After 2 and a half years running this blog, and almost 5 years blogging on and off in total; I decided it was about time I put everything I’ve learned all in one handy blog post for you guys. I am by no means saying I am an expert at blogging, or that I have all the answers; but I do think I have something to offer. Hopefully this may help out any new or old bloggers looking for some tips, or a fresh perspective on things.
I’ve tried to be as thorough as possible, so this post is quite lengthy – Sorry!
I hope you find it useful.
If you’re a new blogger (or an old one wanting a revamp); thinking about the name of your blog is REALLY important. This is how you’ll be defined and seen through the eyes of your audience. Unless someone is a dedicated reader, they are probably not going to know/remember your real name; so you want something that sticks with them and is easily recognisable. Will this represent what you’re writing about? Will it be easy to say/spell? Is the domain for this available? Is this available to use on every social platform?
I am so glad I chose the name Dorkface; because I think it represents me well, it isn’t specific to one niche (if you have beauty in your name, it’s a bit awkward if you ever decide to stop writing about beauty), its short and easy to remember. The only slight downside was that the Twitter and Instagram username wasn’t available, so I simply added ‘blog’ on the end of my social media usernames. But they’re all the same, and I’m still happy with the name years later.
I started out on Blogger, and I think its fantastic; but these days I’m on WordPress and I’m really glad I made the move. There are people who blog on Squarespace, Tumblr, and other sites; but the main two competitors are between Blogger and WordPress. I recommend researching the pros and cons of each one, so you have an idea what’s best for you before you decide. But if you really want my honest opinion? Go with WordPress. There are so many more features and options available to you, and you can go self hosted and rest in the knowledge that your blog is YOURS. Plus, I found Blogger to have so many issues and bugs and not work often, which is a shame.
Having a blog niche means specifically keeping to one category or theme of blog posts. For example you could be a beauty blogger, or someone who only writes about DIY/interiors. Me? I don’t have a niche, because my blog is for anything and everything my heart desires. I love to feature beauty, lifestyle issues, artwork/creativity, fun DIY’s, baking, fashion and so much more. I never want to feel stuck in one category. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this though, and themes can really help you reach a target audience. It’s worth thinking about whether you want your blog to have a niche or not – as it would be useful to make your blog look and feel related to whatever niche you choose.
The Look & Style –
Theme/layout – The way your blog looks isn’t the bee all and end all, but it’s certainly very important. When someone clicks on your website you want the first impression to be a very good one. People make snap judgements, and even if you are a modern day Shakespeare, they’ll probably click away within seconds if your blog looks awful and disorganised. Choose a clean layout with clear organisation and ease of use. Have everything the user needs available (social media icons, different categories/pages, a list of recent or popular blog posts and a little about you of course!).
Photography – My main tips for blog photography would be to try find your own style of photographs, make them recognisable as YOUR photos (really try not to use stock photos unless necessary) and good quality is a must. I know people who only use their phones, and have incredible photographs; so you really don’t need an expensive camera. But either use great soft box lights or take advantage of natural lighting.
Colour theme – I change mine often, and I’m a huge fan of colour, but you’ll never see anything really harsh or overpowering on this blog. For example I might make my header design colourful and detailed, and make sure my pages/links/widgets all match; but I’ll always have a clean white background and black fonts used. There are ways to make your personality stand out, without pissing off your reader with a lime green font.
Social Media – Social media platforms are going to be a huge factor in getting your blog out there, and finding that perfect target audience. Make sure you sign up to at least a few, under your blog name and really take advantage of their power. My blog absolutely depends on my Twitter and Instagram; as they are my biggest sources of traffic – but a lot of people have success with the likes of Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube. It really is up to you! If you can use them all regularly; fantastic. But don’t feel pressured to. Sticking to one or two and keeping them strong is very effective.
Promotion – When promoting your blog on social media; you should really make it as appealing as possible. Try to use interesting/amusing/attention grabbing titles, always add a photo along with each promotional tweet, and schedule promotions often. I try to post to my Facebook once each day, or at least every few days, and I keep my Instagram active with up to 3 posts each day. Since Twitter is my biggest source of traffic, and it’s one of the busiest platforms, I find it successful to schedule tweets around the clock everyday. I have something going out at least once every 2 hours. This might seem extensive, and I understand that; but I can only assure you I see results from it. I check my Twitter analytics often, and I’m now at the point where I gain around 600-900 followers a month – and I see a distinctive drop if I don’t keep my Twitter as active!
The most important thing to remember when promoting your blog, is to try do it as naturally and non pushy as possible. Just genuinely try to show people the good stuff, make them want to visit. And make sure to interact plenty between promotions, don’t just be a walking advert! Put your personality out there and get to know the community; it’s one of the best things about blogging!
Keeping on top of it all – It can probably seem like a huge load of bother, but I promise it doesn’t have to be if you plan and schedule your time well. I used to work a 9-5 job six days a week, which took me an hour to get to, and an hour to get home from. I was exhausted to say the least and any time off I tried to use well. I still managed to keep on top of my blogging schedule and promote myself across all channels, and you can too!
I keep a spreadsheet specifically to plan and organise my blog posts, but a planner would work fine too! You just need a system. I write down ALL my ideas for blog posts, whenever I get them (making notes on my phone is handy at times), and I put them all on one column in this spreadsheet. Whether it’s things I might want to write in the future, types of blog posts I’d like to try, things I’m really keen to talk about now, or posts related to upcoming events (for example brainstorming seasonal ones even if not in that season). I then write out the whole current month, and next month in my spreadsheet, in their own columns. Then I start to insert those ideas into specific dates where I think I might want to feature them. For example, I might take a blog post idea about ‘Reviewing the month/Making goals for the next month’, and I might pop that down in the slot for the last day of this month. Makes sense, right? Keep doing this for as many ideas as possible So now I have an idea ahead of time, what sort of blog posts I’m going to be creating for the next month or two. Which in turn means I can plan ahead, take photographs in bulk to save time, and always feel on top of it all. The beauty is you can keep switching things around as much as you like, for whatever mood you might be in.
Writing blog posts ahead of time, taking photographs in bulk, scheduling tweets (I use Tweetdeck by the way) and constant planning means I have a very active blog, and never run out of ideas.
Making sure you always stay inspired and have plenty of blog post ideas to fall back on, is crucial in my opinion. I absolutely adore using Pinterest to keep me inspired for a number of reasons; I have a board specifically for blog post ideas I’ve pinned, and I have plenty of other boards full of random things I love. These boards all remind me what topics are most interesting to me, and always spark something when browsing them.
I also love having a work space that really encourages me. Have you got a space where you always blog? If so, try to decorate it with things that inspire you; artwork, colours, quotes, pages from magazines, whatever! It’ll be your own personal mojo maker. If you don’t have a specific work space, why not try making your own collages or moodboards – these can be created even in small journals you carry around. Meaning you get to make your mojo mobile!
What do you want your blog to be known for?
Try to think broadly about 3 things you want your blog to represent. Write them down. Now try to break each down into themes, and blog posts you could create. Use them as tools to plan out your blogging schedule.
For me, I would like this blog to be known for Creativity, Motivation, and Positivity. How do I break those down?
Creativity – I share my creative hobbies, showing each process and creation.
Motivation – I share stories of my struggles, my successes and things that have helped me chase my dreams. I find it motivating to read of others on these journeys; and I hope I can do that too.
Positivity – I try to celebrate all the good in my life, and share that here on my blog. Not only do I find it uplifting, but it also means I get to document and involve you guys, which you seem to like.
BLOG POSTS THAT MIGHT HELP –
- 6 Types Of Blog Posts That I’ll Always Read
- How To Gain Instagram Followers
- 30 Day Social Media Challenge
- Free Blog Post Checklist
- 5 Ways To Promote Your Blog Posts
- 50 Things To Post On Instagram
- Making Your Blog Photos Stand Out
- Blog Advertising; Things To Consider
- Quick Tips To Organise Your Blog
- Using Twitter Analytics
- 9 Ways To Support Other Bloggers
And there we have it! I probably could go into even more detail, but honestly this would turn into a book. I do hope everyone gains something useful from this post, even if it’s just one little thing! Let me know in the comments if there’s anything else you’d like me to cover in future though!
Thanks guys, and good luck! 🙂
*Any items sent for review are written about 100% honestly and in my own words. Sometimes collaborative content and partnerships with brands will appear on this blog. Affiliates links are used throughout this blog.