Hey guys! I thought I’d share with you some of the things I wish I’d known before I started my blog seriously a few months ago! Hope you enjoy x
Start thinking of yourself as a brand.
This may seem a little daunting, but if you’re new or thinking of starting a blog it’s probably no different to what you were doing on social media anyway! We all have an “online persona”. Make sure your web design and content reflect you! When I first started I did a little brainstorm and considered the bloggers/influencers that inspired me. Set aside some time to really think about what it is you have to offer, and try to make sure that your personality shines through in your work. For example, for me, I’ve always been known amongst my friends for my humor and wit, so I like to break up some of my more serious posts with something a little light-hearted.
Engagement is key!
I know this one might seem obvious but the best way I’ve found to get a regular readership is simply making genuine connections with other bloggers and, well… just being pleasant! Twitter will become your best friend, you can genuinely never go wrong with following bloggers and engaging with their content. One of the best things that ever happened to my blog was joining a group chat on twitter, and a pod on Instagram. ‘Pods’ like this are a great way to ensure engagement because it allows you to connect and share links with people who have common interests as you. If nothing else, the mutual support will do wonders for your confidence, and especially if you are introverted like me, provides and amazing opportunity to make friends.
Participate on hot topics
Because the blogging community is so large and diverse, there is often controversy or ‘hot topics’ such as a controversial blog post, a new television show, or a trending hash-tag. While I’d never recommend getting involved with drama, sometimes it’s worth being aware or weighing in with an opinion or an issue. Again, these can be a good networking opportunities or at the very least a way to build familiarity with other bloggers/potential readers.
Also, there are often “chats” held at certain times. Usually this involves an account hosting a Q&A where people answer and discuss questions asked by a host. These are great chance to make new connections and can be great fun!
These Apps may save your life
Here are some of the apps I personally use and love:
One of the most frustrating parts of being a blogger is people who are only out for themselves. People who follow you, wait for you to follow back then unfollow you. This can be combatted by using:
Followers+ (instagram) This allows you to track your followers and see your unfollowers.
Crowdfire (Twitter) Crowdfire is great because it also allows you to schedule tweets, so that they post automatically at optimal times.
Bitly- This can be used to shorten links so that you fill up less characters when sharing your links on twitter. This helps you to include more vital hashtags that might get your post noticed!
Bloglovin’- Bloglovin’ is another way to help you keep up with other blogs and for others to follow you. This is particularly useful If you use a platform that isn’t WordPress as it gives you a “timeline” so you can keep track of content you love!
Influenster- Influenster allows you to make a profile tailored to products you love and is designed to let you review them. This can help brands to see your writing skills and to assess whether or not you might be suitable to review their products. Let’s be real, who doesn’t love a PR package?
Before I started blogging, I knew that photography was important but never knew quite how important it was. I would recommend purchasing a decent camera, because it just sets you apart from other bloggers and makes your content look more professional. However, if you can’t afford to splash out, or you don’t have access to a camera; there are some apps (for iPhone) that can help you out: the ones I use most often are VSCO, and Facetune. VSCO is great for general editing, lightening/brightening images, or adding tints/filters that might help you if you have an Instagram or blog image ‘theme’, where as Facetune is more aimed towards editing selfie’s or images of people.
Having mentioned ‘themes’, this is where all your images or photos abide by some sort of colour scheme or subject theme. This is regularly seen by bloggers on Instagram. Don’t feel pressured to have a theme or set aesthetic, but some people feel it adds something to their ‘brand’, as I mentioned before; since it makes their content more recognizable and consistent.
Buy your domain
This one isn’t essential, but it does help your website links to look more professional. The sooner you do this the better, that way it allows you to get to grips with your new website. If you aren’t ready to make this commitment yet, at least consider doing it as soon as possible.
Schedule/time posts for optimal times
Think about the time and day you personally are most likely to sit down and read other peoples posts. Often people do this on weekend afternoons, however, this also runs the risk that your post will be buried amongst many others written by people who were thinking the same thing. Some of my most viewed posts have actually gone live in the morning around commute time, presumably read by people using the tube or other public transport on their way to work. Find the time that works best for you! Using crowdfire as mentioned previously, you can schedule tweets (or links to your post within them) and they will post automatically for the “best time”.
As a newbie I know this can be daunting, but one of the easiest ways to lose followers and readers is to be inconsistent or to forget to post regularly. People are far more likely to subscribe and return to your site regularly if you are consistent. You don’t want return followers and potential subscribers to forget about you! Definitely think of writing and scheduling posts in advance to prevent this happening. If you haven’t yet launched I would even consider doing this a few weeks in advance while you find your feet with your new site.
This also applies to the content you are posting. Subscribers and repeat visitors are most likely returning to your page because they enjoy your content. As I said before, don’t feel pressured to fit into a theme or a niche, but try and work out what it is that your brand will concentrate on for the most part. For example, if you have gained subscribers through blogging about food, you might notice a decline in your engagement if you suddenly start to focus on interior design, and neglect your regular food posts. For example, for me, I try my best to stick to beauty and lifestyle. I will occasionally however break from that niche to discuss wider issues such as mental health, because it is important to me personally. I also think it is good to use my platform to do good and spread awareness. This is effective because it makes me seem relatable and human, and a lot of my audience are fellow bloggers. Blogging is a fantastic creative outlet and often a safe space to share! So, as it turns out, more of us than you know suffer from anxiety and/or struggle with mental health. I discovered this as this occasional change actually boosts my views, as a pose to harming them.
Don’t expect to become a Hollywood name overnight.
It takes time, work and a lot of learning to build your audience and become a big name in blogging. If you are blogging purely for numbers, free products or fame this is probably not the career for you, as your lack of passion will eventually shine through your content.
Most of all, have fun!
As I just mentioned, make sure you are truly passionate about what you are writing about, and provide genuine engagement and gratitude to your readership. But don’t tie yourself in knots trying to fit a niche or a theme that makes you feel less passionate about what you are doing. We blog for the love of blogging- it really is an affair of the heart. As the old saying goes, “if you chose a job you love, you will never work a day in your life.