Ironically, I had little sleep the night before the Colgate bloggers brunch due to someone teething!

WHEN you’re asked to speak at a Colgate bloggers brunch, it’s hard to smile when your once pearly whites are now tea stained. So chances are I mumbled a lot of my speech.

Anyway, thankfully my talk had nothing to do with teeth and everything to do with the theme of the brunch – trust. Last Thursday Colgate was announced the Most Trusted Australian Brand by Reader’s Digest. We heard about trust being something that’s built over time. So here I was in a room full of seasoned bloggers and I’ve only been at it for six months. So the question was: how had I built my blog so quickly? Let me fill you in on a few of my secrets:

Existing audience:

I have to confess, I already had a (small) audience when I started this caper. I had comments on posts from day one. My advantage was I started a humorous column about being “up the duff’’ with Ella, which led into my now three-year-old daughter’s first year of life. That reached 90,000 newspaper readers. Once it ended, I was constantly stopped by people in the street asking if this was “THE Ella’’ from the paper and how much they missed reading about her. And so the blog was born. Although, I must admit, probably only a miniscule percentage of those readers still realise this blog exists.

Giveaways:

They have been my biggest drawcard for traffic. A lot argue those readers are too fleeting – and it’s true of some. However, there are others who become regular readers. Without those giveaways, they would never have come to the blog in the first place. I’m also conscious of aligning myself with reputable (ie highly regarded and trustworthy) companies and those that are a good fit for my blog.

It’s not just about the giveaways, but also the reviews attached to them. “Review’’ and “how to’’ are two of the most commonly searched words on Google. Which leads me to my next point.

Search engines optimisation (SEO):

One afternoon, when Ella and I were looking for something to do, we decided to build a doll’s house. Unfortunately, the only box we had was a beer carton. That post still receives a strong number of hits per day via Google. I can just imagine how disappointed those people are when they finally arrive at the post.

Then there are news items. The Royal Wedding meme and Royal Wedding Pyjama Party live chat received an average 30 hits a day for weeks after Prince William and Kate Middleton’s big day.

I’ve also been a strong advocate for The Wonder Weeks book, which recognises the developmental leaps babies go through every few months – aka, when your baby turns feral. I mean, fussy. I’m now on the front page of Google for the book and get 2-5 hits per day. I’ve had emails from readers saying they are now loyal readers after discovering TLP via those search words. These aren’t posts that garner huge comments on traffic on the day of posting, but they’re a consistent performer over the long term.

YouTube

Which brings me to the second biggest search engine – YouTube. A video of Baby Holly having a giggling fit got 6500 hits, because it was coincidentally timed with a similar clip promoted in the mainstream media. We’re now doing a series of videos of Ella teaching me Auslan sign language. It’s simple things like this that build trust with readers. I could tell you she can do Auslan, but would you believe me? If I show you, then there’s no disputing it. YouTube is still trial and error in terms of driving traffic to our blog though.

Memes or blog hops:

It has taken a while to find the memes that fit best with the blog. However, the ones I’m now attached to (including co-hosting a giveaway linky with Tina Gray) has increased traffic and comments. Again, it’s attracting bloggers and readers who may not have ordinarily come to the blog in the first place. And, in turn, it’s allowed me to “meet’’ bloggers who I wouldn’t have discovered without the meme.

Clickable headlines:

I’m not always successful with this one, but for example I have some exciting news… was a headline people couldn’t help but click on. Curiosity killed the cat and all that.  A Mother’s Heartache pulls at any mother’s natural instinct to help others. Then there was The Bloke in The Shed’s Bras are for boobs. Now, what on earth could that be about? However, don’t overpromise in your headline and under deliver in your content, or you’ll lose your readers trust very quickly.

Be personable:

People now know me and my family. I use our names and show photos of us. Not everyone is comfortable with that, but it’s helped people feel part of our family and I love that connection.

So there you have it. That’s how I’ve been able to build my blog. Oh, and I should mention I comment on other blogs like there’s no tomorrow, aim to have entertaining or informative content EVERY day and participate in social media – Facebook, Twitter and Google+. And The Bloke in The Shed would be grumpy if I didn’t mention that having a dad regularly posting on the site helps too (according to him!).

Oh, just incase you were wondering what Baby Holly was doing during my speech, here she is.

Mrs Marsh and Baby Holly

Yes, being nursed by THE Colgate lady Mrs Marsh.

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61 Responses to BLOG: The secrets behind my blog growth

  1. jodie says:

    Some great tips Kellie. I giggled out loud when I read about the beer box hits!

    • Kel says:

      Hehe! If I’d known how popular it was going to be, I probably would have put some more effort into it!! We’re in the process of making a new, improved version now, complete with postage box! 🙂

  2. Carly Webber says:

    Excellent Tips once again Kelly, things I really should be doing. I’m going to bookmark this post and keep coming back to it… as I find snippets of time! LOL

    • Kel says:

      LOL! Oh yes, time is always the biggest challenge, Carly!! I only wish I had more of it! Glad you found it useful though. Even just to do one new thing a week will see improvements in your stats. Good luck. 🙂

      • Carly Webber says:

        One a week sounds good. I forgot to mention too, we’re just started learning and teaching Makaton Key Sign to our Mr 2 and a half. Isn’t it the cutest!?! I never thought to You Tube it though…. very VERY novice {read hopeless to the point of “huh?”} when it comes to You Tube… something else to explore 🙂

        • Kel says:

          Oh, how great, Carly. I can’t believe how quickly they pick these things up. I’ll be interested to see your videos now!! hehe! 😉
          PS. Sing out if you need help with YouTube!

  3. Great post Kellie – a really comprehensive guide to what works!

    • Kel says:

      Thank you! It’s been a lot of trial and error, but we’ve now started to figure out exactly what works for us and what doesn’t. 🙂

  4. Nathalie says:

    As always you are spot on Thanks 🙂

  5. Blue Sky says:

    I might look at YouTube too, especially with the cute videos of my daughter with disabilities. Thanks for the ideas 🙂

    • Kel says:

      Pleasure. And it’s definitely worth having a play around with YouTube. If it brings a few more to the blog, then it’s worth it! Good luck with it! 🙂

  6. Great words of wisdom Kel! Your blogging is something to aspire too, well done hun!

  7. Candice says:

    Great tips. I’ve just started blogging and still fumbling my way around everything. I’ve always got things to write about but A) don’t have much time to actually write it and B) wonder if they’re things people will actually find interesting.
    I can’t wait to have more time… then i can finally write more and interact with other bloggers!
    Well done for getting so far in such a short amount of time!

    • Kel says:

      Thanks Candice.
      If you write what you’re interested in and what comes from the heart, then I think you can’t go wrong. The time issue? Hmm, wish I could figure that one out for myself too!! LOL! All the best with it. Don’t hesitate to ask if you ever need help or someone to bounce an idea off. 🙂

  8. Brilliant post, Kel. Thanks for all the great tips. I wish my hubs would post; especially given that our blog is Becky AND James not just Beckydotcom!

    • Kel says:

      LOL!! Yes, since taking on the editorship, The Bloke in The Shed’s been a bit slack too. Need to get the whip out, I think!! hehe! 😉

  9. I can’t wait to grill you more but in the mean time I’ve already utilised one of your tips in my latest post. Thanks for sharing all your great tips and great to meet you last week,

    Nicole x

    • Kel says:

      Ooh, I’m off to read it, Nicole. I’ll be interested to hear if it drives any traffic in your direction. Sometimes, it’s just finding that one topic that hasn’t been posted about much so you can get on the front page of Google.
      And feel free to ask any questions!!
      PS. It was really lovely to meet you too. Hopefully we get to chat at another bloggy event soon. 🙂

  10. Denyse says:

    I knew I’d love your blog just by the header, Kel!
    Then I read and connected.
    With you & with hub re his brother’s new job at Woolies.
    my reason to blog is about connections.
    I love that I’m a Grandma in Sydney who can connect with you a Mum in Tassie.
    And that we both could sit & chat (I’d hold bubba if shed sit still!) like we’ve been friends for years.

    Your points are excellent.
    Connect. Be real. Relate. Give people a “need” to come to your blog- your post titles, giveaways, and be consistent.

    My blog is improved reading blogs like yours. And commenting. That’s an important & vital part of building this trust.

    Love your work.. Not seeing you at Blogopolis… :-(. But DPA2012 ?? Yes!
    Denyse 🙂

    • Kel says:

      Thanks so much for those kind words, Denyse. That’s really lovely feedback. The connections is one of the greatest parts of having a blog for me. And, as you say, can link you with people from all corners of the country (and globe) and of all ages and backgrounds.
      And yes, the plan is to get to DPA2012!! 🙂
      PS. I think you’re doing a fab job with your blogs too! x

  11. Caz says:

    Fabulous tips Kellie! My biggest post hits have been about Osama ( something I wrote when he was killed) and headband making. And the giveaways – they do pull in the stats. I’m sure mine are not anywhere near yours – but It fun looking into it all. Mrs Marsh – so glad she’s still around!!

    • Kel says:

      That’s really interesting about the headband post, Caz. It’s funny how the simple posts (my doll’s house and our headband post) can draw traffic. I think it’s just that these topics aren’t posted about often, so it’s easier to make the front page of Google with them. Although, your headband post was far superior to my dodgy doll’s house!! LOL!
      And Mrs Marsh was pure gold! A real hoot! 🙂

  12. Kirsty says:

    Kellie, great tips, good on you for sharing them so willingly with the rest of us! I think we started blogging at the same time and I have always looked up to what you’ve been able to achieve in such a short time. I’ll be looking through this list and seeing what else I can try to build the profile of my blog (but I am not totally sold on putting myself out there on YouTube!!!!) thanks for sharing!

    • Kel says:

      Oh, thanks so much, Kirsty. That’s really nice of you to say. I think you’ve done an incredible job with your blog. I’m pretty lucky I had a bit of an audience to start with.
      And on the YouTube thing – me neither! That’s where the girls come in!! hehe!! 😉

  13. Great tips. Thanks for sharing.

  14. rachel says:

    you forgot to add ‘because we are awesome’ to your list 🙂
    i think people come back to your blog because you guys just seem so lovely and friendly and TLP is a warm, homey little blog that has something for everyone.
    great tips too by the way. my blog is about the same age as yours and whilst i’m happy with how it has been doing, it certainly pales in comparison. but then you get back what you put in, and clearly you put in the effort; not to say that i don’t but just not to the same degree!
    well done guys xx

    • Kel says:

      Rachel, that’s so lovely of you to say.
      There’s definitely been a lot of work put into it. The Bloke in The Shed would probably say TOO much!! LOL! It’s a bit of an addiction. There may come a time when I’ll want to pull back a bit and that will be OK too. I think it’s whatever you want it to be at the time.
      I love visiting your blog as well. So much of what you write I relate to. Maybe that’s also because our little ones are about the same age. Definitely don’t undersell yourself. You’re a fantastic writer! xx

  15. Fantastic words of wisdom! I have only just discovered how to use Twitter and it has been life changing! I have discovered so many new blogs and feel like I am now really getting to know many of my blog reads a whole lot better, including YOU!

    • Kel says:

      How great is Twitter, Larissa? It’s such a good way to link up with new bloggers and especially to get advice on things quickly (ie my flying with babies question!!). I wasn’t too fussed with it to start with, but once you begin following a few people you realise how powerful it can be! 🙂

  16. Marthese says:

    Awesome…it is great to share …it inspires others 🙂

  17. Gemma says:

    at the bloggers brunch when you were talking about clickable headlines and using youTube, it got me thinking a great deal, particularly the first sentence and how critical it can be in SEO.

    I loved your presentation and you spoke beautifully.

    • Kel says:

      Thanks so much, Gemma. So glad it’s given you something to think about. It’s taken me a while to realise how powerful the headline and first sentence are to SEO. Sometimes I still can’t quite make it work, but I’m more conscious of it now.
      PS. It was really lovely to meet you, Gemma.

  18. Seana Smith says:

    Really useful Kel, Thanks so much for posting this. Would love to hear more about the Bloggers’ Brunch.

    • Kel says:

      Thanks Seana. And yes, there are more posts to come. It was a really great event and I certainly learnt a lot, especially on the dos and dont’s of brushing kids teeth. 🙂

  19. Hiya, Found you via FYB Friday, proving one of your points! lol

    Great post, exactly the same ways I have grown my blog too.

    Mich x

    • Kel says:

      Hehe!! Well, there you go!!! Glad to see these tips in action! 😉
      That’s so great to hear, Michelle. It’s good when you can latch on to a few things that help grow your blog. x

  20. I like putting up posts with the words ‘big bums’ and ‘boobies’ in them. They’re usually about positive body image, but must disappoint some late night internet pervs, lol.

    • Kel says:

      Hehe!! Same here, Alex. I can’t count how many hits I get via Google for those words. It’s also interesting to note they don’t hang around. So yes, obviously some very disappointed old men out there!!! 😉

  21. Came to you via Where’s My Glow? Flog Yo Blog. Will definitely be visiting again. Thanks for the great post. New to the blogging scene, your tips are invaluable 🙂

    • Kel says:

      That’s so great to hear, Marti. Anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to sing out.
      Even after six months, I’m still learning so much. I wonder if you ever stop learning with this bloggy thing. There’s so many possibilities!! If only there were more time!!! 😉

  22. I will admit I started following because of a giveaway, but I am very glad I stayed! I love reading your blog, and you have like, the most awesome name ever 😉
    xxx

    • Kel says:

      Ha!! That’s really interesting to know, Kellie. You always wonder how people stumble across you. I think I may have found your blog through you commenting on my blog!!!
      And thanks for the kind words. That’s so nice of you to say. And I totally agree on the name thing! Spelling and all!!! 😉

  23. […] Three Little Bears 1st August 2011 0 Comments A post by Kellie over at Three Lil Princesses has got me thinking lately about my blogging philosophy (if you can call it that). She wrote a post […]

  24. Sorry – was that Mrs Marsh, as in MRS MARSH!! OMG I am so excited!! There’s something so comforting about the old ‘liquid in the chalk’ caper.

    That has made my day.

    Great post BTW.

  25. […] came flooding back when parents of toddlers started discussing the minty fresh topic during the Colgate Bloggers Brunch in Sydney last […]

  26. Hi Kellie, I emailed your tweet about this post to myself so I could read it when I had a moment. I finally found that moment today! Great tips. I started my blog only a few months ago, but find myself struggling – like lots of others, I think – with the “overwhelmingness” of the blogiverse. In other words, how can there possibly be room in that enormous place for my teeny little blog? Also, my posts tend to be longer but less frequent, and I wonder if I should try to aim for shorter but more frequent. Problem is once I start writing a post, it kind of writes itself, and I’m not sure I could make it much shorter. I’d love your opinion on shorter, more frequent posts or longer, less frequent. Anyway, thanks for your tips – a great post.
    Cheers, Nicole

    • Kel says:

      Oh Nicole, you’d be surprised. It seems there is plenty of space for us all in the blogosphere – and it’s still growing!
      On the length issue, there’s a saying that goes “the shortest letter takes the longest time to write”. Ie, it’s not so much the writing that takes the time, but the editing afterwards. Obviously, we don’t all have time on our hands to sit there and cull our posts.
      My suggestion is to make it into a two-part series if it becomes extremely long. This builds anticipation for your readers, who will WANT to return to read the second part. All you need to do with the second post is provide a one-line recap and a link to the previous post for those who missed it.
      In saying that, there are some extremely successful bloggers out there who write longer posts on a less frequent basis. As long as you’re able to hold the reader’s attention for the entire post, then that’s fine. The only real issue I’ve heard is that for SEO it’s best to have a post between 200 and 700 words.
      All the best with it, Nicole! xx

  27. danneromero says:

    hi kellie. i am new to blogging, just found you on ‘and then there were four’ links. i have been curious about how to garnish readers and followers, and there you were with answers….

    question 1: existing audience – it seems lots of people i know will stop by to read occasionally – say they love my writing – but aren’t consistent, or don’t follow… not sure how to convince them…beg?
    question 2: giveaways sounds enticing, yet doesn’t feel like me….. i may have to rethink my thinking?
    question 3: what are memes? If I understand correctly blog hops are guesting on others blogs?

    thanks.
    ps. i write about my husband’s no choice-needed a job-had to move to another state and my stayed-behind lifestyle….
    danneromero recently posted..ExpectedMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Hi Danneromero, Thanks for stopping by.
      Question 1: Simply ask. Every now and again, at the bottom of a post, I’ll ask readers to subscribe to the site or let them know they can follow me on Facebook or Twitter. It’s amazing how many people will do this, just simply by asking.
      Question 2: Giveaways are a really personal choice. If they don’t feel right for you and your blog, then definitely don’t do them. If you’re not sure, then maybe give it a go and see what you think. The beauty about blogging is you can always change your mind!
      Question 3: Memes, bloghops and linkys are the same word for linking up to a site. You write a post on the bloghop/meme theme, link it up and then start commenting on others’ posts. They will then return the favour. It’s a great way to get people to come across to your site and “discover” you. Here’s a list of some of my fave memes: http://threelilprincesses.com/2011/05/blog-these-are-a-few-of-my-favourite-memes-aka-blog-hops/
      Good luck with it. xx

  28. Tram Tran says:

    Trust is the most important factor in any relationship. I love how you hold giveaways and generate trust from your readers. I’m doing the same too. I hold giveaways everymonth on my blog;) karma does exist. Say hi sometimes on my blog.
    P.s ur fam is super cute<3
    Tram Tran recently posted..Nov 2011 awesome giveawayMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the post. Not sure if you noticed, but each Sunday I host the Aussie Giveaway Linkup, so feel free to link up your giveaways as well. It’s always a good way to get more traffic to your blog.
      Will head over to your blog and check it out too. x

  29. anne says:

    Hey Kelly. Just found your lovely bouncy blog and read a few…Thanks. I’m enjoying blogging, and have found it an excellent way to keep writing so I can finish that book. I’m looking to link in with Aussie mums who want to help their children do well at school, would you like to check me out? If you think you’d like to link up with me – let me know. any advice is gratefully received. I’m a learner. Perhaps I need to see about giveaways next. Mmmm!

    • Kel says:

      Hi Anne, Welcome to the blogosphere! There are plenty of blogging resources out there to help guide you. We all started by fumbling our way through.
      I did a blogging series on my http://www.mumpr.comm.au site, which may help. Just go to the categories in the sidebar of that site and click on “blogging”.
      Good luck with it! And don’t forget to have fun!! x

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