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Happy Friday friends of B+S. I’ve been sitting here doing some heavy thinking lately about my blog and how I want to grow it. I’ve been thinking about what information is missing, and what new things I should start implementing.I know I that talk about books plenty on the Books side of the blog, but I don’t talk much about my own perspective and experiences with being a book-blogger in general. I mean, there are so many ups and downs, and mistakes and victories, that I know talking about these moments in my blog’s life would be beneficial to someone else just starting out and looking for some answers..

Now that I’ve hit my 6-month mark, I figured that this would be a great time to talk about some mistakes that I made as a newb, book-blogger… 5 mistakes to be exact, in hopes that I could prevent a fairly new Newb to the game from making the same said mistakes. 

These mistakes pertain to the growth of my blog. If you’re not looking to grow your blog in any way, this list may not be applicable to your journey. I can dig it. But if growing your blog is a specific goal of yours, maybe these mistakes I made can be beneficial to you. 

 

Either way, it’s just a Bri’s Babble, and I’ll like to share it with it you, darn it!

This mistake is a very important mistake to mention because if I had gotten this under-control a long time ago, my blog’s presence would’ve been triple the amount it is today. If you don’t consistently post, you won’t be consistently seen. This means that no one will know who are, therefore, your engagement will be zip, nada, nothing. 

 

 

It all makes perfect sense when you think about it, and I can’t believe I didn’t take this simple fact more seriously. I was living on the “It’s supposed to be fuuuun…” ” Just go with the flow…” method of things, and my blog suffered from the lack of discipline. 

Well, I’m not saying that it’s not supposed to be fun because it is, but also, the fun in it is interacting with like-minded people just like you; networking and possibly opening new opportunities for yourself doing something you’re very passionate about. You can’t accomplish any of that if you don’t let the world know you exist. I knew I had to make a change quickly, or I was going to forever be a blip in the book-blogging world.  

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still in the throes of reconditioning myself, and I’m still trying to perfect my methods, but one thing I have changed is how consistently I’m posting on my blog.

I just began practicing a consistent posting schedule of  5-6 times a week, and the results have been pretty remarkable. This week I’ve gained 5 followers since Monday after posting every day except Thursday. Normally, I would get 1 follower a week, or sometimes I wouldn’t get a single follower for a few weeks. But I was also sporadically posting… sometimes taking 3-week gaps in between posts. That’s a great way to not “grow” anywhere. (Do I even have to say it? Of course, the pun was sooo intended…)

 

My goal with scheduling my posts is still to be reached, however. What I really want is to have my posts written a week in advance, and have a “scheduling” app post them to my blog on their assigned days, by a certain in the morning.  

Which brings me to #2…

 

Ok… so I know that the times to post may vary from person-to-person, but the fact remains that knowing the best time to post so that you can get as many eyes on the prize as possible is super important. I noticed this about a month ago, which was about 5 months of me having a blog. A little late, but better than never. 

 

 

After taking a deeper notice in the analytics of my blog and my social media, I realized that a lot of my niche people were across seas, whereas little ‘ol me was in Atlanta, GA in the States. That means that most of the people who I’m interacting with on Twitter or the ones who are reading and commenting on my blog are at least 5 hours ahead of me; a fact that in hindsight I realize should’ve been discovered a lot sooner. 

 

Usually, I would wake up on the day I wanted to post, start working on it around 8 am my time, take my precious time writing it, finish up and post anywhere from 3-5 pm. 

 

Exactly my point!

By the time I was getting my post out, it was late in the evening for a lot of my followers and bookish friends across seas. They were either over their blogging for the day, or already in the bed. Wouldn’t see my previous day’s blog post until the next morning when everyone else there was posting their next day’s post. 

It was all a complete mess. 

Luckily I realized this, and I’m working on getting my posts out earlier by pre-writing them days in advance and having an automatic scheduler send them out very early in the morning, as stated in my #1 mistake’s excerpt.  

Say it with me: “Twitter, Pinterest, IG are all important tools needed to network and grow your blog.”

I cannot stress this enough. Do not feel like you’re too good for social media if you’re looking to grow your blog. Do not feel like you shouldn’t have to put in the extra time needed to up your social media presence if you’re looking to grow your blog. 

You will not get very far. 

I know I sound pretty “matter of factly” but it’s because if there’s one thing I know I did right with my blog, it’s making my Twitter presence known and known quickly. It’s the best thing I did as a newbie blogger. 

I never interacted with Twitter before on a “professional level”. I had a personal account for years that I barely used, and when I did use it, it wasn’t for anything truly interesting or productive. To be honest, I didn’t think I had the knack for it, and I drifted to other apps that suited my tastes more. 

In January, when I started my blog, my bestie suggested that I create a “Hi! My name is Books and Shadows…post”  to introduce myself, and see if I can start a good momentum playing the “newcomer card.”  Well, I thought it would for sure flop, and everyone would think I was lame and pathetic, but luckily for me, the experience turned out to be the exact opposite. I had an overwhelming amount of support from the community, and instantly made book-blogger friends, most of which I still interact with on an almost daily basis.

I quickly grew to 50 followers on my blog, but, of course, since I made Mistakes #1 and #2, I saw the decline in new followers, and I struggled to get to 60. 

 

What I realized now, though, is that if I would’ve not only focused on my Twitter consistently, but also my IG and Pinterest, my blog would’ve probably blown up. I truly believe that. I know that I could’ve doubled my followers, if not more, by now. Not only on my blog but also on all my social media platforms.  I should’ve been posting at least 3 times on IG and at least 5 IG Story posts,  and keeping the same amount of interaction time on Twitter which was anywhere from 5-20 Tweets a day.

The biggie that I really dropped the ball on though, is Pinterest. Pinterest is the ultimate networking platform to get your name and your work across millions of eyes around the world. That’s without any promo.. just consistently re-pinning others’ content and creating pins and boards of your own content to be directed back to your site. When I first started my blog, I was super engaged with Pinterest, and it was easily one of the top referrers to my site. However, as time when on I forgot the importance of it, and my engagement suffered because of it. 

 

There are plenty of apps to use to ensure you’re engaging in social media like a boss, but I’ve heard great things about Preview for IG and Tailwind for Pinterest.

 

Again… I haven’t gotten this mistake all the way figured out yet, and really putting a plan in action starting next week. I’ll update you guys later and tell you if this worked or not, and give you the numbers. 

This mistake, I realize, may not apply to many of you or may apply to most of you. But I can say for me, procrastination would’ve been the reason for my blog’s demise if I didn’t get a handle on it. 

I understand that sometimes, if you have high anxiety or for other reasons, procrastinating is a coping mechanism. I deal with horrible anxiety, and I will tell myself something can wait for any reason that will get me out of actually pushing myself to face that anxiety. I will hold off until the last minute, and then just further infuriate my anxiety by having to do everything on crunch time. It wasn’t healthy.  

I decided to take control of that side of me and challenge myself to challenge myself. Those moments when I felt like I wrote enough, and I could hold off for another day before I needed to post again, had to be a thing of the past. If I didn’t want to post anything that day, fine. But I still needed to write a post in preparation for the next day or the day after that. That way, I will have one in the hole and could move on to the next and so forth.

 

Those days when I would talk myself out of reading because I knew I had to read for reasons other than personal enjoyment, and it felt too forced, could happen no more. I had to schedule time out of my day where it’s devoted to reading, whether for pleasure or not, to ensure that I wasn’t talking myself into another episode of Brooklyn 99 instead of another 99 pages. 

Of course, I’m human, I have moments when I struggle deeply with my anxiety and procrastination, but dealing with it as a challenge is getting me through it better than just trying. Now it’s personal. 

This last mistake shouldn’t be treated any less important than the other 4. In fact, all of these Mistakes work together to fit a bigger picture. Not one is more important than the other, in my opinion. With that being said, let’s talk about how my not engaging with other book-blogs was a huge hiccup in my blog growing the way that I dreamed and hoped it would. 

 

 As much as I tweeted my way through the days on Twitter, when it was time for me to really sit down and put in hours of work liking blog posts, commenting on posts of people I follow and that I don’t, finding new blogs to follow, I came up very short. I more or less behaved in the “you speak to me, I speak to you…”  manner.

The problem with that way of thinking is that…  a LOT of people are thinking this same way too. And if they’re thinking like that and so are you, no one is really interacting with anyone new. No one is going to anyone that they’re not already familiar with, and just saying “Hey. I like you and I like your style. Let’s be cool…”

Someone has to be the first to make a move, so why not me? I started reaching out to the far corners of the book-blogging community and I stopped by and simply said hey. Complimented random bloggers for their hard work and their individual twists to make things entertaining for us. I randomly shared their posts from WordPress to my Twitter, where they would get many more retweets and exposure. I didn’t expect anything in return, except a notice that I was there. If I paid it forward enough, maybe someone would remember me and network me to others they know and further my reach.  

 

The possibilities are endless. The only way to get those possibilities in motion though is to start your own waves first. Besides, I found some amazing blogs along the way and some writing styles that are just out of this world.

 

My biggest book-blog crush is Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den. If you don’t know her, please check her out. She’s literally the best. 

 

This community is vast and smart, and welcoming, you just have to put yourself out there and let them all know you’re here!

 

So those are the 5 Newbie Mistakes that I made along the way that stopped my blog from living its best life. I went through those trials and tribulations and came out on the other side a much better blogger, but if I could’ve known these mistakes and their consequences when I was just starting out, I definitely would’ve done things a lot differently. 

Such is life, right? 

 

Hopefully, I can reach someone who is just starting out to help them navigate these waters a little better by exposing my growing pains. 

 

Let me know if any of this helped ease your journey, or if you’re a seasoned book-blogger, drop a comment and let us know what newbie mistakes you made. I would love to hear your experiences. 

 

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