18 Best Blog Tips: New Ways to Promote Your Blog, Increase Traffic, and More!

After six years of blogging, I’ve compiled eighteen of my best blog tips for you including how to promote blog posts and ways to increase traffic. I’ve learned a lot from the school of hard knocks. Maybe this will help keep you going until 2023!Blog tips from six years of blogging. New ways to promote, increase traffic, grow community, and more.

The first time I hit publish was in spring of 2011 as an attempt to build an author’s platform. I had an idea for a snarky book about living in Boulder and was told I needed to blog. Back then I was a hunter who pecked each key with her index finger and spent days typing each post. Editing killed me.

18 best blog tips learned through six years of blogging:

All of these tips may help you to engage readers and increase traffic. Most of them I learned by trial and error. I’m still learning, believe me.

Write in your own voice.

I write the way I talk. This includes slang when appropriate which is pretty much in every dang post. I have omitted profanity where I didn’t think it would add anything to the story and have *included cuss words when I needed to be truthful about how I felt.

Try not to over polish your writing since it kills the natural tone. Your readers will find it harder to get to know you if your words sound like an encyclopedia.

“What’s that?”

I mean, Wikipedia.

There will be highs and lows.

Highs:

I started high by winning three Freshly Pressed the first year and another two years later. For you new bloggers out there, Freshly Pressed was the original WordPress editor’s pick before Discover replaced it. The rush of comments and views exhilarated and inspired me. The awards gave me confidence in my writing.

Featured on Freshly Pressed

Low: At the end of December 2014, my views were exactly the same as 2013’s. The year’s top post was An Open Letter to My Boobs, and of all time was What’s in Your Future? Both won Freshly Pressed. I wrote a satirical post combining them with the complaint about my flat views called, I Predict More Stories about Boobs in 2015.

High: When I awoke the New Year’s Eve morning, I already had 100 views. I wondered if my lurid title drew readers. I felt guilty about the bait and switch title until I checked my top posts. The new one had less than twenty hits, but an old post about the song, Happy Birthday being owned by Time Warner was shared on Reddit in the TIL (Today I learned) category and blew up with 49,000 views in one day. It went viral!

An entire year worth of views on the day I complained about it. Ironic or what?

Then came the resounding sound of crickets.

The lows:

WordPress blew up with millions of new bloggers. Everyone has a blog. The number of editor picks diminished. I have yet to be Discovered. *drums fingers on keyboard*

The spotlight swung from blogging to Pinterest, Snap Chat, and Instagram. Podcasts and YouTube share the stage. With so much quick entertainment out there, bloggers have to throw an elbow to compete for time.

Can’t beat ’em? Join the fun!

Share your blog on social media.

Join Facebook blog promotion groups, Pinterest group boards, and Twitter hashtags and that’s only naming a few ways to promote your blog. Make sure you have your social media linked up to share when you post, especially Twitter. That way, when someone shares your hard work, your username is included in the tweet and you can thank them.

Be sure to link up your social media under Sharing in your dashboard, especially Twitter. That way, when someone shares your hard work, your username is included in the tweet and you can thank them.

Ask to join Continue reading

How to Be a Gaper – A Photo Essay

Gaper Day is a tradition at ski resorts. Even if they don’t have a party, the last day of the season brings out the gaper in most skiers and snowboarders. We drove to Vail for their closing day. They had their spring splash the weekend before, but it didn’t dampen the party atmosphere.

What’s a Gaper?

How to be a GaperThis term generally describes someone whose helmet slips back on their head creating the dreaded gap between their noggin protector and their goggles, revealing loads of forehead. This usually accompanies first time skier attire: Jeans, firefighter, camouflage or blaze orange deer hunting jackets… You get my drift.

On the last day of the season this is expanded to skier attire circa 1970-80’s or full on crazy costumes.

We went all out this year. Continue reading

What Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher taught me last Friday

Last Friday, I shared the same small coffee shop with Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis,  and had a mind blown moment. Not because they’re celebrities. I’ve seen a ton of them over the years. And I don’t count those I pay to see. I do count the night at Mr. Chow when Sir Elton John held court at a table filled with beautiful men. The same night, Billy Bush stopped at our table to talk to my daughter and her friend. They had run into him on the way to the ladies’ room. Benicio Del Toro, Cybill Shepherd, Emily Blunt, Billy Idol… Trust me. It’s a long list.

I believe in The Secret. For those of you who aren’t aware, it’s a bestselling book about the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction. I’ve always felt like I’m that person. Lucky. The fact that my husband, Danny, and I got together is pure luck times ten. When I read The Secret several years ago, I tried it out. It asked the reader to imagine something cool happening and live like it already happened. I finished the book on our way to a resort in Costa Rica. I imagined running into a celebrity. Once we arrived, I realized how stupid that was. It was filled with families and everyone spoke Spanish. If there were celebrities at the resort, they would be lost on me. I don’t watch Telemundo.

After a long day of traveling, my husband and kids checked out the ocean. I sank into a recliner near the pool. A young man and woman walked past. He noticed my mesh bag. “Are you reading The Secret?”

“I just finished it.”

“Here.” He took out his ear buds and handed me his iPod. “I’m listening to it right now. We’re going to get something to eat. I’ll stop back in a little while.”

I listened to his iPod until he came back. He and his girlfriend sat down and we became acquainted with the whole, “Where are you from? What do you do?” kind of questions. Wait for it….

He was a freakin’ actor from Vancouver. NO LIE! He had just finished a series for the History Channel.

Flash forward over the next few years. I won EVERYTHING including a heli-ski trip in Canada and every raffle I entered. One time I bought an extra ticket for a friend and said, “Don’t worry. You’ll win.” We both won.

Then I came down with breast cancer three and a-half years ago. My luck had run out. I stopped winning. I worked really hard at positivity, but it was tough. I felt screwed over. I carried a weight of anxiety in my gut only released for a while between estrogen suppressants, (what my cancer ate) and for a week after the Wanderlust Yoga Festival last summer.

I turned a corner in January. I began meditating and the anxiety disappeared. For the first time in a long while, I looked forward to events. A happy feeling replaced the weight in my gut.

So what does this have to do with the Kutcher family?

The week before my trip to Burbank, California to visit my son, Kelly, I watched the movie Friends with Benefits starring Mila Kunis and remembered The Secret. I put the intention I would love to see Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, into the Universe. I figured visualizing specific people might help. I also visualized Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Work Week fame. I’m a new fangirl.

I borrowed Kelly’s car for the weekend and planned to take it in for an oil change before heading to Malibu on Saturday. While driving to a coffee shop on Friday morning, I vibed out. I had to get the oil change now. On my way to a Jiffy Lube, I discovered a Valvoline with open bays. Bonus! I pulled in and checked it off my list.

Knowing Kelly had worked on music until the wee hours of the morning, I let him sleep in. With that same strong vibe, I changed direction and headed to a coffee shop back near my VRBO in Burbank. I had gone to a cute one the day before, but I wasn’t feeling it.

When I walked in, I was glad to see that although it was small there were several places to sit and hang out. A couple of bars with swivel chairs stood perpendicular to where you ordered, and bench seats and tables were scattered throughout. It was bright and I considered wearing my sunglasses, but slipped them into my purse. I cued up behind a few others to place an order for a $5.00 cup of joe and a lady with curly brown hair lined up behind me.

Seeing Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis blew my mind, but not for obvious reasonsFrom where I stood, I could see the door. In walked Ashton Kutcher. The Ashton Kutcher from my intention the week before! I just about dropped over. My heart slammed in my chest. He wore a baseball cap, a puffer jacket, (it was a bitter 58 degrees for Los Angelians) and jeans. I couldn’t help but stare. He knew, I knew who he was. His intense brown eyes glinted like, Don’t even and then quickly looked away while conversing with the lady behind me. I assume I smiled like an idiot or a kid on Christmas morning.

That’s the funny thing. I never ask for autographs or for photos and don’t talk to celebrities unless they hold eye contact, smile back, and say hello. Even then, I test the water with a, “Hi, how are yah?” If they answer, I might continue depending on the situation. By the way, he has amazing lips. I could see why Mila crushed on Ashton since starring opposite him on That 70’s Show.

The lady behind me gave Kutcher some estimates, but music blaring from overhead speakers drowned out his voice. I strained, but couldn’t hear much of anything. It’s probably why they chose that particular place. “Mind your own beeswax,” my deceased grandmother would have said.

I took a seat at the bar so I could watch Kutcher order and hoped they would sit nearby. The contractor chose a seat next to me. Whoa. Ashton walked toward me after ordering. I could have easily taken a great photograph, but just couldn’t. Not one person hassled him the whole time he was in that coffee shop although I suspect the Asian guy sitting on the end of the bar got some great photos.

I immediately texted my family and they begged for pictures. I took a subtle shot when he ordered breakfast. Then the contractor shuffled her binder and folders on the bar and slid closer to me.

aston-kutcher

“Do you need me to move down?” I asked.

“Maybe. Someone is joining us with a stroller.”

Holy mother of God! Mila Kunis and their new baby????

I slid as far down as I could and texted my family the update.

“Pictures of Mila Kunis, please,” said Danny and my brother, Joe.

I started writing this post when I sensed someone staring at me. I looked up. “Oh, hi,” I said.

Mila Kunis stood at my right elbow and carried baby Kutcher in a car seat. I couldn’t believe it. She flashed her gorgeous eyes over me and smiled. Then to my dismay, they moved to the back corner right in the window of the coffee shop to continue their conversation.

Mila walked to the line for coffee. She wore jeans, a cute gray sweater, and fancy-like tennis shoes. Tennis shoes are a big thing in LA right now.

I was impressed that both Ashton and Mila waited in line like regular people. They didn’t pull the, “Hey, I’m a celebrity, so I’m not waiting,” card. Nor did the contractor offer to wait for them. Cool.

Again, I could’ve gotten a straight up shot of Mila walking right toward me, but took a subtle photo of her ordering instead.

mila-kunis

I picked up Kelly so we could order breakfast and we returned right when Ashton left. Mila still sat in the corner with the contractor.

My observations:

If they would’ve worn sunglasses, I might not have recognized them. They didn’t seem to care. They didn’t engage with me at all although their contractor was friendly. They chose a public place for their meeting and took a chance on paparazzi.

Good on them for living their lives! I can’t imagine having to hunker down all the time and stay out of the public eye. I’ve had some mistaken identity moments and the attention can be awkward. Watch for another post about that. Crazy.

Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis remind me of Danny and me. I have a feeling this couple will last. I obviously trust my feelings. I crushed on Danny when I was in the 8th grade, but he was four years ahead of me. Our families went to a Brewer game on Memorial Day in 1987 when he was in Wisconsin for the weekend. He rarely came back from Colorado to visit. I flew out for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in June and we booked the priest and the Church over the 4th of July. Truth. Check out this post.

The biggest takeaway? The Secret works when you believe in it. I had felt down and kicked in the gut until a few weeks ago. Seeing them after that crazy ass intention, blew my mind. After all my setbacks, I’m back. Thank you Kutcher family for being so amazing and setting me back on track.

I’ll see Tim Ferriss next time.

By the way, don’t bother entering any contests. I’ll win.

Have you seen any celebrities? Who would you like to meet?

Other crazy stories that could only happen to me:

Our Secret is Out!

An Insane Circumstance

When People Think You’re Crazy

Dear Holiday Diary, The concept of time escapes me…

Dear Holiday Diary,

I sat down this morning for the first time in weeks. My butt was like, “What are we doing? We’re not sitting in a car driving to town to Christmas shop. FOR GOD’S SAKE. WE DON’T HAVE TIME TO SIT, DO WE?” Switching gears after pushing myself for weeks is harder than you think. My brain still isn’t wrapping itself around the fact that it’s Christmas Eve and I may actually be ready and can enjoy it this year. That would be a first. Although, I’m not there yet. There’s lots of time for human error. I’m more human than most.

One thing I would LOVE for Christmas is the ability to know how long each task will take leading up to Christmas day. Wouldn’t that be a great app? It would calculate the time it takes for transportation, shopping, sending personalized greeting cards, decorating, and preparing meals, to name a few of the tasks on my list. It always takes me twice as long, so I end up stressed and behind schedule. Why is that? I feel like I give myself plenty of time. I must be super slow when I do things. I do get distracted easily by sparkly things. There are lots of sparkly things around these days. Like yesterday, when I walked to a shop on the Pearl Street Mall, I just had to take in the Boulder Court House light display and then window shop down the block a ways until I realized I should drive to my next destination a mile away to save time.

Twice, I spent hours hoofing around in stores to purchase gifts I couldn’t find online only to find them on super sale the next day. GAH! At least returning those items didn’t take very long. I’m not sure an app could predict that.

Being an optimist has its drawbacks and can be very hazardous to time management during the holidays. When illustrating my Christmas cards, I only remembered the times when the ideas and likenesses came easily. I didn’t create popup cards this year. That eliminated days of cutting and pasting. I planned on two hours a drawing. I thought I’d get the cards done in two days. Ha! They took so much longer than expected.

It would have helped if I had an idea in mind. Instead, I used a technique for writers’ block. I started sketching without an idea and hoped for a burst of light in the darkness of my cavelike cranium. After a few drawings, the lightbulb blew up in my head. You know that sound that makes you jump when it pops right above you?

Being a slow learner can be frustrating too. Printing them became a nightmare with my antique printer for a lot of reasons. The drawings were too big and the printer’s plantain was super small. After redrawing them to barely fit, I placed my left hand on top to raise the lid with my right and shut it off, EVERY FREAKIN’ TIME!

Baking and cooking recipes include the amount of time it should take, but for some reason, it always takes me longer. Maybe it’s because I tend to double or triple recipes. I don’t adjust for the time it will take to bake six dozen cookies instead of two. Other times, I don’t wear my reading glasses, add too much of an ingredient, and then have to adjust the entire recipe. Starting over would take less time.

Someone recently asked me if I recreate all of my swags and decorations every year. Nope. When I carefully take them down, I label them so they easily go back up the exact same way. Not this year. I must have been extremely sleep-deprived and angry-faced. Nothing was labeled. It was as if I stuffed them in a box to be donated. I had to redo everything! I would enter my own category to the app. Time for decorating: Four hours to two full weeks.

No concept of time Christmas decorations

I would definitely turn off the app on Christmas day. Being adults, our family rises much later than those who Santa visits. We start with coffee and cinnamon rolls. By the time the last sleepy strangler arrives in the kitchen for their first cup of Joe, it’s after 9:00. For some reason time slows. My quiche always seems to take two hours in the oven. The full court press to get the brunch out stretches through the morning while we work in slow motion. We finally peek in our stockings at noon!

But there’s a time for the frantic frenzy spent racing against time and there’s the time for cocooning. I should have been a set designer. My hope is to create a warm place where everyone relaxes in a twinkling Christmas atmosphere from your wildest dreams. The house is decorated to the nines. (Nine what? Ninth floor? Nine gates of hell? Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall? I never understood that expression.) The shopping will be done and the presents will be wrapped, even if stuffed in a gift bag at the last minute with the wrong name on it. We will go to church on Christmas Eve. Christmas will arrive. We will enjoy every minute of our holiday, no matter what we went through to prepare for it. Okay, so nothing is perfect and we can’t be happy for hours on end, but I will count my blessings and try to live in the moment..

Merry Christmas! May the time with your family and friends be more memorable than the crazy month preparing for it.

Are you planning on enjoying the holidays or are you still in a last-minute frenzy?

Dear Holiday Diary, Mistakes were made.

Dear Holiday Diary,

I cranked out four cakes yesterday. Four! An eggnog, a poppyseed, and two chocolate bundt cakes. I should have quit while I was ahead. I could have spent the time inking my Christmas card. Mistakes were made.

bundt-cakes

The craziest thing happened the day before. I had searched for a ginger snap cookie recipe, but couldn’t find the right one. You know the kind with the sugary topping, right? I remembered a picture of one in a cookbook somewhere. Then the image of the New Boys and Girls Cookbook popped into my head. Do you have that one? It’s hardly new. It’s an antique, I mean a classic. I didn’t even know if I still had it. I searched my shelves filled with tons of cookbooks. There it was, between Betty Crocker and Colorado Cache. It opened up to the page. No lie. There was the picture of that cookie! EUREKA!

betty-crockers-boys-and-girls-cookbook

I glanced at my stack of drawings sketched the day before. If I continued baking, I probably wouldn’t have time to ink them. There are three illustrations in this year’s card!

But I’m cursed. Once I get an idea in my head, I have to do it. I looked at the recipe while the cakes cooled on the counter. Easy peesy. I mean it’s a kids’ cookbook, for gosh sakes.

I studied (squinted at) the ingredients. One cup of molasses seemed like a lot even though I was doubling the recipe, but what did I know. I probably hadn’t made these cookies since the sixth grade back when mini skirts were in style for the first time.

Molasses cookie recipe

After finishing that step, I perused the dry ingredients, then checked the molasses amount again. WHAT? It only called for half that amount of molasses. I had misread 1/4 cup! It looked like 1/2. Stupid tiny typeface. Now what would I do? I had cut back on sugar for high altitude, so that would make up for some of it. I didn’t want to double the recipe again. I’d have batter for sixteen dozen cookies! I didn’t have time to load cookie sheets all afternoon. I adjusted the ingredients and added flour and another egg. The bitter batter tasted better.

Danny stopped home and I asked him if he would taste test my ginger snap cookies. “Hmm..” That didn’t sound like the response of someone who tasted a delicious cookie. “No, they’re good,” he said and backed out the door, “Really!”

I tasted a couple, but they didn’t have that ginger snap flavor. I considered throwing them out. There was something weird about these cookies.

My sister, Patty, dropped by.

“Wanna try a cookie?”

She thought they were great.

Now it was my turn to say, “Hmm…”

When I put the book away I noticed the name of the recipe. “Molasses cookies.”

Duh! They weren’t ginger snaps. No wonder they tasted funny. They’re fantastic molasses cookies. No, I’m not going to make ginger snaps tomorrow.

Note to self: Slow down and make sure you know what you’re doing.

Wait. That won’t ever happen. First of all, I never slow down.

Second of all, I always think I know what I’m doing. That’s my biggest problem. I go balls to the wall with stuff I could double check, but rarely do. If I do double check, I start thinking I’m OCD or am suffering with short term memory loss. Both could be true given the situation.

I could wear the reading glasses hanging around my neck or use a grown-up cookbook next time. Or better yet, quit when I’m ahead. What a concept.

2nd note to self: Ink drawings today.

Do you bake for Christmas? Have you made any mistakes lately?

 

It’s not too late to join The #Blessed Project. Check it out and get linked up on the 19th!

 

Dear Diary, Please make it stop!

Dear Holiday Diary,

After a week of decorating, I still am surrounded by doodads and ditzies just begging to be made into some form of centerpiece, swag or other holiday shimmery thing. It doesn’t help that I keep looking up at my cupboards with the memory of this ceiling I spied while in Denver.

oxford-hotel-christmas-decor

Thanks a lot, Oxford Hotel. I’m still trying to forget the images of Patsy Ramsey’s house. Now I want to buy gold ribbon to swing from above my cupboards to the top of my chandelier. As if I don’t already have enough to do –

  1. Finish sketching the Christmas card.
  2. Note to self: Ask Danny to hide all the scissors in the house. NO POPUPS!
  3. Ink the illustration.
  4. Blog the contest to win a Christmas card.
  5. Put away crafting supplies and duct tape the containers shut. Danny should hide them too.
  6. Start baking.
  7. Get outside! It’s supposed to drop from the 50’s to below zero by Wednesday. Maybe I can add one more string of lights to the outdoor display, I mean, take a hike.

Ideas keep popping into my mind. I need to make them stop. I’ll let you know how I manage.

Have you started your holiday traditions? Are you scrambling like I am?

Dear Holiday Diary

christmas-decorations

Dear Holiday Diary,

I thought I would take some notes to document Christmas 2016. Danny keeps saying flying to Tahiti would solve most of my problems. I wouldn’t have to decorate. The kids could join us and we could skip the gift exchange. He’s dreaming. This is a transformative time of year for me and my house. Besides, I love sparkly things. We’re staying in Colorado.

Note to self:

Next year, make sure to wear a leather outfit and gloves when using angel hair to decorate. It resembles a swirling snowstorm, but it’s not really hair from angels. It’s hellish fiberglass. It sticks to everything including my hands, clothes, and surfaces within one mile of the “construction area.” It especially likes to pierce my sweat pants and poke through my undies when I’m working underneath a table. “Yowch!

christmas-village-and-hellish-angel-hair

Second note to self: Add changing clothes and laundry to the long list of things to do. *strips down in front of washer*

Oh, yeah, and there’s a light bulb out at the Town Office.

For other holiday disasters click here.

Check out The #Blessed Project. There’s still time to join us and get featured.