Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blogging for Growth

My current focus in recent weeks has been to increase my blog presence as well as my Facebook fans.  I've spent much of my "down time" reading about blogging techniques and ways to increase my Facebook fanbase. I realize these need to be long term goals, as it can take time to increase one's social media crawl when everyone else it playing in the same sandbox.

So I thought it might be good to spend some time talking about what I have found to work for me, to share my "oops", and to chat with you about your successes, your challenges, and your questions.

Let's get the conversation started, beginning with blogging!

Recently, I completed as redesign of my blog. From the beginning, I used a template - don't we all? I loved the look, but knew it wasn't "mine." My sweetie gave me a new monitor for Christmas, and I love the more rectangular look. So a couple of months ago I began playing with new backgrounds. I don't know what I'm using now is the best, but here are a few things I've learned:

Make sure you're using a design that works with your brand. If you have graphic design skills or can afford a designer, create a cohesive look between your blog, your website, your logo, and all your marketing materials.

Use plenty of white space! We have so much distraction in our
lives, and people find simple designs more refreshing these days. I know we're all advised to use our sidebars for ads, calls to action, subscriptions, etc. But take some time to review what websites and blogs you like. Chances are most of them use their space well with plenty of visual breaks. While you're at it - make sure you're using a light background rather than a dark. I know it's not "artistic" but will be much more engaging for your audience.

Experiment with your settings. My sweetie gave me a new monitor for Christmas, and I love the more rectangular look. I suddenly became more aware of how my newsletter and my blog looked on the new monitor. As technology evolves and old monitors and television sets are being replaced, more and more people are using the more rectangular look. It's time to expand your settings to accommodate these changes. By the way - I found I also needed to increase my font size to keep up with the new design.

Move some of your sidebar items to page tabs. Like most, I had a widget for my Etsy shop and my Pinterest boards. I began to think about my sidebar items as "advertisements" and my page tabs as my website. So I changed things up a bit. My page tabs are more "about me" and ways to move my visitors deeper into my "website". My sidebar items are true advertisements (click here for advertising opportunities!) or calls to action for subscription management, etc.

Always, always, always create your settings for pages other than your own to open in a new window. The goal with any website, and your blog, should be to retain your audience for as long as possible. When you allow a new page to open over yours, you lose the opportunity for someone to stick around. When your viewer is done looking at the other page and closes it, he will come back to yours, and hopefully take some time to see what other great information you have!

Over the past few weeks, I've developed other techniques to increase new visitors, subscribers, and content. I've also found challenges to writing content, to finding advertisers, and to marketing my blog. Goals include writing content for my customer base, writing e-books for download, and always, increasing my subscribers.

What are your successes? What have been your challenges? What are your goals? I'd love to discuss these in the upcoming weeks, as we're all in this journey together! Please comment below with your questions or successes, or email me.


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