Launching ALO alongside one of my best friends and fellow editor Rebecca last April was a huge leap into a brand new adventure for us both. We jumped in at the deep end and we've learned so much along the way ever since and we're both in constant shock at how much support we've received ever since starting out on this journey. Our readership has grown to something we never would have imagined in less than just a year of launching, and today I wanted to share some of the biggest lessons I've learned so far.
I run ALO quite differently to how I manage this little space. Content strategy and my focus on the business side of things is much more in-depth than it is over here; I rarely pay attention to Jennypurr stats, whereas with ALO we're checking in on a weekly basis to see what's working and what's not. It's actually great to have two websites to run with completely different aims, it shows me both sides of the table and keeps me on my toes as well. It's a huge labour of love for us both, and though there are so many lessons left to learn here are five of the biggest I've learned so far:
You’re Only As Good As Your Team I feel beyond lucky to be able to work alongside not just a crazy talented business parter but also a super creative and talented team of contributors as well. ALO is a collective effort and our growth has come from every single member of the team bringing something seriously awesome to the table. If you're running (or thinking about running) a multi-author website, my best advice is to support your team to have as much creative freedom as possible to create awesome content along the way. One of the most important things though is that you're all on the same page; you all need to know the purpose and voice of your publication and let that guide you with every piece you create. ALOs purpose is to embrace creativity and our many passions and interests and that feeds through in every piece that goes live on the site.
Pay Attention To Statistics I always say that You Are More Than Just Your Traffic and I still stand by that especially when it comes to my blog. However, there is a whole lot of useful information to be found in your Google Analytics dashboard and depending on how you make decisions it can be a great place to guide you along the way. When running a website as a business, statistics can give you super useful information such as what content is connecting best with your readership, how long readers are staying on your site, where they're coming from, and much much more. This post from Lauren is a great starting point for utilising your blog analytics.
Keep It Fresh One of our biggest aims when we first launched ALO was to bring something fresh and new to the table as we were aching for an online space that was less about consumerism and way more about creativity and all the many things women our age are passionate about. We've had some awesome growth in a really short space of time and I think it's down to us really pushing ourselves when it comes to the content we're sharing; many of our contributors aren't bloggers and I think that's worked in our favour as they've brought with them a totally different approach to online content. To stand out in an over-saturated market you have to really offer something different than everyone else, and once you have a winning formula you then have to reinvent it a little and try something new so that you don't become stagnant. The challenge of staying fresh and pushing our content is something I really enjoy, and a huge lesson I've learned since we launched ALO is that you can't rest on your laurels if you want to keep moving forward.
You Don’t Always Know What Your Audience Wants All the analysing in the world can't tell you everything, and sometimes your readership can really surprise you. I've had posts due to go live on ALO that I've felt super uneasy about, and then they go ahead and be the most read and loved of the week. A huge thing I've learned is that just because something isn't what I'd click through and read, it doesn't mean it won't be the perfect piece for someone else. My best advice would be to not assume everything about your audience, keep putting out awesome content but don't be afraid to try something new or trust in someone else's creative vision as well (for example your teams) as it's not possible that you can know everything. Experiment, try new things, and evolve with your audience as you go. It's okay if not every post is a slam dunk, and knowing that your audience is a varied and awesome bunch of engaged readers is super important to remember when brainstorming upcoming content and features.
Mailing Lists Are Your Best Friend A huge surprise since launching ALO is how much our mailing list has grown without us actually doing all that much to promote it. It taught us that newsletters are one of the most popular ways our readers want to connect with us and we finally have our weekly newsletter back up and running which is a great way for us to touch base with our audience at the end of every week. If you can find a way to make it valuable for your audience, an active mailing list is something I'd recommend to any websites and blogs as I've found for both ALO and my blog it's one of the best ways to connect outside of just daily content and social media.
& ten of my favourite ALO posts I've worked on this past month:
- Seven Things To Leave Behind In 2014
- 5 Ways To Save Money In 2015
- Photos Of Animals To Make You Smile This Weekend
- Behind The Freelancer: Mariah Coz
- Five Things Your Desk Needs To Help You Stay Organised
- Six Awesome Ways To Decorate Your Shelves
- Lessons Learned From The Literary Greats: Ernest Hemingway
- 10 More Awesome Ways To Wear Your Hair Up
- 10 Beauty Releases Of 2014 We Love
- A Five Step Beauty Cleanse
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