Things you CAN do with a fused spine

Things you CAN do with a fused spine!

Since my scoliosis surgery almost 7 years ago, I have achieved SO many things that I never thought would be possible post surgery.  As scoliosis is in the news right now (as a result of Britain’s Got Talent) and in some cases being portrayed rather negatively, I thought I would try and put a positive spin on things.

I wanted to share my achievements post scoliosis surgery to prove that there IS life after scoliosis surgery! Once recovered, your scoliosis shouldn’t stop you from living a normal life.

Disclaimer: Please note, these are all things I have achieved once fully recovered (e.g after at least 1 year post op). Every case of scoliosis is different. I’m aware that not everyone is as lucky to be able to do all these things post surgery. If you have recently had spinal fusion, please do NOT try any of the below until you have had the all-clear from your Dr/surgeon. 


Things you CAN do with a fused spine…

Yes, living with scoliosis and a fused spine can be difficult at times. There are things you probably shouldn’t do or activities that need to be adapted post surgery. Sometimes though, it’s easy to ignore all the amazing things you CAN do after such a major life changing surgery.

I have blogged about most of these things already, but thought I’d list them all in one post and keep adding to it as I achieve more things!

  1. Climb a mountain
  2. Run 5K, 10K races
  3. Complete a muddy obstacle course
  4. Walk 26.2 miles overnight for charity
  5. Complete a MSc Degree with distinction (while working full time)
  6. Go to the gym 4/5 times a week
  7. Body Pump and light weight lifting
  8. Zumba/Aerobics
  9. Dance
  10. HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes such as Metafit
  11. Boxercise
  12. Body Combat classes
  13. Cycling / Spin classes
  14. Swimming
  15. Hike up hills
  16. Ride a Zip wire
  17. Travel all over the world
  18. Snorkel

What else?

ANYTHING you put your mind to!

Scoliosis Quote - Broken Crayons still Colour

My surgeon honestly told me there was nothing I couldn’t do after I had all restrictions lifted. (This was after about a year post op.) He even told me I could ride roller coasters and go bungee jumping (I’ll add it to my list…).

I know every case is different and I’m not saying you SHOULD do any of the above things if you have had spinal fusion. Lower impact exercise is much better for the spine than say running.

However, these are just some of the things I have achieved since surgery that I’m proud of.

I never thought I’d EVER be able to do any of the above things when I was in the early stages of recovery. But our bodies are amazing things and I believe we can do anything we put our minds to. 


What’s next?

My ultimate goal is to run the London Marathon for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund because, wow, what an achievement that would be!

The Scoliosis Campaign Fund had a team running the London Marathon this year and several team members had had scoliosis surgery. I just found that so inspiring and would love to do the same in the future.

I think surviving this surgery has really made me determined to keep pushing myself to try and achieve more things. I just want to squeeze as much out of life as possible and do as much as I can/try new things. When I first had the surgery, I was scared of causing damage to the fusion but now I am more daring.

There are so many more things I want to do, so hopefully I can keep growing this list over time 🙂


Have you had scoliosis surgery? What have you accomplished that you thought would never be possible post surgery?

Please share your stories below in the comments, I would love to hear from you!

Louise X

Britain's Got Talent Scoliosis

Scoliosis on Britain’s Got Talent!

If you live in the UK, you probably saw the inspirational young dancer (Julia) with scoliosis on Britain’s Got Talent. If you don’t, or you haven’t seen it, take a look at the video below.

Scoliosis on Britain’s Got Talent

I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was a similar age to Julia (14) and have struggled with body confidence issues all my life.

Watching Julia perform on Saturday night made me feel quite emotional for two reasons:

Firstly, I think she was so brave to go on National TV, proudly showing off her back in a skimpy top. When I was her age, I was so ashamed of my scoliosis that nobody even knew I had it. I kept it a secret and hid my back in baggy clothes. It took me a good ten years or so before I accepted my scoliosis, began to tell people and felt proud of my back. I felt so alone back then, it was especially hard as I didn’t know a single soul with the condition. The fact that she has done this will help and inspire SO MANY teenage girls with scoliosis. Hopefully, it will help them to realise that they are not alone and should be SO PROUD of their bodies. Support and talking to others with the condition is crucial when you have scoliosis.

Secondly, it was absolutely amazing to hear scoliosis mentioned on such a huge prime time TV show. Simon Cowell actually asked what it was..! The awareness that has been raised as a result is absolutely fantastic. My Twitter and emails have been going crazy since Saturday with people wanting to know more about scoliosis. It’s strange because scoliosis is quite a common condition, and yet so many people don’t (or didn’t!) know anything about it. I feel like it’s finally getting the awareness that it deserves!


What is scoliosis?

Whilst the awareness that has been raised is obviously amazing, I also feel that it’s important to educate people on scoliosis and provide the correct information. Scoliosis is NOT commonly caused by back injuries or accidents. In fact, the most common cause  of scoliosis is Idiopathic (no known cause). This is the type of scoliosis I have and it is more common in teenage girls during growth spurts. It can also be present from birth (congenital) or develop in children (early onset).  It sounds like the latter is the scoliosis that Julia has from her description. If you want to know more about scoliosis, you can check out my page here – what is scoliosis? or visit the Scoliosis Association (UK) website.


Scoliosis surgery is NOT the end!

The last thing I wanted to say on this topic is that it’s a shame that Julia feels she won’t be able to dance post scoliosis surgery. Now this all depends on the level of fusion, but having had the surgery myself (with a long fusion), I don’t doubt for a second that she will be able to dance post scoliosis surgery.

It’s all about attitude and she has such a positive attitude that I believe she will be able to achieve anything she puts her mind to post surgery. Scoliosis surgery does involve fusing the spine, and as a result you DO lose some flexibility. However, you learn to adapt. She may not be able to do some of the moves she can do now, but she should still be able to dance, just in a different way.

Yes, it is a serious operation with a very long recovery (up to a year or more) but once recovered there’s no reason why you can’t do everything you did pre-surgery. It takes time but with determination anything is possible.

I know people who have had scoliosis surgery and gone on to win professional dance and cheerleading competitions! There are so many inspirational scoliosis surgery survivors out there.


Since my scoliosis surgery almost 7 years ago, I have achieved SO many things I never thought would be possible. I have completed a Masters Degree in Marketing Communications with distinction, I have climbed an actual mountain (not easy – one year post op!), I have walked a marathon (26.2 miles) over night for charity, I have ran several 10K and 5K races, I have done muddy obstacle courses, I do classes at the gym I never thought possible such as Body Pump, Zumba, Boxercise, Body Combat and HITT training. I’m also planning a Great Wall of China Trek later this year to raise awareness of scoliosis and raise money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund.

The point is, when I was 14 and first diagnosed, I thought that if I had the surgery my life would be over. In actual fact, having the surgery, was where my life BEGAN.

I know not everyone is as lucky and every case is different, but in my case my scoliosis surgery transformed my life, reduced my pain and increased my self confidence.

I just want to say THANK YOU to Julia for being so brave and helping to raise much needed awareness of scoliosis. I only wish I had her confidence and positive attitude towards scoliosis when I was her age. It will be this that will get her through the surgery and dancing once more.

Louise X

Running Park Run Quote

Park Run Progress – 3 PB’s in a row (wow)

This morning I did Park Run and I thought I’d just do a quick update on how I’m getting on. 🙂

Park Run has recently become a bit of a Saturday morning routine for me. I get up early (7am), have breakfast and head over to Delamere Forest for the start time of 9am.

It’s funny how much I’ve changed recently but I’d actually much rather do Park Run than go out partying on a Friday night (what’s happened to my life?)

Anyways…I have now done 4 Park Runs at Delamere Forest AND I’ve managed to get PB’s on the last 3 runs! (Not quite sure how that’s happened…)

Why Park Run?

It was my New Year Resolution this year to start going to Park Run. The main reason behind it was to help with training for the London 10K race I have signed up to to raise money for the Scoliosis Association in July. I have also signed up to the Great Manchester Run (10K) in May. In a way though, I am now dreading this as I’m not sure I’m ready for 10K yet…

My first Park Run was back in January and at the time, I was so pleased with my time (33.27).  For me, it was a huge achievement to actually attend a Park Run and get a “decent” time (i.e somewhere in the middle of the pack!) It highlighted to me that my fitness was relatively good and that my back could cope ok with running 5K (wahoo!)

Since January, I have done 3 more Park Runs and my times are as follows:

Park Run Stats

So I’ve managed to shave 3 minutes off my time since January!

Now, I’m fully aware that these times are probably crap for some people! When I first started running a couple of years ago though, I was running 5K in around 40 minutes. So it just shows how far I’ve come. 🙂 I believe that anything is possible if you work hard enough.

I have been supplementing my running training with Body Pump classes, spin classes and HIIT training at my gym. Walking is also important, most days I try to get my goal of 10K steps. I truly believe that this extra training has helped to improve my fitness and 5K times.

Don’t get me wrong, today’s Park Run was not easy. I pushed myself HARD to get that time and it wasn’t exactly comfortable (this wasn’t down to my back though!) But it’s a start and I can now work on improving each week. The good thing about Park Run is it’s highly motivating and it makes me push myself more than if I was running alone.

For me, it also shows that anything is possible after scoliosis surgery. 


If you are interested in finding out more about Park Run, check out their website here – Park Run. It’s free to register and you can walk, jog or run 5K (you don’t have to run).  They have free, weekly timed 5K’s around the world!

The Back Pain Show

The Back Pain Show 2017: Friday 19th May – Saturday 20th May

Did you know?

There is a FREE Back Pain show in Birmingham on Friday 19th May – Saturday 20th May dedicated to all things back related!

I have never heard of this event, but I saw it on Twitter the other day and thought I just HAVE to go to this. So I’ve just registered.  🙂

It’s organised on behalf of Backcare – the National Back Pain Association – and is completely free to register.

I’m excited to attend as the Scoliosis Association team and the British Scoliosis Research Foundation will be there and it would be great to meet them.

There are also 100’s of experts there to see and talk to about back pain treatment and therapies, as well as free Pilates and Yoga taster classes. There are several top speakers giving talks on back related topics and visitors are also being offered a free osteoporosis scan.

It’ll be great to hear about the latest products and back pain treatments, which I can then hopefully share with my readers on my blog!

If you live nearby and fancy attending too, you can check out their website here: The Back Pain Show 2017.

I think it looks like a really good event and useful for anyone with scoliosis, especially as their website says it’s a must for anyone who suffers from back problems 🙂

I can’t believe I haven’t heard of it before!


Are you attending The Back Pain Show or have you been before? Let me know in the comments below:)

International Scoliosis Awareness Day 2017

International Scoliosis Awareness Day 2017

Did you know?

June is scoliosis awareness month and Saturday 24th June 2017 is International Scoliosis Awareness Day! So make sure you put that date in your diary 🙂

The day will soon be here and the Scoliosis Association have now launched their 2017 campaign #gotyourback17. You can download some posters and a fundraising pack from their website here: International Scoliosis Awareness Day 2017.

Throughout June, I have lots of content planned for this blog to help raise awareness. I plan to blog and tweet facts about scoliosis, as well as share more about my scoliosis story.

It would also be fantastic to guest blog on other people’s blogs and I would love to feature some scoliosis stories on my blog.

If you would like to be involved and feature your scoliosis story on my blog, please get in touch.

I would LOVE to hear from you. Let’s help spread the word about scoliosis!

To get involved and share your story, simply email me at helpformyscoliosis@hotmail.co.uk, fill in this contact form or comment below. 🙂

Louise X

P.s. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter so you don’t miss out on any posts about scoliosis awareness day! You can also follow my blog posts on Bloglovin’ and on Pinterest.

 

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5 ways to describe Scoliosis Pain

5 ways to describe scoliosis pain

5 ways to describe scoliosis pain

Living with a chronic back condition such as scoliosis is tough. But what does it really feel like living with scoliosis? What does scoliosis pain feel like? For those of us that live everyday with the condition, it can be hard to explain to those close to us how it feels. It can be difficult for others to understand what it’s really like. I tend to just get on with things and I try to take control of the condition by being as active as possible. Because of this though, many people just don’t realise what I deal with everyday and how scoliosis has affected me.

I thought I’d attempt at articulating what scoliosis pain is like for me – if you can relate, please let me know in the comments below. It’s good to talk and support each other 🙂


It’s more than just back pain.

Scoliosis Quote - Scoliosis is more than just back pain

What a lot of people don’t realise is, scoliosis affects the whole body.

The result of having a curved spine has an impact on EVERYTHING ELSE, not just the back.  I don’t just get pain in one part of my back. My rib cage is twisted round, which can affect my breathing.  Bras and tops don’t fit properly and I feel self conscious in skin tight tops or tops that show my back/shoulders. Scoliosis also affects the nerves so I often get random sharp nerve pains in various parts of my back. I also get numbness down my leg and tingling down my arms and in my hands.

Scoliosis causes muscle imbalances in the back, so mostly my scoliosis pain is caused by tight muscles down one side of my back (the “weaker” side).  As a result, I get regular muscle spasms down one side of my back and around my shoulder blade where my back just feels tight. Since surgery, this is MUCH BETTER but I still get it, usually after doing some intense activity like running or if I’ve been walking round all day.


It’s uncomfortable

For me, this is the worse than the pain. My scoliosis makes it so hard to get comfortable EVER. Don’t get me wrong, it was worse before I had surgery as I had a large rib hump which meant I found it uncomfortable leaning against pretty much any chair.

After surgery, it’s different but it’s still hard to get comfortable. I still find it uncomfortable leaning against most chairs as I still have a slight unevenness to my ribs. I also have a protruding shoulder blade and screws that stick out of my back. All this makes it painful/uncomfortable to sit on most chairs without a cushion.

In addition to this, as my back is now fused “straight” I can’t mould my back to fit to any seat/chair. I sit poker straight which means it can be uncomfortable when I’m in a car or on public transport.  I don’t mind this, I’d rather this than the alternative (have my scoliosis getting worse) but I can’t really remember a time that I was truly comfortable.


It can be frustrating

I try to be as active as possible, I think as a way of controlling my condition and managing the pain. But I find it frustrating sometimes that I can’t do as much as everyone else. I try my hardest to go to the classes I want to go to at the gym and and to go running. Sometimes though it can be hard to keep up and I get frustrated. I wish I could run as fast as everyone else without injuring myself or causing a new pain for example. Every time I think I’m getting somewhere with my fitness, my back is there to remind me to slow down. Whether it’s a new injury, numbness or back pain. When my back starts hurting though, I tend to push through and do as much as I can. I refuse to let scoliosis beat me.


The emotional pain can be far worse than the physical pain

Scoliosis Quote: The emotional pain caused by scoliosis can be far worse than the physical pain.

Even though scoliosis is a physical condition, the emotional pain it causes can be far worse.

Being diagnosed with scoliosis at 14 and growing up with a physical deformity was tough. I was constantly paranoid that people would notice my rib hump so I would wear baggy clothes and avoid activities where my back would be on display, like swimming. At 14, I felt like a freak and would often cry in my room at night. The psychological impact of scoliosis is often overlooked. Without a doubt though, having scoliosis has crushed my self esteem and self confidence, which still impacts on me today.


It affects you 24/7

Scoliosis Quote - Scoliosis affects you 24/7

Having scoliosis is a huge part of my life. It will always be there. It can’t be cured, it’s a chronic condition. I don’t like to use the word disability because I don’t see it that way. But in a way, it is a hidden disability. To look at me, you wouldn’t know what I go through everyday. As soon as I get out of bed, I have pain and stiffness. I find it awkward to do basic tasks, like tying my shoelaces and putting my socks on or getting comfortable because my back is fused. I’m used to it now and I just get on with it, but it affects me every day.


How does living with scoliosis affect your everyday life? Please share in the comments below 🙂

Louise X

How I increased my blog traffic by 75% in 1 month

Blog Growth Update: How I increased my blog traffic by 75% in 1 month

A bit of background…

Hey! For those that don’t know me.. my name is Louise and I have scoliosis.

I started this blog about my experiences of going through scoliosis surgery years ago but for various reasons, I haven’t had much time to focus on growing it until recently. I now work full time as a Digital Marketing Manager and in my day job I specialise in affiliate marketing and email marketing. A couple of years ago I completed a masters in Digital Marketing Communications, which kept me very busy for three long years! It meant though that I had little time to focus on anything else, which is partly why this blog became neglected.

At the start of this year, I decided that 2017 was the year I would dedicate to growing this blog. I decided that I wanted to utilise my marketing skills and everything I learnt in my MSc to grow this blog as much as I could and in the process, raise some much needed awareness of scoliosis.

I know this will be a HUGE challenge as my blog covers a niche topic, but I’m determined to make it a success. I’m really proud of what I have already achieved in the past few months and if the growth continues, I should be on track to meet my blog’s objective (more on this later!)


Blog stats

So first things first, some stats!

I started this blog a few years ago but it’s safe to say it has been neglected for a long time, even though I eventually knew I wanted to use it to raise awareness of scoliosis and help and inspire those with the condition. It was originally a Blogger blog back in the day and it was back in August 2016 that I finally took the plunge and moved my blog from Blogger over to WordPress (gulp!) I wasn’t really doing anything else on my blog at the time though, apart from periodic updates.

In August, I received 227 “sessions” or visits and 665 page views. Most of this was redirected traffic from my Blogger blog but I really wasn’t doing anything to promote it. I think I also might have lost some traffic as a result of moving from Blogger to WordPress. I also lost a lot of comments which I was a bit annoyed about! So really August was like a fresh start for this blog, and although I received some traffic from Google, I knew there was huge potential to improve.

For the next few months, my visits and page views stayed around the same but again I wasn’t really focusing on my blog. I was just writing the odd post here and there when I got the chance. It was only in January that I decided I needed to pull my finger out and get on with it! So in January I planned and in February and March I put the plan into action.

You can see the impact of this on the stats below:

Google Analytics stats

Google Analytics Stats 2016-17

I know these stats are tiny compared to most bloggers out there. But we all have to start somewhere :-).

In February, my blog received 815 visits and 1,466 page views. In March though, it received 1,430 visits and 2,391 page views. This is a 75% increase in blog visits in just 1 month.

I thought I’d write a post on this because even though these stats are small, for me this is a big achievement and shows what is possible with focus. Especially with a niche blog subject!


So, how did I increase my little old blog’s traffic?

Increase blog traffic

1. I wrote a blog strategy

I think this is the most important aspect for any blogger who is serious about increasing traffic. In January, I sat down and wrote a blog strategy for 2017. This involved analysing where my blog was at that time (situation analysis) and where I wanted to get to. I then set some SMART (that’s specific, measurable, actionable, relevant and time bound) blog objectives and devised a strategy with specific tactics to meet those objectives. I also set up a KPI report in Excel so that I could monitor my stats and make sure I met my objectives. A good framework to use when devising a blog strategy is the SOSTAC method. I’ve used this model to death at work and during my MSc but it is relevant for blog strategies too!

The SOSTAC method involves:

A situation analysis – where is your blog now? How does it compare to other bloggers in your niche? What are your stats?

SMART Objectives – what do you want to achieve? By when?

Strategy – how will you achieve your objectives?

Tactics – what specific tactics will you use to achieve these objectives?

Action – what is your plan?

Control – how will you measure your strategy and completion of objectives?

Why should you set SMART objectives?

SMART objectives give you direction and help you focus. They are more likely to be achieved because they are clear (specific).  An example of a SMART objective would be to: Increase blog traffic to X page views per month by X (date). Or, Achieve X number of email newsletter signups by X (date). If your objective was to “Achieve X number of email sign ups” this would not be SMART because it doesn’t specify a date that this would be achieved, so it’s pretty vague and as a result it would be hard to measure success.

My 2017 blog goal

So what is my objective for my blog in 2017? I decided that I wanted to focus on increasing traffic so I stuck to one overall SMART objective with a few sub-objectives (which I’ll save for another post!). My main overall objective is:

To increase blog traffic to 5,000 visits per month by December 2017.

This may not seem like much to some, but for me and my little blog, this would be a pretty significant increase! In keeping with the SMART theme, I think this objective is also realistic in the time I have to develop this blog. I work full time and so I can’t dedicate as much time as I would like to blogging. So as much as I would like my objective to be to increase my traffic by 5,000 visits in one month, for me I don’t think this would be realistic. It may be that I exceed my objective but I would rather exceed then fall short miserably!

Increase blog traffic

2. I made SEO a key focus

SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation) is a huge part of my strategy to increase my blog traffic. I used to write random posts without even thinking about keywords or SEO. Now, I make sure that every single post I write is targeting specific keywords. Before writing a post, I ALWAYS start with some keyword research using Google’s Keyword Tool. You can also use sites such as AnswerThePublic for inspiration. Some of my posts rank number 1 on Google for specific keywords and this is one of the best surefire ways to acquire new visitors.

I have some experience in SEO so I have a slight advantage, however the easiest way is to use a plugin! I started using Yoast SEO earlier this year, which I think is fab.

It lets you choose a target keyword for each post and analyses your posts’ readability and SEO. In addition, it gives you an actionable checklist for every post to optimise it for SEO and improve readability. Over time, you learn what you need to do to help with SEO but it takes away the stress of thinking about it so you can just get on with writing great content!

Other things I did to help SEO are:

  • Went through my old blog posts and attempted to optimise them for certain keywords (still have loads more to do!)
  • Linking to old content in your blog posts is great for SEO, so I went and installed this Related Posts plugin. This can also help readers find relevant content and increases the amount of time they spend on your blog, which is great for reducing bounce rates.
  • Optimised my images for SEO. Many of my images were called things like IMG_5654.jpg. NOT GOOD FOR SEO. So I went through and updated most of them so that the image names contained relevant keywords. I also made sure the alt text contained the relevant keywords too.

3. I upped the frequency of my blog posts

As part of my strategy, I decided to commit to posting at least once a week. Previously, I had just been posting as and when and I actually went for months and months without posting when I was doing my MSc (oops!) I work full time and so sometimes it can be hard to find the time to post. However, I know that if I want to stand any chance of achieving my objective, I need to post regularly. Not only that, my posts need to be helpful and relevant to my audience AND they need to be optimised for the specific keywords I’m targeting. Phew!

So in January I decided to try and post once a week and I have (mostly) stuck to that goal since then. Some weeks I have even blogged more than once. Last month I created a bit of a content plan in an Excel document for the first time. This basically plans out the next few months of blog posts around specific keywords I want to target. I’m hoping that this will help me to stay on track. I’ll also use it as to add post ideas to as and when they come to me.

increase blog traffic

4. Pinterest Marketing!

Back in January, I hadn’t really thought about using Pinterest to market my blog. I had a Pinterest profile but hardly used it, and it wasn’t related to my blog at all. It was only when I joined a blogger network in February (more on that later!) and they invited me to Pin on their group board, that I realised how powerful Pinterest could be. I can’t believe I’ve never used it before!

The graph below shows that I was getting zero traffic from Pinterest back in January but in March I was receiving almost 500 visits from Pinterest alone. Pinterest now contributes over 30% of my blog traffic. To go from 0 visits from Pinterest to over 30% of site traffic in just a few weeks is crazy!

Google Analytics - Increase in Pinterest Traffic March 2017

So how did I achieve an increase in traffic from Pinterest?

I will add here there is still A LOT more I need to do from a Pinterest point of view. I really think I’m just at the beginning and that there is potential to increase blog traffic even further using Pinterest.  But here are a few things I have done so far:

  • I started using Canva to create images that are Pinterest friendly.

I read a lot of blog articles for advice on this! The conclusion seems to be that vertical images perform better and also images without faces (strange but true!) So I went through some of my old blog posts and created Pinterest friendly images using Canva (my new favourite thing!) When creating the images, I made sure that the images contained easy to read text and a call to action to click through. I either put them as the featured post image or put them at the end of the post. I then pinned them to Pinterest on my relevant boards and that was it really.

A few of these have had quite a few re-pins but some haven’t. It’s all trial and error. 🙂 So now, I really need to revisit the poor performing pins and either delete them or change them. It is possible (and recommended) to have more than one “pinnable” graphic for each post (you can also hide them too!) So this is also something else I need to do. But this small change has resulted in a huge increase in Pinterest traffic and it really didn’t take long!

Pin It button settings

This plugin allows users to easily share your blog posts to Pinterest, which is what you want! It also you to create keyword rich descriptions of each Pin, which is important  so they can be found on Pinterest. I’m quickly learning that Pinterest is like a visual search engine and that all pins need to be properly optimised to be found, just like blog posts need to be optimised with keywords to be found on Google. The text in here could also contain a call to action to entice people to click. Another good feature of this plugin, is that it allows you to specify which image you want to be pinned when the user clicks the “Pin It” button.

  • I improved my blog images.

After doing some research, I quickly realised that poor quality images just do not cut it on Pinterest. They also do not make your blog look very professional. Back in January, I didn’t have a CLUE where to get images for my blog from. I mainly used sites like Flickr but felt that was quite restrictive. A few weeks ago I found some articles which listed some free places to get stock images for your blog – I HAD NO IDEA!! My favourites so far are Pixabay and PEXELS. Seriously, I was like a kid in a candy store when I discovered these free stock sites! I still need to go through and update some of my old posts with more professional images now I know where to go.

  •  I switched to a business account on Pinterest.

This was fairly straightforward to do, I just converted my existing account in the settings. This now means I can access Pinterest Analytics and see how my pins are performing. The next thing I did, was to verify my blog website by following this tutorial.

  • Optimised my Pinterest Profile and boards.

I updated my name and bio on Pinterest to include relevant keywords and made a board especially for my blog. My Pinterest name before was just “Louise.” I didn’t realise that you could add other keywords into your name too! I’d never really thought about that. So now, my name on Pinterest is “Louise | Help for my scoliosis | Health Blogger.” This means if people search for health blogging or scoliosis for example, my profile will be more likely to come up in the search results now.

It’s also important to ensure that the board descriptions contain relevant keywords so that they can be found, so I updated those too with keywords. My board descriptions were blank before! Oh dear…!

I also dragged my boards around and made sure that my blog board was the first board on my profile. I’ve also read that it’s important make your boards look consistent and pretty by creating branded board covers, so I still need to do that.  🙂

  • I applied for Rich Pins

Rich Pins make your pins look more professional as they contain author information, pin description, blog post title and date on every pin. This is more likely to entice people to click through, which can only be a good thing! To apply for Rich Pins, I followed the instructions on this blog post – How to enable Rich Pins. You do need a business account to be able to apply for Rich Pins but it really doesn’t take long to be approved.

  • I added a Pinterest widget to my site

These are pretty easy to create, you just head to the widgets section on your Pinterest profile. I put mine in my blog side bar to try and attract more followers.

  • I became more active on Pinterest

Before, I had a Pinterest profile but didn’t really pin things very often. I have now started to Pin everyday, but to be honest it’s mostly other people’s content at the moment!  I have read posts that say you need to be pinning anywhere between 50-100 pins a day! At the moment, I don’t pin in volumes as high as that but I am doing it manually.

Although, I have read about automated tools (such as Tailwind) skyrocketing Pinterest traffic. I’m hoping to try this out myself soon, so will keep you posted!

Increase blog traffic - blog newsletter

5. Blog Newsletter

I set up a newsletter!

Ok, at the moment it’s more of a weekly blog post update as this is all I have had time to do. I used Mail Chimp and followed a really good tutorial here to set it all up. I’m aware there is A LOT more work needed to optimise sign ups and newsletter content. But hey, it’s a start!

Having a newsletter is important as it encourages visitors who may only visit once and never return, to potentially come back.

6. Joined a blogger network and group boards on Pinterest

At the end of February I joined a fabulous blogger network called Chronic Illness Bloggers. This has really helped me to get my blog “out there” in my relevant niche. There are so many fantastic bloggers that are part of this network that I can really learn from as a new blogger. They also do a lot to promote and support each other such as have a “blogger of the week” feature and promote their blog posts on their Facebook group and group Pinterest board.

Group Pinterest boards are fantastic for broadening the reach of your pins. I didn’t even know these existed until February!

I have joined a few but I still need to research and join some more that are relevant to my blog. You can find group boards by using PinGroupie.


Other things I still need to do to increase blog traffic…

Phew! I didn’t realise how much work I had actually put into my blog in a few short months until I wrote it all down.

I still have a LONG way to go but I think it shows what difference can be made to increase blog traffic with a few tweaks and some focus. My blog has stayed stagnant in terms of traffic for ages and it was only when I started focusing on it that I started to see results.

Blogging is not easy. It takes up A LOT of time and so you really need to be passionate about what you are writing about! For me, blogging has given me a purpose again and I’m passionate about raising awareness and helping those with scoliosis. I know that my traffic volume is still tiny compared to some, but I’m really pleased with what I’ve achieved in a short space of time.

Some other things I still really need to focus on are:

  • Blog and forum commenting in my niche
  • Creating a Facebook group for my blog
  • Link research and development
  • Content/product production
  • Guest Posting

As this has been a MAMMOTH post, I’ll save these until another time. Eventually, I would like to try and monetise my blog, but for now I am focusing on increasing traffic. 


What has helped to grow your blog’s traffic? I’d be interested to know – especially if you are a health blogger or blog in a specific niche?

Let me know in the comments below & let’s share the knowledge 🙂

If you’ve found this post helpful, please Pin it and share it with your friends!

Louise XoXo