So this week we have been talking all about blogging:
-how it changed our lives
-reasons why YOU should start a blog
-things every beginner blogger needs to do
-ultimate resource list every blogger needs
And today we are going to cover A LOT . . . basically sharing with you our best tips for those of you just starting out in this blogging world!
Ready? Let’s do this:
(*Some of these links are affiliate links. You can read our disclosure policy here.)
1. Pick a great blog name.
As you are deciding what you want your blog to be named, keep in mind that whatever you choose is your brand. Here are some tips:
-make sure you use a .com at the end
-the shorter, the better
-make sure that it’s easy to say and easy to spell- you want it to be something that people easily remember
-what is your blog going to be about? Brainstorm some topics and then look at the words you used . . . see if you can come up with a creative spin off on of those words – if you need more help, check out this tutorial
-make sure that name is available on social media sites (such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc). You will want to register your name on all those sites so that your brand is the same across all the various channels. You can use KnowEm to check and see if your name is available.
2. Register your domain (name) and set up your blog!
This part may sound so intimidating, but I promise you that we have made it easy with this FREE step-by-step photo instructional guide. Just follow the steps and we will have your blog set-up in a matter of minutes!
3. Come up with a plan.
What are you going to post about? How often are you going to post? What is your one month goal, three month goal, and 12 month goal? What is your purpose in starting this blog? Answer the questions and get some direction as to what you want to do with this blog.
Whatever schedule you choose for posting on your blog, even if it’s just one post per week, stick with that schedule and be consistent.
If you want some help with your game plan and blog vision, these are two of our favorite eBooks with great visuals, hand-holding, and tips to get your going: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook and How I Made $40k In My First Year of Blogging.
4. Consider a better blog design.
One of the biggest problems that many new bloggers face is a poor blog design. A great blog design can double your traffic and give an overall amazing first impression. People will leave your blog if they don’t like what they see in the first few seconds, so you have to be prepared by having a blog design that is engaging, fascinating, and will pull the reader in.
Some tips when it comes to blog design:
-the top of your blog (the header) is some of the most prime real estate on your blog and the first impression that people have of your blog. Make sure that your header is easy to read and stands out to your reader.
-a white background will be your best friend. Avoid color backgrounds (especially black backgrounds with white text!) because they are so difficult to read and will turn your readers off.
-while there are so many darling fonts out there, use a font that is clean and easy to read. Avoid some of the more script-type fonts – while cute, they are sometimes so hard to read!
-use your sidebar to advertise yourself. Include links to your most popular posts, your social media channels, and a place where people can subscribe to your email newsletter (if you have one . . . which you should).
-one last tip: don’t be afraid to invest a little money in a design. Most hobbies do cost a little money up front to get going, so consider that small investment one that will pay off in the end. As far as affordable designers, we love Designer Blogs (with prices that start around $50) and Template Express (prices start around $39, but they even have some free ones too!).
5. Learn about analytics.
Install Google analytics on your blog and then you will be able to tell how many people are coming to your blog, where they are coming from, what posts they visit the most, the age and gender of your audience, etc. For help in understanding Google analytics, watch this video and they will walk you through what you are looking at.
6. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) is meant to be social!
You can’t just put your content out there and expect everyone to love it and leave you a million comments and shares – you have to the social one! Respond to each comment, like other’s posts and leave comments, engage with your followers and make them feel like a community. We try to set aside a chunk of time each day (at least an hour) to go through and respond to every single comment that we receive on each channel of social media. If you put in the time to be social, you will see the return in traffic, engagement, and community.
7. Learn how to take great pictures.
Pictures are everything to bloggers – whether it’s for your blog, for Instagram, or whatever purpose you use pictures for. We learned the hard way that a good picture will make all the difference! Some of our first posts included TERRIBLE pictures, so we stepped up our game and read some books and did some hands-on training and it made ALL the difference – we started to get more traffic, more companies started reaching out to us to work with them, and we even got offers from companies who wanted to purchase our pictures (which is another great source of income).
With that being said, if you want to step up your photography, we recommend the Tasty Food Photography eBook and the Food Photography School online course.
8. Write a couple of posts and build up your archives before launching your blog.
As tempting as it may be to want to let the world know about your blog after writing your first post, consider holding off and getting a couple of posts written so that people have a reason to click around on your site and see what else you have to offer.
9. Pin all the things!
Pinterest is a blogger’s best friend and a great way to share your content. Make sure that you set up a Pinterest account that uses your blogger name and then make boards for the different topics you are going to cover on your blog. To see how we set up our Pinterest boards, you can check them out HERE. Pinterest likes you to pin consistently and because you don’t want to spend all day pinning content and carefully spacing out your pins, we use a Pinterest scheduler. The two that we love and recommend the most are ViralTag and TailWind.
10. Link up to a link party to promote your content.
A link party is a post on another blogger’s site that allows other bloggers to come and share their content. It’s a great way to get some traffic and introduce new readers to your site. Want to learn more about link parties? Here is a post all about them. And if you want to know where you can link up your content, check out this list of link parties that different bloggers host each week.
11. Share each post on your Facebook page.
Yes, you will need to make a specific page that is for your blog – which is different than a personal account. If you need help creating a Facebook page, HERE are some instructions. Once your page is set-up, invite your friends and family to like your page. Then start sharing your posts and pictures and anything else that is relevant to your blog to help push traffic to your site. For more tips about using Facebook, get our FREE 5 Tips to Grow Your Blog eBook.
12. Network with other bloggers.
The best way to do this is to go to other blogs and comment on their posts . . . but the secret is to be genuine. Treat them the way that you would want to be treated. Share their content on your social media channels, pin their content to your Pinterest boards, just be a good friend. It will always come back full circle. Whatever you do, don’t leave comments asking them to follow you back. It’s tacky. 😉
13. Use your personal connections.
As you start your blog, email your family and friends to let them know and invite them to follow you on social media or to click through and read your post. Share with your church groups, your mommy groups, your co-workers, etc. You will be amazed at the support you will receive and it’s a great way to get the ball rolling!
14. Write a great “About Me” page.
Many times, the most visited page on your website will be your “About Me” page, so make sure you have one! After readers finish a post they love, often times they will want to know more about the person who wrote the post. Some tips for writing a great “About Me” page:
-include a picture of you (include many pictures if you want!) that showcase who you are
-tell the story of your journey – why did you start a blog? How did you get to this point in your life?
-tell your readers who you are and what you believe in
-tell your readers what they will find on your blog and how you can help them
-tell your readers how you have helped others through what you offer on your blog
For more help about writing a killer about me page, read THIS.
15. Link to your own content
On every single post, include links to other posts that you have written so that readers know what else you have available. You literally have to put it in front of their faces so that they can easily click on it . . . make it as easy as possible for them to click on another post. We have used LinkWithin since we started our blog and it’s always in our top 10 sources of traffic.
16. Send out a newsletter
We recommend to start a newsletter the day you start your blog . . . while you don’t own your social media followers, you own the email addresses you collect of people who sign up to be an email subscriber. Don’t have any email subscribers? Well, it’s time to change that! We recommend getting set up with a company like AWeber that focuses on email marketing for bloggers and then once or twice a week, send an email out to people who have subscribed to your blog to share with them the latest and greatest. Email is still one of the most effective ways of getting in front of people. To get more people to sign up for your newsletter, we recommend using OptinMonster for your pop-up. Our conversion rate quadrupled when we started using a pop-up from them . . . it’s been awesome and they are easy to use!
17. Repost old content on social media
For some reason, new bloggers assume that they can only share their newest content on social media and that is definitely not the case! Recycle your old content and consistently share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and especially Pinterest. Chances are that each time you share it, it will reach a whole new audience!
18. Stay true to yourself
It can be easy to change yourself and your blog to get more traffic or to land more sponsored posts, but it’s so important to stay true to yourself and who you are. Don’t sell out – write about the kinds of things that YOU love and the things that you are passionate about. This will help prevent blogging burnout – which really is a thing!
19. Be patient – the One Year Rule.
If you are serious about this blogging thing, we always recommend putting in a year of hard work before you throw in the towel. Once you have that first year under your belt, you have a big archived list of content, you understand social media a little more, you have made some blog friends, and you have learned a lot. Give it a year and see what happens.
20. Most importantly – just be YOU. Don’t compare to others.
This blogging world is crazy and it’s been interesting to watch it evolve over the years. For us, we have felt pressure to make our photos look one way and make the words in our posts more like others’ and change the format of our blog to be more like this website and . . . the list goes on and on. Remember: people are following you because they like YOU. They like what they bring to the table and they like your take on things. So, in this crazy world of comparison and competition, just be you.
Like always, let us know if you have any questions!
You can contact us HERE.