When I launched my blog on my 26th birthday, I had NO idea what I had let myself in for. I’ve had to learn a lot very quickly, a lot of things I hadn’t even considered before I started blogging! I’m by no means an expert but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far so I wanted to share some of that with you!
Here are 10 tips I’ve picked up along my journey so far:
1. Take Time to Learn
I used to have a blog on Blogspot – it was extremely basic, right down to the free theme I didn’t take the time to edit. As a result, my blog ended up looking like 3894754 other blogs out there and it didn’t stand out AT ALL. I still use a free theme now on WordPress but I’ve taken the time to learn how to customise and code it to make it unique to my site and to suit my chosen content.
When it comes to blogging, the learning never ends. Everything is evolving all the time – and I LOVE it. Of course there are going to be days where you’re banging your head off your desk because you can’t figure something out. But there are tutorials for everything – do not give up!
2. Invest in a Domain/Host
Having a “.com” site is more visually attractive than a “.wordpress.com” or “.blogspot.com” It’s also easier for your readers to remember which in turn will make them more likely to come back.
3. Plan Ahead
I go through little burst of productivity, in one day I can often write 3 or 4 posts. I always like to have a bit of a “post bank” behind me, just in case something happens which affects my writing schedule. It means I will always have something ready to post every Wednesday and Sunday, even if it was written a few weeks ago. I like my opinion posts and reviews etc to be right up to the minute but if I’m just posting something like a recipe or a playlist, you can stockpile these. That way, you always have something ready to go.
4. Set goals and stick to them
As I mentioned on the previous point – I post twice a week, on Wednesdays and on Sundays. People are more likely to keep visiting their blog if they have an idea as to when your new content is going to be available. If you know you’re going to be away from the computer when you usually post, you can use scheduling tools to make sure that your content is still going up on time.
5. Posts Don’t Promote Themselves!
Promoting content takes more time and co-ordination than I could ever have imagined but the rewards are worth it. Platforms like Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram open you up to a massive audience and gives millions of others the opportunity to find your blog instead of just your family and friends from Facebook. Don’t underestimate Facebook though – there are LOADS of blogging groups which allow you to showcase your posts, engage with other bloggers and share tips and content together.
Make sure that you include a comments box under your posts so that your readers can ask questions/leave feedback. It’s a great way to learn who’s reading your posts and connect with other like-minded people. So far I’ve found the blogging community to be a lovely bunch, it’s more about supporting and helping each other instead of competing.
6. Keep an Eye on your Analytics
I use the Jetpack plugin to see which posts my audience interact with the most and at what time people are most likely to be reading my blog. This helps me to choose the best time to post in order to reach the widest audience. I tend to find posting new content around 7pm works, as people are generally finished work and school for the day. If I can, I share my post to my social media accounts at the same time.
I’ve found that a large portion of my daily traffic comes from Stumble Upon. I’m not sure how this has come about – I add each new post to Stumble Upon as it’s published but I haven’t done anything else beyond that. I’m still trying to figure this out so if you’re savvy on Stumble Upon – please get in touch!
7. Use Pictures
Images are great. They help to break up lengthy text posts and add visual interest. I try to mostly use my own images. You don’t need a fancy camera or mad editing skills. I use my iPhone and Instagram to do a bit of editing to make the pictures look sharp. There are plenty of websites out there with free stock images you can use too, such as Unsplash. Just make sure they’re relevant to your chosen topic and if you’re using someone else’s image, make sure that you have
a) asked their permission
b) credited them properly or else you could end up in a lot of bother.
I used Canva to create my featured images and the graphics I use to promote my blog posts on Social Media. It’s free to use and it’s a simple and stress-free way to create professional looking graphics.
8. Spell-check and Proof Read
I’m sure this goes without saying but make sure that you run a spell-checker and proof read your work before it goes live. Poor spelling, punctuation and grammar can threaten not only your credibility but your scope for readership, as search engines such as Google will not pick up posts with words spelt incorrectly.
9. It Will Take Over Your Life
I’m constantly thinking about new ideas for posts, and new ways to promote my blog. I am also guilty of hitting refresh 38958 times per hour checking my stats. However it is super important to maintain a blog-work-life balance. The offline world is just as important as the online one!
10. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
This is a big one for me. I had no clue about Search Engine Optimization when I started blogging and now it’s almost all I think about when I’m writing content. I use the Yoast SEO Plug In to make sure that my content is as search-engine-friendly as it can be before hitting that “publish” button. Yoast uses a traffic light system to rank how SEO friendly your post is. It’s simple – if you want your posts to reach a wide audience – they need to be able to find it!
Free Stock Photo courtesy of picxclicx.com
I hope you’ve found this list interesting and/or helpful – if you have, leave me a comment and let me know!