Got Writer's Block?

Got Writer’s Block?

Ways to Combat Writer’s Block

As bloggers, sooner or later, most of us, seem to be struck by the occasional bout of Writer’s Block – that dreadful phase when you sit down to post an update to your blog but can’t think of a single interesting thing to write or everything you do write looks rubbish to you! As the minutes tick by, you start wondering if the creative well of inspiration has truly run dry or to stick at it until you come up with something.

It can be quite unnerving the first time this happens after starting your blog; going from not being able to get your thoughts down quick enough to completely barren of ideas.

Having found myself staring down the barrel of a foreboding blank screen more than once, I thought it might be useful to jot down what’s worked for me in the past to get the creative juices flowing again.

Know Your Key Topics

At the end of each month, I sit down and look back at the key or main topics my blog is about and list them.

So for example, when I did this for August 2019, my Key Topics i.e. my niche areas were:

  • Home & Garden
  • Yoga & Meditation
  • Astrology & Divination
  • Randoms (in case I’m feeling spontaneous!)

If you’re not sure what your Key Topics are, look at any “menu titles” on your blog or your “categories” for repeat topics. Believe it or not, writing a list of article ideas in one go is far easier than sitting down to write each time having to think of just one idea. Mine took me less than 10 minutes.

Identify Sub-Topics for Each Key Topic

This probably works best using the above example:

Key Topic Sub-Topic
Home & GardenHealth: What’s Your Greatest Asset?
Family: London Trip
Yoga & MeditationIntroduction to Yoga Nidra
Astrology & DivinationHappy Birthday Virgo (monthly series)
September 2019: Energy Update (monthly series)
Witchcraft: Which Witch Are You?
RandomsLife Hack: Organise Your Workspace
Light Bite: Feeling Uninspired?
Life Hack: Make a Motivational Playlist

Make an Editorial Calendar

Once you’ve had a think about Sub-Topic articles you might like to write about around your Key Topics for the coming month, draft a calendar for each day of the month either by hand or using the computer. I personally use Microsoft Word which has a handy template for a calendar. Just open up Word, click File and select New. Then just type “calendar” into the search box that appears and frankly you’ll be spoiled for choice!

editorial-calendar-example-august
Editorial Calendar Example

I only started this one halfway through the month in August but the time I spent creating this, an hour to do the brainstorming session right through to creating this calendar, was time well spent. Every time I sat down at the computer to write, I always had an idea in mind so didn’t have to waste time thinking of what to write first.

Don’t be afraid to change the article idea if you think of something better – think of your monthly editorial calendar as a basic back-up or work in progress rather than what you initially decide being set in stone. Leave yourself some freedom to be randomly inspired sometimes.

Don’t sweat it either if you don’t manage to write one day. I had planned to blog every other day in August but amended my calendar as I went if something else came up and I didn’t have time one day.

Try to mix your article type up a bit too. I introduced “Light Bites” and “Life Hack” articles as monthly repeat topics that were intended to be shorter entries. This meant that I could type 3 quick blog posts in one night, helping me get ahead of schedule and be a bit more choosy about what I was in the mood to write about each day. This also meant that the articles that were posted were of better quality as well as feeling less rushed.

Having an Editorial Calendar has really helped with forward planning – for September, as you can see, this led to me posting far more “seasonal” posts based around autumn-related topics which are more likely to resonate with when readers might be looking for such articles.

Planning For Next Month's Articles
Planning Next Month’s Articles

Again, twice already this month, I’ve missed posting on alternate days but I just rearranged my calendar and moved on. Sometimes life gets in the way!

I’ve also redacted in the photos here the ideas coming up as these are subject to change but having found using an Editorial Calendar like this so beneficial, it’s definitely something I’d recommend taking the time to do at the end of each month as a way to reflect back on the last month and to help formulate a plan to move forward into the next one.

Do you use an Editorial Calendar? How has it helped you?

Feel free to share with any writers in your life 🙂

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How I Immediately Increased Ad Revenue

Want to Increase Your Ad Revenue?

Being within my first 5 months or so of blogging on a fairly regular basis has meant getting up to speed with, quite literally, a whole new world. Delving into Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), however, is almost a whole new world in and of itself, and in my view is far more technically advanced than even setting up a blog and starting to publish content. But, if you’re at all interested in making money, however large or small, from your blog/website, it’s something you do have to dip your toe into at some point to gain a deeper understanding of how you can better monetise your site from ad revenue.

To find out how I first got started with SEO and my initial, surprisingly pleasant, results with this see my previous linked article below uploaded a couple of days into the tweaks I made following some basic SEO tips:

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/08/04/feeling-frustrated-with-ad-revenue/

One Month In

Whilst the early results were pleasing, what has been just as pleasing is seeing consistent improvements in ad revenue over the last 4 weeks or so. So just what have those changes been?

  • Prior to the “tweaks”, the maximum continuous weekly passive income prior was for 4 weeks in June.
  • Recently, a steady stream of weekly passive income for the last 6 weeks.
  • In August, following the adjustments there was 5 continuous days of earnings previously no more than 3.
  • The immediate effect of the tweaks saw an initial jump in income from very little at all to a 500% – 600% increase in ad revenue for a couple of days.
  • It then dropped to a lower but more consistent daily increase on revenue before the tweaks.
  • Looking at the ad revenue on a daily and weekly average increase, there has been a 200% increase in passive income since the adjustments.
  • Viewing the ad revenue on a monthly average increase, this is a whopping 900%!

Findings

It’s hard not to theorise that these more advanced techniques and tips on site indexing haven’t been the cause of these positive changes given the timings, especially when you consider that visitor numbers and views have been lower this month, leading to less ads being served and yet higher CPM and therefore increased revenue rates.

My basic understanding of it at this time is that the easier it is for search engines like Google and Bing to categorise your content, whether articles, images or videos, the more likely you are to climb the ranks into higher ad revenue territory.

As a result, I’d have to conclude this month’s experiments with SEO to be a resounding success.

Despite the huge increases seen in a relatively short time, however, I’ve still got a long way to go to start making any meaningful revenue.

Future Strategy Planning

It’s important to note that there can be a lot of fluctuation in ad revenue which can be affected by all sorts of things: location of visitors, website and/or article niche, number of visitors and followers, etc. As all of these can and do fluctuate to varying degrees and at different times, this likewise can cause variables in revenue received. The message here is to not place all your eggs in one basket i.e. don’t make ad revenue your sole source of income to better avoid financial worries.

The best thing to do is enjoy it when there’s revenue to be had whilst trying to better understand what helps you maintain a steady meaningful passive income as much as possible. If your aim is to at some point achieve a meaningful income from blogging/your website full time, then it’s worth looking at other ways to monetise your site too.

SEO can seem a bit tedious at first, but another unexpected pleasure of delving into this more technical side to blogging is that I’m actually quite enjoying learning something new. There’s clearly an art to using it effectively and whilst I’m a relative newbie in this regard, it’s been a promising start so far.

The Downsides

Depending on your reasons for blogging, there may be downsides to understanding and implementing SEO strategies to increase ad revenue. This isn’t made any easier because most sites are unique in their own way so it can be hard to make comparisons without a lot of broad yet detailed research. Personally, I enjoy learning about it the more I understand it so not a huge problem but some might find it tedious and slow-going.

What you will notice is that most stats reports using these webmaster tools aren’t in “real time”, usually a day or so behind actual time and it takes a while for some of them to get enough data from their crawls of your site to produce measurable results. Again not a major issue for me personally but something you might want to plan for.

I suppose the biggest warning I’ve followed from other bloggers is to have a reasonable understanding of what you’re tweaking, when and how you’ll measure improvements.

Firstly, you do want to have an idea of what you’re messing with in case you mess it up – you’ll want to know how to fix it. It reminds me a bit of learning to knit and how to recover a dropped stitch without losing all your work. The way I’ve dealt with this has been to read up on as many articles as possible before tweaking anything! Also, keep the tweaks minimal so that you can eliminate issues more easily and log what you’ve done, when so you can further adjust as necessary or hopefully enjoy greater increased ad revenue.

Outcome

My take on SEO one month in is that it’s well-worth investing the time into if you’re someone wanting to increase your ad revenue. When the time is right for you to do that really depends on how quickly you’re able to get to grips with SEO and start effectively implementing the techniques. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, you could opt for hiring professionals to help with this, finances permitting.

It would be good to know if you’ve seen any positive results from improved SEO knowledge and implementation. What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? I like to think that sharing information like this will help to make us all better bloggers 🙂

Money Ad Revenue

Feeling Frustrated with Ad Revenue?

Blog Stats: the Ads

Like many people, I began blogging as a bit of a creative hobby when I first began only around 3 or 4 months ago but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t hope it would ultimately bring in some monetary payment too as an added bonus. I’m sure it’s the same for any hobby, hence the saying that if you can find a way to live by doing something you love, then you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

The Early Days

There was something of a steep learning curve for me starting a blog but again, just as with any new hobby or skill, learning the finer points of the art is often part of the fun.

For the first few months, my learning has been more on understanding some of the terminology of blogging and useful insights to take from my normal traffic stats page as well as the practical side of learning how to use blogging systems. And, I still feel like a newbie!

Getting Curious

I think an inevitable stage of blogging comes when you start to take more of an interest in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). I had a vague notion of what it was when I first started blogging but when there’s so much to do in those early days, I was very much guided by helpful articles on the web advising content is king with design another key element of successful blogging long-term before worrying too much about SEO, especially if blogging for “fun”.

Now that the intense early days excitement of blogging has settled into an enjoyable routine hobby, that’s allowed me to take a wider interest in the more advanced side of blogging and the various theories on how to be good at it. After all, when we enjoy something we can do, don’t we always want to do it well?

I’m very much in the early days of researching as much as I can on SEO for 2019. At first, it sounded utterly dull to me but after some time I can now see how it could be interesting to learn about.

Already Surprising Results

The article that spurred this latest interest I found in the Support Section (that little question mark in the bottom right corner of your screen on WordPress sites), https://en.support.wordpress.com/getting-more-views-and-traffic/

I had actually taken a look at this article a few times when I began blogging and had done pretty much all the suggestions save for the first, mainly because, I didn’t really understand it!

I had of course checked that the site was public, which it was, but what did all that talk of site indexing mean? So I left it to come back to another time, which just so happened to be yesterday when my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to follow, what turned out to be, a simpler process than what I’d thought it might be and indexed my own site. Link to the article I followed here: https://en.support.wordpress.com/webmaster-tools/

Essentially, by getting your blog or website “site indexed” or listed in Bing, Google and Pinterest, you get access to a ton of additional stats. It should be noted that as WordPress state in the article, you do not have to do this, I just thought I’d give it a go to see if it was helpful to me, with some instantly surprising results that I thought I’d share.

Since the blog launched in May 2019 until today being 4 August 2019, the ad revenue had been virtually non-existent at 5 cents total! After implementing the site indexing techniques suggested in the linked article only yesterday, I logged on today to see that for yesterday alone I made 5c!

I’m not one to jump to conclusions but that seems a bit of a coincidence!

5 cents in 3 months, a few tweaks and voila 5 cents in one day. I appreciate that 10 cents is not a lot to get excited about, by the way, I just didn’t expect those tweaks to have such instantaneous results.

Of course, it could simply be a coincidence – far too early to tell really but interesting nonetheless. I’ll obviously have to keep things under review with my now all-singing-all-dancing additional stats reports from my site indexing and report back at a later date.

In the meantime, if you’ve not already, take a look at the articles suggested to see if there’s any ideas in there that could boost your traffic and maybe even help make you a few bob too!

Let me know how you find the wonderful world of SEO.

How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Blog

Part 3: Facebook

The final instalment of a 3-part series on how to use social media to promote your blog.

You can find Part 1: Instagram along with some general social media tips here: https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/06/23/how-to-use-social-media-to-promote-your-blog/

And Part 2: Pinterest here: https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/06/23/how-to-use-social-media-to-promote-your-blog/

Facebook

The granddaddy of social media especially for those of us of a certain age – Facebook is the social media platform I felt most comfortable with adapting for business use.

The way that I have converted my previously solely private account for promotion of my blog is to add a page. I did this mainly as I really didn’t want to annoy my friends and family by constantly uploading my content to my private account. There’s also the issue I’ve discussed previously of having separate areas for personal and business use, which allows you to keep your business use on brand.

Even though my followers are smallest on my Facebook page at a very modest 22 only, looking at the stats, I expect that my target demographic in terms of age are more likely to be using Facebook than say Instagram or Pinterest even.

There’s also the issue that Instagram and Pinterest are of course visual social-media platforms primarily whereas my content is more article-based. Users of Facebook, I believe, are more likely to be expecting to read more detailed content as opposed to simply looking at an image/quote as on other social media sites.

I also get far more referrals from Facebook to my website than on any other platform save for the WordPress Reader. The click-through rate is much higher leading to higher traffic as a result.

At this stage I’m not sure if that’s because I’m more comfortable with Facebook or because that is where my demographic is most likely to be found or some other reason. It will be interesting to see if the other social media accounts start converting more of my audience into website hits once I get more familiar with these. Having said that, I know that when I’m on Instagram or Pinterest, I rarely go to someone’s website, choosing instead to go over to their Profile only. Really then, I have Instagram in particular purely to raise my brand awareness and not because I expect referrals per se. Pinterest, as I indicated in Part 2, is more of a filing and sorting system for me, although I do of course upload my own content there too.

You still have to grab your reader’s attention but what I like about Facebook is that I can play to my strength (e.g. content rather than images) far better. Catchy titles and excerpts are important here as you’re aiming to get your reader to want to read on enough to click the link to the full article rather than simply scrolling through their feed. Images are still important of course, but less so than Instagram and Pinterest, for my content anyway.

Over the last 7 weeks, I’ve noticed the following have worked for me:

DoDon’t
Set up a Facebook page just for your website/business including links to your website and related social media accounts so that posts to your website are automatically uploaded to your page on Facebook.Expect your Facebook followers to grow overnight – this has been the slowest platform for attracting followers but good for engagement of followers
Match your page to your brand-style on your website and other social media accounts including your logo and a matching cover photo so that people start to become familiar with this.Bombard your followers on your personal Facebook account – I know that there is a feature to invite your friends to follow your account but I have to admit that I really don’t like it when my friends do this to me. Let your friends know that the page is there and if they wish to follow it, they will do because they want to, not because they feel guilt-tripped into doing it!
Remember to review your “Settings” – I have mine on far more accessible features on the basis that I want as many people as possible to see it, unlike my personal account.Make your page a carbon copy of your website – I made this mistake at first and got very little follower interaction as a result. Once I started seeing that photo carousel and slideshow posts as well as videos were popular on my Facebook page, I soon changed my strategy to include more of this just for my Facebook followers.
Familiarise yourself with features such as “Creator” and “Publisher” which I’ve found great (although a little unresponsive in terms of speed), in creating unique slideshows and carousels of photos that have proved quite popular in terms of engagement.If someone contacts you on your page, don’t dawdle with your response if possible – mine is currently 20 minutes, which needs to improve if I want their “badge” as a quick responder.
Do include detail about yourself in the “About” section. I kept this on-brand by simply copying and pasting from my “About Us” section on my website once I’d reviewed it to see if it would work or if it needed tweaking.If you decide to use advertising to promote your page, don’t be afraid to invite those people who engage with your ad to like your page. I felt nervous about this at first, like I was being too pushy, but actually, I had a reasonable conversion rate as a result of doing this.
Use the “Services” feature to set out a basic menu of services and rates for whatever your business/website provides.Facebook has its own analytics page so don’t forget to take a look at those stats too occasionally especially when strategy planning.
If you host any events, e.g. we recently held a WWF Fundraising Event, be sure to add this to the “Events” menu on Facebook to promote the same amongst your current followers.Depending on the type of business user you are, within settings you can set up what tabs feature first on your page so don’t forget to reorder these as to what you think is most likely to draw your followers in.
Consider using advertisements to increase your reach and followers – ads I’m using are approximately £1.00 per day and you can set how long they run for. I even got something like £15.00 worth of free advertising when I first set the page up so definitely use this at least to promote your website and see whether paid advertising in this sense works for you.Don’t worry about being a little informal – at first, I was a bit too formal with my approach to Facebook – when I mellowed a bit and put on some quotes and images rather than just articles, the interaction rate improved.

If you prefer to see how some of these strategies that I’ve started implementing work in practice, head over to:

https://www.facebook.com/HolisticLivingWithCarla/

Remember that these are just my observations on how I’m learning to work with Facebook as a business-user in a relatively short period. No doubt there are other tips and tricks that you find work well for your blog – feel free to add these to the comments below!

This brings this 3-part series to an end. I do hope that you have found something helpful within it. Our next update for bloggers will be available from 21 July when I’ll upload the monthly stats update.

As ever, feel free to share this article if you think others will benefit from its content.

How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Blog

Part 2: Pinterest

Part 2 of a 3-part instalment on how to use social media to promote your blog. You can find Part 1: Instagram along with some general social media tips here: https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/06/23/how-to-use-social-media-to-promote-your-blog/

Pinterest

I’ve used Pinterest for years on a personal basis but only converted my account to a business account linked to my blog around 6 weeks ago when the blog launched.

The way that I use Pinterest mainly is as a source of inspiration, a kind of sorting office or filing system for topics that I may wish to blog about in the future or that I find resonate with the Holistic Living with Carla brand.

I still use it on a personal level as well and have a number of “secret” boards that I keep locked just to me if it’s something that I don’t feel it is appropriate to share to followers but that I’d like to keep.

Like Instagram, Pinterest is almost entirely visual based. That’s not to say that there isn’t any text or information that you can add to your “pinned” posts or boards but no one is likely to be reading much of that information if the visual effect of the pin doesn’t grab their attention first.

My learning points from the last 6 weeks of using Pinterest for business purposes include:

DODON’T
Create a Pinterest account or convert your personal account to a business accountUse faulty links as Pinterest penalises these. Ensure any links you include do work and review these from time to time.
If your blog account permits it, “claim” your website on Pinterest (lots of articles online about how to do this).Forget to include sub-categories within the board topics to really help your followers find what they’re looking for with ease.
Start creating and/or organising your boards – you want to make it as easy as possible for your followers to be able to find what they’re looking for.Just post your blog content – whilst Pinterest is quite different to other social media platforms in a lot of ways, interaction and support of like-minded users is an area in which it is still similar to other social media platforms.
Ensure that you use the “Edit” feature for each board – this is where you can add that all important text and information such as what the board is about and link to your website. It’s also where you can maximise publicity with a good “keywords” strategy.Forget to make use of the “tried it” feature. This is a great way of recommending someone else’s post to other Pinterest users and the poster will be pleased with the interaction, so much so that they may well return the favour.
Make it easier for readers on your blog to “pin” or “save” your content directly from your blog to their Pinterest account by adding the Pinterest logo to your blog.Have too many boards – this is fine with a personal account I think but when I converted to a business account, I tried to make the boards themselves more general with then 4/5 sub-categories of smaller topics in each one.
Have a consistent “pinning” schedule or use one of the many apps available such as “Later” to help you do this.Forget to work on the aesthetics. Take a moment to review how your Pinterest account looks to other users. For instance, do you want a static cover at the top of your account with your favourite pins on there or would you like this to be updated with most recent pins?
Engage with others on the platform, pinning their posts and following either their whole account on Pinterest or just the boards of theirs that interest you.Underestimate the power of brand style, colour, font, etc too. I tend to be more into this on Instagram but think about whether you would like consistent colours and the like so that your followers come to recognise your brand quickly.
Review the analytics regularly to see which of your posts are most popular and at what times/with whom so you can refine your Pinterest strategy to maximise results.Post uninspiring or “boring” images – try to think about how your pin will stand out from the extensive number of pins constantly being uploaded to users’ feeds.
Use the “Explore” feature to see what’s “trending” on the platform – this can be used as inspiration for your next blog topic.Forget to re-use your pins in your other social media platforms. I often use Pinterest and Instagram in conjunction because of the visual appeal similarities of posts but would still individually alter the accompanying text for each site to best suit the platform.

If you prefer to see how some of these strategies that I’ve started implementing work in practice, head over to https://www.pinterest.co.uk/HolisticLivingWithCarla/pins/

I can’t say that I’ve started using all of these strategies myself yet but this week I’ve managed to get around halfway through re-organising my boards and pins into better labelled categories and sub-categories. Once this is updated, I plan to move onto the aesthetics and branding of Holistic Living With Carla so that content is more readily associated with my brand as an advertising technique, that whilst time-consuming, is in fact in money terms, cost free.

You can of course run ads yourself on Pinterest. I haven’t written about it as I haven’t tried this yet and until I feel as though the account is branded and as aesthetically pleasing as it needs to be, this isn’t an avenue I’m ready to pursue just yet.

So again, these are just my observations on how I’m learning to work with Pinterest as a business-user in a relatively short period. No doubt there are other tips and techniques that you find work well for your blog – feel free to add these to the comments below!

The final instalment of this short series, Part 3 will take a look at Facebook social media strategy and will be available next Sunday. Check back then if you think that this is where you’d like to focus your social media strategy.

How to Use Social Media to Promote Your Blog

Part 1: Instagram

It’s been only 5-weeks or so since I started my blog, Holistic Living With Carla, and it’s been both fun and a bit of a baptism of fire at times!

One of the first things to get to grips with as you launch your site is social media. There’s such a variety of options available with this, your starting point is probably going to be narrowing these options down to a few that you feel will best work for you and your blog.

It’s tempting to add as many social media buttons to your site as possible but I don’t recommend this – at least not at first. Using social media is a form of marketing and for me, whilst it’s a necessary part of building a blog, it’s not my primary goal. I’d rather be spending the majority of time building quality content that I can promote to a few social media sites rather than spending all my time marketing.

There are apps out there such as Tailwind that post to multiple social media sites at once and you can link to other social media platforms to save time by posting once to multiple social media types. I haven’t used Tailwind or similar apps but I did try, at first anyway, uploading one post to multiple platforms. Whilst it was more efficient on my time, what became pretty obvious to me fairly quickly, is that this wasn’t as effective as posts carefully crafted to that platform’s particular strengths and uses.

Essentially, the lesson for me here was to do different, more targeted posts to the social media platforms I’d chosen to work with which quickly and noticeably resulted in better engagement.

The 3 social media platforms I currently use are:

  • Instagram;
  • Pinterest; and
  • Facebook

There are of course other options such at Twitter and Tumblr for example but these were the 3 that I felt would be of most use to me for raising my brand awareness. I already had personal accounts for Pinterest and Facebook but using these in a business/promotional sense is, I’ve discovered, a very different kettle of fish!

Now, instead of uploading a post to my website and then just adding one social media link on these 3 sites, I instead consider what post I could add that is most likely to catch the attention of my audience on each platform, based around the topic I’m blogging about, which has seen a greater success rate already in bringing my social media audience over to the blog itself.

In this 3-part series, I set out some basic dos and don’ts that I’ve incorporated into my social marketing technique based on the last 5-weeks usage and social media strategy as a way to hopefully help others tweak their marketing efforts for maximum results. Part 1 focuses on Instagram, with Pinterest featuring in Part 2 and finally, Facebook in Part 3:

Instagram

If you’re already familiar with Instagram then you’ll have a head start on me as, until blogging, I’d never seen the point in it, choosing to stick with Facebook only for my personal social media.

For business-purposes, however, it makes sense to find a way to promote your product/services/talents, mainly through photographs and images, that are eye-catching enough to stand out from the thousands of other images on the platform being constantly uploaded, attracting likes, or better yet followers, to your profile and, in the case of a blog, then getting these people over to your website. Some of my learning points have been:

Do

Don’t

  • Only post your best quality images or memes and try to adopt a colour scheme that works well for you – this meant I had to delete all of my posts and start again – I personally stick to a colour scheme for say 9 posts and then bring in a new scheme but others prefer to stick to one or two colours throughout;
  • Use the “Rule of 3” to post images as that is how they’ll be displayed on your board. I like to have 3 related posts next to one another, some as memes, some as photographs but all connected to one another in terms of topic;
  • Add text to explain the image you have posted below the image itself, that is helpful or entertaining to the audience and, if appropriate, add a link to your blog post/website.
  • Add relevant hashtags only – you can have up to 30 here but I tend to limit myself to 10 so it doesn’t look spammy;
  • Use an app like Follow Cop which I personally use (for free) to track which of my followers are users genuinely interested in my content and which are just playing the old “follow/unfollow” game to boost their own follower numbers.
  • Check out the profiles of those who liked your images or have followed you and return the favour if you think you both have something in common.
  • Use hashtags that are too popular as your post has less chance of being seen;
  • Post spammy comments asking other users to DM (direct message) you for a collab (collaboration) if you plan on asking them to buy your product at a discounted price, for them to take pictures of themselves using it, which you’ll then use on your site. This is not a collab.
  • Unless you actually want to buy a product yourself, don’t get caught out in scams like the one above yourself. There’s nothing wrong with politely saying no thanks or even just ignoring these types of comments.
  • Follow and then unfollow to boost your own follower numbers. It’ll be caught onto pretty quick by most users and just wastes everybody’s time, seriously affecting your popularity;
  • Post too often or too little; there are different views on this but I currently post 3-posts at a time, at least once every couple of days.
  • Post content that is not consistent with your brand – if you’re using Instagram for your business or brand, then don’t post content that could hurt this. If you think you’re going to want to post images unrelated to your brand, it’s better to have separate personal and business accounts so as to not mix business with pleasure.

For those of you who prefer a visual example, feel free to check out my profile on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/holisticlivingwithcarla/

These are just basic observations from my own limited experience, I’m sure that there are many others that I’ve not included. The key thing is to not get too caught up in the figures and stats, whilst also recognising when a particular strategy is or isn’t working. You can then tweak or adjust your strategy accordingly and hopefully the above gives you some ideas for what might work for promoting your brand/services/talents on Instagram.

Part 2 in the series will be uploaded next Sunday and focuses on Pinterest social media strategy so be sure to check back then if you found this topic of assistance at all.

person-using-ipad-looking-at-chart

Blogging Stats: Week 4

Blogging Stats: Week 4

This is a rolling-post so for those of you who want to check out Blogging Stats: Week 1-Week 3, head there first (links below) as Week 1 especially contains a breakdown of my understanding of the terminology, which as a newbie blogger can feel a bit like learning a foreign language:

Weeks 1-3 Links:

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/05/26/blogging-stats-week-1/

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/06/02/blogging-stats-week-2/

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/06/09/blogging-stats-week-3/

Average daily visitors: 20 visitors

Following a strategy alteration, Week 4 saw these drop down from 30 to 20 per day. I’m happy with this figure as I had to drop the number of daily posts down from 2 to 1 as it was becoming too much. As such, I’d expected this figure to drop down to 15 i.e. half what it had been, so to have only dropped by a third, I didn’t think that this was too bad.

Average daily views: 31 views

Another movement down in Week 4 from 50 views per day to 31 but factoring in the total post per day drop again to be expected. Again above what I was expecting of 25 per day with better interaction on posts made.

Average daily Views Per Visitor (VPV): 1.6 article views per visitor

This remains at 1.6 so apart from a jump up to 2.3 in Week 2, 1.6 VPV seems stable considering drop in posts per day this week and gives me a good base line to work from going forward.

Average new daily followers: 2.6 new followers

Up slightly from 2.5 last week but again factoring in the unexpected strategy change very happy with this.

Average daily likes: 13 daily likes

Slight drop down from 13.5 to 13 but again with drop in posts per day still relatively stable.

Social media referrals: Facebook, WordPress, Pinterest, Instagram, Search Engines and Mail Signups

Only 109 referrals this week, down 60 on last week, so a fairly big drop. I’ve no ads running on social media currently and don’t intend to start anymore for a few weeks so this may explain this downturn. Will be worth keeping this under review and fine-tuning social media strategy in the coming weeks.

Instagram remains in the 125-ish mark although it fluctuates up and down at times and no new Facebook likes this week but again, without ads running, I think to be expected.

Average posts per day: 1 average post daily

Despite giving the Editorial Calendar a whirl last week, it just became too much to post twice per day and I really felt that I was compromising quality for quantity which led to a mid-week about turn to aim for one high quality post per day. I’d toyed with the idea last week but didn’t want to see my stats drop (which they inevitably did!). However much happier with the quality and content put out this week and the stats didn’t drop as much as expected.

Other Points:

Kept up with the relationship building on WordPress with other bloggers which is one of my favourite parts of being a blogger, getting to interact with people all over the world on a multitude of different topics and coming across articles I might otherwise never have seen. Also, remained an active part of the Facebook bloggers’ group which has also seen some referrals that I might otherwise never have got, as well as being another source of interesting articles to read myself.

The Editorial Calendar was a really helpful exercise for me as it helped me to identify that 2 quality posts per day whilst working full time and being married with 2 kids, really wasn’t feasible for me anymore. Not only was the quality of content compromised but I was completely exhausted, not always 100% happy with the posts I was putting out and, truthfully, not enjoying blogging at break-neck speed! Since I changed strategy on Friday when I purposely chose to post nothing all day being completely shattered, I feel much happier, healthier and less tired – win!

I also completely re-hauled Instagram this week, following advice I’ve read on the internet or watched on YouTube to think about layout of posts on there. For this, I’ve downloaded the free version of the Preview app – this has been of limited assistance but it did help to give me a better idea how posts will look before uploading to Instagram and I’m much happier with my Insta profile now – feel free to check it out and follow: https://www.instagram.com/holisticlivingwithcarla/

Plan going forward? To refine my first Editorial Calendar to incorporate one good quality post per day based on how much I enjoy writing the content and how well certain posts are received. I intend to make better use of the scheduling feature to again better manage time and energy so that I use more of my weekends to prepare the weekly content and then spread this out over the week.

I also want to stay an active part of the blogging community every day as this has been a real source of support to me these last 4 weeks. I love that we’re all on our own blogging journey, travelling it in our own unique way.

That brings us to the end of our 4-part weekly Blogging Stats. Looking forward to getting stuck into the more technical side of blogging in future editions.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read, like, share, comment or follow based on this 4-part feature. It’s been an absolute pleasure to be a part of and I wish you all the best with your own fabulous blogging journey x

It goes without saying that as I only launched my first blog 4 weeks ago, I have no doubt made several errors above, however, these are my insights based on my understanding at the time of writing

person-using-ipad-looking-at-chart

Blogging Stats: Week 3

Blogging Stats: Week 3

This is a rolling-post so for those of you who want to check out Blogging Stats: Week 1, followed by Week 2, head there first (links below) as Week 1 especially contains a breakdown of my understanding of the terminology, which as a newbie blogger can feel a bit like learning a foreign language: 

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/05/26/blogging-stats-week-1/

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/06/02/blogging-stats-week-2/

Average daily visitors: 30 visitors

Week 3 saw the average daily visitors double from 15 just last week to 30 per day this week which I’m very happy with, especially considering that last week this figure had dropped by 5 per day.

Average daily views: 50 views

Up 15 per day from Week 2 so this continues to grow too. Hopefully, there’s enough content built up on there now for this to continue to grow over the next 7 days.

Average daily Views Per Visitor (VPV): 1.6 article views per visitor

This result is more in line with Week 1 so a drop down from Week 2’s 2.3 VPV, but as many visitors to the site will have already read some of the articles on there, this is probably to be expected. Will be good to see how the stats look in Week 4 to see if there’s any patterns emerging.

Average new daily followers: 2.5 new followers

Half an extra follower per day increase so moving up from 14 overall last week to 17 – really happy that this continues to grow.

Average daily likes: 13.5 daily likes

This has been another pleasing result, up 3 on last week.

Social media referrals: Facebook, WordPress, Pinterest, Instagram, Search Engines and Mail Signups

This has dropped back down to more like Week 1 at 169 this week. Can’t say I’ve been all that surprised as it’s much in line with some frustrating Instagram issues. This week’s seen followers on Instagram hit 200 before falling back down to 125, falling victim to the old follow/unfollow technique. Having said that, I’m happy that the 125 followers on there are like-minded people, rather than people trying to raise their own status only.

A big help with this has been the Follow Cop app. I only use it to sniff out the follow/unfollow folk myself and so far I’m pretty impressed – I’m happy to support fellow Instagrammers – just not so keen on being used to bump someone else’s figures who then promptly drops me and mine! With this kind of technology out there, I strongly recommend avoiding the follow/unfollow technique. It’s really a complete waste of everyone’s time in my view and easily identified and dealt with so I’m not sure what it achieves.

Average posts per day: 2 average posts daily

Remains stable but still a fairly gruelling schedule given that I work full-time teaching Law and I’ve 2 kids as well, but I’m looking at drafting an Editorial Calendar to better manage my time (more on this below). Given that the blog continues to grow quicker than expected, I’m reluctant to drop this down at this stage so will have to find a way instead to better manage time and energy going forward or risk lowered stats.

Other Points:

A key strategy for me this week was to continue building on relationships being built with fellow bloggers on WordPress and I therefore applied to join a Facebook bloggers’ group at the start of Week 3. I’m really pleased to be a part of that now, as it’s a great way to support others and receive help and guidance from others more knowledgeable and experienced.

Apart from the VPV and social media referral results, pretty much all other stats continued to move upwards this week which has been amazing – I honestly can’t believe it’s only been 3 weeks! One of the best results from Week 3 which isn’t represented above, has been reader engagement with my first post comments (from someone not in my family) – and I’ve loved it. It’s very rewarding to know that your posts may well be helping others on their journey, as well as being given helpful advice myself from a reader so thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, like, comment, follow or share any of the content. These things really have motivated me this week when at times I haven’t had the energy to keep up with the fairly frantic pace I’ve set myself.

I haven’t really been paying too much attention to countries reached until this week, but was happily surprised to see that the blog reached 24 different countries in its third week – never expected it to be that many so again very humbling.

Strategy for Week 4? More of the same, but, as indicated above, to manage my time and energy more efficiently by creating an Editorial Calendar as suggested by WordPress’ Branding Tips. I hope that this will be beneficial to those readers who have favourite topics by giving them a better idea as to when they can expect these to be posted too – we’re all busy people, right?

Summary

Genuinely delighted with Week 3 progress; the blog continues to grow quicker than anticipated with more interaction from the audience far sooner than expected. The best stat this week was the visitor increase. Happy to continue to be in a growth period and very grateful indeed to everyone supporting.

Designing an Editorial Calendar is the next big strategy for me as this will help me manage my time and energy, as well as the readers’, and frees up time for me to interact with fellow bloggers as we continue to build relationships and assist one another.

I intend to take another weekly inventory next Sunday where a comparison with Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3 can be made. I hope that you can join me then if any of this has helped. If you’re a blogger, let me know how your Week 3 has been in the comments and let’s continue on our blogging journey together.

Until next week….

It goes without saying that as I only launched my first blog 3 weeks ago, I have no doubt made several errors above, however, these are my insights based on my understanding at the time of writing.

person-using-ipad-looking-at-chart

Blogging Stats: Week 2

Blogging Stats: Week 2

This is a rolling-post so for those of you who want to check out Blogging Stats: Week 1, head there first (link below) as it contains a breakdown of my understanding of the terminology, which as a newbie blogger can feel a bit like learning a foreign language: https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/05/26/blogging-stats-week-1/

Average daily visitors: 15 visitors

After Week 2, again I’m relatively pleased with how the blog is progressing. The blog jumped up from only 12 visitors last Sunday and then stayed somewhere between 17 and 20 visitors per day for the next 4 days. Then Saturday saw the best number of visitors since launch on May 18 – jumping from 20 to 39 – practically doubling in one day!

My results for Week 2 were around 15 unique visitors per day to my blog. This has dropped 5 per day since Week 1 but, thinking about it, my figures are only an average and so some of Week 1’s visitors will have been from launch day which was something of an anomaly and therefore I’m relatively happy with 15 unique visitors per day in Week 2.

I should be able to better compare this next week.

Average daily views: 35 views

Up 5 from Week 1 which was 30 so can’t complain! The positive thing here is not only have we consistently hit 30 visitors for a fortnight but we’ve managed to increase it by 5 per day on average.

Average daily Views Per Visitor (VPV): 2.3 article views per visitor

I was really pleased with this result. You may have seen from last week’s stats that this was only 1.5 VPV in Week 1 so this shows an increase of around 0.8. I also mentioned that last week I’d hoped each visitor would read at least 2 articles and so I’d been disappointed with the results. However, this week’s stats made up for it with each unique visitor reading 2.3 articles so it’s important not to get too attached to weekly results and give up too soon!

Average new daily followers: 2 new followers

This remains the same and stable so again can’t complain!

Average daily likes: 10 daily likes

This has also jumped up from 2 to 10 so up 8 likes per day – very happy with this result too.

Average daily social media referrals: Facebook, WordPress, Pinterest, Instagram, Search Engines and Mail Signups

To simplify this, I’ve changed how I’m recording this with Week 1 being collectively 165 referrals and Week 2 being collectively 258 referrals so a great result! This shows that my social media strategy is not only working but improving with practice so don’t be afraid to change your tactics to improve your figures. It will be interesting to see how this changes next week…

Average posts per day: 2 average posts daily

I actually wanted to decrease this figure but the stats called for an increase and change in strategy with one post in the morning and one in the afternoon/evening to keep the interest. The way I’ve worked round this is to try to keep one post short and the other more detailed so that it’s more manageable on my time and energy.

Other Points:

One of my Facebook ads from the site launch has expired whilst the Baby Foxes video paid ad is doing most well, now getting shares off viewers so hopes that it could go viral! For those of you who missed the video of this gorgeous family of foxes check it out and feel free to share: https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/04/25/baby-foxes/

For anyone who has reacted to the video ad, I’ve also invited them to join the Facebook page and a couple have which was pleasantly surprising. I hope that they find more enjoyable content on the Facebook page and the main site and I’m grateful to them for joining us.

One of my more successful strategies this week has been to prepare and post my own ads to social media – this has really helped promote interest at no extra cost other than my time so it’s a question of whether you have the time or money and which perform best.

I’ve also been able to identify the better performing articles and content: astrology and divination seem to perform well, as does the home and garden content. I’ve also been able to throw in a few random posts that have done quite well too unexpectedly. This will all help shape the site going forward so a massive thank you to everyone who has supported the site so far.

Summary

Overall, I am really pleased with Week 2 progress; the blog continues to grow quicker than anticipated, as have social media followers with more interaction from the audience far sooner than expected. The best stat this week was the VPV increase. In essence, pretty much across the board the stats have either stayed stable or improved so I’m a very happy blogger this week!

Strategy going forward for me will be to continue with building relationships and contacts with both fellow-bloggers and all who support my blog which will hopefully lead to a mutually beneficial writer/audience relationship. I’m also looking to include more weekly features like this one for the more popular content, so let me know in the comments if you’ve a favourite.

I intend to take another weekly inventory next Sunday where a comparison with Week 1 and Week 2 can be made. I hope that you can join me then if any of this has helped. If you’re a blogger, let me know how your Week 2 has been in the comments and let’s continue on our blogging journey together.

Until next week….

It goes without saying that as I only launched my first blog 2 weeks ago, I have no doubt made several errors above, however, these are my insights based on my understanding at the time of writing

person-using-ipad-looking-at-chart

Blogging Stats: Week 1

Blog Stats Report: Week 1

One week after launching my blog, Holistic Living With Carla, and so far it’s been a pleasant surprise. The site’s far surpassed anything I expected in the first week, so I wanted to share my results with you so that you can see what I’ve found has worked for me and which I hope might help other newbie bloggers out with reviewing their stats.

Average daily visitors: 20 visitors

My very basic understanding of the stats is that “visitors” means how many unique visitors have visited your blog. Think of it as if your blog is your house or a shop – how many different people came to visit today?

My results for Week 1 were around 20 unique visitors per day to my blog. Keep in mind that some of these will be friends and family members. Given that I hadn’t even expected half this many, I considered this a surprising success.

Average daily views: 30 views

Daily views, as I understand it, is how many of the articles on your blog were reviewed in total by each unique visitor. I believe that this stat is vital in blogging because once you’ve managed to persuade a busy reader to spend their time reading one of your articles, and actually got them to your blog, you’ve more chance of them returning another day to read more of your work if you kept their interest. Your ideal blog visitor you are aiming to attract with your content, is a visitor who returns to your blog regularly not the one-off visitor, although remember, even the one-off visitors still add to the stats once.

Average daily Views Per Visitor (VPV): 1.5 article views per visitor

By dividing your daily views by your visitors per day you calculate your VPV or views per visitor. This tells you roughly how many articles on your blog each unique visitor has seen, the higher the better as it shows whether they are interested in more of what you have to say.

Week 1 results for me here were I felt not as good – I was hoping that each visitor would read at least 2 articles per visit, so falling just short of my expectations. A strategy to improve this might be to become more niche and limit/increase the range of different types of article or the content of the articles. Another might be to continue with the current strategy and compare stats next week before deciding on any adjustments.

Average new daily followers: 2 new followers

When a unique visitor who hasn’t followed your blog before, actively chooses to be sent updates whenever you blog new material, presumably because they like your content and style, and don’t want to miss any of it these become your new daily followers. These folk are your audience who have kindly given you a vote of confidence by opting into receive your updates and more likely to return to your site to see what’s new, if they continue to like your work. These unique visitor-turned-followers can progress into communities or members of your blog in due course.

I have been amazed to see that in Week 1, the blog already has 11 followers which averages out 1-2 new followers every day. As you’ll see below in the Referrers section, these have mainly been Facebook, referred from my Facebook page, or, WordPress Reader, from other bloggers themselves. The Facebook followers are probably explained by so much sharing to my personal platform when I first launched the blog but before I’d built a Facebook page for it, and are from massively supportive family and friends who have backed the blog from the start. To see the response from the blogging community themselves however has been genuinely flattering – to receive a positive response from these highly talented and creative folks has felt high praise indeed and very much appreciated as well as motivating. I would highly recommend returning the favour and checking out your followers content both on the reader and their website and showing your support for them.

Average daily likes: 2 daily likes

Daily likes means how many of your blog articles received a “Like” in that day. An indicator of how well that particular blog was received. It could lead you to develop a strategy round a regular feature or popular content-type to target future similar likes.

For me, 2 daily likes of my blog articles has been hugely satisfying and something I’m taking as a success. It’s helped me to see which of the blog content and media is most popular, to better help me deliver my blog in a way that seems most likely to resonate with my audience. Again, I would suggest reviewing your likes and heading over to their page to see if any of their content meets your liking to demonstrate your mutual support of one another. By networking with and supporting likes made by fellow-bloggers, it could also lead to you both becoming followers of one another, increasing stats further.

Average daily social media referrals: Facebook (2), WordPress (2), Pinterest (1), Instagram (1) and Mail Signups (0)

Daily referrals whereby people are “driven” to your blog via the medium of social media sites. Others used include Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and the like and you can use as many or as few as you wish. Used correctly, it can be a valuable source of either free or paid advertising for your blog.

My stats for this Week 1 combined daily social media referrals were 6 – that’s up to 6 visitors per day being taken to my blog because of something that caught their eye on social media. My suggestion, pick your favourites and learn how to use well any that you think will help guide traffic to your blog. I’ve learnt how to use Instagram this week which has been an eye-opener! I’ve also built a Facebook page and converted my Pinterest account to a business account for the blog. I’ve learned how to use tons of new features that I didn’t even know existed until this week across all platforms and started to notice how each have their own quirks, advantages and disadvantages depending on their social media type and purpose. The hope with a referral of course is that you hope it becomes a like, or even better, a follower. Refer back to the advice above if it does.

Average posts per day: 1.3 average posts daily

Knowing your average daily post count is useful for helping you track how often you need to blog to retain your relevance in the blogging world. There does seem to be an art to this, however, so its important that the quality of your posts are not compromised by the quantity of them. You don’t want to annoy a follower so much that they stop following you. It’s suggested to try to post consistently so if you cannot commit to posting daily that’s fine, but try to be consistent so that if you can only blog once or twice per week, stick to doing so on the same/day or time so that your followers can better anticipate when your new content will be available.

1.3 average daily posts has been difficult to keep up with for me with working full time and having a family and house to run too. Because, I blog for a hobby, it has sometimes been hard to throttle back on posting out of sheer eagerness. I have taken this to be something that will naturally reduce and settle to maybe 1 post per day or 7 posts a week over the next few weeks once the novelty wears off. I don’t think I could keep this pace up long term – it’s been thrilling but exhausting!

Other Points: Paid advertising and social media invites

I would also add that I’ve paid around £20.00 on Facebook ads to promote the blogging site and a video of some little baby foxes from my garden that has proven popular to boost blog visitor numbers.

What I’ve tried to avoid is inviting existing contacts from my personal social media accounts too much unless they’ve shown an interest, other than when I initially launched the blog. I’ve decided to try not to mix the two focusing on updates generally being to the business rather than my personal social media accounts.

Summary:

Overall, I am really pleased with Week 1 progress; the blog has grown quicker than anticipated as have social media followers with more interaction from the audience far sooner than expected.

Strategy going forward for me will be to continue with building relationships and contacts with both fellow-bloggers and all who support my blog which will hopefully lead to a mutually beneficial writer/audience relationship. I intend to take another weekly inventory next Sunday where a comparison with Week 1 can be made. I hope that you can join me then if any of this has helped. If you’re a blogger, let me know how your first week’s been/was in the comments and let’s continue on our blogging journey together 🙂

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/