Since I got so much love for my last post about blog stats (and how to keep them in perspective so you don’t drive yourself crazy), I thought I’d share a little more about blogging!
Today it’s in the form of 3 simple things you can do today to optimize your blog!
cleaning. all. the. things. [And pinning all the things. Obviously.]
Mr. Dave was out of town shooting orange flying discs with his fancy new gun (please recall that we were both born and bread in Nebraska, so this is a fairly normal thing where we are from.), I was left to my own devices..which turned out to be doing some massive cleaning slash organizing.
I can only take a tornado of a home for so long before I go bonkers. It really does help when I don’t have much for plans or a Dave to say, “Oh I was going to use that for…” when I’m trying to get rid of some junk. I may or may not live with a pack-rat (whom I love dearly!).
I really should have taken some before and after pictures.
when I wasn’t cleaning or doing a weekend shift at the cafe so I could sleep in Monday (great decision, let me tell you) or telling my Sims what to do, I was working on blog things.
You see, in addition to getting in cleaning #allthethings moods, I also get into optimize #allthethings on the blog moods.
What does it mean to optimize your blog?
Well…it depends on what you want to optimize, but basically it just means to make it more awesome. I’ve been working on a number of things to make each post I write count. Who doesn’t want to get the biggest bang for their buck when they spend hours putting together quality content??
Money and Blogging:
Some of these products I’m going to discuss are free and some of them cost money. When I started my blog 4 years ago, I would have never dreamed of spending a dime on it, but long story short (one that I will discuss in a different post) I am now working to make money blogging and sometimes to make money, you gotta spend money.
Through the countless hours I’ve spent obsessing over my blog (with much trial and error and money spent in areas that probably weren’t worth it), I thought I’d share some tools that I’ve come to love and with which I’ve come to find real value. I really think these things can help boost blog traffic which means you are getting more eyes on your lovely posts you’ve worked so hard on!!
(Note: there are a couple of affiliate links coming up! I only become an affiliate when I truly believe in a product and as always…I appreciate your support for my
3 Ways to Optimize Your Blog Today:
1. Optimize your blog ‘s mobile site.
There are tons of mobile users now that read blogs on their phones..and the numbers increase by the day! But until recently, I totally ignored my blog’s mobile site.
Seriously, mine was bad guys.
I have started reading more blogs on my phone and happened to check on Diary of a Semi-Health Nut about a month ago when I realized it took about a year to load and it just looked… weird.
Who has time for a page to load on their phone? My guess is that most people click out of the page after 30 seconds. Through lots of searching and looking through reviews, I found a pretty sweet plugin called WPtouch. Since I’ve downloaded it and played around with the different themes I’ve noticed many other bloggers use it too. That made me feel much better when I decided to download the pro version: WPtouch Pro.
The pro version has more options with themes, sharing and customization. Pretty much I decided to buy it because of one theme I wanted that worked for both mobile AND tablets as well as the ability to show ads, but I’ve gotten so much more out of it!
It won’t have all of the blog widgets from your site, but it will open a zillion times faster (all of those widgets take TIME to load) and you can add some of those options back on with the WPtouch customizations (colors, fonts, themes, add-ons, share buttons, follow buttons, related posts, etc)…things that even I, a non-programmer can figure out.
In a world where we are constantly on our phones, it’s best to make sure your blog works well on mobile devices!
2. Optimize your blog ‘s e-mail subscriptions.
Davida did a great vlog on why e-mail subscriptions matter and it really made sense to me. It’s a great way to communicate directly with your loyal followers and a great way to ensure readers receive your latest posts!
Honestly, I never cared much about my e-mail subscriptions and had no idea what those subscribers were getting sent to their inbox (probably something super boring from my RSS feed!) BUT I have seen the light!
Now I use the free version of MailChimp and have created and formatted my e-mails that go out so it looks pretty, professional and I also give subscribers a few different link options to choose from right in the e-mail (recent posts, current giveaways, recent recipes, etc.). I also recently e-mailed my subscribers and notified them my last giveaway was ending soon and I had many clicks showing that was appreciated!
I like that MailChimp is free, fairly easy and has stats so you can tell which e-mails are being opened and which ones actually drive traffic to your blog. You can even check your stats (although not too often, remember!) on your phone with the mobile app!
Speaking of e-mail subscriptions, you should probably sign up for an e-mail subscription now because I’m working on more exclusive content for e-mail subscribers! (PS MailChimp’s affiliate program benefits both the NEW user AND the referring user!)
I am also using a tool that has a giant pop-up called OptinMonster that encourages readers to sign-up to subscribe via e-mail. Initially, I wasn’t sure on spending money on something like this, but in just the past month, I’ve had 19 conversions, or 19 people, sign-up for e-mail subscriptions using the OptinMonster plugin. I’m gonna be really frank with you and say that I barely have over 100 e-mail subscribers right now—so that’s huge!
There are so many options on customizing OptinMonster and you can also make sure it only pops up once every x days for an individual user (so as not to bug your lovely readers too much!). You can even set it up so it only pops up on the second page a user visits since that means the reader is more likely interested in your e-mail subscription.
E-mail subscribers create a loyal following and drive traffic to your site, so definitely consider adding something to encourage readers to sign-up!
3. Optimize your blog with quality images.
I’ve been using Picmonkey the past couple of years and just love it. Why? It’s easy, quick and looks professional. My good designer friend Calee has even complimented my graphics more than once after I started using Picmonkey.
Yes, I have to be online when I use it, but right now I am not willing to spend over a thousand bucks and hours of time learning just to edit my photos with Photoshop. (Sorry, Lee.) Not just yet anyhow. Who knows when I will take the plunge?
This isn’t to say I use the free version of Picmonkey, because I do use the “royal version” of Picmonkey. Honestly, I was just tired of not being able to use all of the “royal” features (fonts, overlays, editing tools) and since it costs the price of a cup of coffee per MONTH and I feel like I use it on a daily basis, it’s worth it in my book. Plus it’s freaking fun and addictive if you’re a creative nerd like me. If you like the images and graphics on this blog…I’d suggest taking a look at Picmonkey. I’m no graphic designer and really am not great with computers, so this should show you how simple PicMonkey is!
Optimizing your blog images is a key way to get in good with Pinterest. You know, that site that is many bloggers’ top refferal for traffic!
And that, my friends is another story as well!
I hope this post was helpful! I am also planning at least 3 other posts about blogging including: making money, growing your Pinterest following and a PicMonkey tutorial (or ten!). Please let me know if you want me to clarify anything or if you have questions! I don’t know everything, but I’ve definitely learned a lot over these past few years!
I also have a sweet giveaway coming, I’m hosting the monthly nutrition/fitness/health link-up Did You Know this Friday, and a delicious recipe involving bacon coming your way…stay tuned!!
Do you use any tools like these? Which ones?
Are you using my mobile site right now? What do you think? Is it easy to comment?
PS I’m all about Pinterest this year, so I would LOVE IT if you could pin one (or two!) of these images. <–Use this handy dandy button to display the whole list of pins (if you’re on a mobile device, this “pin it” one works best!). If there is a link below the image, make sure to use that link to pin as it links to the source.
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