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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
When you first start out in the photography business, blogging might be way in the back of your mind. I can tell you that for the longest time I tried to stay away from blogging. I honestly thought I would hate it! I thought that it was a waste of time, why blog? When you start your photography business, there’s so many things you have to focus on, so sometimes it’s easier to just forget about the blogging side of the business. But I am here to tell you that you shouldn’t. Blogging is extremely important to any business. Keep reading for 7 steps to successful blogging.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!
my blogging journey
I started my photography blog in hopes to get more clients for my photography business. I wasn’t ready to start a photography business. I didn’t have a portfolio. I really wasn’t very good at photography, either! But I had high hopes. My blog has taken a different approach since that initial start. I now know my why to blogging. I think it is important for you to figure out your why. Why do you want to blog?
With blogging you’re able to write down your thoughts, ideas, and insights in how you work. You’re able to show what you do, why you do it, and how your audience can achieve the same effect. For a photography blog, this is extremely important. I know I’ve gone to countless photography websites where I wish I could get some insight into how they achieved that image! If I had just an inkling of an idea, I would be able to experiment and explore my own style of photography easier.
Allow me to give you 4 good reasons why it is important in our field of work:
It helps optimize your SEO – it helps search engines find you, and who doesn’t want to be found?
You can grow your email list and get more customers that way.
It gives your talent and business credibility.
It helps you compete with the competitors – yes, they’re blogging and so should you!
my 7 steps to successful blogging for photographers
1. consistency is key
I believe this is something I have struggles with. I think it’s important to explore different things and to figure out what works for you. But once you figure out what works for you, keep it consistent. Keep your work consistent, too. When writing your post, keep the format the same. In all of my posts I have an introduction, I write words about the post, then I dive right in to my points (if it’s a list post, like this post is), I always have at least one image. This helps my readers to know what to expect. They can look at my format and automatically know that it’s my site and not anyone else’s site. Consistency will help you get more readers to come to your blog over and over again. This will help you be successful in your blogging.
2. know your target audience
If you have a photography blog, but are blogging about how being a mom is hard…that doesn’t really fit into your target audience. Same goes for if you have a photography business and the reason for blogging is to get more clients. You don’t want to blog about how you saved money that month. That will get a different set of eyes than what you are after. Instead, you want to blog about all of your client sessions. Showing potential clients what a session is like with you. For me, my target audience are beginner bloggers & photographers who want to learn more and increase their knowledge.
3. come up with a schedule
Figure out what will work for you in the beginning. Make a schedule. How often will you blog? This goes along with being consistent. Will you post twice a month? Twice a week? Write down how often you will blog and try to keep at it. By being consistent with your schedule, your audience will know how often you update your blog. It’s no fun going to one of your favorite blogs and finding out they haven’t had any new material in over a year. Keep your audience excited to come back to your blog by posting regularly.
4. share your posts
Social media is growing! If you are not on all the popular social media sites, get on them now. My favorites are Pinterest & Instagram! Work on building your audience on there, and eventually it will pay off by linking your blog posts to those. Share your blog posts on any of the other platforms, too, like Facebook, Google +, & Twitter.
Google + is an excellent one to have because it is directly related to Google, and who doesn’t want their blog posts to reach more people on Google, right? The more you post, the more successful you are.
5. be yourself
When I first started blogging, I tried to be like all the other bloggers I saw out there. They ALL had beautiful and bright photos. And when I tried to do that for myself, I found myself hating my posts. I hated the images that went along with that post, too! When I switched back to being myself, I became more successful. I was able to blog about the things I loved and I was able to share the images that really spoke to me.
I think we sometimes forget how important it is to be ourselves. Part of being interesting is being unique.
Have you ever stumbled on a blog that had so many errors it hurt to read? Obviously, bloggers aren’t perfect. But, if you are blogging, PLEASE make sure you try your best at proper grammar! That will help get readers to come back again. Readability on your blog is so important, I highly recommend the Yoast SEO plugin on your site. I am actually using it right now! It helps you with how readable your post is and how to make it better for SEO purposes. This plugin is essential and will help you become a more successful blogger in no time.
7. make a planner & stick to it
Once I started planning out my posts using my planner, I was able to stay consistent and was therefore more successful. Luckily for you I have created a planner, free of charge! This planner includes a post page and a weekly planner. Print as many as you want out and put them in a binder. Fill them out and get organized. Staying organized will help you take charge of your blog and be a successful blogger in no time.