Blogging 101: Advice and Tips for New Bloggers
Ok so lately I have had a few queries via email and through Independent Fashion Bloggers about how to go about starting a blog. Most of the people who have contacted me already have blogs they just want to know how to market their blog etc among other things.
Although I am no expert in this field I do know a fair amount about working online, SEO and design. All of these things are incredibly important in the world of blogging no matter what sort of blog you write.
So here are my tips and I hope they help you and I would be glad to here other people’s tips and advice too. The more the merrier! Happy blogging
1.Poor Design and Layout:
For me (having undertaken web design and layout classes for work) I feel the number 1 let down for blogs and some websites is poor layout and design. Although you think it might look cool to have a bright sparkly background with different coloured text in different fonts and sizes across the page, trust me that this is a big web design no-no. The best layouts are those that are simple and minimalistic but aesthetically pleasing to the reader/shopper whatever your site targets. I have visited some blogs with black backgrounds and neon pink text and it is frustrating when the person has great content you want to read but get a headache looking at. Websites such as Our Blog Templates have great designs you can tweak to suit your style.
Lets face it. The header of your blog is the first thing people see when they enter your site so tell people who you are right away before they have the chance to skip to the next blog! I have always been drawn into blogs with interesting headers it makes me think the person must be creative and have similar interests to me so I always read their blog and 9/10 will go back to that blog. A header that is too big or too small is also an issue. My blog header is 1000 pixels X 397 pixels and I would not make it any larger than this.
Ever been sitting in class or at work checking out a blog that looked interesting and then suddenly the entire room can hear some annoying pop song playing out of your speakers? It has happened to me and it is a huge turn off! Make sure that you never use music in the background unless of course your blog is about music in that case people should expect that it is coming at least.
4. Getting off the Following Train
When I first started blogging I would follow anyone who would follow me in return and I will still follow people if they ask me too. However the difference now is I don’t expect them to follow me. Sure it would be nice, but if they are not interested in what I write or have to say then do I really want them following me?
I have met so many wonderful bloggers and follow them based on merit because I actually enjoy what they write. I will usually visit all of my 20 favourite blogs at least 3 times per week and enjoy it when these people also visit me each week.
Blogging is about networking and making new friends along the way. It is nice to get more followers but if you are only blogging for this reason then you need to ask if this is something you truly enjoy or not.
5. Guest Blogging
Another great way to meet other bloggers is to guest blog. I have done guest posts at Sadies blog – What Sadie Did and at Cait’s blog Sailing to Nowhere and it was a great all-round experience. I have also asked Meagan of Spunky Chateau to write about her passion thrift shopping on my blog and this went so well.
Most bloggers will be flattered you have contacted them but be sure you show some interest in their blog before asking. If you have never commented and don’t follow their blog or ever visit and are just trying to market yourself then they will see this a mile away. I did this when I started out and of course the people did not write back to me! This leads me onto number 6.
Definitely one of the most important aspects of blogging is networking! There is sooo many ways to network and with the internet and google at your fingertips you cannot go wrong. If you don’t have a Twitter get on that bandwagon right now! It’s a great way to get exposure for your blog/shop etc and a great way to make some new friends. I also use Facebook as a Page for my blog and have it connected so that as soon as I update my blog it automatically updates my Facebook page. Facebook/Twitter and other social networking tools such as Tumblr, Flickr and My Space are great ways to meet like minded people and to get your brand out there.
Also remember if people comment on your blog write back to them or visit their blog. A blog is a conversation not a one way street!
7. Social Bookmarking
I use social bookmarking with every post I write and it usually brings me a few visits so it is well worth it. Some of the best ones to use are Digg, StumbleUpon, Google Buzz, and Delicious. There are many others but these are the main ones I use and the returns are endless. Not only that but it helps get your blog into Google search which is where you want it to be!
8. SEO and Writing Good Blog Post titles and tagging
Write titles for your blogs that will attract people in to read especially when you are first starting out. The more key words you use the easier it will be to find your blog through Google and other search engines. Tagging your posts is another important weapon in the SEO field as these tags can also be picked up by search engines and hence direct more traffic to your blog.
9. Write at least ONE viral post
Is there a topic or fad that is popular right now. Get on board and blog about that using your new fabulous SEO writing techniques. I recently wrote a post about Nina Proudman from Offspring as I love the show and the fashion but this post has gone crazy viral! If you type in Nina Proudman into any search engine now there will be my blog and its post about her style. It is crazy how many hits I have gotten and still get each day from a couple of posts I wrote about Nina’s style.
10. Have Fun and Be Yourself
I cannot say this enough but have fun and be yourself! Blogging is about enjoying yourself and having an opinion and being heard in this crazy, crazy world.
Write your blog like you would talk to people in every day life. I sometimes struggle with this as a journalism student I am always conscious of how I write and whether it is spelt write, correct grammar, proper English blah, blah, blah. I really need to learn to let go of this and I think my blog is helping.
I always find blog writing therapeutic and fun and am so glad I started one. Hope this advice helps out anyone who is starting out!
P.S – If there are any typos in this I apologise I am utterly exhausted and will also probably be using this post as an assessment item for uni (gasp!) so I hope it is all good.