Itching to start your own blog, or perhaps you already have? I’m your brand new biggest cheerleader! I’m a diehard fan of blogging, not only is it a fantastic hobby that enriches your technological skills – it’s a fantastic resume builder! Particularly if you’re a creative entrepreneur, like myself. Today, I’ve compiled a list of tips for new bloggers—from the easy stuff to the tough stuff ;)
Remind Yourself That It’s Not a Competition
The first thing you must recognize when you begin your blogging journey is this: it’s not a competition no matter how much it may seem like it is. There are millions of bloggers today, unlike the early 2000’s when this was just “a fad” that a couple hundred people jumped on.
There is absolutely no way you will be able to achieve the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of views that your counterparts are receiving. It’s just not realistic. I see countless pieces of content each day that look incredibly similar to mine, yet they have all the likes and shares. This is totally normal!
Greatly, blogging is about being in the right place at the right time. If you hit the blogging jackpot, you may rake in the followers like nothin’ and be able to obtain a huge newsletter list that jumps in excitement when you send your next update. But this is rare. Very rare.
Most bloggers take months, if not years to cultivate a solid following, and many get discouraged because of this. This is when you must ask yourself: who am I doing this for? Am I doing this as a resume builder, proof that I have particular skills? Am I doing this to provide resources to people who need them and because I am an authority in my niche?
Don’t Just Sit Around
Although it takes a long time to solidify a meaningful tribe and Internet presence, you can’t just sit around and pray for it to suddenly appear. You must optimize your blog for SEO (using searched keywords, meta descriptions, photo file alt tags, etc.) and create a strong social media profile presence where you perform outreach and post your latest content.
Join group Pinterest boards where you can add your own pins (and help out others’). Join Facebook groups that are designed to help promote bloggers. I’ve met some of the greatest people through Facebook groups that have followed my blog and still enjoy my content today. I’m a big fan of anything that doesn’t feel too commercial—and yes, I’m a marketing professional saying this.
Most importantly: go support other blogs! Take quality time to read, engage and share the content of others, and when you leave your comment: don’t forget to include your blog URL in your signature! This becomes a clickable link that the blog author and their readers can check out.
Sweat the Small Stuff. Seriously.
While it’s not good to let yourself get super stressed out and overwhelmed running your blog, you shouldn’t take it lightly, either. Sweat the small stuff – by this I mean caring about what’s placed on your sidebar, how your “About” page looks, what post formatting you most enjoy and keeping your branding consistent throughout, etc.
I can’t begin to explain my disappointment when someone tells me that they’re a blogger and I go to their website only to find a boring page with hardly any imagery, no brand story and little accessibility (lacking archives, categories, search area, navigation, etc.) Not to mention, their design is usually super outdated and looks as if it were created in 1999!
Please, give a damn about your sacred space on the Internet. Don’t throw up a blog post on a default template with rainbow colored links and scarily huge heading fonts. Even worse than an ugly design is a stolen design. DO NOT USE COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL. Period. The items on this site are either free use or paid for designs, fonts and photography. Emma and I greatly invest both with time and finances in our blog because it’s our baby.
Of course we’re all human and I make mistakes, too, but I don’t intentionally steal someone’s wallpaper design for the background pattern of my website or use another blogger’s photography for my blog image (yep, I see this almost every day and it’s even easier to spot if it’s a well-known published creative).
Take a Ton of Leaves Out of Seasoned Bloggers’ Books
Do your research and study the actions of seasoned bloggers who’ve gone before you. When you pick up what is right/wrong in terms of blog etiquette, your life will become that much easier. It’s important to gain blog post inspiration from these bloggers – if you are able to take the foundation of their post and add unique content of value, you’re doing it right!
Picking a post topic within your niche that has already been populating searched keywords and tons of re-pins and shares is the wisest. Don’t simply copy someone’s post – that’s plagiarism! If you’re going to take a direct chunk from their post, be sure to quote them and then link back to their URL. Blog envy is real, and it can fuel the greatest amount of motivation and inspiration, however jealousy is a whole ‘nother story and can be incredibly damaging, not only to your reputation, but to the relationships you may be able to foster with fellow creatives.
A good way to research popular blog topics that you may want to use is to flip through Pinterest and click around until you find achievable content that doesn’t reach for the stars too generously, but also complimentary content that fits within your niche and brand mission that you feel as though you have something valuable to contribute.
Tell me, new bloggers: did these tips help you? Leave tips for others in the comments!