June 6, 2016

32 ways to grow your blogging audience


It's a very common occurrence for me to receive questions about blogging. In fact, hand on my heart, I get at least one or two almost every single day or the year - which is very flattering unto itself. Many come from new bloggers or those who are getting back into blogging again, but certainly others stem from veteran bloggers who may be wanting to improve one or more areas of how they blog.

Throughout the course of this spring, I almost started shaking my head in disbelief over how many questions (usually via email or social media PM) I received regarding how to grow your blog's audience. Believe me, I hear you there and I fully understand why this topic has been at the forefront of so many peoples' minds in recent months and years.

For a while now, it's been safe to say that the blogging landscape has been changing. I, for one, don't feel as many have decried, that blogging is dead, but it has changed a great deal and will continue to evolve as time goes on. I think that many niches are experiencing a bit of a dry spell right now, vintage blogging included. That isn't to say that there aren't still plenty of vintage blogs, there certainly are, but as touched on in posts such as this one from last summer, our ranks aren't quite they used to be.

Add in the fact that vintage blogging isn't a major niche in the grander scheme of the blogging world and it can be tricky to retain, let alone grow, a blogging audience at the best of times. I'm genuinely happy though to say that such is by no means impossible. I've experienced continual steady growth with my blog for years now and have put many of the techniques described here today into action from the very get-go (and in the years since, as they’ve developed – e.g., using Pinterest and Instagram) to help make such happen.

As discussed in my 2014 post, 10 Harsh Truths that Will Make You a Better Blogger, it's crucial to remember that blogging audiences do not just magically form overnight because you launched a site. Most successful bloggers will tell you that working on their readership growth takes up a very healthy part of the time that they devote to their sites each and every week (if not on a daily basis). You are going to have to work for your audience. With exceedingly few exceptions, no one is going to make your blog popular (or even famous) in the long run other than yourself.

This can cause the prospect of growing your blog's following seem like a daunting one, but I promise you that it doesn't have to be. The longer you stick at it (and the more you make peace with the fact that you - like virtually every blog and website on the planet - will experience a natural degree of reader attrition), as with most things in life, the easier and more natural it will become as well. You'll soon find that certain steps on that front become second nature to you and you may even discover that you enjoy some or all of them.

It's probably safe to say at this point in time that just about anyone who is blogging understands the importance of promoting their posts on social media - and indeed, being on at least one or two of big social media sites to begin with - so I won't rehash that well established advice too much here today (nor will I overly go into the obvious benefits of commenting on other blogs that relate to your own).

However, if you are really new to blogging or fell like you need a bit of a refresher course on the subject, I highly recommend that you read my post, 30 Tips That Will Help You Succeed As a New Blogger.

The following selection of thirty-two tips are for bloggers at all levels of the game. From brand spanking new to those who have been at 'er longer than I have (I've been vintage blogging for over seven years now and blogging in one capacity or another since 2004) - and most definitely all those in between.

It is my sincere hope that utilizing some or even all of these points will help your own audience to grow and flourish further from here on out.



32 ways to grow
your blogging audience



1. Blog at the same time and perhaps on the same days, too, each week. Doing so lets your readers know when they can expect a new post and in a way such becomes (all the more) exciting for them, much as though they were looking forward to a new episode of a TV show they really like. For a few years now, I've scheduled almost all of my posts to go live at 5 am PST, which I found - after much experimentation prior to then - to be the time of the day that ultimately resulted in the greatest degree of post views and comments during a given 24 hour, and then week long, period. Second, interestingly enough, was 7 pm, a whole fourteen hours later.


2. Give ample time and effort to SEO approaches. From keywording to inbound and outbound links, effective post titles to photo tags, spending time focusing on your blog's SEO abilities is one of the best and most important things you can possibly do to help grow your site. Each time someone encounters one of your posts during a search engine query, the greater the chance they'll click through and possibly become a follower (and/or share your post on social media, very much including Pinterest - which is part of the reason you want to ensure that every single post you put up on your blog has at least one share-able image in it).


3. Doing these sorts of SEO things is great, but you can help yourself just as much (possibly even more) if you keep a close tab on your blog's analytics data and see what posts are thriving and which are dead before they even hit the water. If you continually see that certain keywords or topics draw in far more views, consider posting about such on a regular basis and steering clear of those that are presently poor SEO performers (or at least cover them less often).


4. Give some thought to the idea of revamping/making over your blog. You may wish you to opt for something more modern looking, perhaps with a wider central area, a more dynamic layout, having about me/contact/FAQ/etc tabs at the top of your page, using lighter colours (for your background, header, etc), and using a logo and/or fonts that have something of a brand building quality to them.

Though you'll never have a design (I don't think that anyone could) that will appeal to everyone, as people tend to make such snap decisions about new sites that they visit, you want them to instantly like and feel at home on your blog before they've even started reading your posts.


5. Add relevant social media icons to your blog either at the top (vertically) of the design or near/at the top of your sidebar. These days people view a strong social media presence as a hallmark of most successful bloggers and simply letting folks know that you're on those kinds of sites can, again, help adhere them to you from the very get-go.


6. Make and stay focused on your blogging goals. Obvious though it may sound, focus is incredibly important when it comes to blogging. If you know what you're aiming for, you can set milestones along the way and better your blog throughout the process.


7. I once read a fellow blogger (unfortunately I don't recall which site, just that it was a modern lifestyle blog that I wasn’t a usual follower of) say something to the effect of that blog posts will only be of use to people if you help them with something. Though I do not believe - and have seen first hand - that such is true in every instance, I do appreciate and agree with the sentiment.

You don't have to literally make all your posts instructional, but it doesn't hurt to have a good many of them help people with a given problem (and it can be a small one - you don't have to reinvent the wheel by any means) whenever possible. Doing so is not only beneficial to your readers, but it helps to establish you as an authority in a given field (or fields) and will encourage people to return to your blog so that they can continue to be positively impacted by your knowledge.


8. Don't be afraid to march to the beat of your own drum. You want your blog to stand out, be instantly recognizable, and to engage readers because of how fresh, fun and beneficial it is to them and their lives. It's impossible to create a blog that everyone on earth would like, but you can create one that hugely appeals to those in your niche(s) and that excites people into returning thanks to the engaging, dynamic content that you present.


9. Some people feel that name dropping can be of help on this front, but in more niche or highly individualized areas, there may not be a lot of "big names" (or you may already be one of the biggest) to drop. Still, linking to other peoples' sites and their specific posts, including discussing how such helped/impacted/inspired you is pretty much never a bad thing and, at the very least, helps readers to know that you're well versed when it comes to other blogs that are similar to your own.


10. Look for ways to collaborate with other blogs and/or websites. While mentioning others on your own blog is great, most of the people reading that post will be part of your existing audience, those on a fellow blogger's site may not be and those are folks that, ideally, you want to have come visit your blog. Such collabs can include things such as each styling the same sort of outfit and posting about it on the same day, interviews, competitions, guest posts, and both blogging about the same topic from a different perspective.


11. Giveaways are your friends! Giveaways, especially those that invite people to enter by sharing about your giveaway on social media, are a fantastic way to bring near readers to your blog – particularly if you're working with a decent sized company and the share about your link on their site(s) and as such your site gets shown to a good sized percentage of their followers. Without fail, I have experienced this wonderful side effect of holding a giveaway (and often with product placement outfit posts, too), each time I've worked with a well known company.


12. The same benefits ring true if you're able to establish a brand ambassador role with a company, wherein you work with them on a regular basis and each have a mutually beneficial relationship of helping to promote one another.


13. Aim to create a substantial amount of evergreen content. Much like the benefits of successful SEO work, evergreen content (posts that continue to do well in terms of search engine hits and/or social media interactions long after they go live) is an extremely vital aspect of blogging and growing your readership, as again, it helps those who may never have done so before to "meet" your blog through one of these posts.


14. Continue to establish and hone your blogging voice, what your blog is about, and the types of posts that you share. Consistency is often king (or queen!) when it comes to blogging. You've likely heard the concept of establishing your blog as a brand at this point in time and really, that is wise advice. Even if you don't want to turn yourself into a brand, your blog should be one or sorts. Doing so helps you stand out from the crowd, can make you look more polished and professional, and will be all the more attractive to new readers and companies that might approach you about working together alike.


15. Write on topics that people actually want to read about. I know, trust me, I know, there's probably someone out there for every topic you can think of, but it's going to take a staggeringly long time to grow your audience if you're courting readers one-by-one. There's a delicate balance between posting things that have blogged to death and that are rather niche-y (even within a niche), but if you can land most of your posts in that sweet middle spot, not only with you help to grow your audience, but you stand a far better chance of having your posts shared by others on social media (and/or referenced and linked to on by readers on their  SM pages).


16. Guest post on other people's sites. This approach does take time and moxie - you're usually going to be the one who is contacting other blogs or websites to ask if you can guest post there, though sometimes you may have sites approach you as well. This lets your own unique voice and/or expertise be seen by an audience that, while sometimes similar, may differ from your own and thus you'll be reaching a wider array of people. Guest posting does take time and isn't for everyone, but it's a very well and long established way of growing your blogging reach and audience.


17. Connect with others in your niche through channels other than blogging. Back in the day, forums (which still exist, of course, but aren't per se as popular/common in many realms as they once were) were a great way to do so. Nowadays various sites like Reddit have somewhat eclipsed (many) forums, but both - as well as other similar channels, plus things like Facebook groups - can be a great way to interact with others who share your interests/passions/(even) problems. Of course you don't want to spam your blog anywhere, but if there's a tasteful way, often as time goes on, to organically mention your site, do it - you may have a built-in audience just waiting at your finger tips, especially if they already know you and value your impute to the group/community on that communal website.


18. Comment on blogs that differ from yours, but not so much that their respective authors wouldn't be apt to come and do the same (comment) on yours, too. Case in point, it never hurts for a vintage fashion blogger to comment on some more mainstream fashion blogs or a knitter to do as much on sewing blogs. Similarities are your friends and are hugely helpful in both cementing and growing your blogging audience.


19. And, speaking of comments, it never hurts to reply to some or all of the comments (especially if your readers ask you a question or pay you a particularly kind compliment) on your own site. This acknowledges your readers and really aids in developing a deeper bond between a blogger and a given reader. Plus it can help ensure that people come back to "talk" with you time and time again. I fully (oh my gosh, so fully!) understand that doing this can take a lot of time, but it can really be worth it in terms of reader retention and audience participation.

I'll often leave replying to (some or all of the) comments on a given post until later in the day, when I've spent a lot of my energy on other blogging (or Etsy shop) related tasks and just want to unwind for a while. If you can write and have audio in the background, you can make the process of replying to comments even more enjoyable by listening to music or watching TV/a movie while you do so.


20. Blog about topics that readers mention and/or questions that they ask. Everyone loves a positive shout out and even if an audience member isn't a blogger themselves, they'll appreciate seeing their name mentioned - as well as be touched that you took the time to personally reply in such detail to their suggestion or question. Sometimes (though not always - it really depends on the topic at hand, I find) I'll title such posts as something like, "You asked: How do I grow my blogging audience", so that my followers see that I'm actively engaging with my audience before they've even read a single word of my post itself.

As well, if the person who inspired your post does have a blog and/or social media accounts, they may share about your post in some or all of those places - thus helping you to connect with their own audience, while also (further) stablishing yourself as someone with expertise on this topic (which again circles back to the fact that posts often succeed when you help or teach people).


21. If you schedule your blog posts to go live on social media (highly recommended), vary the times throughout the days at which they appear. Not only does this help cut down on the potential for people who follow you across multiple platforms to feel less like they've "already seen that" or that you're spamming them (even when you're not intentionally doing so), but you stand to reach a wider audience in the long term, as different folks will be online (and on social media) at varying points throughout the day.


22. Provide your audience with multiple ways to subscribe to/follow your blog. This can include such things as a clearly visible RRS button, a Bloglovin' button, a link (or button with a link) to your Google+ page, an email subscription box (with or without the added element of an email newsletter for such subscribers; almost all blogging experts highly suggest and tote the merits of an email newsletter and I don't disagree there in the slightest), or other similar things. The more ways that they're connected with you, the greater the chance that they'll both visit and comment on your site.


23. If you mention someone with an online presence of any sort, let them know that you've done so. They might not always opt to share your post, but many people happily will and you'll instantly be front and center for a brief moment in their own online sphere. (I’m an extremely shy person and have rarely done this over the years. However, if I could turn back the hands of time, I’d try to quash the butterflies in my stomach and let a fellow blogger, Etsy shop owner, webmaster, etc know each time I included them in any kind of substantial way on my site.)


24. Accept that - but don't feel discouraged by - the fact that, ultimately, some types of blogs are going to do better/be more popular amongst the general population than others. This is something I've struggled with a lot myself over the years. I put an inordinate amount of time, thought, energy, and effort into my blog and would love to have it grow to the (audience) size and scope of some of those in the mainstream fashion/cooking/crafting/lifestyle/etc world, but objectively, I fully realize that such may never happen simply by virtue of the fact that I'm working within the confines of such a, relatively speaking, small community (the vintage subculture).

Instead, I encourage you to strive to become the best that you personally can be within your field and to try and grow even just a small percentage of your audience from outside of such. I have readers who are not vintage bloggers themselves, but who enjoy vintage fashion and/or history and thus are keen to follow my site. No matter what you blog about, chances are there are others with similar interests who would be interested in engaging with your blog, too.


25. Don't fail to take yourself seriously as a blogger or to think that others simply because you're blogging in a close knit niche. Doing so definitely doesn't mean that you can't still bring your pro blogging A game with you wherever you go and in whatever you do. Be professional, polite, dedicated, and driven in how you approach blogging and it will be hard for your audience not to grow because you'll be presenting yourself and your content in a way that is vastly appealing to a large audience.


26. Follow blogs and websites that focus heavily (or exclusively) on blogging related topics. There are thousands upon thousands out there in this field and while you find a degree of repetitiveness amongst some of them at times, the tips and personal expertise that many can offer to other bloggers can be downright invaluable. I read a fair number myself, with The Sits Girls, Nectar Collective, By Regina, Bloggers' Lounge, and The Blog Maven being just a few of my personal favourites these days.


27. Up your photography (and photo editing) game. You don't have to buy 10K worth of glass, only shot during the golden hour, use Photoshop actions like there's no tomorrow, or include staged photos in every single post, but just about anyone can brush up on their photography skills, look for new and exciting ways to photograph themselves and/or the other things they share on their site, and stay abreast of new technologies that could help improve their photo taking abilities.


28. If you have an online shop, link to your blog and social media profiles there, as well as vice versa. I link to my blog on every single one of my Etsy shop's listings, and also have my blog's URL printed on all of my business cards, order postcards, and promotional materials such as flyers and banners for when I sell in person at vintage and antique shows around Western Canada.

I've had many customers, even those who aren't vintage bloggers (or even bloggers point blank) become readers of mine through my shop and/or marketing literature, such as my business cards. You just never know how you'll "meet" a reader, so it always helps to be prepared and to promote your blog tastefully through out areas of your life and/or career.


29. Divide and conquer. If you have the knowledge and time to blog about two (or more) different, but overlapping, areas on the same blog (such as vintage fashion and sewing projects of a vintage nature), go for it!!!

No matter how small both niches may be, two stand to bring in more traffic than one alone and if you include elements of both areas in most, or all of your posts, the majority of your readers will not unsubscribe/stop following your blog just because you opt to discuss something that doesn't overly apply to them some of the time. And when it comes to certain areas, such as sewing, cooking, crafting, parenting, home decor, and books/reading the sky is pretty much the limit in terms of the number of potential (interested) audience members that you can


30. Join the AV club. As great, and beneficial, as traditional social media is, there's definitely much to be said in favour of expanding your blog and (brand's) reach by joining a visual and/or audio based platform such as YouTube, Periscope, Snapchat, or Anchor - and/or going the more traditional podcasting route (it's actually super surprising how few vintage/rockabilly related pod casts there are).


31. Advertise on other blogs in your niche or those related to it. Though advertising does usually cost (unless you've entered into a mutually beneficial ad swap agreement with a fellow blogger), some people find it to be a great way to drive traffic to their site, which in turn stands to create a larger number of followers. It is a mistake to think that everyone out there avoids ads on blogs like the plague. I work with a diverse, wonderful groups of sidebar blog sponsors and most report that the click through rates and user engagement of their ads exceeded their expectations.


32. Ensure that your blog allows for comments. This might sound painfully obvious, but your posts are going to do better when people can comment on them. In recent years we've seen a trend towards turning off in-site blog commenting systems and using social media ones, such as those from Facebook and Google+ instead.

There are many folks though, who don't want what they have to say to you to be broadcast on social media (or may simply prefer traditional commenting systems) and you're potentially alienating all of those people by not having a classic commenting system in place. If you wish to include both versions (traditional and social media), that's totally fine, and may certainly stand to help grow your audience all the more because you're offering your readers the best of both of these commenting worlds.


{No matter what stage you're at in terms of your current blog audience, there's always room to grow and expand further. Not only is doing so rewarding for you and your (extremely) hard work, but it will benefit your audience, too, as they'll get to enjoy the fruits of your flourishing website. Vintage photograph source.}


♥ ♥ ♥



While a fairly extensive list, there are of course other possible ways to grow your blogging audience out there and I'd love to hear any that you may know of/use in the comments below, which will be of help to others reading this post, as well quite possibly to myself, too.

I'm always actively looking for ways to extend my blog's reach, to create long term readers, and to help my blog evolve in as many ways as realistically possible. I don't view the fact that the blogging world has (again, in some areas at least) slowed down as a negative point, so much as a challenge to myself to keep pushing, growing and changing for the better so as to keep up with the fast paced digital world of 2016 (and beyond).

Ultimately though, of all the advice I can give about expanding your blogging audience, the one tip that I think rings most important is to be grateful for your audience. Treat them with respect, show your appreciation, and take the time to interact act with those who value you enough to do the same.

Social media shares and other techniques might get you to a new blog follower milestone faster, but I can think of almost nothing else that will create a long lasting audience more effectively than showing new and existing readers alike how truly important they are to the success of your site - just as you've all been to mine since the very get-go.

73 comments:

  1. Great advice, and great post my dear friend!

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet Sylvie, I'm sincerely happy to know that you enjoyed this post.

      Many hugs & happy summertime wishes coming your way,
      ♥ Jessica

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  2. Awesome post, Jessica! Lots of helpful info here, I'm sure you've done a lot of people a big favour by collecting it together :) And I completely agree with you re social media comment options. There's a blog I read often but hardly ever comment on because they use the Google+ comment box, and to use that I have to sign out of my personal account and into my blog one, which is a huge faff and means I have to start from scratch each time. Therefore, no comments... A lot of us don't choose to share our real names in this online world, so forcing people to use something linked to their personal profile isn't a good move for that reason, in my opinion...

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more regarding the issues surrounding third party comment boxes. I am not the type that posts much on my personal FB or GP pages and usually don't want to share my comments on a given blog post in either spot, despite a sincere desire to share my thoughts with the blogger behind the site with this type of system. I will do so occasionally, but not very often and that really pains me, as I so love commenting on many of the blogs (especially in the vintage realm) that I read. It's good to know I'm not the only one who feels this way about the matter.

      Big hugs & many thanks for your terrific comment,
      ♥ Jessica

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  3. Dear Jessica, Thank you for most valuable and timely post that is going to be very helpful in my journey as a very new blogger. I have read some of your posts highlighted here and will be revisiting them. My knowledge of how do blogging is slowly increasing and I will be putting much of your advice here into practice. Reading your blog, has enhanced my life without doubt and writing my own has given me a "brighteness" that so many of my friends and family have noticed! Thank you dear Jessica for all your help and encouragement! With very best wishes from the UK, Elizabeth xx

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    1. That is an immensely touching, encouraging and beautiful comment, dear Elizabeth. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Likewise, I'm wild about your blog and how very much your own true voice shines through - a point that can truly help any blogger succeed all the more - and eagerly look forward to each new entry that you share with us.

      Please don't hesitate to drop me a line if you should ever happen to have any blogging related questions that I haven't covered here (or in past blogging related posts) or that you'd like to chat about in further detail. I'm here to be of assistance on blogging front in any way that I can.

      Many hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  4. I dont worry to much about the audiene on my blog. I basically write it for myself and just to atrract a few like minded people. Plus my blog is all over the place. Still these are great tips

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    1. You're blog is a true delight and one of the highlights of my feeds, Kate. From pets to movies, amazing outfits to pop culture, you cover such a fantastic and engaging array of topics and always leave me exited to see what you'll share with us next.

      Big hugs & many thanks for your lovely comment (and compliment),
      ♥ Jessica

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  5. Great tips. Thanks for giving me an advance-preview! :-)

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    1. You're truly welcome, Ally. This post would likely not be here were it not for the great conversations we shared on this very topic earlier in the year. Thank you immensely for that and for the catalyst to pen to this post. I hope with all my might that any of these ideas that you utilize pay off in spades for you, my friend.

      Have a fantastic week,
      ♥ Jessica

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  6. Thanks Jessica! It's always good to read which areas can be improved.

    Sometimes I'm reall focused on letting my blog grow, getting more followers ecc. But sometimes I just think it's good the way it is. Of course I like to have comments and followers, but I also like to spend my spare time and limited energy on what I love most and that is sewing and knitting. That means I have to make some concessions every now and then. I know this might be different if you're a professional blogger. I just like to document my vintage crafting journeys and connect with likeminded people :)

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    1. Absolutely! If so desired, it is important to focus on this area, but sometimes it's equally wise to shift your focus to what you write (and/or otherwise create for) your blog and to make sure you're having as much fun as possible in the process. That's a great point and very much appreciate you touching on it, dear Anthea.

      Many hugs & thanks for your great comment,
      ♥ Jessica

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  7. Thanks so much for the information!

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    1. My pleasure, Sue. I'm happy to know that you enjoyed this tip filled post.

      Have a wonderful month of June,
      ♥ Jessica

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  8. This is a lot of great information. Thank you for sharing your wisdom! I'll definitely be revisiting this post.

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    1. You're very welcome, dear Anna. I'm a huge believer in the idea that we all win when we help one another succeed and love posts like this that really let me speak to a huge array of bloggers, both within and outside of the vintage realm, at once.

      Many hugs & happy Tuesday wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  9. Bloghops (weekly, yearly, or one-off) can also help with networking, and of course, there's the yearly A to Z Challenge every April, which I've participated in for five years now (three of those years with two blogs). It's a lot of work, and most normal people never get to visit all the thousand-plus blogs on the list, but it's still a great way to discover bloggers you wouldn't have known existed.

    My blog started out as yet another writing blog, and while I still have topics about writing fairly often, I decided to switch my focus to include historical topics related to my writing, vintage film reviews, and some book and album reviews. So many people I know in the writing blogosphere have done the same, moving away from only or primarily writing about writing and publishing to focusing on their other interests or helping other writers through promotion. There are only so many ways you can cover the same material about editing, querying, self-publication, plotting, etc., before it becomes the same post over and over again.

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    1. Hi Carrie-Anne, thank you very much for your wonderful comment and for raising the point regarding bloghops. That's not (for a handful of different reasons) something that I've explored a great deal over the years, so it doesn't always spring to mind for me. They really are excellent though and I've seen some of the blogs that I follow grow their readerships significantly after participating in just one or two large scale hops. I personally appreciate the reminder about such and will be looking into more that might be a good fit for my blog in the future (thank you!).

      Have a fantastic week!
      ♥ Jessica

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  10. Wow, doesn't this just show how much effort and time and commitment you put into your blog. Successful blogs are always those whose authors love their blog and cherish it. In my own opinion, although there are some fantastic blogs out there, ( some of which I've found through yours ) yours takes some beating and long may you continue to guide, inspire and generally brighten up the day of so many xx

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    1. Thank you with all my heart, dear Emily. Your unflapping support of my blog, continually beautiful words, and lovely friendship all mean the world to me.

      Huge hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  11. Thanks for sharing all this wonderful advice, Jessica. I have seen my blog grow over the last six months. I still have plenty of room to grow!, but thanks to you and other blog readers, I have been able to make a personal connection with my readers through comments and even email!

    Sarah
    www.sewcharacteristicallyyou.com/blog

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    1. That's such an important element of blogging, in my opinion. I couldn't fathom blogging without the personal connection element side of things involved. As much as I love writing, the (online) experience of doing so just would not be the same without wonderfully lovely fellow bloggers to interact with.

      Here's to the continued growth of your delightful blog, dear Sarah (and many heartfelt thanks for all of the love and support that you've shown mine).

      Big hugs coming your way,
      ♥ Jessica

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  12. Thank you Jessica, an absolutely fabulous post!

    One thing I'd like to mention, because I'm curious if anyone else has had this problem, ... and better yet if they figured out how to solve it! We really do encourage comments on our blog, but other than a few from family and close friends we just don't get them. It isn't that the blog isn't being read an shared, we just don't get comments! I've read lots of tips and employed all the ones that were appropriate, and still, a ringing silence! Anyone have any ideas?
    Thanks,
    Grey Dove

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    1. Hi Grey Dove, thank you very much for your lovely comment and follow up question regarding ways in which to engage readers to comment. It's important to note that, naturally, some topics and, by extension, types of blogs in general will naturally garner more comments than others and that such is entirely normal. Folks want to feel like they can relate to you and what you're saying, so if you're posting topics with a personal and/or helpful element, then people will often be more inclined to comment. I know, trust me, that it can take a lot of time and effort, but commenting on other peoples' sites in niches similar to your own still remains, to my mind (and based on my personal experience), the single best way to encourage folks to do the same on your site.

      Best of luck and try not to get discouraged. Most blogs do not hit the ground running straight out the gate and may take months or even years to start to amass a following that regularly leaves comments.

      Wishing you a beautiful summer,
      ♥ Jessica

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  13. I loved your post, dear Jessica, you know I read all with attention - I agree with all you said (wrote); it's all true, I guess; I do know some people who want to be "big" for the simple fact that they think they are awesome - OK, it's good to be confident, but it's not enough, I suppose. My blog had a very good ranking position till December; then I travelled for many months and couldn't really take care of it, then it decreased a big deal. But it's OK, I am happy for my little niche :) Hope you have a very nice week! Hugs and regards!
    DenisesPlanet.com

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    1. While I'm sincerely sorry that you've experienced a recent drop in blog views, dear Denise, and hope that such picks back up again for you quickly, your comment about such drives home a great point: a blog (usually) needs a lot of constant work, time, and attention to not only maintain its numbers, but to (ideally) see them continue to grow. Yes, there are a few exceptions to the rule (and I don't just mean the blogs of various big time celebrities), but generally speaking, such is very true and is something that anyone who is keen to create a large blogging audience must keep in mind as they go about doing so. Blog audiences and page rankings don't just magically appear overnight. They usually take serious work, effort, time, experimentation, community interaction, and perseverance - especially (oh, so especially!) if you're operating in a very niche topic, such as (in my case) vintage.

      The good news however is things can usually be turned around if your numbers do take a temporary plunge. I've certainly experienced such myself over the years (including in 2010 and 2011, respectively, due in both cases to periods of being away and/or blogging less due to extremely poor health) and am happy to say that I've always managed to regain my footing and continue to keep on growing as time goes on. Your blog is fantastic and you're a wonderfully lovely person, Denise, and I definitely think you can bounce back in terms your readership numbers.

      Tons of hugs coming right back at you,
      ♥ Jessica

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  14. So many great tips! Advertising is something I want to start doing this year :)

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    1. Thank you very much, lovely lady. How exciting! I wish you nothing but the best on that front and hope that you hit on some sites that are stellar advertising placements for your great blog.

      Big hugs & happy Tuesday wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  15. Wonderful post! Thanks for sharing your blogging expertise!

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Grace. The pleasure really is mine. Posts like this just flow from my heart and soul and are truly one of the favourite topics (the act of blogging and how to succeed at it, that is) to write about.

      Many hugs & happy Tuesday wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  16. This is so, so helpful! Thank you so much for posting about this topic, because I'm sure it's something that a large number of your readers (myself very much included) are interested in. I'm definitely going to take some of these tips to heart, and I appreciate that they don't involve shelling out a lot of money. Quality content, making connections, and knowing your audience - anyone can do that with a little work.

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    1. Very well said, my dear friend. Objectively, if one is willing and able to put in the leg work required, the steps involved in growing (and maintaining) your blogging audience are not per se hard, though they do involve commitment and elbow grease, and don't need to involve a lot of fancy bells and whistles at all.

      Thank you for your great comment and impute here. I really appreciate it.

      Have a beautiful week!

      xoxo ♥ Jessica

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  17. You are so smart and generous and stylish. That's why we love ya. There are some excellent tips here and I am definitely going to take them to heart. And can I tell you how much I adore that vintage photo??!!

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    1. Isn't it a gorgeous image? It makes me think so much of my maternal grandma, as she had several sisters and only one brother (who was the youngest), so a lineup of them as youngsters would have looked fairly similar (albeit in 30s garb).

      Thank you very much for your immensely sweet and touching comment, dear Connie. You're always so lovely to me and I want you to know just how much I appreciate that.

      Tons of hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  18. Good advice here!
    Replying to comments makes such a big impact - there are a few blogs I follow where the author hardly ever responds, and while I still enjoy reading them it wouldn't occur to me to bother with commenting. Your responses are always warm and welcoming and it makes your blog seem like a very personal chatty experience.

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    1. That is such an awesome (and encouraging!) compliment, dear Rhiannon, thank you very much. I'm delighted to know that you enjoy the fact that I try my best to reply to as many comments as possible here.

      Big hugs & happy wishes for June,
      ♥ Jessica

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  19. Thank-you, thank-you! I have been thinking of this very topic lately, as I am such a new blogger, and so this is a very timely bit of information. Thank-you for sharing so generously!
    The Artyologist

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    1. You are sincerely welcome, sweet lady. Your blog is off to a stellar start and has fast become one of my favourite weekly reads. Keep up the wonderful work and please know that I'm always here if you need someone to "talk shop", so to speak, with when it comes to blogging.

      Many hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  20. great tips from a boiled in the wool blogger! your big audience proofs that you know what you´r doing :-)
    hugs&kisses! <3 <3 <3

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    1. That is such a fabulously lovely compliment, sweet Beate. Thank you so much!!!

      Oodles of hugs & happy June wishes coming right back at you,
      ♥ Jessica

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  21. Fantastic post as always! I pretty much do most of the points you mention here but I think the most important thing I've learned doing this is that you have to be patient. You can't expect to start blogging and suddenly have hundreds of visitors and comments overnight. It takes time to build an audience. xx

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    1. That it most certainly does - especially, I would argue, in the last 2 - 3 years, as many bloggers have retired (or scaled back a ton), while at the same time, social media continues to gain an ever greater degree of usage and popularity (over blogging). There is still very much an eager blogging audience out there however and one of the biggest keys to reaching them is definitely patience coupled with dedicated perseverance.

      I'm a huge fan of your blog and think that you're doing a splendid job with it, dear Cate.

      Oodles of hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  22. Thank you so much for this good advice!
    I've been blogging for almost a year now on RetroCat.de, before I had a beauty related blog, so I know how difficult it can be to grow your audience.
    Thanks again, I really appreciate you tips!

    Many hugs,
    Sandra

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    1. You're wholeheartedly welcome, dear Sandra. I really enjoy your blog - very much including the gorgeous photos you share there - and think that you're doing a wonderful job with Retro Cat. I'm a loyal reader and happily look forward to each new entry that you share with us.

      Tons of hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  23. What a great post, with lots of good advice, especially for a new blogger like me. I am glad to note that I am at least doing some things right. Many hugs, Ann xxx

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    1. Thank you sweetly, dear Ann. Your blog is sooo much fun! I love the blend of second hand finds + outfits + other assorted topics that you share with us and always beam when I see that you've put up a new post.

      Oodles of hugs & encouragement on your own blogging journey,
      ♥ Jessica

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  24. I can't see me doing anything that would make my blog popular if I'm honest. I very much feel I'm on the outside peeking in through a window watching everyone else interacting and having fun. I have though just redesigned so to speak my blog look, as I thought maybe my rook header was a bit on the gothic side, when I am far from that!

    xxx

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    1. I think your blog is a genuine delight, dear Melanie, and really appreciate the range of (primarily vintage related) topics that you share there with us. Your blend of outfit + other types of posts is very appealing to me, as it mirrors the same approach that I take here, too.

      Many hugs coming your way,
      ♥ Jessica

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  25. Oh Jessica you know it makes me so happy when you post about blogging advice and things like that. These are such good tips, and go beyond the basics and really into depth. Love it. This one will go in the newsletter!

    Your closing comments about respect sum it up perfectly, and I think are exactly why you are one of the nicest people on the internet!

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  26. This was educational.
    Thanks, Jessica.
    You have stated the most important thing in rising up within this BLOG-o-sphere: advertise, advertise, advertise. :) Write comments, and mention yourself more. Invite others to join in your "party", shop people you exist . feel free to mention your blog's name all the time, everywhere.. advertisement is the key.
    I'd like to add another interesting thing:
    GO FAR. Some days, your blogging "mojo" might need another perspective, beside the usual "suspects". So, why not reading some scientific talks? Or maybe, venture into the world of high-couture? You are even allowed to dibble into alternative medical treatments, dancing videos, geometry... there is so many things in life, and one of them might hold that "spark" that will make you burst with inspiration. :D

    (I'm an eclectic.. and proud of it)
    M.

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    1. That is an excellent point and one that I can't possibly agree with more, dear Marija. Thank you very much for bringing up the importance of searching for inspiration (and a good recharging of one's batteries) outside of the vintage (or whatever your main focus is) world.

      I've relied on that technique heavily over the years and am so grateful that my many interests (fellow proud eclectic soul here) have lead me to have a wide range of other areas to turn to - and tune into - as needed. It's fantastic that you're able to do the same as well - another point (re: my post on such earlier this year) in favour of being electric for sure. :)

      Big hugs & happy mid-week wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  27. I favorited this so I can read it a little more thoroughly later, as I trust you to not have cookie cutter solutions (as so many sites have posts like that)! That's awesome that you put out this kind of content and that you appear to update it this kind of info regularly (I'm heading over to read the niche post you linked now!) XO
    Lauren-Blair
    www.prefertobedemure.com

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    1. Hi Lauren, thank you very much for your wonderful comment and for sharing that you'll be returning to read this post in greater detail later on. I'm the first to admit that it is on the hefty side before, but it's a subject that I'm so passionate about that once I start talking, it's hard for me to stop. :) I really hope that you find my impute on the subject beneficial to you and your own fantastic blog.

      Many hugs coming your way,
      ♥ Jessica

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  28. I've read this twice now. I love that even though some of these seem logical and we all probably think d'uh we still need to be reminded and still need to take the concrete step to making any changes to improve our blogs. Thanks!

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    1. You're wholeheartedly welcome, my dear friend. I know what you mean and read a lot on the topic of blogging, too, as sometimes we need reminders of seemingly obvious things that in the busy course of running our blogs we've either forgotten or hadn't thought of yet (or in a particular way). I'm thrilled to know that you enjoyed this post and really appreciate your comment on it.

      Oodles of hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  29. Great tips and thanks for sharing! I have been blogging for few years and currently doing a bit of research on how I can improve my blog. So happy to came across this post :)

    Cheers,
    Kaelyn
    http://colourfulbuttons.blogspot.hk/

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    1. Hi Kaeyln, you're sincerely welcome, my dear. I'm really happy to know that you found this post beneficial and appreciate you sharing as much with me. Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any follow up questions to it.

      Big hugs from Canada,
      ♥ Jessica

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  30. You have no idea how many things I did not know from your list - even though I have been blogging for ages :) I've honestly just been "playing it by ear" and tweeking the site design on my own and just enjoying my hobby. Sometimes I do wish I could do more with it, specially photography wise...

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    1. Deriving personal happiness from what you do really can be the most important element of blogging, IMO, and it sounds like you're experiencing such with your (fabulous!) site, my dear friend. I always adore your posts and happily look forward to each new look (and closet update or clean out) that you share with us.

      Many hugs & happy (almost) weekend wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  31. I love this post! It's such a great list and I like how detailed and extensive it is. Also: 100% yes to number 8. For the longest time I wanted to "fit in" and be like all the other bloggers and I was just another cookie cutout. And then I realized that 1. that didn't make me happy, and 2. I wasn't recognizable from all the other blogs out there. So I try to be myself and be happy with my blog even though I get stuck in the comparison game a lot.

    Also, when people have their comments turned off it's a huge turn away for me. I love interacting and having comments off is like removing yourself from the world. Or saying you don't want to talk to people. Hah!

    xo
    Kristina
    www.eccentricowl.com

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    1. Very true regarding when people turn off comments or don't (ever) reply to or visit the blogs of those that take the time to visit and comment on theirs. I fully understand (!) how much time such can take and don't expect all bloggers to reply to each comment or pop by the sites of all those who do so to theirs, but it just seems like common courtesy to me personally to do so at least sometimes, if at all possible. I've become dear friends with many of my readers, both fellow bloggers and non-bloggers alike, over the years thanks to such, while also discovering so many stellar blogs in the process. This side of blogging is a deeply important one to me and something that I make sure to factor time into my work schedule for pretty much each week.

      Thank you very much for both of your splendid comments yesterday. I'm a huge fan of your gorgeous blog and was tickled pink to discover that you're a reader of mine, too.

      Big hugs,
      ♥ Jessica

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  32. Very useful tips, and I've done most of the but not consistently. I do believe they all work, but it really comes down to how well you write compelling content. I find people that have a passion for some niche hobby tends to write content that other people come back to. It took me a long time to realize this, but photography is what I'm good at, and that has now been a big focus in my own blog. Hopefully things will work out for me.

    http://www.pixics.com/blog

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    1. It's fantastic that you've been able to recognize and focus on one of your blogging strengths. Great images can certainly go an incredibly long way in helping a blog to flourish all the more and I wish you continued success with your own site.

      ♥ Jessica

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  33. Really interesting what possebilities are out there to grow a blog ... But as I see my blog as a hobby I don't really feel like putting that much effort in creating more followers. Next to my office job (with a new contract in sight and more hours to work in the near future) and my teeny weeny Etsy, I don't really have any time left to 'fight' for more attention and moe readers. If no one is interested to visit my little blog anymore soon maybe I have to leave it behind and stick to IG. Or I keep posting for myself and take it as a lookbook. I'm happy for who ever stops by and leaves a comment or not. ;)

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    1. I completely understand, my dear friend, and sincerely appreciate that you've continued to keep blogging, even with everything that you have on your plate. I for one will always be a devoted reader for as long as you keep adding new content and absolutely adore seeing everything, from outfit snaps to vintage magazine pages, that you share there with us.

      Big hugs & happy Sunday wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  34. This is such a great post, stuffed full of tips. I'm going to save it to read again and to decide which things I may like to apply to my blog. It is kind and generous of your to share your advice and blogging wisdom. You have covered plenty of useful things no matter how large or small someone wishes their blog to be.

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    1. What a wonderfully lovely compliment, dear Kate. Thank you very much. I agree - even if one has the most popular blog in the whole wide world, there are always things you can do - or do further - to continue to both grow your reach and your skills further. Thank you for raising that wise point.

      Many hugs & happy mid-June wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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  35. Great post Jessica! While I blog, two things really hit home with me as a blog reader... 1- "Ensure that your blog allows for comments". I am one of those people that really hate having my comments broadcast on social media. If there are no options for traditional commenting I usually just stay quiet. And also 2- "be grateful for your audience. Treat them with respect, show your appreciation, and take the time to interact act with those who value you enough to do the same". As a reader it really makes my day seeing a blogger that will comment on their audience's comments. And it is a step far beyond to me when a blogger that I follow and regularly comment on will venture to my blog and also comment. It really makes my heart happy to have these little interactions and makes reading a person's blog so much more personable and companionable! <3

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    1. You know, I suspect, objectively, that there are a good many of us who feel that way, too, and I always feel conflicted when I encounter a "social media only comment" blog and want to comment, but opt not to because I have zero desire for such to be broadcast publicly. I can understand both sides of the coin, especially with the ever greater rise of SM, but I do genuinely wish that all blogs would, at the very least, offer the double commenting system (standard and SM). I appreciate you sharing that you feel much the same was on this matter, too, sweet dear.

      Huge hugs & many thanks for your wonderful comment,
      ♥ Jessica

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  36. Oh my, I'm glad I don't blog anymore. Reading your fantastic list of advice makes me tired. It was a job in itself, a job I didn't have time for. I am so happy that I'm offline (very vintage) and spend my time being creative instead. It was a pressure and it was never a success, so I feel it was a good decision to stop. Sometimes I think "I could have blogged about this" and sometimes I think that I could just blog for fun every now and then. Casually with no pressure of specific days to update, and growing or anything. Just pop in every now and then. But then I remind myself that I will just start all over again if I did. I stick to IG, it is so nice and easy to update and follow, so it is doable. But I fully understand why you (!) get so many questions of blogging advice, dear. It is a huge compliment and one you really deserve. XOXO

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    1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. That is such a wonderfully kind and encouraging compliment.

      You know, I think I'd be the same way, too. It would be very, very hard for me to have an active blog on a subject I'm teeming with ideas for and not write on a frequent basis, so I can definitely understand where you're coming from there, sweet Sanne.

      Blogging doesn't have to be a full-time job (literally or simply with the time involved), of course, and it certainly isn't for everyone, but as soon as you start posting frequently and immersing yourself heavily in the community, it can - as you know yourself - quickly become such and one does really have to ask themselves if they're okay, signing up for, so to speak, such.

      My hope is that these points will be of help to all bloggers, no matter how "full-time" or not they may be, especially since I know that their blogs are not the day jobs of many of my readers, yet that doesn't mean that those folks don't want to see their blogs grow all the same. I think nearly all bloggers love it when such is able to happens and hope that these tips can help anyone who encounters them to do just that.

      Thank you again & have an absolutely awesome last week of spring,
      ♥ Jessica

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  37. What a post! I complete get so many of these, and aim to focus on some more. But there were a few I had/have problems with.

    First I seriously have problems with sticking to a schedule for blogging, in the whole same day/time way. Mainly because I can be insanely busy and won't get to posting for one reason or another, or I'm not busy at all and have nothing to write about! However, I always aim to write and post about something within three days of it occurring.

    The other thing is the whole SEO concept. I paid SO much attention to that when I started out and a few years in, and then I noticed a pattern - lingerie. Most of the words people were typing in, and the posts they were reading were ancient posts about vintage lingerie. And many of the search topics were just plain creepy! So I kind of gave up on paying attention to that.

    I also have a devastatingly difficult time honing a niche. Like seriously. I love SO much different stuff and want to share it! But I will admit that there are some things where, yeah, I want to share it, and it's cool to me, but I honestly don't think too many people would care, so I hold back. Sometimes I do a test drive via Instagram with either images or questions to get people's vibe on the subject matter.

    That said though, I am still going to take a lot of what you said and apply it! Especially with collaborations!

    xoxo
    -Janey

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    1. Hi sweet Janey, thank you very much for your excellent comment. I really appreciate you sharing so many of your thoughts and experiences regarding this topic with me/us here.

      I think it's super commendable that you try to blog about something within three days of it happening. That's not an easy feat in the slightest and goodness knows, I'm rarely able to do the same (though, in part, this is intentional, as I find my blog flows most smoothly when I write a decent percentage of my posts at least a bit in advance of their publication date). There are exceptions there, of course, and goodness knows, I've literally published some outfit posts where the photos were taken and the entry written within 24 hours (often setting them to go live mere minutes before they actually did so). That's always quite the rush! :)

      Very interesting about the keywords that were landing the most searches your way. Mine tend to be much more "vanilla", if you, will. Things like "vintage birthday" and "vintage Christmas cards", as well as various fashion related searches (snoods, crinolines, gloves, etc) tend to bring a lot of traffic my way, as do, very interesting ones pertaining to blogging tips/advice (which is all the more reason why I like to post pieces like this from time-to-time). I think it would be a bit unnerving, especially if such wasn't the focal point of your blog, to constantly encounter searches related to something as intimate as vintage lingerie. I'm sorry that you've experienced that.

      Goodness, do I hear you there! I think it's awesome when bloggers cover a wide range of topics and/or their personal interests. Granted there's little stopping me from doing so now, if I really wanted, but if I could go back in time to the very earliest days of my blog, I think I'd write about more of my interests aside from "just" vintage (although, I am the first to admit that many of those interests to overlap and/or ultimate lead back to vintage). I've always adored the diverse array of topics you cover and hope that you'll long continue to post about anything your heart desires.

      I'm delighted to know that this post spoke to you and that you're going to put some of these tips to (further) use. That's awesome to hear and I truly wish you nothing but the best with every aspect of your wonderful blog.

      Tons of hugs & happy weekend wishes,
      ♥ Jessica

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