Let's talk about our websites. Social media has probably been the most annoying thing I've had to deal with lately as a blogger. Also, just as a human being, because ya know... society, politics, ill-informed and inappropriate commentary. But that's another story. Today, I want to chat about our websites and social media as creatives, bloggers, entrepreneurs, shop-owners, and all the things.
I'm pretty sure all of us can agree that social media has been totally lame lately - especially Instagram. We're well aware that the algorithm has ruined a lot of things for us who use it as an extension of our websites, a place to grow our engagement, and get people clicking over to our content. Our followers are dwindling down and engagement is at an all time low. Not to mention that we're seeing photos at the top of our timelines that we saw 19 hours ago and already "liked." What is that?? Facebook is the same. With our posts getting completely lost in the atmosphere and rarely seen on News Feeds. We have to pay money to get our stuff seen and to reach more people! You know... the people that followed us specifically to see said stuff.
Pinterest has also continued to make updates here and there. We've seen the addition of the "Picked for you" pins, which, thank god, we can now turn off. These were replacing pins from pinners we actually wanted to follow. And here too, we only see engagement when followers are most likely to be online and pinning, otherwise our photos get lost in the shuffle. And still, you must pay to be seen more. And while Twitter hasn't quite switched it up as much as the others, our timelines are a bit insane these days. Plus there's so much content being uploaded every second that's so hard to keep up!
Why is this all so ridiculous and frustrating for us? Because unless you're sitting at the top of the social media empire, your posts are probably rarely getting seen by the very people who clicked that "Follow" button specifically to see your content. The content that you've worked so hard to create. The content you want others to see, use, share, and engage with. Bottom line - social media is continuously changing and it's completely out of our control. I cannot count the amount of times that social media has switched things up on us. Suddenly, even major bloggers are talking about how they've lost engagement and how apps we love, like Instagram, are no longer serving us as well as they used to. The sad truth is that social media will be in constant change forever, so focusing on the one thing we can control is key.
This only justifies the fact that our main focus and most of our efforts should be placed on our websites. The only place online that we have full control over from design, to content, to opinion.
This rant came about when I was asked about what I think makes a good website, and a conversation ensued regarding why someone who has an insanely large amount of social media followers isn't seeing the same engagement on their website, clicks over to their posts, or commission coming in. I think the key is developing beautiful content on a beautiful space where people will want to visit weekly. There's plenty to remember when it comes to your website and these are just a few things you should keep in mind.
It's worth it to spend money on a good design. Many bloggers and even companies don't take the time to develop and design a beautiful website, with easy navigation, and content that people want to look at. If you're not a designer, spend the money to hire someone and take the time to get it right. Your followers won't keep coming back if your space isn't nice to look at. Especially if they can't find what they're looking for or if they're having a hard time navigating. Aside from having a pretty place to display your work, keep it up-to-date and try to post consistently. While your social media posts may not be at the top of everyone's News Feed. You know that your content will always be seen by those who visit your website. Again, they'll keep coming back if you have new content to show them! Having clear, edited photos is also a must. I've come across way too many blogs where the photos were clearly not taken on a good camera and were certainly not edited! You should put effort into every single thing you post!!! Take the time. Lastly, having certain pages like an "about" and a "contact" page, I think are key. The about page is usually the first place I visit when I discover new sites, and mine continues to be up there in page views with my blog roll.
Maybe I'm highly sensitive to social media these days or perhaps I'm honestly just sick of hearing about how much effort people are putting into their social media instead of their websites! Either way, in a world where we have little control over the online world, and where social media is always changing, remember to dedicate time to making your only constant a beautiful, engaging space for your followers to visit.
In similar news, if you haven't already checked it out, Grace Bonnie recently wrote about the "State of the Blog Union 2017" over on Design Sponge, and it is well worth the read! So much has changed and her insight is on point. Probably the best article I've read regarding the blogosphere in a looooong time.
How have you guys kept up with the changes of social media? How has the current blogging industry affected your work and business? Would love your tips!