The trip to Columbus was nice. I got to see Stuart's family, who I haven't seen in nearly a year. His little siblings have grown up so much it's crazy!! His 2 year old brother, Simon, is obsessed with his dad's Ipad and is better than all the adults at Temple Run. It's hysterical. His 3 year old little sister, Lydia, is adorable and absolutely loves me. She accidentally pulled out my nose piercing (her hair got stuck on my nose.. weird, right?), so I had to buy a new top for my anchor when I got back to Cincinnati. Trying to sleep with the anchor in upside down was an interesting experience! However, I got a cute little light pink stud, and I like it.
I also got to see his dad who is battling colon cancer. It's really sad, thinking about him and the future and the whole family. It's tough for everyone. I started tearing up when Stuart's stepmom was talking about the situation and how hard it will be to help the youngsters understand what happened when their daddy is gone. :(
On a brighter note, my Couch to 5K program is going very well! I even got to throw in a bonus morning run while in Columbus. I ran around Stuart's neighborhood, and I ran my best and longest in a while. I also plan on registering for a 5K or two - or three - tonight! I'm really excited about that. I'm scheduling the first 5K a week after my program is set to finish - although it might turn into the week I actually do finish, thanks to my spring break and Easter break schedule. Still, I'm pumped, and envisioning myself with a medal at the end of race day!
Aaaaaaaand finally, even though I'm not Catholic, I decided to participate in Lent this year. Since it starts Wednesday, I had to decided pretty quickly what I would be giving up! This year, I will be giving up all sugar (except honey/agave and things I have to review for the blog) and fatty foods. Hopefully a low fat, sugar free diet will help me continue to get in shape and reach my weight goal!
Today I want to give you some tips I've learned on how to increase your blog traffic. I have definitely seen an increase in mine since I've started using these tips, and I really hope they help all of you new bloggers!
1. Actively review products.
You can do this by emailing the company whose products you want to review and explaining why you think your blog is qualified and why your readers would be interested in their product. A lot of times, companies and are more than happy to oblige and allow you to review (and sometimes giveaway) their products. You can also simply review a product yourself and then tweet about it, tagging the company in the tweet. A lot of times, the company will see the review and retweet your link to their followers.
2. Comment on other blogs.
This sounds incredibly unhelpful, but I've recently started doing this and I cam't believe how many click throughs PD has gotten! Simply leave a short comment on other blog posts and you'll both increase your site traffic and make the blog owner very happy.
3. Tweet often.
Tweet about your own site and blog posts, but also retweet others. If you like someone else's post, share it! It is likely that blog owner will retweet you. If you find an article you think will be helpful to your readers, share it! I am actively trying to become a FitFluential Ambassador, and in the first rejection email they gave me helpful tips on how to increase site traffic. This was one of those tips. I now share links to healthy living and fitness tips, and my Twitter following has definitely seen an increase. Also, tweet at your favorite chefs or celebs and they may retweet you!
4. Participate in fun blogger programs.
Whether this is FoodBuzz, BlogHer, Foodie BlogRoll, or some other service, try it out! You can also make a few bucks by participating in these. Lindsay's Foodie Pen Pal program is also a great way to meet bloggers, get great food, and increase your site traffic! Look for other fun exchanges like this. Also, link ups are great - like Jen's WIAW link up. There are tons of link ups out there, so get looking!
5. Start your own link up party.
I'm currently in the process of doing this, although I haven't decided what I want to do yet. Any suggestions? This will make you known for that particular link up and people will search for you to get involved!
6. Respond to all emails/comments.
Engaging with your community is a huge part of blogging. If you are absent, no one will read! Be active and enjoy talking to your readers!
7. Host giveaways.
Whether you are giving away your own goodies or another companies, giveaways attract people. See #1 for more information.
8. Engage in social media.
Seriously. Besides Twitter, get a Facebook page for your blog. Join Wellsphere. Join StumbleUpon or Klout or various other social media forms. They help a lot.
9. For food bloggers, submit your photos!
Find sites like Food Gawker, Finding Vegan and others and submit your photos. Although it can be challenging to get accepted, photos that are send a HUGE amount of traffic to your site. I have one picture on Finding Vegan, and that seriously got me hundreds of new site hits! I highly recommend this.
10. Make your blog look pretty.
Seriously! If your blog looks good, people will be more inclined to read it. I don't pay much attention to sites that are very plain, have obnoxious color schemes, or are just ugly. Make your site pretty and simple and people will read!
That's all I've got for right now, kiddos. I gotta stop procrastinating and actually study for my test tomorrow.