Blogging Resources That Help Increase Traffic

Blogging-resources
When searching for posts about tips to increase your blog traffic, do you ever feel like you get lost in all the SEO talk and plugins that other bloggers make reference to? I know I do. I know everyone means well, and I appreciate shared knowledge, but sometimes I'm just over here trying to figure out how to get cute text on an image so I can get it up on Pinterest

There are tons of these helpful posts out there that will all share a different perspective and recommend what you should be doing. I'm here to share what's helped me double my traffic most recently.

If you remember, I shared back in the beginning of the year that I would be approaching blogging a bit differently this year. I work full time, have a family to focus on, yet I still love connecting and sharing our adventures with all of you. What I also realized is that sometimes you need resources to help propel you to the next step. Sometimes it's ok to cut out the time consuming fluff posts and share more quality over quantity. All of this has helped me to breathe a little better and get back to spending more precious time with the people I love. 

Ironically enough, when I approached blogging differently my traffic grew, my comments increased, and my earnings grew as well. Here's how I went about doing that...

GOOGLE ANALYTICS: I've had google analytics set up on my blog for as long as I can remember. I would jump on every now and then to see who was viewing my blog in real time, but I never really focused on analyzing the content. I've also learned that you can't go off of your page views through your blogger or wordpress site because apparently they take your own clicks and bots into consideration. For example, you might see that you have 15,000 page views for the month when you login. However, if you actually review those statics in Google Analytics it might be cut in half. From what I understand, Google only counts legit page views. It's also important to take a look at the content that is being viewed the most. My posts that offer some sort of value to my readers are the ones that do the best as apposed to a random day spent at the park with my kids. Don't worry, I don't plan on retiring those posts anytime soon, but it is nice to know what thrives.

PINTEREST BUSINESS ACCOUNT: I decided to convert my account to a Pinterest business account. After getting more into the analytics of my blog I also wanted to see how my other accounts where performing. I love being able to see how many times my pins have been re-pinned now and how many people they are reaching.

PINTEREST RICH PINS: after I switched to a business account for some reason I thought I would automatically be able to have rich pins. Not that I actually knew what rich pins were, but I knew I wanted people to be able to see more of a description and extra information with my pins. You also want to make sure you have a pin it button on your blog. A lot of my traffic is generated from people using their cell phones who don't have access to a pin it button on a tool bar. If you don't have a pin it button setup for your content, you could be missing out on your images being shared.

TAILWIND: I'm actually annoyed that I didn't sign up for Tailwind sooner because it took my monthly Pinterest views from around 7k to 128k. I still wouldn't say that's anything ground breaking, but it has in turn brought more traffic to my blog. I can't say it's all because of Tailwind, but I know it has helped. *Here's a link for you to try a month for free and in return if you sign up, then I get a month for free as well. It's a win-win for both of us.*

Now, Tailwind can be tricky. I had to do some extra googling and watched a Youtube video before I kind of got the hang of it. I would recommend to join a few tribes once you sign up, follow their rules, and start repining. Then, when you pin your pins to that board you have a chance of some large accounts repining yours. Some of my successful pins have been because of repins from my tribes. You can also schedule your pins on Tailwind and they will analyze your best times to post and do it automatically for you.

CANVA: I used to be a PicMonkey girl but once they started charging and I realized their editing options weren't as user friendly as I thought, I was out. Canva has been a game changer for me. It's so easy to use and they have dimensions for blog posts, social pins, even Pinterest pins. My posts with a pinnable image also bring in a lot more traffic.

FACEBOOK: for the longest time I stayed away from using facebook for my blog. Why? I'm not exactly sure. Maybe because a lot of my friends don't necessarily understand the whole blogging world and I think I was worried about people who were following me on my personal account could see what I was posting. Fast forward to learning more about having your own facebook page (and not caring what people think) and groups to support that. If you search on facebook there are a ton of blogger groups you can join where you can add a link to your post, participate in follow threads, re-pin threads, etc. However, with that, also comes time and commitment. You can't just drop a link and then leave. You have to reciprocate, and most of them you have to do it for everyone participating in that particular category. I think they're great to use in moderation but they shouldn't be your main focus. I will always go back to the best approach being to build your own sense of community, comment on other blog posts, and establish a loyal following.

BLOGLOVIN': if you're a blogger and you aren't on bloglovin' I'd have to say you're missing out. If you also don't have a section on your blog for people to follow you on bloglovin' you could be missing out on followers. It's the number one source I use every time I want to catch up with my favorite bloggers. It basically has a chronological feed (that's something we don't come across very often anymore) and when you post from your blog it also posts it to your bloglovin' feed. You can follow other bloggers and also explore tons of others. If your post gets a lot of likes on there, you also have the chance to hit the explorer page which in turn can bring in more views. On bloglovin' you see the person's featured blog image, a small blurb from their post, and you can chose if you want to click and read it. It really makes keeping up with bloggers so much easier.

STUMBLEUPON: this was another one that took some time for me to get used to. I checked my views one day and saw that I had all of this traffic coming from something called StumbleUpon. At first I got really annoyed because I thought it was a bot just messing with my site. Little did I know that people can stumble your posts if they like them and add them to their pages for others to "stumble upon". I still don't know who actually stumbled my first post, but thank you to whoever it was. Since then, I've signed up and it's increased my traffic. You might also notice that at the bottom of this post, under my share via buttons, is a stumble symbol where people can just click on that and share it there. 

What are some resources you like to use to help improve your blog traffic?

Friday Favorites

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Happy Friday, friends! I hope everyone had a great week. I can't really complain over here. I feel like I've talked more about the weather than anything else lately so I'm going to try and not have this post dwell on that. It can be so hard though because it's crazy how much the weather dictates how you feel, what you can do, etc.

Here's a look at some of my favorites from the week...

1. Cherry blossom festival: we had a beautiful day over the weekend and took full advantage of it. I was so surprised these cherry blossoms were bloomed because nothing else was. They were so pretty to see and got me so excited about the nicer weather. We had such a good time walking around and admiring it all.

2. Outdoor eating: since we had another nice day we took full advantage of sitting out on the deck and eating outside. The only downfall was, whatever warmer temps we did have, awoke every insect imaginable and those mosquitos came out with a vengeance. I got eaten alive. I have been itching all week. Little nugget enjoyed making bubbles in the backyard and I'm sure me laying on the grass to take pictures of him didn't help with getting bit up either.

3. Toys R Us: it's so sad about all of the stores going out of business. I know that shopping online is a huge convenience and I'm guilty of it too, but it's sad to think that these staple stores won't be around for the boys to enjoy. We had to take them and let them pick out something special. Of course that involved all the paw patrol things. If you caught my insta stories you might have seen me share this random fact that their headquarters are right here in NJ. The street is even named Geoffrey Way.

4. Hunter Boots: so you might have heard a little something that Target launched a line with Hunter. If you don't know by now, where have you been?! Anyway, I swear this was not planned, but this how it went down.

Little nugget woke up around 4am to go to the bathroom. While Eric took care of him, I grabbed my phone and looked at Target.com to see what the deal was with these boots. They wouldn't let me add any of the boots to my cart and said to check your local store. I should have known they weren't actually going to be available online (at least for me they weren't). I thought to myself, well there goes that, and went back to bed. Around 6:45am A came crawling into our bed talking about the most random things and wanting to watch tv. I tell you, when it's a school day, we have to wake them up at 7:30 to start getting ready. But on a weekend, this boy is up way too early for me. He kept rattling on and on, something about catching a snake in the backyard and wanting to look for frogs. I think I even told him at one point to go back into his room.

At this point I was up and told him if he was waking me up this early then he had to come to Target with me. I got dressed and we headed over making it there at 7:58am. By both sets of the doors to get in were two long lines of people waiting. I thought to myself, well this is great, I'm going to have another Lilly Pulitzer experience.

I got A out of his seat and we ran for the doors because they just opened the one side we were closest too and people were starting to walk in. I think A even laughed and said, mommy this is fun! Is it a race?! When I saw the display I went right for the boys boots because my main goal was to get them a pair. They have rain boots from Target that we love but they are outgrowing them so it wasn't like we didn't need them. I pulled A off to the side and grabbed several different sizes for him to try on and told him we would put back what didn't fit him so other people could try them. We also grabbed a few sizes for little nugget and I have returned what didn't fit him. That took all of about two minutes because these things were super easy for him to slip right on and try. I ended up getting these and these for them. I circled to the women's setup and all of the navy and red boots that I really had my eye on were gone. They had no yellow boots in our store and only two pairs of the pink ones left sitting there. One was a size 11 and the other was my size. I decided to try them on. I wasn't in love with them but I still thought they were cute. They are a bit out of my comfort zone just because they are so bright. We did get good use out of them though when it rained here like crazy this week. Eric ended up wanting a pair after all so I picked him up these and we also got a racquet game set that we will be packing in our Airstream this summer.

5. Favorite finds: speaking of Target, they got me good this week. I came across this swimsuit (currently 25% off with code SWIM until 4/21) that I thought would be cute for my upcoming Charleston and Italy trip. I have really been into one pieces lately. Some of them I find a lot more appealing than a two piece and they are a lot easier to run after the boys in. They are also having if you spend $40 on clothes you get a $10 gift card so I picked up this dress and this dress. All of this got me thinking about a summer bag. I have my scalloped tote from last year in tan but Nordstrom released it in pink this year. I also have my eye on this straw ring handle basket tote, it's really cute too. I also came across this mantra band that's on sale. I have two other ones from my close friends that I love wearing together.
SHOP FINDS
I hope everyone has a great weekend! We have plans to hopefully get some more things done on the Airstream this weekend. This weather has really set our timeline back for being able to tackle this renovation. Here's where you can find me linking for all of the link up fun.

Guilty Pleasures-Girl Chat Link Up

Guilty-Pleasures
One of the things I don't get enough of is idle time and being able to do whatever I want. It feels so far and few between these days. But when it does happen, I have a few guilty pleasures I indulge in. 

Mindless Tv: I used to watch a lot of reality shows when they first hit the air and seemed like one of the only things available on tv. Some very popular ones were right in my own state. It would be funny to see places that we've been too, or landmarks that we pass everyday, and crack up at how people around here are so not like that in real life. With shows like This Is Us, Imposters, The Good Doctor, and any type of home improvement show, I haven't been watching as much reality tv anymore. And I can't say I'm really mad about it. Now don't get me wrong, I still enjoy a good Housewives show and catch them when I can. 

Social creeping: I hate to admit this one, but scrolling through social media. I have such a love hate relationship with instagram. My time with this silly app is usually spent when the boys go to bed and before I know it, I'm clicking on a hashtag that led me to someone's picture, that has some crazy story to it, and before I know it I'm knee deep in their business. Pinterest is another one for me. I could be scrolling and looking for one thing and 15 pins later I'm thinking about redoing my pantry or tackling a DIY.

Give me all the milk and cookies: Cookies might be considered more of a weakness of mine because boy are they oh so good. I don't need anything too fancy, a good old chocolate chip does the trick for me. If and when we have them in the house, I usually eat them after the boys go to bed so I don't have to share #honestparenting.

I also love me some Taco Bell: I know most people look at me like I'm nuts, but Taco Bell is my jam. I could eat a whole cravings box by myself and the cheesy gordita crunch is my all time favorite. 

Sleeping in: I think I've said it a ton of times here, that I am not a morning person. I am not up at the crack of dawn doing all of the things. I am joyfully hitting my snooze button and enjoying my extra 15 minutes of sleep. Sleeping in on the weekends (don't worry it's a rarity) is such a beautiful thing. 

Dream vacations: I can also get lost in a black hole searching for vacation deals that I don't even plan on going on—right now that is. But if one day we splurge for an over the water hut in Tahiti or Bora Bora, I'd like to know how much it will cost. 

Long showers: I am guilty of staying in the shower for longer than I need to. I am especially good at this in the winter when I don't want to get out of the warm water. Maybe if my bathroom had heated floors and a heated towel rack (maybe next house) then I'd be more inclined to save some water.

Sunbathing: I know it's not really good for you, and don't worry I always put sunscreen on, but I love laying out in the sun. I find it so relaxing. I could escape to the beach all summer or float around in a pool if I could to enjoy those warm rays. 

Now it's your turn to join in on the fun and share more about your guilty pleasures. 

To link up-grab our graphic, link up, and let's get to chatting! Make sure to stop by a few other posts in the link up for an extra bit of girl chat!

And don't forget to follow your hosts!

Danielle - Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter
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Lindsay- Bloglovin | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter
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When Kids Say and Do The Darndest Things

It's been all kinds of months since I've shared some of the silly things that come out of the boys mouths and the crazy things they come up with. I don't know why, but recently it seems like they have been coming out with some funny ones that I've tried to add to the notes in my phone (does anyone else use the notes section in their phone) so I don't forget. 

After I started reading them again, I realized there were quiet a few and thought it would be fun to put another post together. Both of my boys have been very vocal from a young again and talking in 3-4 word sentences from around 16-18 months. I am extremely thankful for that and have loved hearing their silly logic and literal thinking. 

If you remember form a while back, one of little nugget's first words was agua and he was getting so mad at me for not giving it to him because I couldn't figure out what he was saying. I didn't realize how quickly he picked up on the Spanish and sign language they were teaching him in daycare. Anyway, here are a few moments from my boys that have kept me laughing.

Recently one of the things they have been asking about is when is it going to be Christmas again? I keep telling them they have so many things to look forward to this summer but Christmas is on their brain. When I was putting A to bed he asked me if we could bring out this North Pole communicator that we have so he could talk to Santa. I told him it was packed away and that it only works after Thanksgiving (true story because you can set the date and time). He leans over and says, well your ears are really small like elf ears (true in that they are small but no they are NOT elf shaped) and if I talk into them can Santa hear me? No, no, no it does not work that way my son. 

Continuing with the Christmas talk, I told little nugget one night that it was going to be cold so he should wear socks to bed. He never keeps his covers on at night. Anyone else's kids always kicking them off? He says to me, why mama? So jack frost doesn't nip at my toes. I think the song actually says nose, but I can see the confusion there. 

One night, I don't actually remember how it came up, but Eric and I were talking about how Jimmy Fallon's finger got hurt from his wedding band, and that whole debacle. I guess I must have said Jimmy Kimmel instead of Jimmy Fallon, and somehow A must have over heard us. Later on that night, he was crying in his room and I went in to see what was wrong with him. He said he was so upset and that he didn't want Jimmy Kimmel's finger to fall off. I had to laugh because he has no clue who either of them are and I also felt really bad that I didn't realize he was listening and I got him so upset. 

I try to be very mindful of what I listen to in the car with them, because much like the Jimmy story, they pick up on everything. A Pitbull song happened to come on and he was talking about going back to the crib. Little nugget says, the crib? Why he take them back to the crib? That's for babies! 

Little nugget had a project at school where they planted seeds and grew them into a bean plant (sprout, whatever you call it). They were also reading Jack In The Beanstalk. When it was time for the plant to come home, they both got the idea to plant it in the backyard and when it grew taller Jack would come out of the top. We had to explain to them that's not really how it worked but if we were lucky (we aren't exactly green thumbs over here) then maybe we would get some beans. 

I need to get this on video because seriously Eric and I can barely keep a straight face when he does it, but little nugget will really talk with his hands when he gets into a story. Lately, during his story telling, if we mention something that we think is the point he is trying to make, he will tell us, yes that's what I told you. Well, it really isn't what you told us buddy but I can see where you were going with that.

A still loves wearing his Disney band from when we went and calls it his Mickey watch. He wanted to wear it to school one day so we let him. Later on that night at dinner, he tells us he has something he needs to talk to us about but he doesn't want us to get mad. I'm thinking oh geez, what is this boy going to tell us. Well, he let us know that during his time out on the playground he threw is beloved Mickey watch up in the air and it landed on the roof of the daycare. He was so concerned that not only him, but apparently none of us would be able to get back into Disney World. He assured us that his teacher was going to have one of the maintenance guys bring a ladder and get it down for him. He came home the next day with his band and says, yes!!! Now we can go to Disney again! It looks like we'll be planning another trip.

Another night when I was putting A to bed we were laying there and he asked me what season it was. I tried to explain to him that it is technically spring but it feels more like winter. He said. I know what's wrong. Spring is the mama and winter is the kid who is not being a good listener. I'd have to agree with him on that one. 

Friday Favorites-Could It Be Spring

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Happy Friday, friends! I hope everyone had a great week. This one seemed to go by really fast for us. I'm happy to say it was one of the first weeks in awhile that we didn't get snow. I think it might have flurried while I was in work at some point, but if I can't see it and it didn't accumulate, I'm ok.

We are supposed to have a beautiful day today and tomorrow so we are excited for all of the outdoor time. Then it's supposed to drop like 40 degrees on Sunday and we'll probably be bundled up again. We might stop by a cherry blossom festival but it will be interesting to see if there are actually any blossoms because nothing is really bloomed around here.

Here's a look at some of my favorites from the week...

1. Sixers game: if you caught my insta stories over the weekend you might have seen that we went to a Sixers game. Eric and I used to be really big fans back when Iverson played and we haven't seen them this good in awhile. We had courtside seats which were awesome and now I feel like I might have to watch a game that way all the time. Not really, but it was a fun experience. We also got to see them win so that's always a plus when you go to a game. Little nugget was also in his glory because during one of the quarters they had a drum line come out and perform and he was glued! The boys loved all of the snacks that came along with it and they got these adorable oversized shirts that A couldn't wait to put on. It was Franklin the mascots birthday so everything was geared around his celebration. The boys got to go out on the court after and bounce the ball around and they sure had a blast!

Remember that eyelet hem sweatshirt I shared last week? Well, it arrived later on that afternoon and I couldn't help but wear it to the game. I got so many compliments on it and I loved it even more in person.

2. Closet reveal: organizing things is no easy task and can be very time consuming. I am so happy with how everything came together in my closet and it is such a great feeling to know that everything has a place now. If you missed my post you can read more about it {here}.

3. Mother's Day gifts: I can't believe we are exactly a month out from Mother's Day. I shared some gift ideas and a cute idea the boys had to make Mother's Day extra special.

4. Favorite finds: I don't know about you but sandals are probably one of the things I always get new every season. Maybe it's because mine seem to wear a lot, or the fact that I have sweaty feet (tmi? we can all be mature about it ;) but rarely do I have a pair last me through two different seasons. Mine always get the feet imprint on the sole, and well, I just feel like I need to freshen them up. Anyway, back to the point. Last week Lindsay from Bourbon & Lipstick shared these printed bow-tie slides and I had some super cash laying around so I decided to pick them up. They reminded me of the pair from Target that came out in the beginning of the season that of course I waited too long for and now I can't find them anywhere.

I also picked up some solid tees for the boys. I realized they wear a lot of patterned shorts in the summer and I never have enough of plain colored shirts for them.

5. Hunter Boots: I'm sure we've all heard about the Hunter line being released at Target this weekend. I actually do not own a pair of Hunter boots but would love to jump on the bandwagon if I can snag a pair. I'm sure we all would so it will probably be a mad dash for whatever is left. I have my eye on this pair and this pair for myself and I think this pair or this pair would be really cute for the boys. Eric doesn't seem to be into them, at least the ones here, so that makes one less person to shop for.  Does anyone have a connection to Target corporate and have the launch time for when it will hit the web? You can always private email me :) Of course from what I can find they only mention the early morning hours and this mama is not staying up all night. I also heard RedCard holders had a pre-release this week that I wasn't invited to and feel pretty left out. It's all good though, if I get a pair, I get a pair.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Here's where you can find me linking for all of the link up fun. Speaking of linking, don't forget our monthly girl chat is this Thursday where we'll be sharing our guilty pleasures. We hope you can join us! 
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