What’s Your Blogging Secret?

This is going to be a rather long post; I apologize in advance. But I want to tell you all kinds of stuff before I go on vacation. The water! The sun! The boat! Relaxation! Sitting on the lake’s edge with my computer! Wait. What? No computer? Should we all start taking bets now to see how long it takes before I start having blogging withdrawals?! We are leaving early Sunday morning; I give it until noon ;)

I mentioned that over this past week I had my 3 month blogiversary, posted my 100th post, AND got my 300 follower friend. I got a lot of emails from some of you asking me what my secret is to making it all happen so fast. So I’m gonna tell you all right now: I don’t have one.

Remember my post a few weeks back? Blogging Is Taking Over My Life!? I wasn’t kidding – I spend way too much time in front of the computer – it’s actually amazing that I have anything to even blog about!

I want to share with you some things that I’ve learned and put into action here. Maybe these are the things that helped me, maybe they aren’t. But I have been asking “big” bloggers (I’m talking those with 1,000 or more followers) how they got so many followers…and…how they handle them all. Also, I’ve read lots of “how to grow your blog” posts and such. Here’s advice from the “big” bloggers that talked to me (thank you!), some things I’ve read elsewhere, and some of what I’ve learned on my own. I’m not even a “seasoned” or experienced blogger, so please, take it for what it’s worth!

  • Reply to comments. If someone leaves a comment, I try to reply to their email. If I don’t have their email address because it says “noreply” as their email address, I visit their blog and leave a comment. This was easy at the beginning when I only was getting a handful of comments, but now I’m getting sometimes over 50 a day and it’s a lot of work now. But I’ve developed relationships with people and I think that has contributed to my getting followers and keeping them. I think (hope) they will understand if I don’t respond to every comment or visit everyday. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue replying to all of the comments everyday. I’d personally rather visit their blog a few times a week and leave a comment there. When I visit a blog, I don’t expect to get a comment back unless I ask a question or something….what are your thoughts on this?
  • Join a ton of communities (like Blog Frog (BF) and Twitter, just to name a couple), and try to visit occasionally. I have gotten a ton of followers from BF. I think it’s because you “talk” to people there and then they want to see what your blog is all about. Occasionally, I’ll start a discussion on BF about something I posted on my blog and include a link back to my blog. That draws people to your blog.
  • On your blog, link up to other blogs. If I get an idea for a post from another blogger, I always give them the credit and link back to their blog when I post it. I know it seems like that may draw people away from your blog an to other blogs, but in my experience it’s been really helpful. I also make sure to tell the blogger that I did it, and sometimes they’ll even give me a shout out back, which of course sends their readers to my blog.
  • Guest post if you get the opportunity! If another blogger asks you to write something to put on their blog, always take them up on it! When your post goes up on their blog, make sure to tell your readers about it too. Guest posting opens you up to an entirely new audience!
  • This came from something I read about growing your blog: If you have word verification on or comment moderation (where you have to approve the comment before it’s posted), turn them off!! I have gotten a ton more comments left since I stopped the word verification and moderation. I can’t tell you how many blogs I visit and leave a comment, and when I’m clicking out of it, realize word verification was on. I don’t go back to re-enter my comment. So I think a lot of comments get lost that way. Since turning mine off, I have only gotten maybe 5 or 6 spam comments. I just delete them. No big deal! I’m not sure why comment moderation is a big deal, but I turned that off as well.
  • Participate in memes. I do two on Wednesday, one on Thursday, and one on Friday. But I always tie them into my life, so they are about me. The memes seem to help because you get to be around so many bloggers that you may have not otherwise run into anywhere else.
  • Ask questions and ask for help when you need it! I have a “tribe” – a few women that I go to with all of my questions, concerns, if I need advice, or just need to vent. Find a few people that you are comfortable with and develop a relationship and small, tight knit group of support.
  • Content, content, content! Yes I’m a mommy blogger and I talk about poop, spit up, tantrums, and all of that. But I also talk about things that affect me not only as a mom, but as a woman too: mommy guilt (guilt in general), weight, being frumpy, infertility struggles…you get the idea. I want to be very clear on this point because I’m very proud of this: I have participated in only 2 follow-for-a-follow blog hops. I got maybe ten followers from them both. People that follow me have decided to do so because they enjoy the content of my blog. So that is also very important to success!

I’ll be honest, I put in a lot of hours everyday, a lot. It’s a very time consuming endeavour.

And there you have it! My not secrets! What advice do you have to share? What are your blogging secrets?

I received some new awards this week and I wanted to say thank you!! Thank you for thinking of me when you decided to pass along your award – I’m very humbled…and excited…to have received these awards! If you don’t already know these ladies, check out their blogs because they are fantastic!

from Sippy Cup Mom at The Life of a Sippy Cup Mom
from Tayarra at Honesty
from Sian at Pumpkin and Piglet
from Maura at 36×37

And if you are in need of a good laugh or two, here are two posts that I ran across this week that I loved and wanted to share with you!

Naomi over at Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip will have you ready to start training for Momolympics! She’s got 12 categories to test your mommy-ness. It’s kinda like the Iron Man for moms! It’s titled “Momolympics Tryouts Begin on Tuesday”.

Nolie and Tobei over at Nolie’s Place posted this a couple of weeks back – how did I miss telling you about this last week?! It’s a hilarious post about yelling at the kids…I laughed out loud! It’s titled “Parent Tourette Syndrome”.

And so it goes…

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Comments

  1. You must be reading my mind … just yesterday I was reading your blog and I thought, "Wow…she has alot of friends and has only been here since March! How did she do that??" Thanks SO much for the tips and ideas! So glad I found your blog a few weeks ago! (have a great vacation!)

  2. i was about to go to bed and realized 'i haven't read natalie today!' it's been a busy couple of days lately…i am still thinking about starting another blog and will go back and take a second look at your 'secrets' next week.

  3. Ms. Understood says:

    Awww Natalie, enjoy your vacation. Can't wait til you get back and tell us about all your escapades with the kiddos.

  4. Great advice. I was wondering how you do it… Post every day, grow your audience while showing up on every blog I seem to visit and leave a heartfelt and thoughtful comment. Oh, and guest post.

    I have blogging for almost a year and kept it private up until 3 months ago. I now have 60 followers to date and while I try not to get all caught up in the numbers, I do! I'm trying to join all the "right" communities and like you I love Blog Frog Our Mommyhood, of course. But I'm slowly realizing that I'd rather have 20 faithful readers/commenters than 200 that "just stop by".

    You should be very proud of your success. You have a lot to say and I for one (along with 299 others) enjoy rading each day. Please keep it up, but do try to relax and NOT think about blogworld while on your trip. xoxo

    It's hard to be as active as I'd like with such little time.

  5. You must rock at what you do. Because I follow the same non secrets and I am not near your numbers. I will one day. I figure just keep doing what I do. The only thing I don't do is a lot of memes. I only do 2 of them and they both get posted on Sunday. The odd time I will do another one but it's rare.

    Thanks for the link back to us by the way. I love that post. It is now on my Best of Nolie's Place page. So glad to finally have a name for what we do as parents.

  6. Pumpkin and Piglet says:

    You should be proud of what you've achieved, it's fantastic! I turned off word verification today, I'm not sure why I hadn't before, I know I get fed up with it on other people's blogs!

    Have a great holiday, relax and have fun :)

  7. Natalie–
    Well, you have two awards in one week, love your site!

    http://www.alittlebiteoflife.net/2010/06/doing-happy-dance.html

  8. I will miss you dearly while you are gone.

    Off to check out Nolie and see if she can replace you for a few days. (doubt it but maybe she's still cool.)

  9. Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli says:

    Have a great vacation. Blogging is very hard work. Somedays I wonder what I am doing. I think responding to comments is important. As you get more of them I assume people understand that you can't reply to them all. My advice is to be sure to reply to a few everyday, different people every time.

  10. Belle's Butterfly says:

    Thanks for the tips. Most of them I already do. I am turning off word verification. It does annoy me some times on other blogs. Have a wonderful vacation. I'm super jealous!

  11. This looks familiar. lol. Thanks so much for everything, Natalie. You're my fairy godmother.

  12. I must say you are a Rock Star and I was glad when you turned off your stupid comment moderation :)

  13. SaraPlaysHouse.com says:

    LOVE THIS. Off to share it on the twitters, definitely some good info here for new bloggers.

  14. Lori @ In Pursuit of Martha Points says:

    Have a wonderful vacation, dear one!

    Rest, relax, avoid the screaming (at the kids, from the kids, about the kids…) if you can.

    Have a cocktail and offer a toast to those of NOT on vacation next week!

  15. Bethany @ Organic Enchilada says:

    I'm so glad you mentioned the word verification. I really hate that.

    I've debated about comment replies, and I think I'm going to have to go with a mix. I'll e-mail responses to specific questions, but for the most part I think I'll reply in the comments section. It's tons easier, takes less time, and allows me to visit their blogs rather than being obsessed with my own. I think.

    Good tips, and congrats again on your awesome success!

  16. Love the info! Thank you!!

  17. Bloggin in PA says:

    Good advice! I've always wondered about replying to comments…I never know if I should or not? I dont know if peopel expect me to reply? I will try that from now on!

  18. you are a great blogger…keep it up!

  19. Congrats lovely lady. Well deserved.

  20. Daisygirl says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on my guest post over at Shell's!
    I am now following you!

    Great advice for every blogger!

  21. Mama Hen says:

    Hey there! This was a great post and all very true! I also think it is important to comment back when someone leaves a message. If someone is taking the time not only to visit, but to make a comment then I sure do want to respond and check out what is going on on their lovely blog! Have a great time!

    Mama Hen

  22. Paul and Kerry says:

    first of all…have a wonderful vacation!! I am SO JEALOUS!!! and will miss you.

    also, a favorite posts page and grabbing other buttons page. We added both. Since we are a bit unconventional, it's a way for newbies to get a feel for us better. We proudly have your button!

  23. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:

    Thanks so much, Natalie, for the shout out! That was super duper sweet of you. And I really appreciated reading your tips because even though I've been in the blog world for almost a year now, my blog has grown very slowly. I look at blogs like yours and am amazed. And I wonder how you do it. So thank you for sharing. Lots of great tips and insight. I appreciate you! And I'm glad we're bloggy buddies.

  24. Have a fab trip, my girl!

  25. I have to admit that I fell in love with your blog at first sight and it was back when you first started. I have watched your blog rocket and thought WOW! That is impressive!! I have had blog envy here and there but you deserve every amount of success you have and should be proud of yourself. Thank you for sharing your advice. Here is to much more success for you!

  26. forty-something chick says:

    Great info, thanks for sharing all of your advice!

    Have a fun time away, and we look forward to hearing about your adventures!

  27. My 5 Monkeys(Julie) says:

    so true about doing all those. Stopping by from SITS.

  28. Alyna @ Better Your Blog says:

    LOL! I read Nolie and Tobei's post once upon a time when it was new (it might have been two days ago but it feels like two years ago! boy I'm tired…) and that one was funny. :-)

    I think that some of your tips are right on the mark! Although comment moderation can be very important if you don't have a good spam filter…because who wants to see comments about porn, real estate, Miley Cyrus or CL shoes? Okay, maybe all you mommy bloggers dream about porn or CL shoes… ;-) Just kidding! But yes, PLEASE people, PLEASE, stop wishing you had more comments and then turn on CAPTCHA. Seriously.

    Content is key and so are time. Lots and lots of time. And more time. And when you think your eyeballs might fall out, even more. It's worth it when you see your blog grow and you meet new people in the blogosphere. Great point!

    You know why you are probably successful though? Authenticity. If you aren't authentic and honest you could follow all the tips in the world and not get anywhere. Your replies and the time spent show that you care about your readers and your relationship with them and that is the biggest key to success. Throw the rules out the window and be authentic and honest and people will notice! :-)

    Congrats to you!!!
    ~ Alyna

  29. Big Mama Cass says:

    No way dude. It wasn't all that stuff. It's cause you're AWESOME! :) IMO

    I had to turn ON comment moderation because I get OVER A HUNDRED spam comments a day. I can't believe how many I get. It's frustrating. But I am so with ya on the word verification ones… half the time i type it wrong and give up and leave… I am always trying to do several things at once and trying to see those weird swirly words that aren't words at all always mess with my head.

    That's my 2 cents on it :)

  30. Karen Mortensen says:

    Thanks for the advice. Have a wonderful vacation. Thanks for making easy to make comments.

  31. great tips! i turned my word verification off a few months ago. honestly, i don't think it makes a difference. i was about to email you anyway regarding blog stuff.

    but yes all good points.

  32. Wow. I have done most of or a lot of the same things that you have listed and yet my blog still has not flown out of the gates like yours has. You must have some fab writing skills. Keep up the great work and I hope you have a fabulous vacation.

    Stopping in from SITS.

  33. You are such a doll, seriously. You are amazing.

    I wish that I had the time and energy that you put into blogging. It puts Desperate for Coffee to shame. Seriously, I'm lucky if I get a post in a week. My weekly's have diminished over the past few weeks due to real life issues. But I just haven't had the urge to write, so I didn't. I've kept at a steady 100 followers ever since, it really doesn't bother me though.

    Good idea with the word verification too! It's so annoying when I have to write "phone alex" or something weird in there and get it wrong like 10 times and give up!

  34. Cori Benson says:

    Thanks for those great tips! I have to say that BlogFrog & Twitter has GREATLY increased my blog numbers!! I am off to turn off the word verification right now! Never thought of it causing less comments…I know I quite often forget to confirm that a comment went thru!

  35. Those are all great tip! Blogging is very time consuming, isn't it? I'm having a hard time keeping up with all the reading/comments, especially now that summer is in full bloom and my older twins are out of school.

    It's obvious you got what it takes for success in the blogosphere!!!

  36. Genevieve Le Bel says:

    New to you and thrilled! I read your entire post, fab tips! I've been blogging since March and although my blog has grown, I'm only at 118 followers. (WHICH IS AWESOME!) But more would be cool too! I'll try your tricks and thx for sharing! Now following you! =)

  37. Great post! You're a great blogger and I'm so glad I found your blog! You're in my list of "favorites" so I try to get over here as often as I can.

    I was just thinking about the blog hops this weekend. Last Friday I noticed that there are a bunch of them. I usually play in a few of them, but I actually go through the list and find a few that I really want to read. I don't usually follow just for the sake of getting a reciprocal follow. I think they're great for finding new blogs and hopefully exposing your blog to people that might not otherwise find it, but I would rather have a few followers that actually read my blog, than a thousand that don't. I have a ton of blogs in my "follow" list, but it is impossible to actually read them all…I try to get to most of them here and there, and I have a list of about 15 favorites that I stay caught up with.

    I got a little carried away there. Sorry for the long comment. And I don't expect you to reply to all of the comments I have left today…I'm just trying to catch up and you have had some comment-worthy posts! :-)

  38. blueviolet says:

    I'm like you too. It's very difficult to reply to every comment AND do a blog visit. Unless there's a question, I tend to just go visit their blog. Regular commenters are in my reader anyhow, so I'm developing relationships with the same people who comment me. The relationships are what I treasure in blogging.

  39. Great post full of good tips. Don't worry about anything. Have a fab trip!

  40. Karen & Gerard Zemek says:

    Thanks for the advice about Blog Frog. I am still learning my way around over there.

    Stopping by from SITS.

  41. MommaKiss says:

    you're the bomb.

    or da bomb diggety.

    whicheveryouprefer.

  42. For me, I am constantly learning…it is a never ending process…but that said, I am finding that I need t walk away form the computer more and tend to real life. I try to treat others as I want to be treated…sometimes now, I am a post of two behind in responding but then try to hit 2-3 posts at a time. I am trying to keep the purpose of my blog in the forefront…a creative and creative writing outlet. I have had periods when I got caught up in the follower thing and other periods where I do not care…I get unfollowed like mad these days…I guess people think I do not notice.

  43. This is really helpful since I am still starting my blog, my so lame blog. But anyways, I will read this over and over again! Thank you!

  44. thanks so much for this wonderful post! I've just turned off my word verify! But I don't understand what Memes are? And how do I participate in them?

  45. I just found your blog today via BlogHer. I was reading about your blogging tips because I'm just finally ready to break out of just having my own circle of family and friends read my blog. Thank you for your tips! I used them kind of like a checklist tonight and marked things off "fixing up" my blog. Thank you! My Contact Me section did seem a little short … so I threw in some jokes for fun!

    Like you, I have 3 little monsters. My oldest 2 are identical twin girls and I have a daughter 23 months younger than my twins.

    I'm glad I found your blog and thanks again for the tips and tricks.

  46. Oh, I meant to ask, but then totally forgot: What is a meme? You refer to them in this post. I'm sure that makes me seem oblivious. :)

  47. Great post! I've been blogging for a few years but just cannot seem to get my readers to leave comments, or grow beyond 100 hits a day. I don't know what's up… I shouldn't have to bribe my readers with giveaways should I?

  48. Sarah, Three Boys says:

    What a great post! Thanks! I do have a question for you, what is a Memes? Am I totally missing something?? Oh, I love your blog, I have a 4 year old and twin 2 year olds:)

  49. Texskiss says:

    I just came across your blog and this fabulous post! THANK YOU from a newbie! I started a blog a few years ago but only recently decided to really get it going & I love it! It's slow but hopefully your advice will help me grow a community! :)
    http://www.texskiss.blogspot.com

  50. Thanks for your tips. I'm not a mom, but found your blogging secrets very very helpful. I have one question – what is a MEME?

    Blessings
    Laurie

  51. Okay, so I LOVE you. What great ideas you have! I'm with everyone else, What is a meme? Love that you don’t follow for a follow. Seems a bit like prostitution to me. Writers Digest had a good article on blogging a couple months back. Maybe check that out? Oh, and how do you make “Grab My Button” links?

  52. Great and useful post, thanks, Natalie! Found you through Spread Bloggy Love! My blog is less than 2 months old and I’m enjoying the creativity outlet! I’m trying to do much of what you recommend. However, memes are a mystery to me… how does one get started? Any advice would be appreciated! Blessings!

  53. I am very new at this and am finding your site to be very useful. By the way, what is a meme and how do you do it?

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