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This week marks the 1 year anniversary of my blog!
I was nervous when I first started blogging. I was worried that I would start it and then get bored or that it would just be an epic failure.
But then I figured, why not?
I will admit that my first few posts are definitely not the greatest quality. A few months in I started doing my research and now I want to share a few of the things that I have learned.
- Just Start!
Stop procrastinating and just start your blog. What is holding you back? If you keep revisiting the idea over and over, then just dive in and give it a shot. If you aren’t sure, start with a free blog. It has been a year and I am still using a free WordPress blog.
- Have a clean layout with easy navigation.
Don’t clutter your page with a million links and categories. Try to keep it to about 5 categories or less in your navigation menu. Too many categories can be overwhelming. Also, put your links to your social media pages towards the bottom of your page so readers can view your homepage in its entirety, fall in love, and then subscribe/follow you when they reach the bottom.
- Start each post with a link to one of your social media pages, and end each post with a different one.
For example, I start my posts with a link to my Instagram and end with a reminder to subscribe to my blog. This way readers have multiple options to follow or subscribe.
- Write short paragraphs and use lists.
Short paragraphs and lists are easier to read and follow keeping your readers interested. No one wants to read a long and never ending paragraph.
- Use a Headline Analyzer
Catchy headlines are the first thing readers see. I use the headline analyzer at coschedule.com. You can find it here. It is free and it will score your headline telling you if it is too generic or wordy.
It is very important to use high quality photos. I have been working on drastically improving mine. The photos on my first few posts are terrible. My 2 biggest suggestions are to use natural light and have a clean background. You can use a solid colored sheet as a backdrop. If natural light is unavailable I occasionally use a lamp to project extra light on my object.
Create a logo for yourself or hire a designer. You can find cheap designers at fiverr.com. You want to put your logo on all of your photos and social media. Another contribution to branding is to use the same font on all of your photos as well. This way when someone is surfing Pinterest they begin to recognize your pins right away.
- Minimize gaps between posts.
Create a schedule for yourself. You should at least post once a week. I was guilty of having gaps between posts which resulted in days of not having a single page view. Of course I was also working a full time job and attending college part time so time was something that I was lacking. So while on a break from school I pre-wrote and scheduled 5 months’ worth of posts. After that I just continued to add to my scheduled posts. This majorly helped to decrease my stress level of work, school, and wanting to succeed at blogging.
- Get on a social media schedule.
One thing that really helped my blog was getting on a social media posting schedule. I post a link to my most recent post on a different social media platform every day until my next blog. I simply googled the peak times and days for each platform. I then scheduled reminders in my phone calendar to remind me to post the link. I post on Instagram, Facebook, Stumble Upon, Delicious, Reddit, Linkedin, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+. I also joined Bloglovin, which is a site that automatically posts your most recent blog to its feed.
- Reply to all comments.
When a reader comments on your post, always reply! They need to know that you are there and you care about their feedback. No one likes to be ignored.
- Join Facebook groups.
Find Facebook groups for bloggers and weekly linkups. My favorite and overall the best blogging group I am a member of is Blogging on Your Own Terms. Daniela Uslan has helped me improve my blog so much! She posts special links to share your information on every week to help you connect with other bloggers. She is amazing!
- Carry a notepad.
Ok, so notepads are old school. But I guess I’m kind of old school. I will admit I would probably be lost without my google calendar on my smart phone. But I still always have a notepad and pen in my purse. Whenever I have an idea for a blog, a recipe or a craft I jot it down. When it comes time to write a post, I pull out my chicken scratches and bring them to life. If I’m ever bored in a waiting room or somewhere with a spare moment sans laptop, I will even begin to prewrite a few posts by hand.
Prewritting really helps. Write down everything on your mind then put it away. I guarantee you will think of something later that you want to add before publishing.
- Follow your favorite blogs.
Running a blog isn’t all about gaining followers; it is also about following other blogs that interest you. Bloggers need to stick together! You can learn from each other and inspire each other.
The one blog that finally pushed me to start my own is Gemma Peanut Gallery. Her blog is beautiful, her writing makes me smile, her photography is to die for, and her Instagram posts are my favorite. When you comment on one of her posts she replies as if she has known you for years. Based on what I have seen on her blog and Instagram she is a very busy woman and still has the drive to start new adventures while continuing to make her blog beautiful. She is a true inspiration!
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