Although many social influencers have become quite successful without a strong personal blog, having a high-traffic URL of your own is one of the best ways to safeguard against changing trends and shifts in the social media landscape, ensuring that you always have a strong audience no matter what happens with other networks. Instagram, for example, might be the most important channel today, but you can’t always control what an algorithm change or system update might do to dampen your following or engagement.

That said, building your blog traffic is tough! It takes time, persistence — and for many bloggers — simple trial and error. Here are a few tips on how to get started and maintain your readership from top fashion influencers Pam Hetlinger, the blogger behind The Girl From Panama, and Diane Coletta of Petite in Paris:

Be Consistent (And Persistent)

Both bloggers advise that consistency is key when you are first launching your blog. Although it can be tough to keep on writing when it feels like no one is reading your posts, pushing through the initial ‘silence’ to find your voice will also help you find your audience. Posting regularly and predictably is the first step you can take toward gaining traction. Condition your followers to know when to expect a post, whether it’s once a week or even once every other week, and be sure to stick to your schedule.

Promote Yourself

Sometimes, it pays to invest in yourself — and thanks to accessible ad tools on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can get your name out there on any budget. Pam has found particular success on Facebook: “Ever since I started my blog, I noticed that Facebook was always a strong source of traffic to my blog. Therefore, I invested money on ads, replied to comments, and have been posting daily ever since.”

Experiment with your various social channels to see what kind of response yields the most traffic to your blog. Launching a newsletter is another great way to turn new readers into regular visitors.

Choose Quality Over Quantity

“Although a lot of social media strategies emphasize needing a large amount of content, I thought it would be best to focus my efforts on producing only quality content,” says Diane. “For anyone starting out, I cannot emphasis enough how much good editing software can do for your photos.” Diane recommends utilizing Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, which you can purchase for just $10 per month.

Choosing quality also means choosing to march to the beat of your own drum. One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is trying to be the “next” mega-blogger. Rather than trying to channel your inner Chiara or Aimee, just focus on what makes you you. “Find your niche and always create original content,” says Pam.

Be Your Own Best Advocate

No one will ever be as outspoken about your blog as yourself, so make sure you are!” advises Diane. Don’t be shy about telling your family, friends, colleagues and new acquaintances about your blog. Better yet, build a fan base of friendly followers who will also give you honest feedback. Part of becoming an influencer is putting yourself out there, spreading enthusiasm for your passions, and taking constructive criticism to make your blog even better.

Taking an active interest in blogs similar to yours is one way to build a constructive community. Support your fellow bloggers with comments, likes and words of encouragement. Diane advises building your community with all levels of influence — bigger bloggers, smaller influencers, and bloggers who write purely for passion.

Pay Attention to Data

Blogging is certainly a creative pastime, but when you make the transition from hobbyist to influencer, you also need to pay attention to data. Pam suggests using tools like Google Analytics for your blog and Iconosquare for Instagram to gauge what posts are performing well and what you can do to improve. You can also now view insights on Instagram by switching your account to a Business Profile.

Beyond daily stats, user flow and demographics, which Google Analytics tracks particularly well, there is a lot of benefit to simply creating your own spreadsheets. “Tracking performance is as easy as recording performance indicators and doing some simple calculations,” says Diane. “Once you have all the data recorded, it’s easy to determine the best time to post, the type of topics that get the most attention, and the month-over-month growth rate. I feel like having these benchmarks readily at hand continue to push me to greater heights.”

Building your blog audience is tough, but the benefits of having your own source of consistent traffic make the effort worth it. Above all, keep at it:

My biggest piece of advice is don’t give up,” says Diane. “I’m sure that this is the same piece of advice that people say time and time again, but it’s because it’s the most important. At times you may feel overwhelmed and discouraged and feel inadequate compared to bigger influencers. At some point, they were in that same spot. Just remember to persevere through those times.”