Wednesday, 28 June 2017

How To Top The Tots100 Chart - And What Happened When I Did!

After almost 5 years of blogging, last month I achieved something that I honestly NEVER thought I would when I climbed to the very top of the infamous Tots 100 chart.

For those unfamiliar with the chart it is run by the company Tots 100 and it ranks parent bloggers in the UK ( only those who choose to be part of it, as there are many amazing bloggers who don't) based on certain metrics including page views, follower numbers and so on.

The chart is something of a bone of contention among bloggers with many who enjoy being part of it and like to view their number each month as a measure of their success, and those who completely despise it and all charts like it.

I'll be totally honest - I have always fallen somewhere between the two.

I have always thought that the way chart worked was something of a mystery, as my ranking each month never seemed to be reflective of how well my blog had done in any given month.

But I have always enjoyed being part of it nonetheless, I like a visual guide on how my blog is faring and although I always took the number with a pinch of salt and tried my very best not to feel deflated if it dropped (which, admittedly, is difficult to do) I never felt as though I wanted to opt out of it. I enjoy seeing how I did each month.

But I certainly never expected to find myself in the number 1 position.

But I did.

And so, never one to shy away from a heated subject, I thought - why not blog about it?!

Because like it or loathe it, there are many bloggers who would love to climb higher in the chart and if I can offer any insight at all on how to do that - well, I want to do that!

And, while I'm here, I thought it was also worth discussing what happened when I reached the coveted number 1 spot - did it change my life?! Did it feel though I'd conquered the blogosphere?!'ll have to read on to find out.

My Tips To Climb The Charts

Now don't get me wrong - I have no more of a clue on how the chart works or how to climb it than anybody else, no matter how many times I read the info or ask Sally the dreaded question "How does the ranking system work?!" - I will ALWAYS be confused by it.

But I have noticed one or two things that a lot of people are not doing, and there are also a couple of things that I feel have helped me to climb higher - so I'm going to share them.

1) Make Sure Your Tots100 Badge Is On Your Home Page

I have noticed that many people place their badge on other pages of their blog such as the About Me page or Contact page - these are often the same people who are confused when their rank drops and this is not a coincidence.

The badge serves a purpose - it is not there merely to display your rank.

The badge is how Tots 100 count your page views - so if your About Me page is only getting a handful of hits every day and that's where your badge is, that's what Tots 100 are counting when working out your rank.

Put your badge on the page that receives the most hits - your home page!

I gave this advice to a friend of mine who was confused about why she had dropped to number 200-something in the charts. As soon as she returned her badge to her main page, she climbed over 100 places in the chart the next month! It really is SO IMPORTANT to make sure your badge is in the right place.

2) Make Sure It Displays On Mobile View Too

By the same token, you want every visit to your blog home page to be counted and how do most people view blogs these days?

Not on a desktop, but on a mobile or tablet - therefore you need to check that the Tots badge still displays on websites mobile view. If it doesn't, that's probably a lot of your hits not being counted towards your rank! Fix it!

3) Check Your Details

It sounds so obvious, but log in to your Tots 100 account and make sure that they have your correct details for all of your platforms.

It wasn't long ago that I realised I had my Twitter name wrong on there - this is not helpful!

4) Write Compelling Content

This is always good practise regardless of whether or not you're trying to get higher in the charts or just grow your blog in general. Nobody wants to write a blog unless they want people to read it, so you need to make sure that you are putting some interesting content out there.

Spread your wings a little, experiment - try writing about topics that are new for you. You never know what you might produce.

One thing I like to do is keep an eye on the upcoming awareness months/dates - there is an awareness date for most things these days, and they can be a great prompt for blog topics and can also mean an increase in traffic and hits too as more people are searching for that subject during that time.

For example, the month I hit the number 1 spot it was both C Section awareness month, IBS awareness month and Mental health awareness week - I wrote a post for each of those subjects as they were all relevant to me, and all three of them did very well for hits.

Infact my mental health post was picked up by a charity with a very large following, and retweeted regularly during Mental health awareness week - this brought a bit influx of new readers and lots more hits to my blog, and I think this played a big part in my increase in ranking.

5) Twitter Is Your Friend!

I've said it countless times before, but nothing has brought more of an increase to my blog hits than upping my Twitter game has.

A year ago, I would tweet each new post once or twice and that would be it. I would be lucky to get 500 views per post in a week.

Now I use SocialOomph to tweet my posts hourly for at least 2 weeks, and most of my posts hit over 3k views within a week.

The difference it has made has been phenomenal - people say they worry about irritating people with so many tweets, but it's just SO hard to care about how annoyed Barry from Croydon is by your tweets when your traffic has tripled! Soz Baz, just unfollow me...I will not lose any sleep!

So there you go - those are the main factors that I believe have helped me to climb from number 99-ish in the charts last year, up to number 1 in May 2017.

Was It Life Changing?

So now that I've been at that coveted number 1 spot, how has my life changed?

Is my inbox flooded with offers of brand collaborations every day? Have PRs started offering me shedloads more money to work with them? Am I rolling around in cold hard cash while being hand fed grapes by Ryan Gosling?

Do I feel as though I've reached the very pinnacle of blogging success? Am I walking on cloud 9?

Err, no, no and no.

To be totally honest, nothing has changed at all.

My hits are the same as they ever were, I get the same amount of brand work offers at the same rate as before, and if anything? I have only felt a bit more anxious since it happened because I worry that other people will think I'm not worthy of it or won't like me anymore....anyone who suffers with social anxiety will tell you that first place in ANYTHING at all in life is not a comfortable position for us to be in!

I also feel ever so slightly deflated as it feels as though there's nothing left to aim for, after all the only way from number 1? Is down! (Yes, yes I am very much a pessimist...can't help myself! Habit of a lifetime!)

So by all means, keep aiming to improve your blog. Keep trying, aspire to climb higher if it makes you happy - but just be aware that at the end of the day? It's just a number, and it doesn't reflect your worth or that of your blog.

 It will not change anything, it isn't the golden ticket to blogging super stardom and it definitely isn't worth losing any sleep over.

Blog because you love it, not for a chart position.

It's the only way to truly enjoy it!

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