9 Year Blogiversary

Nine years ago, I started a blog. I had never done anything like this before, but my friend had just started one and convinced me to do it. I had just gotten into distance running and was training for my first half marathon. I had a theory, that if I blogged about my training, it would be a great way to hold me accountable. If I said I was running 4 times that week, I had to do it, because you know, my four readers were counting on me. (heh.)

Fast forward a few years and I rebranded from Running with Sass to Through Heather’s Looking Glass.  nine years, and wow. Just…wow. Not only did I not have any idea I would still even BE blogging right now, but I had no idea it would change the entire course of my life. I now help support my family because of my blog. I have made lifelong friends, gotten to go to amazing places, run awesome races, and try fun products. I literally cannot picture my life without it, and it’s funny to think about how different things would be now if I had never taken that leap all those years ago.

If you search the word “blogiversay” on my blog, you can check out several other posts over the years on the topic, so I don’t really feel the need to rehash everything, so I just want to say this:

Life is complicated. Things almost never turn out the way we plan, and we all go through valleys and mountaintops. I have loved sharing mine with you, and hope to get to continue to do so in the future. I hope that in some small way, my blog has touched your life. Whether it be something as simple as a good laugh at my expense, or perhaps something more profound like motivation to become a runner or to start a business of your own. While my blog is for me, it’s also for you. A way for me to give back, to help, and to hopefully inspire.

I pray that I can be a little bit of a light in this sometimes sad and crazy world, and please know I am always here to be your cheerleader, and I love hearing from you.

Next year is the big 1-0, and I know it’s going to be epic. <3

If you DO want to start your own blog, check out my free email course that will get you started. STOP waiting. In 9 years, this could be you looking back over all your years. Let’s do this!

How to Get More Blog Readers

 

After the post I wrote about starting your own blog, I had a lot of questions along the lines of “ok, I started my blog, but how do I get readers?” Great question. Keep in mind it won’t happen overnight. The numbers I used to get excited about for a whole day on my blog are now what I get in an hour. But it took time, and lots of hard work. Here are a few simple things you can do to start building your pageviews.

7 tips and ways to get more blog readers and page views on your site

1.) Pinterest Pin It Button for Images. Pinterest is a great way to get traffic, but you have to use it effectively. That is a whole other post in and of itself, but this free WordPress plugin puts a pin it button on your picture when you hover over it (like on my blog) so readers can easily pin any photo on your post. Don’t forget to put descriptions on your photos so if they do get pinned, there is a better chance or them getting repinned!

2.) Comment on Other People’s Blogs/social media. While you are sitting around waiting for a blog or social media comment…so is everyone else. Take some initiative, and go comment with genuine comments on some blogs or social posts! I try to hit at least 5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon/evening, more if time allows. Also I try to read NEW blogs and mix them in with old favorites. You will start to see people clicking over to your site from a comment you wrote on another blog!

3.) Interact with your readers. No one wants to feel like they are talking to an empty void, so try and reply to comments when you can, on your blog and on social media. People want to feel like you are a real person and that their time spend commenting wasn’t for nothing.

4.) Be active on social media. I avoided Twitter like the plague when I was first blogging because I didn’t understand it, but now it’s one of my preferred forms of social media and I get a ton of pageviews from it daily. Don’t just talk about your stuff, but engage in conversation with other people and make some friends! Also, Twitter chats are a great way to get exposure, more followers, and readers. Facebook and it’s every changing algorithm is a different animal all together, but I also try to at least like every comment left for me there. Instagram has become wildly popular, and don’t forget about stories! Interact with people on stories, answer questions, and comment. People will start to notice!

5.) Host a giveaway. This may cost you a little money, but could be worth it. You may even be able to get someone to donate a product. Put a post up on social media announcing your giveaway and have people enter, and share about the giveaway as an additional entry. That way, you get extra exposure! (I use Rafflecoptor, it’s free and so easy!)

6.) Write a guest post. A lot of bloggers will put out a call on their blog or on their Twitter or Facebook asking for guest posters. This is a great opportunity for you to be seen by new readers and get exposure on a more experienced blog. It takes a little time to write that extra post, but is definitely worth it if you are guest posting on more well known blogs! Some companies and brands will even let influencers do an Instagram takeover. This is a great way to get exposure from a new audience.

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7.) Be Yourself: People can sniff out a fake like a bloodhound. Don’t try and mimic your favorite people and blogs that you follow. Sure you can take tips from them and learn the right way to do things, but use your own voice and put your own unique spin on things. You will find your tribe and your following, just keep being consistent with these steps and don’t quit!

don’t forget, I highly recommend becoming self hosted. I use Bluehost, and WordPress is free through them, and the prices are very very reasonable. It’s also pretty user friendly. Click the image below for more info: (affiliate link)


 

QOTD: What is your best tip for getting more pageviews on your blog?

Blogging Tools: PicMonkey

Lately I have gotten a few questions regarding photos, especially for use on Pinterest and Instagram, to help bring traffic to your blog. Since I am not an amazing photographer, I need all the editing help I can get to make my images appealing.

I have been using PicMonkey: crazy-awesome photo editing
 for years, and have found it to be the easiest to use. It also has a ton of options (even in the free version!) and the paid version is not expensive ($2.75 a month!) Below is a walk through of some of my favorite features and how I edit my photos with PicMonkey and PicMonkey Royale (the paid version).

The first thing I want to note is that right now you can get 30 days of royale for FREE right now. Try it out, see how you like it, then decide if you want to continue to pay for the service.

Ok, so when you go to the home screen, this is what you will see:

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For editing a single picture, you are mostly going to be clicking the “edit” button here. After you pic the photo you want to edit, then it brings up the editing screen with loads of options:

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Here you can auto adjust, crop, rotate, resize, change the exposure, etc. For this photo, I decided to crop it a tiny bit and bump up the sharpness. You can then hit the little wand button on the left menu bar under the crop symbol, and a whole new list of effects opens up.

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I decided to use a royale feature called “urbane” to give my photo a nice cool look.

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The next button down (on the left menu bar) looks like a tube of lipstick. If you were to have a photo that includes people, this is where you would do touch ups such as airbrush, wrinkle remover, blush, lipstick, teeth whiten, eye shadow, etc. I rarely use this one except occasionally for red eye remover. It is fun to play around with

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So moving on from there is one I use a lot, text. There are so, SO many options here. Size, color, font, placement…you pretty much can do whatever you want here. Just for an example, below is something that might go on my photo.

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Next, are the overlays (on the menu it looks like a butterfly). Depending on what my photo is going to be used for, I will use my watermark here. There are also a ton of shapes and symbols here. This is also where you can add a block in, fade it some, and put text on top of it.

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The next button down on the left menu is a picture frame. Here you can add different borders to make your photo pop. For this one I just used a basic black and white museum matte frame.

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After frames, you will find the button for textures. I decided to add a fun light trail onto this photo for a whimsical look.

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The bottom of the menu contains themes (think seasons, holidays, etc.) and I don’t use these often. After you are done, simply save your photo to your computer and you are done! Below is my finished product:

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Please note this is just a quick walkthrough, and there are SO many more things you can do, and you can get way more intricate and detailed with your text, textures, and colorings. I am still learning myself, and have found the best way to figure it out is to just get in there and play with/edit a photo. I use PicMonkey: photo editing made of win  almost daily for my blog, Instagram, and Pinterest photos, and hope you found this post helpful for upping your game (remember, people may be more likely to click on your Pinterest photo if you have words on it explaining what it’s all about!) If you have any specific questions, I would be more than happy to try to answer them for you!

Curious to learn more about the steps needed to start a blog? I can guide you through it with my FREE e-course on how to start a blog. Sign up now! 

QOTD: What photo editing program do you use?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.