Top Tips for New Bloggers
For my generation, blogging is a novelty. I grew up when the internet was dial up, you had to wait for your Mum to finish on the phone to your Auntie Sharon to get on MSN messenger and plan your weekend, mobile phones weren’t even online and even if they were you wouldn’t be able to afford GPRS because £2.50 of your £5.00 top up got taken for service charge.
In all of 15 years, this has drastically changed. 12 year old’s are not walking around with Walkman’s listening to Daphne and Celeste anymore. They are walking around with iPhone’s and Android phone’s. Forget kicking back and watching Doug. Youtubers and bloggers are the way forward.
People can blame technology for a lot of things, but it’s here, and here to stay, and with free and easy to use sites like WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr giving young, creative people an outlet for their passion, I really fail to see a downside. So many youngsters are starting up blogs (I’m lucky enough to be mentoring one at the moment). I thought I’d put together a little article with some tips for newer bloggers just starting.
Don’t get confused on technical details
Later on down the line, you might want to start advertising on your blog, or do some other cool stuff that you can only do on premium accounts or if you download WordPress.org. Don’t stress about this in the beginning. It’s also the same with themes. Yes, you want your blog to look clean and neat, but navigating your way around a complex theme will take you hours, frustrate you and leave you disheartened. Try and add small bits and learn about themes a bit at a time, and most importantly, don’t let it distract you from what is important, which is your content.
You might not always have the opportunity to blog about things that you’ve done, especially if you’ve had a quiet week and have only really been to school or work. Jot down some ideas for blogs that you can use during these periods. Blogs helping other bloggers with tips and tricks are great, so are ‘top tens’.
Spread the Word
There’s no shame in wanting people to read your blog. Spread the word. My blog started getting big when I shared it on my personal Facebook, and people started reading it in their offices etc and sharing it with co-workers. Also, tap into your social media channels. Start a Facebook page and invite all your friends to like. You’ll be amazed at how quickly word spreads. Add a ‘subscribe by email’ widget to your page, then anyone who subscribes will get an email when you post a new post.
Your blog is meant to be something for you. Something you enjoy. Something that gives you an outlet for your passion for writing or photography or both. As soon as this becomes stressful, it will become less enjoyable and to be honest, a bit of a pain. When you do eventually get invited to do reviews, really look at the timescale before you tell the PR when you can have the post completed. Feeling like you have a ‘deadline’ you can’t meet will only hinder the creative process, and as a result the post will be rushed. Give yourself time to start a post, then potentially go back to it at a later date with fresh eyes. If you are feeling bogged down and overwhelmed, give yourself a little ‘blog break’ for a week or two.
Talk to Other Bloggers
I’m going to let you into a little secret now (no, it’s not KFC’s original chicken recipe, unfortunately), other bloggers are AMAZING. You would think that it would be a bit competitive, what with all of you trying to achieve the same thing, but it really, really isn’t. Some of the best friends you will make will be bloggers you meet and see all the time at events, and plus, you get to talk to them about blogging without boring them to tears like you do your normal friends. How cool is that? It also benefits the companies holding events to have people that get along. Think about it, if you go to an event, and you don’t know anyone, you are inclined to ask to bring a plus one so you are not just standing there like a spare tart at a disco. If you already KNOW all of the other people there, you won’t need to, thus saving the PR company some money. It also means they will get a barrage of blogs written about their product, which will be re-tweeted and shared between the blogging community and all of their social media followers.
Interact with Other Blogs
Chances are, if you have got into blogging yourself, it’s because you love reading blogs. Once you start getting involved in the blogging community, you will probably find some bloggers whose blogs you subscribe to and read all the time. Make sure you spend some time a day commenting on blogs that you are reading. It’s great feedback for the blogger, they will return the favour, and your blog link will be seen in their comments section. A good starting number is to try and leave five comments a day. You will also find that a lot of blogging platforms, like WordPress, have a news feed, so even if you are not following many bloggers you can still find other blogs to read and comment on.
This is THE most important one of all. It’s more important than all of these tips put together. If you start a blog because you want to become famous or get free stuff, people will see through you straight away. If you start a blog because you have a genuine passion, and you like making people laugh and giving honest reviews and opinions, you are golden (and you will probably get some free stuff along the way anyway). Keep at it with a keen interest and you’ll be the next Zoella in no time. Remember how other bloggers make you feel when you are reading their posts. You can always tell if someone genuinely had fun using a product or attending an event. Incorporate this into your own blog, and try and show how much fun you are having writing it.