I have been blogging since 2007 but I have only decided to take it professionally in the last year. When I first began blogging, I didn't focus on followers and I never looked at Google Analytics. As a matter of fact, I only installed it a little over a year ago. Do numbers really matter when it comes to monetizing? Yes and No.
When I decided to monetize a year ago, I fretted over my numbers. I am not a huge blogger (obviously) and frankly, I am not sure I want to be where Dooce, Pioneer Woman or KERF has hit. They are enormous, they have a huge fan base and a huge troll base. I am okay with NEVER hitting their status and doubt I would ever want to be but I sure wouldn't mind being as awesome as a Pinch of Yum (my blog crush!). However, my numbers were tiny (oh bloody hell, who am I kidding? They still are. LOL). I was MAYBE getting 3-4,000 pageviews per month per GA. I would apply for campaigns and would get turned down. I did feel pretty bummed out over yet ANOTHER "Thanks for applying but you were not chosen" email.
Instead of saying that it was them. I knew it was me. I purchased a better looking layout, I focused on improving my photography, I focused on improving my content, and I focused on ENGAGEMENT with readers on my blog and my social media followers. I also thought long and hard about my answers to applications BEFORE submitting them.
I started getting approved for campaigns.
Then, I started getting more and more and more and more opportunities.
All of this was while my numbers were LOW.
Just two months ago, I hit 7,000 pageviews.
A month ago, I am at 20,000 pageviews.
I don't have a large following on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Bloglovin' or G+ (If you'd like to help that problem... my links are on my sidebar. Hint Hint) but I feel that my YOU like my content and I follow those who I am genuinely interested in following.
I'd rather have 400 followers who visit my blog and may or may not comment (I know, I know... comments have shrunk and that's okay but if you give it a tweet, pin, plus up, or a comment, I know you are reading) versus 10,000 followers who are only following because they entered a contest. That is also why I don't do very many contests. I want a real audience who is interested in what I have to write about.
It's not just about the numbers, it's mostly about the blogger, the content and the blogger's audience. If you can bring something unique and creative to the table- you have a great chance.
I am a part of blogging groups (aka tribes) and I see bloggers desperate for traffic.
They have extremely POOR photography. I am referring to early 2000s flip phone poor quality.
Their spelling is atrocious. I don't mean a typo here and there (I am sure there are some in this post!) but I mean absolutely terrible spelling.
They have Captcha.
Their content is absolutely awful. AWFUL.
They don't market to the right audience and are ONLY concerned about numbers- they think that having a massive amount of followers is important. It's not. If you have 40,000 followers and you only get 20 visits from twitter daily- your followers are absolutely irrelevant. However, if you have 300 followers on Twitter and you get 20 visits per day- you have a better reach than the other other situation and your followers care about what you have to say.
Don't get me wrong. I understand it. I was desperate, too. However, I have learned not to sweat the small stuff and just focus on my blog. If somebody only favorites my tweet vs retweeting- I am okay with that because most likely, their audience wouldn't be interested in my content anyways.
I am not saying I have the best content, the best photography or the best writing and I have been improving on all the key points. I am reading up on becoming a better storyteller and how to better engage my audience. I blog because I love to write. I don't blog for money (although it may seem like that lately with a lot of sponsored posts but that's because I've been in a bit of a writing funk and am focusing on the new blog launch and other miscellaneous excuses).
1. CONTENT IS KING.
Be mindful of spelling errors. Do not capitalize the first letter of every word (I really haven't figured out why people do that). Tell a good story!
2. GOOD QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHY IS CRITICAL.
You don't have to have a DSLR but at least make an effort with decent photography. You can shoot in natural light with an iPhone, other smart phone or a point & shoot and still get a beautiful photograph!
3. HIGH NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS MEANS NOTHING IF THEY AREN'T ENGAGED.
They are just clutter.
4. TRAFFIC IS GREAT BUT THE BLOGGER IS BETTER.
Who doesn't want 100,000 unique page views per month? Focus on your content, your photography and marketing to the right audience and it will happen. It's a LONG journey but you will get there.
What other tips can you add?