Read on for more information on how I grow my Disney blog!
I have been writing this blog for about 7 1/2 years now. That’s a really long time! It’s almost a fourth of my life, and since I wasn’t a genius blogging baby or anything (okay, the internet wasn’t even a household thing then), I’ve had the blog for about half of my adult life. It’s become so important to me. It’s something I’ve created and put so much time and effort into.
And maybe it’s not the go-to Disney blog for many people, but I know there are at least a few out there who read it often. And certain posts that are widely shared and read on various topics, which makes me happy because it means something I wrote is helpful to someone else. But in the past almost 8 years I’ve learned it definitely takes a lot of work not just to create a blog, but to help it grow and make sure other people see it too. Because for me, at the end of the day, it’s not so much about the (small) amount of money I might make or seeing it just as a “business.” For me it’s about reaching as many people as possible to share the things that I love.
So if you’re thinking about a blog, or you already write one, I figured I could share some things I’ve learned on how I grow my Disney blog. Whether you write about Disney, travel, or something else entirely, these are some great lessons to grow your blog.
Figure out who your audience is.
You’d think this would be easy, but that’s not always the case. A Disney blog? Oh, of course your audience is Disney fans! But it gets more detailed than that. What kind of Disney fans? People who go to the theme parks regularly? Families who aren’t “hardcore” Disney fans but are planning their once in a lifetime trip? I’ve come to realize that my audience isn’t usually the people who live in Florida who go to the theme parks a few times a month. It’s the people like me who try to go often but can’t always get there, so they need that extra Disney magic at home too.
Figuring out your audience is something that you will learn over time, but there are certain things I’ve paid attention to which helps. I started a facebook group where we could just chat about Disney things, and seeing how people talk and interact in there is a good indicator of their interests. I’ve also watched which blog posts have tended to be the most popular. I’ve sent out reader surveys and now I make more of an effort to right towards who I know my audience is rather than to the “generic Disney fan.”
Provide both personal and useful information.
Sometimes the best blog posts are things right under my nose that I didn’t even think twice about. For instance, one of my most popular posts of all time is “What to do the week before you leave for Disney.” These are things I’ve been doing several times a year for a decade so they are natural to me, but writing them down has been super useful for other people! So whatever you’re writing about, take a look at the things you do regularly. Maybe it’s how you prepare for a trip, what you pack, the souvenirs you most like to buy, or even the cool Disney theme you’ve done to a room in your house!
But you also want to make sure you connect to readers on a personal level too. Otherwise your posts just read like a news article or list. Share little stories that relate to what you’re talking about. Be honest if your feelings on a topic might differ from other people. If you are a naturally funny person, let your sense of humor show! Let people know who you are.
Get inspired by other bloggers and influencers.
Some people feel like blogging is a competition, and while it’s tempting to feel that way sometimes it can really be a learning opportunity. Some of the most valuable resources are people doing what you do! I follow a bunch of other Disney blogs (and feature them on my monthly round ups) that inspire me. In some ways you can kind of think of it like someone who owns a business being a customer in another store – of course they shop other places than their own store, and they can see things from a customer end as a result. For instance, when I’m reading other Disney blogs all the time I can note things that I really like about them (it’s super cool how they organize their content into sections!) and things that I don’t (I find video pop-ups really annoying).
Exploring other blogs a bit outside of your niche is helpful too. I read some lifestyle posts and get inspired to do something similar with a Disney twist. Or a travel blogger who writes something like a bucket list and I make my own Disney version. A few other things you can do aside from just following other bloggers include reading their blogs regularly using something like Bloglovin’, interacting in blogging facebook groups, and reading interviews with other influencers.
Define what growth means to you.
Saying “I want to grow my blog” is actually somewhat vague. So what does growth actually mean to you? It could be the number of pageviews you get on average per day or per month. It could be making a certain amount of money every month. Or maybe it’s having a small but loyal following of people who interact and comment on your content. Is growing your social media important? Again, it depends on what your goal is. Certain platforms are better at driving traffic, while others are preferable for creating an interactive following. Figure out some specific that you want to do and set some goals.
Realize that blogging is not just writing.
I love writing. That’s why I started a blog – so I could write about something I love. But blogging is about a lot more than that. It’s photography, marketing, computer tech, social media, graphic design, and making personal connections. You can write as much as you want, but if you want your blog to truly grow you’re going to need to dedicate time to some of these other things too.
Pinterest is my #1 traffic source. It’s great because it’s basically a visual search engine that also uses some components of a social media site, like a “news feed” that shows you pins it thinks you might like or things your friends have pinned. It’s been the best way to grow my Disney blog. For some of my in depth info on how I’ve made Pinterest really work for me, head over to “How I gained 1.2 million monthly views on Pinterest.”
Learn as much SEO as you can.
If you’re not familiar, SEO is search engine optimization and in simplest terms it means making sure your page shows up high on Google search results. I knew SEO was important but it sounded complicated and overwhelming so I kind of just relied on the Yoast plug-in for recommendations for a long time but didn’t do much beyond that. I finally took an SEO course called Sticky SEO and it was really eye opening. I’ve seen so much growth through search engines since then. It’s a go at your own pace course which I appreciated. It went further than the basics that I already knew but did a great job explaining the technical stuff too. In the past year I’ve increased my search traffic from 14% to 22% already. I’d recommend checking out the Sticky SEO course today if that’s something you know you can work on.
Learn how to market yourself.
Whether you want your blog to grow in viewers, pageviews, income, or another way, marketing yourself is essential. You can’t just put up a post and then do nothing with it and expect people to find it. You need to share it with the world! Social media can be a great way to do this. Having an email list of interested subscribers is another good way to market. Make sure you create engaging images and headlines so people will want to read what you have to say.
Don’t JUST focus on marketing all the time.
I know, I just said to market yourself! But like everything there is a balance. If you constantly post on your facebook page to promote yourself or try to get people to buy things, they will get sick of that. It doesn’t feel genuine. So take the time to interact with your audience. Ask random questions on facebook (I like to post questions such as “if you could eat dinner at any Disney restaurant tonight, where would you go?”). Share a funny meme. Share blog posts that aren’t yours. If you are passionate about your topic people will see that, and they will be more inclined to check out your personal stuff too because they relate to you. Building those connections helped to grow my Disney blog too.
Don’t spread yourself too thin.
This all sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? One thing I’ve learned is that you can basically always feel like you could be doing more and it’s overwhelming. So don’t spread yourself too thin. Figure out which is these things might work best for you (or something else I haven’t mentioned!). For instance, some people try to do everything for ALL social media platforms (sharing constantly on facebook, twitter, instagram, Pinterest, tiktok). It’s okay to experiment and see how you feel, but you don’t have to do everything. I found that I wasn’t really getting traffic from twitter or instagram so I mostly just use those for fun now. A lot of people are pushing video content right now, and I know it’s popular… but it takes a ton of time and effort and it’s not necessarily my thing. So I might do a video once in awhile but it’s not my main focus. Find your strengths and what works best for you and concentrate on those!
Other blog posts of interest:
If you’re a blogger, how have you been successful in growing your blog? Is this info on how I grow my Disney blog helpful?