SIX DEGREES OF Kevin Bacon is a fun game.
The premise is that the Hollywood actor can be linked to any other celebrity by six degrees of separation – typically through his wide and varied film roles.
If there was a similar game played out in the world of WordPress, Suzie81speaks would be the blog at the centre of that Universe, connected to other bloggers by far fewer than six degrees.
Almost three years after beginning her blogging adventure, she has helped newbie bloggers and experienced writers connect and collaborate.
Her website recently passed 500,000 views which is a ridiculous achievement and it averages between 600 to 1500 views each day (!). The #sundayblogshare on twitter remains a critical element of her success to help promote new voices that would otherwise be unheard.
More badges than Blue Peter, she has been recognised for her services to Blogging and Inspirational content.
I was keen to pick her brain for Episode 2 of #Reid2Write, having followed her for over a year now, lurking around her blog basement for tips and tricks to supercharge my own blog stats.
Hi Suzie! Congrats on hitting the ½ million mark. What do you put your success down to?
Thank you! I was jumping up and down and having a squeak when it finally hit the number… Success? I haven’t a clue. When anyone asks me what I write about I usually reply with ‘nonsense that people seem to like reading about.’
I don’t have a niche, or a plan, or a schedule like many bloggers do. I just write, press publish and then do a lot of promotion over social media.
You have a lot of excellent information on your blog about building traffic, best practice to grow your network etc. What is the #1 mistake you see people make on their own blog journey?
I don’t think that there are mistakes as such – each individual has a personal preference and work in a way that suits them – but I think that the biggest misconception that lots of people have when wanting to build traffic is that they will receive thousands of views and gain an instant community simply by pressing the publish button.
Most of the time, unless a post goes ‘viral,’ the blogger should go and find their audience instead of waiting for the audience to come to them!
Which blogs (outside your sponsors of course!) do you read on a regular basis? Celeb or otherwise.
Ooh where to start? I generally follow about 200 blogs so I can do my best to keep up with them, yours included, so it would be those blogs I read most often. I’m currently doing a ‘Top Bloggers to Follow in 2016‘ on the blog which promotes some of my favourites, so if anyone is interested to find out who they are I will be listing them all in a section of my menu at the end of the month…
You blog prolifically. Especially in the earlier years. Knowing what you know now, how frequently would you advise new bloggers to post?
It depends on the purpose behind the blog itself. For me, I was experiencing a difficult time and used it as an online journal as a form of therapy, which is why there were so many posts.
Now, I generally post between two – three times a week, but there is never a schedule. However, I follow bloggers that post monthly, weekly and daily – it’s a personal preference. New bloggers should post when they feel like posting… There are no rules.
Do you use specific tools with your site either for social media or for blogging? (Buffer, Feedly, Hubspot, Google Analytics etc.)
This is where I am going to completely shame myself. I use Twitter, Pinterest, Stumble Upon and Facebook. That’s it. No analytics, plug-ins… I do know of many who use all of the above though.
Many bloggers are discouraged by their own stats, and attrition is very high in the opening weeks. What advice would you give those who love to write, but are worried about never being found?
Go out and find your audience. Don’t be intimidated by other bloggers stats – make a connection with them by regularly commenting on their blogs, retweeting their posts. Send them an email to ask them what they think. Put yourself out there!
Again, it depends on the purpose of the blog in itself, but if stats are important then there are a number of things that bloggers can do to instantly increase their traffic with minimal effort.
Bloggers also struggle to come up with new ideas – a problem you don’t seem to suffer from after hundreds of posts! What inspires you?
Anything and everything! Things that have happened during the day, things I find amusing, responses to posts I’ve enjoyed, a nice sandwich I’ve scoffed for lunch… If I haven’t got time to write anything there and then I’ll store a note of it on my phone and go back to it later.
I do suffer from the dreaded Bloggers Block, so I usually try and avoid throwing my iPad out of the window, then walk away and go back to it later…
With such a huge network (and growing), have you considered packaging some of your blog content and writing a book to help others achieve similar success?
It’s been suggested several times, but I’m still undecided. With the blog having no niche, attempting to categorise my posts would be a little difficult… I’ve thought about doing one on ‘How To Blog From Scratch,’ but I don’t know enough about things like SEO to be credible.
Perhaps I could just do one of those sorts of books where I can just put an instruction at the top of a blank page and leave the rest to the reader: something like ‘hop on one foot ten times, spin round in a circle and say your name out loud. Draw what you can see…’ Minimal effort – just as I like it!
How much time do you spend daily with blog activities? (reading, commenting, answering, promoting, tweeting, writing etc.)
If I were allowed, I could quite easily spend all day, every day glued to the computer and I’ve lost entire Sunday’s in the past. However, when I’m at work it’s normally first thing in a morning and two hours in an evening attempting to reply to comments and send post links to my social media.
Has blogging changed compared to when you first started in 2013, and If so how?
It’s less cliquey… When I started there were a core group of ‘power bloggers’ that everyone seemed to idolise. Now, I see much more post sharing and more of a community, which is great!
How did you get Freshly Pressed?
I posted something that annoyed a lot of people (note: don’t write something that may infer to writers that take themselves seriously that they are taking themselves too seriously, or you will feel their writer wrath), and then I got an email to say it had been Freshly Pressed.
What does the Bloke think about your blog? (The Bloke is Suzie’s boyfriend who she frequently references in her blog journey)
In the early stages I think he was a bit put-out by it because I spent most of my free time cultivating my new obsession, at one point telling me that he was a bit bored of talking to the side of my head.
Now, he’s warmed to the idea, particularly as I spend a bit less time on there, I’m earning some money from it and the fact that we get invited to review restaurants for free quite regularly! He always tells me he’s proud of me and leaves me to it. Can’t ask for more than that really!
What are your blogging ambitions for 2016?
I have a set of numbers that I’d like to reach. I want to attend the annual Bloggers Bash in London in June and catch up with some bloggy friends. Really, I need to completely overhaul the whole site, delete posts, organise it a bit better…
Can you tell us something that people might not know about yourself?
Erm… I collect Beatrix Potter mini – figurines. Because that’s how I roll. Even some of my oldest friends don’t know that. Try not to be too much in awe of just how cool I am. Particularly the fact that I still use the word ‘cool’ is an indication in itself of my level of street-cred.
What is the number one tip you would suggest new bloggers do RIGHT NOW to start building their traffic?
Build those social media accounts! Almost half of all my traffic comes from my Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts. It only takes a few minutes every day and is totally worth the effort! It’s also a great way of meeting bloggers that don’t use the same host as you…
Suzie can be found on the following channels:
Further Reading – Archive of #Reid2Write interviews
image attribution – suzie81speaks