8 June 2015

Top 10 Tips to Grow Your Blog

You started a blog. You are sharing posts and pictures of your work. And now you wonder, "How do I encourage more people to leave comments? How do I gain followers? Is anyone even interested in my blog?"

Yes, I know. We all start a blog with the intention of recording our journey - our experiences - for our own record. A 'Note to Self'. But, deep down we all want to share this journey. And we want to join with others who share our love of quilting.

Don't assume that because you have only a few comments or followers that no one is interested in your blog! You just haven't yet been found!

Top 10 Tips to Grow Your Blog will help you to ....

Find & Attract an Audience 

and enable you to ....

Engage & Retain Your Audience

And to have fun doing it!


Join the Party:  In your day to day life, you might not fit the description of Social Butterfly. However, attending a few weekly linky parties is a great way to put your blog on the radar of others. Linky parties are designed to allow participants to see what others are working on and to encourage communication. If you want to attract more visitors to your blog, get out there and mingle at a party or two and introduce yourself! Here is a great list of linky parties. Don't know where to start? Join us on Wednesdays for the Let's Bee Social linky party right here!

Sew Fresh Quilts


Join In:  More mingling! Blog hops, Quilt alongs, and Swaps are a fun way to meet new friends and encourage new visitors to your blog. There have got to be a million quilt related hops, quilt alongs and swaps going on out there.

Join as many social media platforms as you are able or comfortable getting involved in. Those my include Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram. Get out there, get noticed and make new friends. Follow those you find inspiring.  Show your appreciation by liking posts you find attractive. Start or join in the conversation on those posts!


Visit Blogs:  How does it make you feel when new people drop by to visit your blog and leave a sweet comment, some encouragement, or just to say hello? Well, it makes you very happy, of course! Visit lots of blogs and leave them some comment love. Add those blogs to your reading list and follow along. Repeat visits will encourage the author of those blogs to seek you out and they may become your follower, too! Leaving a nice word of encouragement also attracts other visitors who read those comments to click on your name. Where do you find these new blogs? And where can you help others find you? Visit Michele of Quilting Gallery because she has a special page for that! And so does Quilter Blogs here.


Invite Others:  While you are out there distributing some kind words of praise and encouragement, in your comment, leave a link back to your blog. Don't say, "I'm now following your blog. Please follow me." Perhaps you are working on a similar project? Can you offer a solution to a problem they are having? Do you know of a technique or tutorial that would be useful? Are you hosting a giveaway? Let them know in the comment section, and leave a link back to the post you think would interest them. Even just leaving a link to your blog’s home page at the end of your comment is a great idea. Again, this encourages not only the author of the blog to visit you, but also their followers.


Enable Comments:  Two words... Word Verification. To encourage comments and repeat visits, I advise you disable word verification. The top two best ways to turn off potential followers are word verification and you being a no reply blogger. Here is a link to take you through the steps to turn your word verification off. Are you a no reply blogger? Here is a link to help you find the answer to that question and remedy that annoying problem. By the way, if you are a no reply blogger you may wonder why no one ever responds to your comments or questions. And if you like to enter giveaways or contests, you will never win. The author of the blog has no way of responding to your comments.


Attractive Design:  Consider your favourite blogs. What is it about the design of those blogs that you find appealing? A neutral or white background allows readers to focus on your blog content. Your blog header should not be so large that your readers must scroll down to see the beginning of your latest post. Don't be afraid to experiment. A spring and fall clean up of your blog help to keep things fresh!


Good Content:  Why do you read blogs? To learn how to do a new technique? For inspiration? Mostly, we follow blogs that keep us informed, educated and entertained. And sometimes we follow blogs because the author has become our friend. To gain and retain followers, this is your aim also. To inform, educate and entertain. Tell about your experiences with methods you have used. Provide a tutorial to teach others of methods you have mastered. Write your blog posts as you would write to a friend and you will make lasting connections!


Good Pictures:  Nothing beats a great picture to hold our attention and draw us in! Use the camera that you have to your best ability. Take pictures using natural light. Get some close up shots - show the details! Use props like thread, pins, binding, ribbon, and even your pet to add interest to your photos. Enhance your pictures using Picasa or Photoshop to lighten and add contrast. When you post pictures to your blog, make them larger, as wide as your blog text. Who can resist a little fabric eye candy?!!


Have Confidence:  No matter your experience or level of expertise, have confidence in your abilities. And let that confidence shine through in your content. Yes.... Even have confidence in your mistakes! We all learn from our past experiences and even from the experiences others share with us. Mistakes are a part of that learning experience. Speak highly of your work and your creativity. Believe in yourself and your abilities. See yourself as you would like your readers to perceive you to be.... and that is what you will become. You have to believe to achieve!


Be Positive:  For many of us, reading blogs offers a little oasis and an escape from the daily grind. Try to keep the content and comments positive. You haven't blogged in a month?  Please don't apologize. You goofed up on something you were making? Don't be down on yourself. Consider it a creative design element. Keep it positive. You learn from your mistakes and so will your readers. You see work someone has shared on their blog, but you think it is ugly? If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Being happy encourages your readers to be happy. Show you're excited about your latest project and I will be excited for you! Relieved you completed a project you have been working on for so long? Share how glad you are to have accomplished your goal and your readers will readily congratulate you for completing your task.

If you have found this post helpful, you may also be interested in my Top 10 Tips for New Quilters. Both of these Top 10 Tips posts are available in pdf form as FREE eBooks here.

Keep On Quilting On!


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Jayne said...

Since I'm participating in the New Bloggers Blog Hop...this was very in tune with me right now! Each and every tip is great advice!! I know there are a lot of improvements I can make with my blog, tweaking is always needed and welcome though! Thank you so much Lorna!!

Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said...

Yes - great tips, Lorna!

Julia @ Quilt in Style said...

Thank you so much for your summary. It is always good to refresh ones memory whether your just starting out or have been blogging for a while.


~~ www.quiltinstyle.de ~~

Celine said...

Fantastic posts full of great tips. Thanks so much Lorna.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

great information! the more a person blogs the more likely to get readers! I love blog hopping and spend too much time in my day doing that - but when you live in the country and by yourself most of the time it sure is a way to make friends and be in touch with people

Ioleen said...

Thanks for all this good info. You are the best!!!

Susan said...

Thanks for the excellent post! I checked my no-reply status. Guess I was, but thought I had fixed it several months ago, and wonder how it reverts back. Ugh. Spent an hour trying to figure out how to change it, and found a 2015 post with more current pictures since blogger has updated their template. Also, less confusing.
So now, hopefully, I'm good to go!

Lara B. said...

Such great advice Lorna! Being positive is definitely a big draw to readers. That and a having a real desire to encourage and help others... all things you do as a matter of course!
Your Let's Bee Social party was the turning point for me. You were the first hostess I ever got up my nerve to approach and ask if I could join the party. (I thought I had to ask permission, LOL) You were so warm and friendly Lorna, that it made a big difference to me in my own blogging journey.

Daryl @ Patchouli Moon Studio said...

Lorna I try to do all that you mentioned, but there's always room for improvement. Not only is the no-reply an issue, but did you know that blogger doesn't send any comments to my email unless it's from gmail? Yahoo, msn, aol, etc. users comments will post on the comment page, but I get no emails and these don't go to spam either. So I need to read them on my blog, but I still cannot reply to these people. I feel bad that I cannot contact them, but blogger is not being cooperative. I have lost some followers recently and I wonder if this has anything to do with it? Do you know if there is any way to correct this?

Laura Chaney said...

All of these are great tips, Lorna, and also things that are the exact reason I love the online quilting/crafting community!

Pam @Threading My Way said...

All great tips, Lorna. #10 - Be Positive - is most important. You are always so positive yourself and it most definitely makes a difference to the feel of a blog.

Patty said...

Great tips. My favorite is about photos - they make a big difference for me. I just love the eye candy!

Dorian said...

Great tips Lorna! I've been slow on my blogging this year and would really like to start back into it again. These are some great tips for all of us. Thank you!

Lisa in Port Hope said...

Great post! I so agree, with #9, I try to share my doubt's and mistakes to help other people learn.

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

What a great post Lorna! You have really covered the bases as to what helps grow a blog! I always, always enjoy yours!

Quilt Fabric Pizazz said...

Yes! I read blogs. This is how I start my morning. Put the coffee pot on and have a nice little read through blogs I subscribe to and it starts my day off with immediate creativity swirling around. Now that can' be bad can it? However, having said all that, I don't blog, tweet, instagram etc. etc. I made a decisions two years ago that it just takes too much precious time from my life that I will never get back, and I want to spend my time doing what I love best and creating things that I love as well as giving more to great causes for fundraising, gifts for friends, family and of course new babies, seniors in care and only do a little custom work now and all that has lifted a load and made my creative work count. But I love that others write blogs and all the other social media stuff, but for me life is too short.

I totally enjoy your blog and read everyone you post and always get something to take away that is positive or creative and encouraging!

Daytona Damsel said...

Great tips Lorna. I am very slow at learning this blogging thing. My problem is I do not know how to do a lot of the things you spoke of like participate in a blog hop, add follow button to blog, etc. Do I need to join a blog company like Go Daddy with a domain? I wish I could find someone to teach me hands on. You helped me so much showing me how to participate in link parties and inspire me every post to create happy fun quilts. You are a blessing. Debbie

Heidi said...

You are such an inspiration Lorna! One thing I love about following you that I would like to add is that you always respond to comments, & in a personable way! Your work itself truly inspires, but your friendliness keeps us coming back for more. Btw, I see a cool quilt in those mountains!

Carole said...

I always enjoy reading your blog, Lorna. I don't usually leave a comment, but that doesn't mean that I don't appreciate what you do. Your blog always brings a smile to my face. I love all the "happy" quilts.
Good work.

Brandy said...

Thank you for the tips Lorna, I especially like #10. Bee happy!! I'll have a post up later this week with my two latest finishes, I am very proud of the progress I'm making and am excited to share with everyone!

Cheryl said...

Wonderful tips for all bloggers, new and old, to keep in mind, thanks!

helenjean@midgetgemquilts said...

Hi lorna , I can make use of every single one of these tips ! Thanks x

SarahZ said...

Very well thought out and helpful! For some reason, I especially liked where you said, "haven't blogged for awhile? Please don't apologize"....no blogger owes me an apology for staying too long away from a screen! lol! I love linkys, and "keep up" with "regulars" through them. I probably randomly visit more blogs by clicking through from someone's comment than any other way because either their name or comment catches my eye! Not very methodical, but it is how I roll! :) Thanks again Lorna for taking the time to craft this list...and for always being what you "preach", and that is "Positive"!!! xo

SarahZ said...

I agree with this 100% !!!

Margo Yang said...

Thanks, Lorna, for sharing lots of good and very helpful tips. It's weird because sometimes I felt like I was just talking to myself. I have to overcome my shyness to get a post out. Blogging has helped me to keep track of my thoughts, organize them and put them in writing which I seldom did. Through blogging, though it's been only year and a half, I have met quite a few nice people already. Thanks again for all you do and your inspirations.

Pam @ Quilting Fun said...

Great article, thank you. Reminder to self, leve comments.

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

Thank you!! Great tips. Always love receiving advice and information.

Ella and Nesta said...

Great list of original tips! 9 and 10 and both really important tips in writing. I have also always admired how you take time to comment everyone's blogs and how you connect personally with everyone. That's what makes you and your blog even more special!

Hannah Jennings said...

Love this post! Very informative and I love that you helped me find ways to connect using the linky parties... I have been wondering how to connect with those, as I see them on several of the blogs I follow. Thank you!

Patch the Giraffe said...

Great advice here for the new bloggers! Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom :)

Serena @ Sewgiving said...

Well said Lorna xx

Val's Quilting Studio said...

Exactly...well said. I truly think the best way to grow your blog is to participate...make friends and have fun!

Sewmotion said...

Well, you do learn something new everyday... I just found out I'm a no-reply blogger!! Shock!! Quickly changed that! Thanks very much Lorna for a great list of invaluable tips :)

SandraC said...

Thanks for all the great information! I have been a blogger for about a year and still have so much to learn.

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