Build Your Blog Series: Hosting Giveaways

Hi! This is Steph - sister #4 from SixSistersStuff. When we first started our blog, we looked at some of the blogs we admired and tried to include everything we loved about them on our site.  One thing they all had in common: GIVEAWAYS. And I mean really great giveaways. We've found that giveaways are a great way to increase traffic and build better relationships with our readers - who doesn't love a free gift card or some sweet swag? :)


Here are a few guidelines that we used (and still do) when hosting a giveaway:

1. Learn the demographics of your site.
As you understand the demographics of site, you will gain a better understanding of how to gear your giveaways to your readers. Alexa.com has a great tool where you can see your demographics.  Under their "audience" tab, you will find the statistics for the age, gender, education, and browsing location of your followers.  When scheduling giveaways, make sure that the product or service is something your readers would be interested.  Don't be afraid to turn down giveaways if they don't fit your demographics. If your following is older women with no children, they are definitely not going to be interested in a giveaway for children's clothing (no matter how great it is). 

2. Start Small.
When we first started hosting giveaways, the first few were items we made ourselves! We slowly started giveaway items or gift cards we bought.  We ate the expense, but it helped us gain followers. Then we started reaching out to smaller Etsy stores and blogs to see if they would want to sponsor a giveaway on our site. This way it's a win-win. You get a great giveaway and gain followers, and the company will see an increase in traffic. If you want to take a look at some of our giveaways here's the link. You may have to laugh at our first attempts - we started small, but we've grown a lot since then!

3. Combine Forces.
This is one of the greatest ways we've seen to increase followers not only on your blog, but on other social media outlets as well.  We recently teamed up with some of our favorite blogs for this giveaway, and we saw amazing results. When you coordinate efforts with other blogs, their followers are introduced to your site and vice versa. Another great thing about working with other blogs for a giveaway: you can have bigger and better prizes without breaking the bank.

4. Contact, Contact, Contact.
Make sure you have a button or a tab in a very visible area where potential sponsors can get the information to contact you. In addition, don't be afraid to start contacting other people.  The worst the can say is no, right? Get in touch with companies that fit your demographics, and let them know you'd be willing to host a giveaway of their products on your site. Some of our best giveaways happened because we reached out to contact companies we love. Not only is it a great way to host a sweet giveaway you are sure your readers will adore, but the company who sponsors the giveaway will see benefits as well. Don't forget to remind the companies of that, either.   ;)

5. Make it Count.
If you're going to host a giveaway, get as many people as you can to enter. Let ALL of your followers know.  If they're not following your blog directly, make sure that those following you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus know about it.  As soon as your giveaway goes live really push it on those outlets - pin it, tweet it, and post it. Let the companies you contact know that you share your giveaways on all your social media outlets - the more eyes that will see their product, the more willing they will be to sponsor a giveaway.

Hosting giveaways are a great way to give something back to your loyal followers. The giveaways we hosted have helped strengthen the relationship between us and our readers and there is nothing better than letting someone know they've won a prize! :) With each giveaway, our number of followers increases, as will yours. 

Looking for more ways to grow your blog?
Check out our eBook: 
Six Sisters' Success: 10 Ways to Grow Your Blog
Available now!

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Also, be sure to sign up for our 

Build Your Blog 2013
Build Your Blog Conference
Registration is now open!
Click here to register.
 There are only a limited number of spots available, so you will want to be sure you get in.
Connect with us on FacebookTwitterGoogle +, and Pinterest for all the latest info about this conference. 

Join us next Monday for the next installment of the Build Your Blog Series!

Build Your Blog Series: Facebook Tips

Hi! I am Elyse, one of the sisters who blogs at SixSistersStuff. When we first started our blog, we weren't sure where to begin.  We set up our web page and went to work with posting recipes and crafts.  Right away, we knew that in order to spread the word about our blog, we needed to share it through different media outlets, which is when we turned to Facebook.  Facebook is a simple way to show your readers what you've been up to and direct them to your site.
 
Here are a few ways to use Facebook to help grow your blog:
1.  Share all updates to your blog through Facebook.
Many of your readers don't have time to continually be checking your blog for new posts and updates.  They do, however, check their Facebook account much more frequently.  By adding a blurb about your post in a status update and attaching a picture with a link, you are giving your readers a small glimpse of what they will see when they get to your blog.

2.  Use catchy keywords and phrases.
We have found that when we use catchy words and phrases in our Facebook posts, we get much more traffic than when we simply state the title of the post.  When you post a status update, try to come up with something that will catch your reader's eye.  For example, we have a post for a recipe called "Skinny Funfetti Cupcakes."  When we posted this on Facebook we said, "You don't have to feel guilty eating these Skinny Funfetti Cupcakes! Only 110 calories and they taste amazing!" followed by a link to the post on our blog.  Our readers were much more likely to come to our site when they read a detailed headline telling them that they can have a delicious cupcake for only 110 calories, rather than just stating the title itself.  Adding catchy keywords and phrases gives you a chance to hook and entice your readers, giving them a reason to come see what your post is all about.  Using catchy keywords and phrases also gives you a chance to provide further explanation to what your post is about, that you couldn't give if you merely stated the title of your post.

3.  Upload a picture rather than a thumbnail.
When we first started posting to Facebook, we would simply click on "Update Status" and include a link in our status which would in turn add a thumbnail to each update.  This is a better option than not having anything posted to your Facebook page at all, but we have found that adding a large picture with each post has brought more traffic to our blog.  When you are going to post something to Facebook, put a blurb in for your status update as you usually would (including a link to your post), but rather than using the thumbnail which automatically pops up, click on "Photo/Video," "Upload Photo/Video" and select a picture from your computer which goes with your post.  Often times, when we only used the thumbnail that Facebook would automatically supply, it wasn't even a picture of the actual post on our blog.  By uploading a picture to your Facebook page, it is easier to see and more eye-catching to your readers to encourage them to click on the link to your blog and increase your traffic.
4.  Customize your page. 
Under the "About" tab, you can add detailed information about your blog, including the URL, a description of what you blog about, general information and contact information.  All of these components allow readers to connect with you and learn more about your blog.  Whenever I am looking to contact someone from another blog or business, I find myself going to their Facebook page looking for an email address or other contact information.  This is an excellent way to share your information with others.  You can also customize your Facebook page by adding a cover photo and profile picture.  We used a collage of pictures from some of our more popular posts as our cover photo.  It is an easy way to showcase your blog to your readers that they can see in one quick glance.  It is also a good idea to include a profile picture of yourself.  Readers like to see the face(s) behind the blog.  Using a personal picture as your profile picture makes your Facebook page more personal to your readers so they will be more connected to you and your blog.

5.  Connect with readers, bloggers and businesses.
Facebook is the perfect way to connect with your readers, other bloggers and businesses.  Often times, emails and comments left on other blogs can slip through the cracks.  Readers and bloggers consistently check their Facebook page and are alerted through mobile devices of updates.  We have found that using Facebook is a great way to answer comments and questions left by our readers, rather than going through individual comments on each of our blog posts.  Facebook gives you the opportunity to connect and communicate with other bloggers.  Kristen explained other ways to connect with bloggers in her post here.

Facebook can help grow your blog in so many ways.  We have just barely skimmed the surface of ways that Facebook can increase traffic to your blog.  Using Facebook has allowed us to connect with our readers and other bloggers which has helped to grow our blog, as it will for you. 

Looking for more ways to grow your blog?
Check out our eBook: 
Six Sisters' Success: 10 Ways to Grow Your Blog
Available now!

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Also, be sure to sign up for our 

Build Your Blog 2013
Build Your Blog Conference
Registration is now open!
Click here to register.
 There are only a limited number of spots available, so you will want to be sure you get in.
Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest for all the latest info about this conference. 

Join us next Monday for the next installment of the Build Your Blog Series!


Build Your Blog Series: Connecting With Bloggers

Build Your Blog Series: Connecting with Bloggers
My name is Kristen Hills and I am the second oldest sister who blogs for SixSistersStuff.com. When we first started blogging, it was just a way for all our sisters to connect. We shared recipe ideas and crafts to our favorite books. As time went on we started getting lots of comments from other bloggers so we decided to make our little blog into a small business. One of the first steps we took was to connect with bloggers and our readers. The more friends we made, the more people would check out our blog.

A random fact about all 6 of us is that we were all very active in Student Government all through high school. Four out of the six of us were Student Body Presidents and the other two are still very active in Student Government. We are a very talkative group of girls and connecting with people is what we love to do! So we put our people skills to work with blogging!

Some tips on how to connect with others: 

1. Comment on other blogs: We started commenting on other blogs and letting them know who we were. Make sure you always leave your blog address at the bottom so they can go to to your blog and check things out. Also when you leave your blog address at the bottom of a post, other bloggers will also be able to look at your site.

2. Link Parties: My sister Camille wrote the last post about link parties telling you how they helped grow our blog.  Her post on Link Parties 101 answers all the questions you might have. Click here to read her post.

3. Make Your Readers Feel Good: One rule of blogging etiquette is to respond to questions and comments. Many times when we reply to a comment we look at the questioners blog and leave a nice comment about their blog. I believe that a kind comment goes a VERY long way! People take time to read your blog so make sure you give them time back. 

4. Give Readers an opportunity to Interact with you: Although it is hard to interact with every single one of your readers, you can give each and every reader a chance to interact with you by asking questions in your posts and asking for their comments. If you make that interaction special and memorable you might not only gain a constant reader but many times they will tell their friends about your blog and you will gain even more readers.

5. Blog Conferences: Last but not least: Attend Blog Conferences. When we started attending blog conferences we finally got to meet the people behind the computer! It was so fun to see who all the people were who we connect with on a weekly basis. When you meet people face to face helps make and build strong friendships. Almost all the people that are speaking at our Build Your Blog Conference we met at Blog Conferences.

Connecting with bloggers is one of the best things we have ever done. We help each other on so many different levels! Sign up today for our Build Your Blog Conference so you can connect with many other bloggers that will be attending!


Build Your Blog 2013
Build Your Blog Conference
Registration is now open!
There are only a limited number of spots available, so you will want to be sure you get in.

Build Your Blog Series: Link Parties 101



Build Your Blog Series: Link Parties 101
Hi! I am Camille, one of the sisters who blogs at SixSistersStuff. We get asked all the time how we grew our blog and one of my go-to answers has always been Link Parties. Have you joined the link party craze yet?
Here are a couple of the FAQ's we get asked about all the time when it comes to link parties:

1. What is a link party?
     I like to think of a link party as a chance for you to share your work on someone else's blog or website. It is a great way to get added exposure and for others to find your blog.
     I found this great analogy over at CrafterMinds that explains more about what a linky party is and what is expected of those who link up.

2. How do I link up to a link party?
     The best tutorial that we have found is over at Funky Junk Interiors- they walk you through step-by-step how to share your posts on someone's party.

3. Where do I find these link parties?
      There are seriously link parties everywhere! We try to link up to a couple a day- and usually each link party has a different audience, giving you so much more traffic and exposure. If you head over to our site, you can see our master list of link parties and blog hops that we have compiled over time: http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/p/link-parties.html. There are so many different link parties and blog hops that you can connect to everyday. You can also find lists like ours on many other blogs with even more link parties that we don't have listed.

4. Why should I link up? Is it really worth my time?
     Yes!! With all the hard work that you are putting into your blog, you want people to be able to see what you have done. However, people are not going to magically appear on your blog once you have posted something (a couple of people might, but not many). You really have to work to put yourself out there. While you will see some traffic from link parties, you will see significant traffic if you are featured on a blog from the link party (especially the larger blogs). Want to be featured? You need to have an original and creative post and GREAT pictures to go with it. An awesome picture will give you a lot of traffic.
     I also found this great post over at Serenity Now that gives you even more reasons why you should link to link parties.

Other link party tips:
-You get the most traffic from a link party by linking up at the beginning of a party. As you visit the parties week after week, you will learn the different times that they start and will then know when to link to them.

-The more traffic that a blog has, the more traffic that you will see from their party. Look for the bigger blogs’ link parties to get the most exposure. Linking up takes time and you want to make sure that it’s worth your effort! You can look at different blog’s rankings at Alexa.com (the lower their Alexa ranking, the bigger they are). However, we also link up to smaller blogs because chances are that they have a completely different audience.

-Leave a comment for the party-thrower. Let them know you are there and let them know that you are regular. It’s a party, so be social! Also, it helps the party thrower get to know you and can be the start of a great blogging friendship!

-Also leave comments on a couple of other bloggers that have linked up. It’s a great way to gain followers and make friends. Some of our best "blog friends" are people who we have met through link parties and our friendship started from a simple comment left on their site from a link party.

-And now a shameless plug: Be sure to check out the Link Party on SixSistersStuff.com! We start every Friday at 8 pm (MST). We usually have about 500 different posts linked up and it is growing larger every week. Our featured posts see significant traffic from us featuring them and we would love to have you link up and feature you!

Looking for more ways to grow your blog?
Check out our eBook: 
Six Sisters' Success: 10 Ways to Grow Your Blog

Available now!

Button

Also, be sure to sign up for our 

Build Your Blog 2013
Build Your Blog Conference
Registration is now open!
Click here to register.
 There are only a limited number of spots available, so you will want to be sure you get in.
Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest for all the latest info about this conference. 

Join us next Monday for the next installment of the Build Your Blog Series!