Starting a blog isn’t easy. Blogging is a big industry with a lot of people in it & it just keeps growing. I had wanted to start a blog long before Beauty & The Blouse began but I always thought ‘why would anyone want to read what I have to say!?’ – Well it turns out that people do want to hear my views & opinions & starting a blog was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I am quite the newbie when it comes to blogging, in fact I uploaded my first ever post only 6 months ago, so I certainly don’t claim to be an expert. However over this past 6 months I’ve learnt a few lessons that I wanted to share with anyone who is considering starting a blog of their own so that you can get your blog off to the best possible start.
Here are my 7 tips for new bloggers:
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Social Media: The day that you set up your blog is also the day that you should set up your social media accounts because social media is the best way to get your blog out there & to grow your following. Social media is a way for you to engage with your audience & to get to know them as well as allowing them to get to know you better.
For me Instagram & Twitter have been most successful in growing my blog following so far but I’ve heard a lot of positive things about Pinterest as well. When creating your social media accounts it’s important to add a link to your blog in your bios to take them directly to your site & it’s also a good idea to post about your newest blog post as soon as it goes live – this will help drive traffic to your blog.
With all this being said, the reality is that not all of your social media followers will read or follow your blog & instead will engage with you on Twitter/Instagram. Getting these kinds of followers is also incredibly important as in today’s blogging world your blog following is only a portion of your reach & it is your social media following that makes up the rest of it. When company’s look for bloggers to collaborate with they also want to see your social media follower numbers & how engaged they are so don’t neglect these avenues or you’ll find it almost impossible to get your blog off the ground!
Set Yourself a Blog Schedule: When people hear the word schedule, they immediately think boring! But trust me, when you run a blog it’s important. I like new posts to go live on a Wednesday & Saturday but you can choose whichever days of the week suit you best. I always try to plan my posts at least 2 weeks ahead of time so that I can plan my photographs & also so that I’m not suddenly stuck for something to write about. If you know that you’re not going to be available on blog posting day (because bloggers do also have a life outside of the internet) you can also plan your posts ahead of time & schedule them to go live on a certain date & time. But also remember, sometimes things happen & life gets in the way so if you’re blog posts don’t go out on time – that’s okay too. The world won’t explode & your followers won’t magically disappear. Just try to stick to a schedule as best you can.
It’s Okay to Write Negative Reviews: For some reason (of which I just cannot understand) there are many bloggers out there who rave about every single product they have been sent & never have a negative to give. In the real world we know that this just doesn’t happen. As a beauty blogger I’m always trying products that don’t suit my skin type or that I just don’t like the texture or consistency of. When you’re a blogger it’s important to develop a sense of trust with your readers & followers – they want to hear honest reviews & opinions not something that has been dressed up to please the brand. I understand that some people don’t like negativity on their blog, but if you’re worried about writing a negative review because you’re scared of getting removed from a PR list, then don’t write about it or use constructive criticism e.g. ‘It may work for dry skin types but it just didn’t work for my oily skin.’ Ultimately I always believe that honesty is the best policy & that writing negative reviews is okay – as bloggers we don’t have to love everything that we’re sent & to me I’d prefer that my readers trust my opinion.
Take Photographs in Bulk: Those who aren’t bloggers themselves won’t know just how time consuming it is to take blog photos. It’s a terribly long process! It isn’t easy to set aside time to rearrange your entire bedroom, get into awkward positions to take good photos at good angles & then to be left with a heap of random objects & products to put away at the end. So if you have time to take lots of photos in one go, do it! It’ll save you trying to find time to take photos when time is limited & it also makes it easier to blast out your blog posts on one day & schedule them for the week or month ahead. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it.
Have a List of Go-To Blog Post Ideas: We’ve all heard of the term ‘writers-block’ & unfortunately as bloggers we too get hit with this from time to time. The best way to combat this is to have a list of blog post ideas in a notebook that you keep with you or like me, just use the notes in your phone. Whenever I have an idea for a blog post I always write it down otherwise it’s guaranteed that I’ll forget it. If you’ve tried this & you’re still really stuck for inspiration you can also find a lot of pins on Pinterest with lists for blog post ideas which can be a great help to get your creative juices flowing again.
Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day: Sometimes people enter the blogging world with a expectation that within a couple of months they’ll be working with brands & being paid for posts. While I was lucky enough to work with my first brand only a couple of months into starting my blog, for most this just isn’t the case. It takes time to build a following as a blogger so in most cases your first year will be spent growing your following & building a relationship with these followers, not working with brands. My blog is still in it’s baby stages & I still have a small following 6 months later – it’s about being patient & being consistent before the rest will follow.
Be Yourself: In a world full of bloggers, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to be yourself because if you try to do what everyone else does then you’ll just get lost among the crowd. This is possibly the best advice that I can give to you. If you’re not being true to yourself & who you are then how can you be happy with your content? Or how can you possibly keep it up in the long term? Your readers want to get to know the real you so let them!
I really hope you find these tips helpful. Which one did you find most useful?