Grow Your Blog Following with Instagram


Instagram can be an amazing tool for bloggers. It’s an easy way to create images for your blog, and you can edit your pictures to make them slightly more professional-looking. Bonus – they’re the perfect size for re-posting on any social media platform!

Instagram can also help you gain more visitors to your blog. It’s a little trickier than other social media outlets becauseInstagram will not allow you to link directly to your website. However, with the right strategy, you can gain a following on Instagram, then convert those to followers of your blog!

Your Instagram Strategy

When it comes to Instagram, it’s important to remember that your brand as a blogger is you. You are trying to sell your personality, tastes, and aesthetic vision to your audience. On almost every other social media account, part of your branding is your words. Unfortunately, your sense of humor and voice won’t shine through as much through images.

So what type of picture should you post on Instagram? Well, why do your friends share their pictures? Why do you follow those friends? The answer is that people like to connect with other people. They like to know what’s going on in your life. Even bloggers should share some of that. Pictures of you, your family, your friends, and your pet are appropriate. If you are a niche blogger, definitely share your finished products. Beauty bloggers should share daily makeup choices, fashion bloggers their outfits, chefs their kitchen, etc.

Some Tips for Happy Instagram Marketing

  • Watermark or put your blog URL on all of your images so that people know where to find more of them.
  • Utilize hashtags. On other social media platforms, too many hashtags is a huge faux pas that gets annoying quick. On Instagram, you can use up to 30 hashtags. It would not be outlandish to use 10 on one image.
  • Connect your Instagram account to your other social media accounts. Through your Instagram settings, you can link up your accounts and post all Instagram pictures to Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare, and Twitter. Facebook has apps that can show your Instagram feed on your business page. And don’t forget to add your Instagram account on your blog!
  • Use a picture of your face as your profile picture, not your logo. Instagram users are more likely to follow and interact with a real person than a brand they do not recognize.
  • Instagram is a social network, so be social! Always respond to comments. Browse relevant hashtags and “like” and comment on other user’s pictures.
  • You don’t always have to share pictures you’ve taken on Instagram (though don’t steal others’ pictures!). You can also share memes you’ve created or graphics you’ve made through a picture-editing program. Create a graphic image for each new blog post you’ve written and share it.
  • Beware of becoming annoying: Instagram is all about sharing snapshots of your life. Don’t post too much too often, and don’t post mundane pictures. Share pictures that represent your style, your mood, your brand, and more.

Do you have an Instagram account for your blog? We’d love to see it! You can follow us here.

How to Start an Email Newsletter for Your Blog

Bloggers who have established themselves and are looking to create more engagement with a loyal fanbase should consider creating an email newsletter. An email newsletter for your blog is an effective email marketing campaign that keeps traffic coming back, as well as encourages them to engage with your blog. Bloggers who have used email newsletters find a huge increase in subscribers, which translates directly into more views per post and more revenue for you.

How do you start an email newsletter?

Unfortunately, any email campaign is going to cost you some money. You cannot send out hundreds of emails from your personal address for a marketing campaign – your visitors’ email services will penalize you as spam, making the whole process ineffective.

The first step is to sign up for an email marketing service or software, such as AWeber or MailChimp. Once you’ve done that, you can create and organize email lists. The next step will be drafting your email newsletters.

What goes into an email newsletter?

Your RSS feed already provides subscribers with notifications of new blog posts and allows them to read the newest post. Your newsletter needs to be more than the RSS feed. Business blogs might pick a theme relevant to their customers and include links based on that theme. Personal bloggers could include links to social media conversations and some of the items that were discussed. Food bloggers sometimes send out exclusive recipes that aren’t posted anywhere else. Overall, your newsletter needs to be informative, interesting, and valuable to the reader.

Some bloggers use premade templates to help format their newsletters. This can aid you in organizing the content that goes into your newsletter, as well as directing where logos, social media buttons, and other pieces of branding should fit in.

How do I get visitors to subscribe to my email newsletter?

Create a visible spot on your website for readers to sign up for an email newsletter. Use calls-to-action and promotional deals to encourage subscriptions. You should also include a few of these items in the subscription process:

  • Your privacy policy and disclaimers
  • A webpage thanking the subscriber after they submit their email address
  • An opt-in email sent immediately after the subscription to confirm that there is a human behind that email address (this is especially important if you are offering something in return for a subscription, such as a free ebook or collection of stock photos)
  • A welcome email before sending regular newsletters

How do I avoid becoming too spammy?

The best way to avoid becoming spam is by always providing authentic, valuable content to your readers. As soon as your objective becomes only to get subscribers and earn revenue, your newsletter will lack authenticity and turn off the reader.

However, even with good intentions, you can get off track with your newsletter. Balance your content with items that pertain to your blog as well as pieces that are from other sources. If you must include advertisements in your newsletter, limit it to one and make it unobtrusive. Be aware of how often you are sending out your newsletter – once a week or once every two weeks is a good amount.

Have you created a newsletter for your blog? What advice do you have?

Here’s 12 Quick Ways to Lower Your Blog’s Bounce Rate

For personal blogs, the objective of your website is to gain more pageviews, as more pageviews lead to more income. For business blogs, the objective of the blogging side of the website is to draw customers in with the hopes that they will travel to other pages and eventually make a purchase. In both cases, having traffic flow to multiple pages is part of the process of making money.

That’s why bounce rate is such an important factor for any type of blogger. “Bounce rate” refers to the number of visitors who leave your blog after viewing only one page. You can find your blog’s bounce rate through Google Analytics. Lowering your bounce rate not only keeps traffic viewing your ads and earning you money, but it can also affect your SEO – Google uses metrics from Google Analytics to determine the usefulness of your site. Website’s with low bounce rates are seen as more useful to the Google user, and so are given more SEO weight.

What steps can I take to lower my blog’s bounce rate?

Keep in mind that every blog is different, so the reasons why your bounce rate might be high will be different – which means the solutions you need to lower your bounce rate are going to be different. Try multiple methods and see what works for you!

Here are a few simple suggestions to start out with:

  1. Inbound links – Set up links within your blog post to other blog posts that relate to your text. WordPress and BlogSpot both have functions that allow you to make the link open in a new page. This allows your visitor to simply close the extra window once they’ve finished instead of back-clicking or closing your blog completely.
  2. Related posts – Share another blog post that is related on the bottom of each blog post.
  3. Popular posts – Many bloggers set up a function in their sidebar that automatically shows the most popular posts. Use a picture to really draw traffic in.
  4. Calls-to-Action – Use CTAs within your post to direct traffic to other posts or webpages within your blog.
  5. Author photo – Use a professional looking picture of yourself and include it in your sidebar. Readers like to see the person behind the blog and it’s a quick way to establish trust.
  6. “About Me” Page – Your “About Me” page is one of your most visited pages. Many readers want to see the person behind the writing after they’ve finished a blog post. Create an “About Me” page that is easy to find.
  7. Navigation – A common reason for a high bounce rate is that your traffic has a hard time finding the pages they want. Make sure your navigation is intuitive and clear.
  8. Speed – Web surfers generally leave a webpage that takes longer than 10 seconds to load. If your website is having difficulties, find a way to speed it up.
  9. Traffic source – Your traffic may leave your blog quickly because you weren’t what they were looking for. Eliminate this problem by only promoting your blog in spaces that are related to your topic.
  10. Clickbait – Another common reason why visitors quickly leave is because promises made by your headline were not kept. If your headline promises “new solutions” or “this amazing video,” make sure your content delivers.
  11. Social media buttons – Having social media buttons on your post has been shown to lower bounce rates.
  12. Tag clouds – Tag all of your posts so that readers who want to explore more about a specific topic or issue can do so easily. Create a cloud or other navigation device and put it in your sidebar.

What methods have worked for you in lowering your bounce rate? Share in the comments!


John, Becca. “Blog Tips Tuesday 1: How to reduce your bounce rate.” (12 March 2014).

Goldberg, Steve. “7 Simple But Effective Tactics To Dramatically Reduce Your Bounce Rate.”!zrTWH. (12 March 2014).

Chapman, Cameron. “How I Keep My Bounce Rate Under 2%.” (12 March 2014).

Expand Your Blog Reach with Twitter

Twitter can be a great social media platform for helping bloggers expand their reach. With the use of hashtags, huge audiences from your industry or niche can be found easily. You can also grow your blog following by having your current readers share your posts through Twitter, or retweet your tweets. Here are a few instructions to help any blogger get started on Twitter.

Your Twitter profile

Before you start tweeting to broadcast your messages, take a look at your profile. Do you have a profile picture? Twitter profiles without a picture look shady and untrustworthy. So do profiles without full bios. Unfortunately, your bio has to be short, so only include the most pertinent information. Twitter allows you to put a website in your Twitter profile, so stick the URL to your blog there.

Having a cover photo and background picture makes your profile look so much more professional than the default ones provided by Twitter. You can copy a common marketing strategy many businesses use and create a background image with your blog URL, social media contact information, or a CTA.

What should you tweet?

Before you send out your first tweet, sit down and think about your goals. This should partly tie into a social media strategy you’ve already made for your blog (or are in the process of making). Each social media platform is different, so while your tone or style for Twitter might already be set out in your strategy, think about what you can accomplish with Twitter. Are you mainly trying to show your readers a social side? Are you working on gaining more traffic? Are you trying to establish yourself as an expert in your niche? Or are you networking? It’s important to pick one of those objectives and diligently stick to it in your tweeting ventures.

Once you pick your objective, it should be easier to develop a content strategy for your tweets. Many bloggers find success in sharing the title of their individual blog posts – which means you’ll have to keep Twitter in mind when you create your titles. You can also share excerpts from the text of your post, especially if it’s a pithy quote or juicy tidbit. Asking your followers questions that you would genuinely want an answer to is also a good strategy.

While you’re learning Twitter, explore hashtags that are relevant to your industry or niche. Many of them will be similar to Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram hashtags. Follow accounts that are similar to yours or interesting to you or your readers. Retweet tweets from others as well as posting your own original messages. Once you’ve learned the hashtags that you need, include them in some of your tweets, but limit it to 2-3 hashtags per tweet.

The more you use Twitter and follow accounts that are similar to yours, the more comfortable you will be with your tweeting. You’ll learn the best strategies either through example or through trial and error.

Quick tip: Use a URL shortening service if you are sharing links in your tweets. The long URLs will take up too much of your 140 characters. Websites like Bitly offer the service for free.

How often should you tweet?

Twitter is kind of like Pinterest when it comes to posting frequency. You should post multiple times a day, but it is possible to get carried away and annoy your followers. However, that would take many, many annoying tweets to get that far. Tweeting daily is the best policy, but every couple of days is adequate.

Twitter, your blog, and other social media platforms

You can use embedded posts, apps, and plugins to connect your Twitter account to your blog and other social media platforms. Use a Twitter social media button on your “About Me” page and on blog posts. You can embed a tweet to encourage users to follow you or respond to you via Twitter.

Twitter can also be connected to your Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine accounts. Use an app to show your latest tweets on your Facebook page.

Measuring your Twitter success

Just as Facebook and Pinterest have an in-house analytics program, so does Twitter. Use to access statistics on your tweets and followers. This program mainly exists to keep track of paid campaigns on Twitter, but is accessible for free. Analytics will tell you how many people clicked your link to go to your website, as well as favorites, retweets, and replies. This can help you see not only how much of your traffic comes through Twitter, but also which tweets attract the most clicks or shares.

Use Twitter analytics in conjunction with Google analytics. Twitter analytics can tell you which of your tweets were the most effective, but Google analytics can tell you if your website lived up to its Twitter promises. If traffic that comes through Twitter has a high bounce rate or doesn’t stay very long, you can use that information to work on user interface techniques.

For more information on how to use Pinterest as a blogger, check out our blog post “8 Tips to Help Bloggers Get Started on Pinterest.”

Increase Your Traffic with a Blog Series

During your blogging adventures, you may have wondered if you should create a blog series. A “blog series” is essentially a group of posts that cover one topic over a space of time. For example, you might see a blog series entitled “10 Ways to Make a Little Extra Cash this Holiday Season” or something similar.

There can be a lot of benefits to a blog series.

  • You don’t have to think of brand new content for a while.
  • Readers are more likely to stay on your page as they browse through every post in the series.
  • They’re generally pretty popular.
  • They help establish your expertise in an area.
  • It really helps with SEO as you begin to dominate a few keywords.
  • It gives readers a reason to keep coming back to your blog as you continue to publish new posts in the series.

Overall, it can be a really great method to improve traffic and SEO. But it can also take a lot of planning and work. Be aware that are you committing to somewhat of a long-term project when taking on a blog series.

So how do you get started?

  1. Pick a topic that you have a lot of expertise in. Make sure it’s something that you have a lot to say about. If it could easily fit all into one post, then maybe you shouldn’t spread it out over multiple posts.
  2. Plan it all out! Try to come up with titles or areas of focus for each post in the series. This can help you organize the time period and frequency in which you will be posting as well. Creating a timeline or scheduling a calendar can help you to stay on track.
  3. Start publicizing your future series. You can do this by asking your fans on social mediaquestions pertaining to the topic you’re discussing in the series. You can also announce the series to build up excitement. Some bloggers also suggest creating contests or hashtags for your series, but this will depend on you.
  4. Write and publish! Remember that you’ll want each post in the series to be consistent and cohesive. Titles should relate to each other and formats should be the same. You may even want the pictures to follow a similar formula.
  5. Give your readers a way to find other posts in the series surrounding each one. A “previous” and “next” button or link at the bottom and top of each post is a good idea. You could also create a button for your sidebar that will link to a table of contents for the entire series.
  6. Continue to publicize!

Running a blog series will be different for each blogger depending on your audience, the size of your blog, your chosen topic, and even more factors.

What type of blog series have you created? What have you learned on the way?


Saddington, John. “How To: Create a Blog Post Series and Why You Need Them!” (30 Oct. 2013).

Thompson, Kirsten. “How to Create a Successful Blog Series.” (30 Oct. 2013).

9 Ideas for Promoting Your Blog IRL (In Real Life)

Oftentimes, bloggers get lost in the cyber world and forget that they can promote their blog offline. It’s easy to get caught up in social media, commenting on other blogs, and other promoting activities that can be done from your comfy couch. However, there’s a lot you can do in real life to help your blog gain traffic.

  1. Spread the word to friends and family. Ask them to comment on your blog, share posts, and like your social media accounts. You can also ask friends to guest post or interview them for a post as an added incentive to get them to share.
  2. Tell others you know who might be interested. If you’re a part of clubs or hobby groups, share with them.
  3. If you aren’t a part of any hobby groups, create one for local bloggers. Host gatherings so you can all get to know each other. Help each other out with advice or ask questions. You don’t need to see other bloggers as competition!
  4. Use some “old-fashioned” marketing methods, such creating materials to go with your blog. T-shirts, bumper stickers, pens, calendars, business cards, stickers, etc. can be easy to create, produce, and hand out. Create a QR code (a type of barcode that can be scanned using various smart phone apps) to put on all of your products.
  5. Put up brochures or fliers on community bulletin boards, such as in coffee shops or on college campuses. Just make sure you get the right permission before slapping it on there!
  6. Attend conferences or events relevant to your blogging topic. Mingle with other enthusiasts to share via word of mouth.
  7. Inform any local businesses or attractions that might be the subject of your blog. You can shoot them a quick email with a link, or print it out so they can hang it on the wall of their establishment. Local businesses or events will welcome the free publicity.
  8. Write for a local newspaper or magazine. Offline publications are a great way to share your expertise, your voice, and your blog!
  9. Find local podcasts or radio shows. Ask to be a guest! You can get yourself interviewed or share your expertise.

What are some ways that you promote your blog offline?


Cummings, Eric. “9 Ways to Promote Your Blog Offline.” (4 Nov. 2013).

Ovsyannykov, Igor. “Promote Your Blog Offline: 5 Ways to Use the Real World for Virtual Gain.” (4 Nov. 2013).

Easy Ways to promote your blog in the real world.” (4 Nov. 2013).

How to Create a Domain Name for Your Blog That Drives Traffic

Choosing a domain name for your blog is one of the most important parts of starting your new venture. It’s a simple item, but it can affect your SEO, your branding, and your traffic for better or for worse. When it comes to blogs, there can be a lot more freedom in how creative you are with your domain than with businesses, but many of the same challenges apply.

Before you settle on your domain name, Darren Rowse of recommends considering your traffic sources. He names three sources of possible incoming traffic to your blog:

  1. Loyal Readers – As a new blogger, you probably don’t have any loyal readers yet, but let’s assume that this category also encompasses people who come to your website through typing in the exact URL. Your friends and family fall under this section, as well as any other sources of traffic that aren’t online (like business cards).
  2. Search Engines – This is where your SEO efforts come into play.
  3. Referral Traffic – Social media, backlinks, guest posting, RSS feeds, and email newsletters all fall into this category.

It’s important to recognize what your biggest sources of traffic will be. For many lifestyle bloggers, visitors come mainly from social media or loyal readers. For business blogs, search engine traffic will be vital. And all blogs want to foster loyal readers.

While there aren’t any hard and fast rules to picking the ideal domain name, there are a few guidelines that generally help new bloggers:

  1. Make your domain name the name of your “brand” or blog. It’s hard to go wrong with this concept: making your blog name and domain name the same can eliminate confusion and make your URL easy for visitors to remember. Of course, you might want to consider making your blog name optimal for SEO and gaining traffic if you decide to use it for your domain name as well.
  2. Use keywords. Putting a relevant keyword from your niche or industry is a great way to gather search traffic.
  3. Short and easy to remember is the way to go. If your visitors can remember your name and easily type it into their search bar, they’re more likely to return. When it comes to making a memorable domain name, you might decide to sacrifice keyword opportunities for branding ones. “Google” is the best example of this: “Google” is an easy, short, memorable word, though it doesn’t describe its function at all.
  4. Use your name. Personal bloggers may want to consider using their own name as their domain. It’s easy to remember and it establishes you as the expert. It also has the added bonus of making sure you have control over that domain before someone else snatches it up. However, be warned: using your own name does limit the possibility of adding multiple contributors to your blog in the future.
  5. Pick “.com” instead of other Top Level Domains. You have the option of picking other URL endings, like “.net” or “.org,” but “.com” is the most common. Other TLDs have different connotations to them, such as businesses or other institutions. And most importantly, your traffic is highly likely to search for “.com” rather than the correct URL – and you don’t want to miss out on any readers.
  6. Buy up all the other TLDs as well. Yes, “.com” is the best, but if you have “secret” domains, you can direct all traffic to your one blog. This way, competitors and spammers won’t buy up names that are too similar to yours and confuse potential readers.
  7. Avoid letters that confuse. This means letters that invite misspellings and get your traffic lost, such as duplicate letters or homophones that aren’t clear. You might want to avoid using “kar” instead of “car” or other creative spellings as well.
  8. Run a few choices by your friends and family first. Having another perspective will alert you to any problems your potential name might have.

Before you get your heart set on a domain name, make sure you search for it and make sure it isn’t already bought or in use. You can search for an active website by typing in the URL, or you can search for a purchased domain name with any domain registrar. Once you’ve decided on your final domain name, you can buy it through a domain registrar and pick your hosting!


Rowse, Darren. “Choosing the Domain Name for your Blog.” (25 April 2014).

“Tips and Tools to Pick the Best Domain for Your Blog.” (25 April 2014).