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!
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 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.
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!
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 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!