Last weekend I took part in the Blog Clinic at Mumsnet Blogfest, as one of their resident experts. I met some really lovely bloggers and it was really uplifting to feel like I had helped a few people with their blogging questions.
One of the main questions people asked me was:
How do I drive more traffic to my blog?
When someone asks me that, my response is “well, what do you do at the moment?” Answers varied, but on the whole it appeared that most people were writing a blog post, publishing it, perhaps joining in with a few linkys… and then moving on to the next one.
I did this for a long while when I first started blogging, and couldn’t understand why posts I thought were interesting, useful and engaging just weren’t getting any traffic. Here’s the problem: if you build it, they won’t necessarily come. There is so much noise out there in the world, so much going on and so many distractions, it is highly unlikely that anyone is sitting there refreshing your front page, waiting for new content to read. You need to put it under their noses: here, look what I wrote.
What many of us do is to schedule posts on social media in order to maximise the number of noses we can shove our blog posts under. There are differing views on this. Many bloggers are dead against any sort of automated, scheduled social media content that is in any way planned. If that’s you, stop reading here – this is not the blog post for you.
If you are looking to set up a schedule, here are some suggestions to get you started:
As a rough guide, here is a picture from Kissmetrics which gives an idea of how long you should leave between sharing the same content on each social network:
As you can see, the difference between Twitter and Facebook is quite marked. If you share a link on your Facebook page, and then share it again two hours later, Facebook’s algorithms will ensure that post is barely seen by anyone – and could in fact impact the reach of subsequent posts. On Twitter though, this is not the case.
Most of us are creatures of habit. We might pop into Twitter at breakfast time, or on our way back from the school run, over lunch or perhaps in the evenings – and we’ll probably do that at around the same time every day as a part of our habit and routine. If you tweet your link out at 11am when it’s published, you’ll hit the people who are on Twitter at 11am – but someone who comes on at 1pm is never going to see that tweet – there are just too many tweets out there, and yours is long gone from their timeline.
You can use scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Social Oomph or even Futuretweets or Tweetdeck to schedule tweets on an hourly basis. The graphic above suggests that you can share the same link after two hours, but I tend to go for a four- or five-hour schedule. Here’s an example:
… and so on!
It’s important to remember here what I mentioned above about people being creatures of habit. If you duplicate this schedule every day for a week, then the person who is on Twitter every day at 9am will see the same link to Friday’s post every day for a week – and they won’t like that.
Instead, bump your list up or down one. For example, if the list above is for Friday, on Saturday I might tweet my Saturday post at 9am, then Friday’s post at 10am and so on.
This way, you’re sharing four posts on a four-hourly schedule, and by staggering them each day you can hopefully catch different people with each tweet.
This approach is not for everyone; some people will find this too much, while others will prefer to share more posts at 30-minute intervals. It’s personal choice. And you will always come up against someone who tells you that what you’re doing is wrong.
If you don’t have a formal schedule for your tweets yet, try this for a week or two and assess how much difference it makes to your blog traffic. You may find that your traffic takes a massive leap, and you can stand to lose the two or three followers who don’t like what you’re doing (and were never reading your blog in the first place).
If you try this approach to scheduling your tweets, do please let me know how you get on!