Note: With May as our M Challenge Focus on Technology, I was really excited when Tiffany King, from Eat At Home, offered to share her expertise about growing your blog slowly – and why that can be a good thing. It’s been a privilege to see her blog grow and I know if you are a blogger you will learn so much from her tips!
There has been a lot of talk around the internet over the last six months or so of bloggers feeling burned out. That has prompted conversations on slow blogging.
Going slow with a blog is nothing new to me. My site, Eat at Home, has grown very slowly but steadily over the last six and a half years. Yes, there have been plateaus and challenges. Many times it’s been frustrating to watch other sites grow faster. But looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Like many of you who are also blogging, I have several kids and other obligations as well. I don’t have the hours to devote full-time work to my blog. Instead, I’ve applied slow and steady work and the blog has grown and matured. Just like when you put food in a slow cooker – it will eventually come to a boil and cook. It will take longer than if you use the stove-top or oven, but it will cook.
There are a few things I’ve learned over the years about how to grow a site without putting in long hours, or working until 2 am or neglecting time with family. I don’t want to come across like I have this all figured out. Far from it! But I do know that it’s possible to work reasonable hours and still have a successful site. These are things that have worked for me. Maybe some of them will work in your situation too!
Time and Patience
If you’re planning to grow your site without putting in long hours all at once, you will have to give it time. It does take a lot of work to build a successful site. You don’t have to put all those hours in over a small amount of time. What others have done in six months, it’s taken me years. But I’ve been able to work the hours that fit my family’s schedule. Yes, it’s frustrating at times to not see quicker growth. But the growth does come if you just keep at it.
Focus on Your Goal
– Do you want or need to earn an income?
– Are you trying to build a platform so you can get a book published?
– Do you want to build a community of people who can support each other or do good in the world?
Knowing what your main objective is will help you determine where to spend your time. If you want to build a community of bloggers, it would be helpful to attend quite a few conferences so you can meet people face to face. If you want to earn an income, you’ll need to focus on activities that will make a profit.
Work the path that makes the most sense for you and your goals.
Focus on Your Readers
Getting super clear on who your readers are and what they want is really important in growing a site. Figure out what their pain points are. Then create content and products that solve those problems for them. This isn’t new info, but it is important enough to mention again.
Maximize Your Momentum Points
A momentum point is any event, blog post, product, affiliate relationship etc that brings you more results than you normally get.
You are probably familiar with the 80/20 Principle. Also called the “Law of the Vital Few”, this principle states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. This means that 80% of your traffic is coming from 20% of your blog posts. 80% of your revenue is coming from 20% of your work. 80% of your social media traffic is most likely coming from one outlet.
This 20% of the effort in any area is a momentum point that you can capitalize on.
Here are a few examples of things that could be momentum points:
• A post that gets linked to by a large blog, sending lots of traffic your way.
• A post that goes viral on a social media site.
• A product you create and sell that earns a good profit.
• A series you write that readers love and share.
• A sponsored post you write that the brand loves.
All of these things, and many more, can be momentum points. But to really make them work, you have to push harder on those places. Take advantage of the movement that has been created and keep it building.
Here’s an example from my blog:
A few summers ago I had a post to do with very little time. I threw up a list of summer slow cooker recipes that I have on my site. I think there were 15-20 links. I didn’t include photos. It was a very basic post that I viewed as quick filler. But that post did really well, sending lots of traffic and pins. It was a momentum point.
So the next summer I promoted that old post, but also created a summer-long series of 75 days of summer slow cooker recipes. I linked to other bloggers and to my own recipes, as well as put out some new recipes for the series. I posted every day that summer. The Summer Slow Cooker Series did really well. It was good for me, because a lot of them were very easy posts. And good for traffic because readers loved them.
So the next summer I increased the series to 100 days and hired my VA to do a lot of the work for it. She even did some ghost writing of the posts (the only time I’ve ever done that). I was able to step away from the blog to enjoy summer and work more on creating and promoting my products.
Using that original Summer Slow Cooker post to create momentum, I was able to leap the blog forward. And eventually, it afforded me time for pushing other types of work forward as well.
What is one momentum point that you could push forward on your blog right now?
Momentum points can happen by some outside force (large site linking to you), by accident (writing a post that takes off unexpectedly) or by creating it. Creating momentum points is trial and error, but as you study things that have worked in your business, you’ll begin to see trends that you can use for creating more momentum.
Skip the Friction Points
A few friction points that are common to all of us are:
• Tracking down stolen content
All of this is a waste of time and a huge energy drain. They’re also easy traps to fall into. But effort spent on any of these things will never pay off.
Other possible friction points:
• Doing work you hate, instead of finding someone else to do it or skipping it all together (if possible).
• Trying to perfect things that are already good enough and working. (Site designs, photos, About pages, old posts, SEO…)
• Spending a lot of time working on something that is not part of the 20% that gets you 80% of the results. (Writing long tutorial posts on a topic that doesn’t answer the problems your readers have.)
Consistent, Focused Work + Time = Results
We tend to overestimate what we can do in a short period, and underestimate what we can do over a long period, provided we work slowly and consistently. ~Gretchen Rubin
It is possible to grow a successful site by working slowly and consistently. It will take longer. It will require patience and focus. It will also pay off with more time to spend with family, a healthier and balanced life and a successful site.