I’m the first person to say I am not a super-blogger. In fact, I’m a pretty small fish in the grand scheme of things. But I’ve been blogging for a while, I’ve appeared on national TV and the front of The Telegraph this year, and I earn a bit of cash from it here and there, so I thought I’d write a short post to inspire the next generation of Zoellas.
If you have a small to medium size blog and you’re looking to boost your Pinterest traffic to catapult yourself to mega-stardom, this isn’t the blog post for you (although who knows, perhaps some of it will be applicable). This is a post for someone who quite likes the idea of starting a blog, but has no idea where to begin.
So without further ado, here are my tips for new bloggers.
Pick A Topic You Enjoy
Blogging requires sacrifice. If you fancy a blog to just post on when the mood strikes you that’s fine too of course, but if you’re serious about building a following and hope to make money from it some day, that requires dedication. You can’t just spend your weekend in bed with a pizza binge-watching the previous series of Love Island. That’s prime blogging time. So you need to make sure you’re writing about something you’re passionate about, otherwise you’ll never be able to stick to it.
Write the blog you want to read. Do you like outfit posts, hauls, and product reviews? Then write those. Do you prefer long prose or opinion pieces? Then write those. Think about it from a readers perspective; don’t just brain-dump about all the shit you went through that day. But at the same time, don’t just pick a niche that’s popular or commercial if your heart isn’t actually in it.
A lot of blogs will cover multiple topics, but you have to make sure they flow together. Fashion and beauty, for example work well together. However if you like writing makeup tutorials and hard-hitting posts about politics and current affairs, for instance, you may need to write two separate blogs or just pick one topic. Make sure the overall theme is consistent with an audience in mind.
Splash Out On A Good Layout
Again, if you want to set up a free WordPress blog and post whenever the mood strikes you, that’s totally fine. But if you want to get to the next level, you’ll need your own domain name and a decent theme, so you might as well do it from the start- particularly the domain name as if you change further down the line you’ll lose any link equity you accumulated. There are plenty of hosting platforms you can use, but I personally went with WordPress premium as I find it easy to use and I like the system they have where you can find and comment on other blogs, then I got my current theme from Pipdig.
If you have a huge, engaged following, you can probably get away with the occasional post. But if you’re in the process of building your brand, consistency is key. I’d recommend posting once a week AT THE BARE MINIMUM. Ideally 2-3 times a week, but quality is more important than quantity. For example, blogger Lucy Goes Dating posts once a week on a Saturday, but her posts are always really good, so everyone eagerly awaits them and they always get loads of engagement. Any less than that though I don’t think is enough.
So now to the important part- how do you get followers? Well the easiest way is to get social. Announce the launch of your blog on Facebook. Invite all your friends to like your page. Tell everyone you know you have a blog and give them your URL.
In my experience, Twitter is the best platform to use for building an audience. But don’t just post your content and leave it. Follow relevant accounts. If you’re blogging about dating, follow people who tweet about dating. If you’re a lifestyle blogger, follow other lifestyle bloggers. If your blog is about politics, follow accounts who express similar views. Tweet. Especially tweet shareable things and witty one-liners. Comment on other people’s tweets. Get into conversations. Post polls, ask questions. Start a conversation.
It’s harder to gain traffic from Instagram, but it’s an important platform, particularly if you have a visual blog. Others swear by Pinterest but I’ve yet to crack it. Going to blogger events is a really good way to network, make friends, and encourage others to read your blog. My favourite so far are Scarlett London’s events, but there are others advertised on Twitter all the time. Or why not be proactive and arrange blogger drinks in your area?
Stay Out Of The Drama
Most of the people I’ve met through blogging have been great. However as with any area of life, you get the occasional bad apple. Twitter in particular seems to bring out the worst in people and the dating community has proven to be particularly toxic, so there are bound to be people you absolutely cannot STAND. Unfollow them. Mute them. Block them if they’re harassing you. Strictly limit the time you spend in online debates. Don’t “hate read” the posts of the people who annoy you. Don’t waste your life bitching about people you don’t even know.
If you meet someone you click with great, but overall you need to go in with the mentality that you’re there to write, not to be best friends with anyone. And definitely steer clear of the drama.
What advice would you give to new bloggers? Let me know in the comments!