As I weave my way through the blogging galaxy, I am learning so much about the process of keeping a blog going. Of course, I am making tonnes of mistakes too. So let me share with you some of my experience, this time focusing on taking a blog to the next stage (whatever that may be for you).
My blog began as a place to write the odd book review and get down my thoughts on environmental issues. It was ad-hoc and I often went months on end without producing any content at all. However last summer I decided to pay for a full WordPress membership instead of the free one, so I could explore plugins, get to grips with the technical side and, most importantly, begin to write regular content.
Here are my thoughts on progressing a blog. I spoke about maintaining one last time in this article about getting into a good routine. Now, let’s discuss moving forward. This can be just expanding the hobby or potentially developing a site in order to make it a part time business. Remember I am still in the early stages and by no means an expert. Nevertheless, these are my thoughts.
It is not something worth obsessing over but it is worth having a look at your blog analytics regularly. I am not too interested in overall views but finding out which posts are most popular or have the most interaction via comments can be extremely helpful if wanting to improve the blog.
After all, if people seem to be lapping up poetry posts then it wouldn’t hurt to write some more. When random posts about the News don’t seem to generate any interest, that is no reason not to continue dropping them in but perhaps consider writing fewer.
From day one I started using the readily available WordAds featured on WordPress. It seemed odd as -for what seemed like an eternity- it just kept leaving placeholders, which are essentially just adverts for WordAds itself.
However, after weeks of analysing my site, it started to throw up actual adverts and slowly but surely, small amounts of money began to register on the Jetpack dashboard. For me, this has never been a big earner but it does grow slowly over time.
As soon as I had my blog up and running, I applied to use Google Adsense which is a nice way to include adverts on a blog whilst establishing it. The hardest part of this process was copying and pasting the code in the right place on my blog. Adsense itself was a really easy to use provider. I noticed slightly more money accruing and occasionally someone would click on an advert for an extra boost.
Using an ‘Insert Headers and Bloggers’ plugin enabled me to insert the code that I needed to connect Adsense to my WordPress pages. I was also able to add widgets within the ‘Appearance’ section of my blog dashboard, where I could then select specific places that adverts might appear. This simply required pasting custom html into the widgets on either my sidebar or beneath the articles.
I now use Ezoic for advertising placement and it has already improved my site speed and revenue, after just a few weeks. Ezoic bids against Adsense and whichever bids the most gets the advert spot each time. The best thing about changing to Ezoic is that there are lots of learning videos and challenges which enable me to take the decisions about my site into my own hands, whilst recognising clever suggestions.
I have recently learned about optimisation and how to declutter my blog of plugins. Similarly I learned how to cache my blog to make it more accessible and responsive. I knew nothing about these things until I watched Ezoic learning videos. They make regular suggestions for improvement which you can take or leave. You can also test each change before it goes live to make sure it doesn’t disrupt your home page.
Working with Bloggers
The biggest thing for me in helping me to improve my blog has been grabbing opportunities to collaborate. I welcomed my first guest post in the Autumn and noticed that my DA suddenly improved. Ever since, I have been offering to write on others’ blogs and encouraging them to produce content for mine. This ‘I’ll scratch your back, you scratch mine’ technique is definitely good for growth and visibility.
Having backlinks to and from other blogs makes your blog look more established and trustworthy, therefore increasing the likelihood of Google recognising it and eventually for Moz to increase its domain authority.
Without overloading you with information, I hope that this brief article has encouraged you to continue developing your blog. It would be wonderful to hear your own thoughts about moving a blog forwards. Monetisation isn’t everything but it is an added bonus, so please feel free to share your tips below.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Please consider following my blog for similar future content and posts about books and the environment.