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When you start your blog for the first time, it can be quite intimidating. There are so many things you need to do for your blog to be set up (if you’re serious about blogging, that is!) and I found that certain things are more important than others. I remember when I first set up my blog and it came time to write my first post, I thought, “what do I even write about as my first post?” mainly because I didn’t have any credit. Nobody knew me. Nobody knew what my content would be about. But my best advice is to just do it! Just start writing. I did, and I haven’t looked back! My first post (that I’ve since deleted because it was so horrible, I couldn’t save it) was about my photography journey. It was short and mostly filled with horrible images. I’ve since learned a lot as a blogger and how to write a decent post. And I’m hoping this post will help you as a blogger.
In this post I really want to talk about best practices as a blogger. I’ll share with you what I’ve learned along the way. Blogging is definitely a journey. If you’re new to blogging, congrats! It’s a fun career to get into and it is definitely rewarding if you put in the effort and the time and money. Remember to have fun with it. If you aren’t enjoying blogging, you really shouldn’t blog. That’s just my two cents on that. Do something that you absolutely love. Write about something you love. You’ll enjoy it so much more.
read about How to Take Better Photos for Your Blog
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These tips will get you started in blogging and will also help keep your blog up to date.
1. take a course
Okay, I cannot stress this enough. Seriously. You can’t do this on your own. I really liked the Blog by Number ecourse by Suzi – it really changed the way I blogged. I loved this whole blog course. And the best part is that it’s not that expensive! You get a lot of information on how to start your blog, make money from your blog, blog post ideas, and so much more. Worth the money, believe me! She lays it all out for you, step by step! Go get this ecourse as soon as possible. It’s amazing. I still look back at it from time to time. Review it, make sure I’m doing everything she recommends. Once I started doing what she suggests, my stats have exploded.
Here are some free courses that I really enjoyed:
- I really enjoyed Summer Tannhauser’s Pinterest Course – it really helped get followers and grow my website traffic
- The First Month Blog Plan by Suzi is a great free course to get you started
There are other great free courses out there, as I find them and take them, I’ll come back and update this little list I have going. 🙂 I love free!
2. find your niche
When I first started, I just blogged about anything and everything. Which isn’t always good…unless you have a personal blog, then that’s different. But if you’re looking to make money from blogging, you really need to find your niche! Do you like food? You could start your own food blog where you post your recipes! Do you like helping people learn how to blog? You could dedicate your blog to that. Do you think you are a master at Instagram? There’s another niche. Once you realize your niche, blog about that and nothing else. Which leads me to…
3. update your posts
So, you wrote a blog post about 2 years ago that is totally unrelated to your blog now…what do you do? Should you leave it? My advice would be to revamp it. Either get rid of it or make it relate to your blog now. I’ve already started doing this so that all of my posts look cohesive. Just like in photography, having your blog look cohesive is important, too. You want your audience to know exactly what to expect when they come to your blog. And when you upgrade, upgrade all of your posts. Even if it takes longer, it’s worth it.
And you should also be going back and updating your posts that do relate to your blog. The more you learn on the subject, the more information you can bring (I’m actually updating this blog post right now because I have some new information!). I used to think, ‘Oh, I already aired that post, I can’t possibly revise it’. But, who’s stopping you? Only you. Nobody will really notice you updating your blog post, let’s be honest!
Pro Tip: If you feel like you need to, update the images in your blog post, too. Especially if they don’t look as professional as other posts. Like this one, I updated my Pinterest images because I recently figured out what a good Pinterest graphic should look like. The point is, don’t be afraid to update and polish your blog posts after you air them.
4. pin your posts
Make pinnable images for each and every blog post and pin them. No kidding. Also, the Tail Wind App has done wonders. It makes Pinterest so easy. All I do is make a pinnable image, post my blog post, and then I schedule my pin to pin in all types of boards using Tail Wind. I also set up other pins that aren’t mine to post at the best time. Tail Wind seriously does all the hard work for me. I love it! You can do a free trail that they offer – but be warned! If you do the free offer, you’re going to want to do the paid version, too. Ok, I warned you.
5. be yourself
I’m serious here. When I first started, I wanted to see what other bloggers were doing. I tried to mimic some of my favorite bloggers. And the images I was producing, and the posts I was writing, they just came across as flat and I hated them!! So, my number one advice here is to just be yourself! When I first started, I wanted to be like all other bloggers and have light and bright images. But, that’s not my photography style. Once I accepted this and made blogging work for me and my style, I feel 100% better and actually love blogging. Be yourself. You shouldn’t be starting your blog for any reason except for yourself.
6. guest post
Don’t just write posts for yourself, write for other bloggers! And while I have you here, I am in the market for guest writers, so if you’re interest, please let me know. 🙂 By writing for other blogs, you get your name out there even more. So find a website (in your niche!) that could benefit from what you have to say! Get yourself out there. I wish I had known that when I first started.
7. good pictures
You need good pictures. Pictures draw you in. Make you linger. If you have really crappy snapshots … well … it just looks unprofessional. And it wouldn’t make me want to linger on a site! I know I love going to blogs that have beautiful photography. I’m not saying you need to be a photographer, but you do need to start thinking about how your images will affect your audience. If you’re a food blogger, you need your images to make your audience hungry. You need your subjects to look delicious! That’s what will make them click on your pin. Right? So, practice that photography!
Would anyone be interested in a photography class that is designed to help bloggers get better images? Let me know in the comments below.
8. be original
You need to find a reason for people to wander to your blog. There are so many food bloggers, mommy bloggers, photography bloggers, etc. out there that it can be quite hard to become noticed. But you need to figure out what makes you original, what makes you special compared to those other bloggers. Once you find it, you blog and blog about it. Try to come up with blog posts that are original. Found a way to get your kids to be quiet and well behaved? Please, do share. I’d love to know your secrets! Figured out a ‘hack’ to photographing in backlit situations? Share your experience! I used to think coming up with blog post ideas was really hard stuff…but there is literally so many things you can blog about. I’m blogging about blogging for crying out loud! You’ve got this.
9. don’t do it for the money
If you’re doing it for the money, stop. You need to blog about something that really truly inspires you and gets you excited and happy. The money comes later after lots of work. And I mean lots of work. You have to market your blog, create quality content, create opt-ins, advertise affiliates, email your email list, etc. There is a lot of work that goes into a profitable blog. Trust me, I know. It takes practice, time, and patience. Which is sometimes hard for us to grasp. You might see a blogger say they made money in their first month, but chances are, they worked their butts off to get to that point in the first month. You can do it, too, if you are consistent and aggressive about starting your blog.
10. schedule your posts
Pick a day, write your posts, then schedule them for that week. This, of course, comes after you’ve managed to put your blog together. Scheduling posts is a legit life saver. I really don’t know what I’d do without it. In this little sit down I’ve already typed up and created 4 blog posts, that can now be scheduled for later times. That’s one lovely perk of being a blogger. It’s totally up to you to make up your hours and it’s the perfect stay at home mom job. Just sayin’!
Pro Tip: Quality blog posts go a longer way than how many blog posts you have. You don’t want to just spout out blog posts that have no use to your readers. Do your research, create blog posts that are beneficial to your readers. Take your time in creating blog posts and make sure they are consistent to your previous posts. Blogging takes work, remember?
11. comment on other blogs
Yes. This is similar to Instagram. You write a blog post, you need to go comment and show love on other blogs! That’s a really nice trick to getting some more traffic. Networking with fellow bloggers can do wonders. 🙂 A little hint I came across one day that’d like to pass on … when commenting, write your name out as Name @ Business Name (example: Alyssa @ Aly Dawn) – that way people know you are a blog and will click on your name. Sometimes the @ can look spammy, so you can also try Name at Business Name or Name (Business Name) something along those effects. When you comment, always make sure you link back to your blog!
And just like with my Instagram hints … leave genuine comments. Don’t comment on a post unless you really love it. Be genuine and be nice. Ask questions. You never know, it might get you comments back!
So, that’s it! Those are my 11 things you should be doing as a blogger. What is something you think all bloggers should do? I’d love to hear from you!