Monday, June 23, 2014

5 Things I've Learned About Blogging

5 Things I've Learned From Blogging
I think after a certain point, every blogger blogs long enough that she catches on and learn some new things about a blogger's world. Some things she learns by trial and error, others by book and blogger friends, and others by classes. She learns these things to reach her goal and possibly set a new one. 
Personally, I have learned a little from each of these places. But I feel like a majority of the share of what I have learned about blogging has been from my other blogger friends. I still consider myself relatively new to blogging - but when I was just beginning to blog, I so appreciated those bloggers that would share their tips and what they had learned. This is my post on what I have learned about blogging during my first year!

The Badics - Content and Photos on your blog
 I think all of these "blogger help" posts and article start with the same thing. So I'm going to group this part all together and get it out of the way at the beginning. Because this is something that you all probably know at this point. 
---> Content is key. This seems like something that is so basic. But if you don't have something interesting to say that grabs your readers attention, then they aren't going to take up their valuable time to read it. My tip for finding great content is this: write about something that excites YOU, and chances are it will excite your readers too.
---> I think this gets drilled into every bloggers head. You really do need great photos. When I first started blogging, I wouldn't say my photos were bad - but they definitely weren't great. And compared to other blogs out there, my pic now could still have a ton of improvement. This is something I am constantly striving for. If you don't have great pictures, people are not going to be interested in what you say. Pictures are what people are drawn to first - then your words. 

Social Media and Blogs - Pinterest and Instagram
 Social media is such a staple with blogging. I had no clue about this when I first started, and have only recently gotten involved in the social media world with my blog. This kind of free "advertising" is awesome to get more traffic to your blog. 
Pinterest is a better traffic driver for me than Instagram, but I am still learning about how to use Pinterest effectively with my blog. I do know that it is important to post other things to your blog pinterest besides posts from your blog. Yes, you want people to repin your posts. But noone likes a pinner who only promotes their own images. Other pinners want to get a feel for who you are and what your style is. Pin images that others will want to repin - this is how you get pinterest followers. And then mix in your own pins from your blog in between. PS - when I pin on the weekends, I get way more repins than during the week.
Instagram has been so great to meet other bloggers, and a quick way to comment on certain pics I like really well. Especially if i just don't have the time to read a bunch of blog posts that day. I can still keep up with my fav blogs even when my time is limited. My instagram followers grow much faster than my pinterest followers. Instagram is just so easy to use as a blogger, and it's so easy to promote your posts that way. It also lets your readers who follow you there see a more personal side of you. Again, don't only use Instagram to promote your posts.
 Twitter is something that Made In The Shade Blog has yet to get. I have heard great things about it - it's just not something I use in my personal life at all either. So I don't have any advice on this form of social media. 

Blog Designs and Theme - Branding
 I found that when I updated my blog design and bought my own domain, my followers increased. I was so nervous to put a little money toward my blog, but it has paid off. A clean design is what people want to read. When I click over to a blog that is poorly laid out, and has ads all over the page, I usually exit right then and there. I don't want to have to sift through all that crap to find you. 
The first things I look for on a blog are - do you have a large picture of you front and center where I can see it, can I easily find your contact info, and is your first post interesting and something that I would want to read. Think about what you look for in other blogs, and make sure those things are front and center on your own.
The other thing that boosted my traffic was continuity. I love bright colors and love to use them - but what makes people remember your blog is branding. Use the same logo and profile picture in all your social media outlets. People are more likely to remember you and keep coming back if they can remember you. And using the same profile pic and same logo for branding does just that.
Having an easy to say and easy to remember blog name is also key. That is one huge reason why I switched my blog name this year from A Girl and Her Sparkles to Made In The Shade Blog. The first name I chose was hard to brand and hard to remember. The second is much easier because it's a known phrase and easy to say and type into a web address.
Buying my own domain was also a great investment. My URL is shorter for people to have to type, and it's easier for people to search. Definitely worth the money!

Making friends in the blog world
 I can't stress this one enough!! People are not going to come to your blog and comment on your posts if you don't comment on theirs. Everyone likes a little blog love, but you aren't going to get any if you don't give some first. Don't just write a half enthusiastic comment either. Actually read the post, and be interested in the blogger and what she has to say. I can't tell you how many times I have had someone comment on one of my posts and it makes no sense with what I wrote. It shows you really didn't care about what I had to say. 
Another pet peeve of mine is bloggers who "comment for a comment" and "follow for a follow". Don't leave a comment that ends with - "Do you want to follow each other?" or "Follow me on my blog and then I'll follow you back". This is just straight up annoying and not good blogger etiquette. If you have to ask me to follow you, that makes me think you can't get followers on your own. 
Blogger friends are just that - your friends. Someone to ask questions to, collaborate with, and share your info! Don't be afraid to reach out to someone and get to know them a lot better! 
I am also a member of Lucky Contributors - this is such a great way to meet new people, ask questions openly, and promote your posts as well!

Link ups and traffic
 Link-ups are so important too. They take a little extra time to incorporate into your post, but the traffic that a good link-up brings is so great for your blog. On Wednesdays I write my fashion posts and link up with 4 or 5 different blogs on that day. My Wednesday posts ALWAYS have a ton of traffic. You can even try a link up of your own! Link-ups are great to meet other bloggers too. This is where the great picture tip comes in full circle. When I look for blogs to click on in a link up and visit, I usually pick the ones with the most interesting and best picture to go to.
Use your social media and link-up info to try and drive traffic to your blog and new posts. If you do decide to try a link-up of your own, remember to promote it! I have seen such good link-ups before, but the blogger didn't let anyone know what the link up was about until the day of. If you're like me, you write your posts way in advance. So that really limits the amount of people that will link up with you. So promote, promote, promote! 
There are a ton of pinterest pins on what link ups drive the most traffic that you can choose from.

I hope these tips were helpful - or you know someone else that you could send these on to. I have learned so much from blogging for this first year, and hope to learn so much more in the times to come!

What are your top blogging tips that you share with new bloggers??
Stay tuned for a wedding recap tomorrow! 

32 comments:

  1. These are so well laid out and so true!! The blog love could not be more true!! I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts!!! I think it's so important to have great content and with the nice layout its pretty much a great blog!!! Hope you had a great time at the wedding this past weekend!!

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  2. I am a new blogger and I love reading tips and advice! Even though you mentioned that, certain things we probably know about blogging, re-reading those tips really helps me think about how to improve each and every time! I really appreciate you taking the time to lay these tid-bits out!
    Cheers
    Casually Chic by Monique
    Find me at : bloglovin' | facebook

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  3. This is such a good comprehensive overview of blogging tips! Like you said, I think first and foremost it's important to have eye-catching pictures and good content, but after that, I've also found it so helpful to comment on other blogs! Building those relationships are key! Link ups are also great, but I have trouble finding them sometimes! I'm gonna head over to Pinterest and see what I can dig up :) Thanks girly!

    Ivy xx
    Style Life Lovely

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  4. Great advice! As a blogger and Etsy shop owner, I am constantly thinking of ways to improve both sites. I agree, Instagram is super fun, but also convenient for connecting and sharing instantly. Similarly, I am focusing on both Pinterest and Instagram for my blog and shop.

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  5. I love all of these tips, thank you for posting! I am for sure going to check out Lucky Contributors, have a great week!

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  6. This is all great advice! I feel like I am still learning a lot too in my first year of blogging. I definitely strive to take better photos - still learning how to use that new DSLR of ours! - and I am looking into purchasing my own domain name soon. I bet it would drive more traffic!

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  7. completely agree with you! i love twitter for promoting my blog as well because it's a constant feed of information. again, you wouldn't want to solely use it as that, but it has a great way to spread your information by retweets onto other people's timelines who may not see it originally. i suggest you check it out!

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  8. i am really in need of a blog redesign - that's pretty high up on my list when i get some extra $$! and i agree with you about pinterest - a balance of what you pin is really important, and i do find weekend pinning helps!

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  9. I always enjoy reading other bloggers' tips and ideas because even though the general ideas are similar, I always pick up little pieces that make me think, oh that's so right! Reading that your pins generate more traffic on weekends was something I hadn't thought about previously. I usually pin my blog pictures the day of the post and then pin outside pictures throughout the week and sometimes weekend, but this is something I am going to look into! I have also gained more traffic and readers from being a Lucky Contributor so I second that tip! :)

    Allison / Joy and Ivy

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  10. Yup great tip! I feel like design is huge and definitely good pics. I've loved making blogger friends along the way :)

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  11. Really great advise here! The blog will turn 6 months old 7/1 and there is still so much to learn. :) With a full-time job it is always a bit difficult to stay up-to-date on social medial, although, I am finding breaks throughout the day to become more efficient. Thanks for the great tips! Hope you had a great weekend!

    Anna
    alilyloveaffair.com

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  12. Speaking some truths for sure! I love a clean design; it's hands-down much more easier for your readers and you as a reader.

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  13. Great tips girly! I totally agree with all of them!

    xo Kylie
    www.dressinsparkles.com

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  14. Girl you definitely need to get on twitter :) It's one of my favorite ways to find other blogs or posts and chat with other bloggers! Loved all of these tips!

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  15. Love this post - it is sooooo smart and helpful! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  16. These are great tips Becky and I'm glad we've become blogger friends! I agree with the picture tip, investing in a new camera to take better OOTD photos with is on my short list (as is a domain name). Putting extra cash into your blog can really pay off! Also follow for follow? (hahaha just kiddddinggggg)!
    -Alex
    www.monstermisa.blogspot.com/

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  17. I definitely fail when it comes to photos. I just SUCK at taking them. I mean, I have a billion pictures of my dog but that's pretty much it, haha!

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  18. Love this post!! I don't use twitter either... and I don't really want to use it, but some people seem to think it is really great.

    Thanks for sharing your tips, girlfriend!! And by the way, do you want to follow each other?!! ;) ;)

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  19. I think that these tips are great! Such a great post!
    xo,
    Jacqueline
    stylininstlouis.com

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  20. Thank you for your insight! Regardless of where a person is in their blogging journey this is an amazing tool you have just shared.
    Xoxo Miss Erin
    www.misserinsays.com

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  21. This is such great advice. Every time I read an article about "tips" I feel like they say the same thing just in a different way. THe thing is, you do need to be honest, have good photos and stuff like that. It takes WORK often.

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  22. Great tips and points! I especially like the part about making friends! :)
    xo Erin
    http://www.winkandatwirl.com/

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  23. Such a great post!

    xx Cara
    www.carascliche.com

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  24. Great post - I can definitely relate to most of these, especially the thing about comments. There is nothing more irritating than writing out a long and thoughtful post and getting a million "will you follow me? I will follow you back" comments. Ugh. If you like a blog, just follow them and engage in their blog. No need to beg.

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  25. All of these tips are spot on!! Definitely the make friends one! :)

    <3 Shannon
    upbeatsoles.blogspot.com

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  26. Can I just say I am so glad you included actual tips instead of just the usual stuff?! (I like how you acknowledged that at the beginning, too!) This would be the most beneficial thing for a new blogger to read!
    www.amemoryofus.blogspot.com

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  27. Great tips! For me making friends has been really important. I email other bloggers all of the time just to get their feedback on things, advice, etc. There are so many amazing bloggers out there! And luckily most are super nice. I believe in supporting each other!
    Oh, and you should totally join Twitter. It is another great way to connect with other bloggers, readers, etc.

    Nikki
    thefashionablewife.com

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  28. I am soooo glad that I stumbled on your blog!! I have just started blogging, and I am in my very first month. Wow.. there is soooo much to learn at the very beginning of the blogging journey! I have already redesigned my template, my logo, and my domain name- all within 4 weeks! I wish I would have found your post sooner. I am definitely going to take your advice. Please post more tips soon! :)
    xo,
    Brittney Marie
    http://www.prettylittlepursuit.com

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  29. such a great post, much more honest and real than others i have read ;) thanks for sharing love!

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  30. Such a great post and real read, I actually wish I had seen in when I first started blogging. Now that I'm into it I understand most of this stuff thankfully but I probably learned the hard way....

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  31. I love this post! As a new blogger I find myself not really knowing what works and what doesn't, so any help I can get is always appreciated. I try to be more conscious of my photos and make sure they are visually appealing. I really need to get better at the networking aspect of blogging. Do you have any tips on how to manage that? I know it can be time consuming, but the benefit is huge!

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