coffee time Heather Stillufsen

Heather Stillufsen

Whether you wish to start a local blog for interest or politics, there’s a huge market for talented artisans to change the status quo, as most tourism and council blogs are boring and uninspirationl. Rather than do what they do and promote zoos, aquariums and fast food outlets, you can promote local nature, litter clean-ups and artisan shops. It’s pretty easy to gain traffic for a small local site, if done well. So you will likely find it easier if you focus on a niche (say vegan fashion or restaurants in your particular area). Get your community involved in veggie restaurant reviews, green politics, litter clean-ups and zero-waste initiatives. It does take a few months for Google to pick up your site, but if you choose clickable titles, write good quality original content and have a pretty inspiring site, the world’s your oyster!

Download a free plugin to begin submitting posts to Google automatically (a bit like putting a sandwich board outside your small indie shop hidden down an alley). But just like a small shop, you’ll have to build trust over several months, before you start getting regular customers. Try not to have more than 4 links per post, and clean up your navigation and sidebar, and try not to have too many images per post, as this can slow load times.

Don’t worry too much about social media. It can help to promote, but ultimately you want good organic search engine traffic, as it’s more stable long-term. Also delete unnecessary plugins. We use:

  1. WP Grim’s sitemap generator & classic editor
  2. Jetpack (for stats and related posts)
  3. Open external links in a new window
  4. Stop spammers (disable Jetpack security for this to work)

If you use Jetpack’s related posts (good to keep people on site), change the size to make it look nicer (see end of this post as example) by inserting the following code in Code Snippets plugin:

// change thumbnail size
function jetpackchange_image_size ( $thumbnail_size ) {
$thumbnail_size[‘width’] = 400;
$thumbnail_size[‘height’] = 400;
// $thumbnail_size[‘crop’] = true;
return $thumbnail_size;
}
add_filter( ‘jetpack_relatedposts_filter_thumbnail_size’, ‘jetpackchange_image_size’ );

use a good host and pretty theme

Choose a good theme with pretty font and easy customisation. We like Restored 316 (Kadence) and Code + Coconut themes (Genesis) are the best! They are simple to use, affordable, beautifully-designed, and have wonderful customer-support. All the themes are wonderfully diverse and creative, not just the standard ‘boring designs’ so prevalent today. If using the latter, add the following CSS to make the hyperlink thicker and custom colour:

.entry-content a, .entry-summary a, .nav-links a {
border-bottom: 3px solid #f6c8b5;}

Bluchic themes are also nice for ‘fancy websites’ with portfolio and service pages, testimonials, FAQ , included stock photos and matching optional sales funnel templates.

Find more help and advice, spend a tenner to buy Stray Curls Business Plan, by a successful blogger who makes passive income from organic google traffic, and also has free business advice and easy-to-read entertaining e-books to help grow a blog. This book includes exercises to help your site stand out, discover your target audience and create blog and business goals.

do you need social media to promote?

Not really, the blogger at Stray Curls writes that it’s far more important to simply build quality traffic that gets found by Google. If you want to find a lost pet, search for an organic cotton black shirt or discover a budget-friendly cookbook, you’re likely going to simply search online, for results to come up (if your article is particularly good, you may even feature in the ‘featured snippets’ at the top of the search results – this happens organically, you can’t apply.

If you use social media, you could try Pinterest (more a visual search engine) though it seems to be getting more complicated to use. It’s up to you if you use anything else. Many people have privacy/security concerns over X and Facebook, and you don’t want to be spending your life promoting stuff. Just write, wait and hopefully the traffic will arrive!

We don’t want to live in a world ruled by social media, that’s half of what has gone wrong with life these days. Everyone is living their lives telling other people what they had for lunch on social media, instead of actually visiting the shops to buy some good local ingredients, and enjoying their dinner, without anyone watching! If you do use social media, always be nice!

If when you participate in online platforms, you notice a nasty thing inside yourself, an insecurity, a sense of low self-esteem, a yearning to lash out, to swat someone down. Then leave that platform. Simple. Jaron Lanier

I didn’t know what Facebook was. And now that I do know what it is. I have to say – it sounds like a huge waste of time. Betsy White

The Silicon Six – all billionaires, all Americans – who care more about boosting their share price than about protecting democracy. Six unelected individuals in Silicon Valley, imposing their vision on the rest of the world. Unaccountable to any government and acting like they’re above the reach of law. It’s like we’re living in the Roman Empire, and Mark Zuckerberg is Caesar. Here’s an idea. Instead of letting the Silicon Six decide the fate of the world, let our elected representatives (boted for by the people of every democracy in the world) have at least some say. Sacha Baron Cohen

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