Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Top Advice for Bloggers

Let me start this by saying, I decided to research "how to start a blog" after writing my first draft of this post and it was so scary. Looking at all the things different blogs tell you you have to do to have a successful blog made me want to quit. It's so overwhelming.

I realize I might just be adding to that feeling, but my hope is that this post, based on my own experiences with blogging, will help new and seasoned bloggers alike. These are some of the best pieces of advice I've come across and lessons I've learned over nearly 3 years of blogging.

As you read through this list and any others you may come across, remember there is no magic formula for creating a blog and there is also no guarantee that you will become a full-time blogger making tons of money. More than likely, blogging will be a hobby for a long time that brings in only a little bit of extra money. That's okay!

Alright, enough with this intro and let's get on to my top pieces of advice for bloggers!

Top Advice for New & Seasoned Bloggers

Read and Comment on Other Blogs

If you have your own blog, hopefully you like reading other blogs as well. As a new or seasoned blogger, reading other people's blog posts is essential. It inspires you to continue blogging, shows you ways to write and format blog posts, and connects you to other bloggers. 

Along with reading blogs, it's also important to comment on other people's blog posts. Think about it - doesn't it just make your day when someone leaves a kind comment on your post? It's the same for bloggers at all levels. We work hard on these posts and getting feedback from readers makes it all worth it. Plus, by leaving a genuine comment and dropping your own blog's link at the end, that blogger (and even some of their readers) are likely to stop by your blog.

Write About What Interests You

This is super cliche in the blogging world, but that's because it can be so easy to feel like there's only 1 type of post write or you have to follow certain trends to get readers. Don't feel like you have to review the newest Naked palette or you have to start a bullet journal. If it doesn't interest you, don't write about it! Instead find topics that you care about and can help others with and blog about that.

Learn How to Take and Edit Photos

While blogging is primarily about writing great content, having equally great photos never hurt! Photography is very important because, let's be honest, people are more likely to click on a post if they see an attractive image. 

Visuals are highly important in online media which is why new and seasoned bloggers alike are always researching how to improve their photography. If you're looking for some photography help, check out these posts:
     How To Tell If You're Overexposing Your Blog Photos from Lazy Thoughts

Don't Be Afraid to Promote Your Blog Posts

After writing your post, taking and editing photos, formatting and editing your post, and hitting publish you might be tempted to think you're done. Nope! If you stop there only a handful of people will read your post. Once you publish your blog post it's time to start promoting. 

I use Hootsuite to schedule tweets for my new post. I schedule 1 promo tweet a day for the first 2 weeks and then periodically throughout the next 6 months. 

I also pin my title images to relevant boards on my Pinterest and to relevant group boards. Pinterest group boards are a real game changer. If you're new to this or just looking for more group boards to join, the best way to find them is to check out what group boards bloggers similar to you are using and request to be added to the boards you like (directions are usually in the board's descriptions). 

Don't Feel Like You Have to Blog Every Day

It's super easy to look around at successful bloggers and feel like you have to blog 5 times a week (or whatever their magic number is). Unless blogging is your full-time job this is not a necessity (and even then there's probably some wiggle room).

I used to be able to blog 3 times a week, no problem. Over the past year my life has changed and I've had to come to the realization that I am far better to put out 1 post a week that has good content and is (in my opinion) top notch than to stress and try to force out 2+ mediocre posts that I threw together in a rush.

An added bonus of posting less is your posts stay "new" longer and tend to get more views since you're promoting that 1 post longer. You can also spend more time promoting older posts so they don't just disappear after all the work you put into creating it and working on your social media game.

Learn Some of the Finer Points of Blogging

Google Analytics, SEO, HTML, CSS - these are some of the more technichal aspects of blogging. While you don't have to be a professional web site designer to run a blog, having some basic knowledge of these technichal aspects of blogging and how to use them will greatly benefit you and your blog.  If you're looking to explore some of these topics, start here:
     Basic SEO Tips for Bloggers from Charley Lucy

Don't Stress About the Numbers

If, like most bloggers, you want to grow your blog - of course you'll need to track some numbers like how many views you get on a post, how many followers on each platform, etc. Check your numbers and record them periodically, but don't get wrapped up in them. Unless you're going through a super awesome viral moment, checking your numbers hourly or even daily can be really frustrating. People will follow and unfollow. It's normal. If you check your numbers weekly or monthly, you're much more likely to see more growth and get a more realistic view of how you're doing. 

I hope this post was helpful! Let me know in the comments what advice you would add or let me know if you have a blogging question you'd like to see answered.

Top Advice for New & Seasoned Bloggers