these helpful tips! I will have to sit down and work through them!

    Megan, at wwwsunshinethroughthewindown.blogpot.com

  • Joy Reeves

    Thanks for sharing!

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