I scroll down my Bloglovin feed most days and most days I will see some sort of blogging advice post. Whether that is to get your readers to stick around, how to start a blog, how to monetise, how to boost your DA… there is always something. When I first started out in this blogging industry, a few years back just before the ‘blow-up’ of blogging and Youtubing and ‘influencing’ (whatever that means…), there was hardly any of these types of posts with most of us going about it on our own, messaging our blogging buddies whenever we got a bit lost but as blogging has grown phenomenally, more and more people are offering up the advice they have learnt over the years.
I decided it was time to offer my advice too, the advice I have picked up along the way that actually works. At least, it did/does for me. I sometimes read these blogging advice posts and find myself nodding my head along with the tips but sometimes I read them and think ‘why are we trying to make all the blogs and bloggers the same?’, no, not every blog needs a niche and no you do not need a DSLR to take your photos. There is no ‘formula’ to becoming successful nor is there a right ‘way’ to do blogging. So, with that in mind, these are the tips that I have picked up along my journey, the lessons I have learnt and what I would have loved to have read when I first started! I hope you find them useful!
Get Your Own Domain Name
As brill as Blogspot and WordPress are for providing free domain names that allow you to dip your toes into the world of blogging for free, I think it is a really good idea to eventually purchase your own domain name. Whether you blog as a little weekend hobby or you want to go down the professional route, getting a domain name easily adds that professionalism. It shows you are serious about your space on the internet, it shows your passion and mostly, it is yours. For example, even if your blog is just a hobby in your spare time, it is a great little thing to add to your CV and having your own domain, whether it is .com, .co.uk, .org, whatever, not only is it easier for your potential employee to access (and remember), if you ask me, it just looks better too! You can add a domain to your blog at any time, whether that is when you first start or a year into blogging, it does not matter and it is so easy to set up, you do not need any techie experience to do it! Not only that, statistics become your own and not your hosts and it means if you do decide to ever move host, your content stays consistent.
If you are on blogger, here is an easy tutorial by the WonderForest on how to add a custom domain to blogger!
Keep Everything Consistent
Anyone will tell you that branding is incredibly important to blogging and whilst you certainly do not have to ‘brand’ your blog, if you are choosing to, it is a great idea to keep everything consistent, more than anything, it helps your readers to find you and then to help them stick around. The best example of this is probably having the same name on everything. For instance, you’ll find me as SimplyAbbi on everything, Insta, Twitter and Youtube just to name a few. It just means that if people are trying to find me online and access my different social network profiles, they can search and use ‘SimplyAbbi’ to do that. It is such a minor ick, but I always find it slightly frustrating when I am trying to find a blogger on Instagram, for instance, but their handle is not the same as their blog and I cannot find them. Of course, it is personal preference but it can really help!
As well, and do not get me wrong, I have not always been great at this, but posting around the same time can really help as well, it means that readers/viewers have a pretty good idea of when to look out for more content or visit back. I like to post Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s on the blog, the same time, 7:30 am, every time. It just works for me and it means that my readers can look out for content at this time if they so wish. Same goes for Youtube, every Sunday morning at 11 am and if I have a particular series going on (*cough* my University series that is happening in two weeks *cough*) it will be on Wednesday at 6 pm. It is consistent and helps get both you and your readers/viewers into a little routine. The only one I have not worked out yet is Instagram, purely because it seems that posting at a certain time no longer makes much difference so I just post whenever!
Organisation is Key
I bloody love being organised, ask anyone who knows me. At home, you will find me surrounded by lists of everything I need to do, buy, remember and if I am out for the day you can guarantee I will have an itinerary of things to do. I mean just ask G, she laughs at me every time I turn up to the airport with my passport and important documents in a neat plastic wallet, all in order. If there is one thing my mother truly taught and drilled into me, it was organisation.
For blogging, I combine the use of my bullet journal and Google Calendar. Google Calendar means my content diary is digitised making it easy to drag and drop items around as and when I need to, colour code everything and view easily on my laptop, iPad and phone. My bullet journal is where all my to-do lists go, what I need to photograph, to write, what posts still need links or extra information. All of that jazz goes into something I have written and something I can cross off feeling that little sense of achievement when you do. Everything is clear – I can see what content is coming, I can plan easily, get my ideas down quickly and work out what is still left to do. For me, my blog would a complete and utter mess if I did not have my content calendar and bullet journal with me at all times.
Write for you
Yes, it is important to understand your readers and what they like and a million and one blogging tips post will tell you it is important to have a niche and by all means, it may well be but really… blogging is just blogging and one of the best things about it is that there is no rule book. There is no ten steps you have to follow to be a blogger. It is a unique journey that is vastly turning into something so much more mainstream which gives it an illusion that you have to do things a certain way otherwise you will not be on the path to success. You know what I say? F*ck it. Write for you, write the content that you enjoy, write and only write if it makes your heart pound and you get that tingly feeling of excitement when you hit publish. For me, this is the only way to feel passionate about blogging. You would not do flower pressing if you did not like it and you would not paint pretty watercolour paintings if someone was forcing you to or you were doing the same as everyone else, so why do we do that with blogging?
Damn, even sponsored posts can be creative and ‘you’ and that is the beauty of them in that sense, yes some brands will have a direction they want to go in but many will allow you that creative freedom to do as you so wish with their brief and I have learnt that if your creative direction does not fit, there is no point moulding yourself to fit it. Just be you, write for you and opportunities, if you want them, will still come your way. Do not limit yourself; I mean, I write fashion posts, beauty posts, lifestyle posts and sometimes stick a travel post in there for good measure and not forgetting to mention that University series. I do not have a niche. I am writing for me, I am writing the content I enjoy writing and if people enjoy that, then that is just an amazing added bonus that I am forever appreciative of, but ultimately, I try not to put myself into a box I cannot get out of.
What is your number one blogging tip?
Thank you for reading!