Happy Birthday To Us: How To Grow Your Blog In A Year

No, I am not an expert at blogging. I’m not making money off of this site and I am not using a theme that I or someone I know created for it… But I plan to change both of these things some time in the near future.

These two things would not even be on my mind right now if it wasn’t for how much the blog has grown in the past year. A year ago from today, I bought the domain name ‘forevertwentysomethings.com’ for fun. I had always wanted to start a blog and instead of tweeting all day while bored at work, I decided writing for a website would be a little more productive.

I started off writing about my thoughts. I love music, so every day I posted a ‘song of the day.’ I would also post pictures that caught my attention, like ugly sparkly uggs and Tom Brady going down a water slide (why?). I wrote my own personal stories and my own opinion of Boston bars and other local places. I also posted about television shows I was watching and foods I was eating.

The first post I wrote that wasn’t personal and was more ‘magazine-like’ was ‘The Top 10 Excuses To Skip The Gym.’ I wrote this post a month after I started the blog, and it got many views. A few weeks later I was contacted by a website to write a post about my job search experience. I ended up writing an article called ‘Confessions of a Recent College Grad’ and it received positive views on both the company’s site and mine (and it still does to this day). After that, I started getting emails, messages, texts, etc from friends, acquaintances, strangers, and Facebook ‘friends’ I hadn’t spoken to in years (if ever)… All of these people enjoyed reading what I had to say. They gave me to the confidence I needed to write more and grow the blog.

I soon created a Twitter for the blog and eventually it’s own Facebook page. This helped me to reach more people than just those I knew personally. Posts I wrote such as You Know You Graduated College When, The Party Bus, How To Be Fabulous On A Budget, and How To Tell If Your Boyfriend Is Gay got a lots of views and helped me transform the ‘personal blog’ into an online magazine.

It took a few months for me to completely transform the blog… but eventually it turned into a website with a purpose. And people liked it. They really liked it! (Who knew?)

Now, months later I’m prepping post ideas 24/7… I’m receiving e-mails from prospective writers… And I’m balancing a full-time job with running a full-time website. I have developed a number of (awesome) contributors that write for the site on a (somewhat) regular basis… and the number of writers is definitely growing. Not to mention the site now gets over 1,000 views a day…. as opposed to the 300 views I was exciting about getting when I started.

If you just started your own blog or you’re thinking about starting your own blog (which you really should! it’s a great outlet and resume builder), here are some tips to get yourself and your site going:

– If you don’t exactly know where you want your blog to go yet, just write WHATEVER comes to mind at first. Over time, you will see a pattern and notice that you are writing about certain things more than others. That will help you learn what you should focus your blog on.

Notice which posts get the most reads and comments and write more like them. This will help you get closer to figuring out your blog’s theme.

Make sure your website is clean, organized, and easy to read. Once your blog has a theme, put pages at the top to archive your articles in categories. You can even make a page about your blog, yourself, and your team (when you have writers).

– As for site decor, you can use a pre-made theme like me… and you can also pay to customize it slightly like me. But the best way to make the blog your own is to design your own theme… so if you know CSS, power to you! And if not, wait a while until you can afford to pay someone to help you out (that’s my plan).

Create a Twitter page and Facebook page for the blog.

Tweet your articles and other blogs’ articles that relate to yours in a way.

Comment on other blogs.

Follow other bloggers on Twitter… Respond to and retweet those bloggers you follow. Make cyber friends. Sounds weird, I know, but it’s really not.

– Know the way to get yourself out there is to share, share, share. When you share, others share, and then others share… Sharing is caring.

Have other writers contribute. These writers will benefit by sharing their site, twitter page, and/or just their name… and you will benefit by them sharing your site with others. Make sure your writers are sharing…

Contribute on other websites. Get your name out there! Every site has it’s own viewers. And people who like to read blogs are usually looking for other blogs to read… Make their new favorite blog yours!

Keep a notebook of post ideas – and any ideas you have for the site in general. If I don’t have my notebook on me, I write notes on my iPhone. I do this all day long – even if I’m drunk at a bar. If you think of an idea, write it down no matter what. Chances are, you’ll probably forget about it if you don’t.

– When you write a post, try to sleep on it before publishing it. This always helps me to write better posts. No, I don’t always do this. I usually write up a quick post in 15 minutes and post it without thinking, but I TRY not to do that always. However, I’m a busy person… Aren’t we all?

Make time for your blog. I know – none of us have time for anything these days… but if you’re going to blog, you have to make time. In August, I let myself go and barely wrote for the blog at all. I quickly bounced back from that, though, and found the time… Mornings before work, lunch time, any time it’s slow at work, after work, before bed… etc. This time I don’t just spend writing.. I’m tweeting, emailing, organizing the site, etc. **Note: If I don’t have time to write, that’s why it’s great to have writers. Say you have a busy week coming but you have NOTHING to do on a Sunday. Write a few posts on Sunday and you’ll be set for the week.

– Once the number of hits on your page grows, put ads on your site! It will make it look legit AND give you some money. That is what I plan to do next. 🙂

What tips do you have for prospective bloggers or 1 year-old bloggers like me? Seriously… let me know!

HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY FOREVER TWENTY SOMETHINGS!

Samantha Matt

Hi I’m Sam. I made this website in 2011 and it’s still going. I like pizza, French fries, barre class, spinning, more pizza, more French fries, and clothes. I have a serious shopping problem. Writing is fun. Follow me on the twitter - @samanthamatt1.

3 Comments
  1. Happy birthday! We’re a new blog that’s only been live for a few months but we’ve seen a lot of the similar success you mention seeing at the beginning – it’s so cool how many people really care and enjoy reading what we’re putting out there – like you said, who knew?! Hope to see even more success like you as the year goes on! Thanks for all the advice!

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