I launched my blog lucyliveshere.com six months ago and it’s been a steep learning curve since then. Here are my essential blogging tips for those just starting out…
1) You can figure it out as you go
I see a lot of people saying they’re not ready to launch yet because they’re still working out what their blog niche should be or because they want to have a bank of content ready to go before they go live and so on. If that’s what works for you then that’s absolutely fine, but I’ve found that learning by doing is so much more valuable. There’s no point writing lots of content if you don’t know if your audience is interested in that content, right? It takes time to grow and you’re only going to get more knowledgable and more attuned to what your audience wants to read about as you go, so in my opinion you might as well just press the publish button sooner rather than later. Your blog can evolve with you.
2) There’s so much to learn about blogging
I thought I was coming into blogging with a bit of a head start, as I work in marketing and come from a journalism background. Sure, it helped a little, but there’s TONS to learn about blogging. My biggest piece of advice is to be a sponge for as much information on blogging as possible. Join blogging groups on social media platforms, ask to join shared blogger boards on Pinterest, follow lots of fellow bloggers to learn from what they’re doing… just keep your eye on the ball, because the blogging landscape is shifting all the time. A lot of bloggers also offer free e-learning course / webinars on various subjects, so I would recommend signing up for as many of those as you possibly can. Not everything will be useful, but the more knowledge you can equip yourself with, the better your blog is going to be.
3) Pinterest is the best way to promote your blog
When I first started I set myself up on all the usual social media platforms. I was pretty good on Twitter for a while, I started strong on Pinterest before it fell to the wayside, and Facebook was a non-starter. I’ve now realised that the number one platform for increasing traffic to your website is Pinterest – and that’s because it functions as a search engine (like Google) rather than as a social media platform. I’m a huge fan of Ell Duclos and I’m working my way through her Pinterest course at the moment, which I would highly recommend. I’ve implemented some of the learnings from it and have already seen a huge increase in my unique monthly views and a couple of my pins have gone a bit viral!
4) You can’t wait for your blog to be discovered
Alas, you can’t just write a blog and wait for the people to come. That’s been a tough one for me because I’ve always considered myself a writer first and foremost. That’s the part I enjoy most, rather than photography or social media strategy or video editing. However, you can’t just expect your audience to magically find your blog out of nowhere – you have to tell them about it. For a lot of people self-promotion isn’t something that comes naturally, and as someone who had never had a Twitter account before I started this blog I can relate to that 100%. What I would say is that the more you do it the easier it becomes. Read and comment on other people’s posts, participate in blog share threads, and promote your blogs. I’ve also recently downloaded Later which I use to schedule my social media posts.
5) You don’t have to be on every social media platform
I wrestled with this a lot. But as the free webinar I listened to this morning explained (see what I mean about being a sponge) algorithms can change all the time – and that can mean that people stop seeing your content. Even worse, social media platforms can close – the example given was Vine – meaning that you lose everything. If you build an email list on your blogging platform, however, that’s yours and you get take that with you to different platforms. It’s also all about time invested. Most of us are working a full time job while working on our blogs, so how can you get the most out of that time? For me it’s all about Pinterest, as that’s where I’m getting the most traffic from. Sorry Instagram.
6) People are coming to your blog for useful information
This is an important point but it’s another one I took a while to get my head around. When I first started blogging everything had a bit of a confessional vibe, where I’d want to tell the internet all my deepest darkest secrets. That’s great if it’s a relatable topic, but a lot of the time it was maybe too centric around me. I’ve now realised that people want to read about useful stuff that they can apply to their own lives. My best performing post on this blog is about home decor mistakes and how to avoid them, and I guess people wanted to click through to that content because it helped them. So keep that in mind when thinking about your blog content; always put your audience and their needs first.