Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Blog School >> 10 Tips For New Bloggers

Hey new bloggers...

Starting a blog can be a little overwhelming at times, with big doses of underwhelming moments too when you realise how far you may be from where you want to go.

You may already know how to start a blog and what to blog about and now it's rolling and it can be really useful to get tips from bloggers a little further down the line to avoid common mistakes and errors that can hurt in the long term, or hold you back from your goals.

These are ten tips I have put together for new bloggers that I hope will help in one way or another. I've learnt so much from my own mistakes, thorough research and experience already that although I am far from being a 'big' blogger, I do have a pretty good idea of how to get there some day if I put my heart and mind to it.

1. Take Time

Some amazing bloggers go instantly from strength to strength making money or achieving their goals within just a few months. For most of us though, we are playing a long game. It can take a while to build up a good following, the emails don't tend to flood in from that first published post and it may even be a while before you get offered items in return for promotion, payment or review. The biggest thing I think is that if you are not enjoying the early stages building up to where you want to be, then maybe blogging isn't for you or you need to rethink your ideas. It's good with any job to enjoy yourself, but if you are wanting to make money from your blog or build a brand, it's really important to go through these stages and the more you enjoy it, the more success you will have as you will feel motivated to invest your time.

2. Get involved

The blogging community is a surprisingly helpful and friendly one. If you get involved in groups on Facebook and Twitter chats etc you can build some really good relationships which can even lead to having opportunities shared which can be really useful. It's also a really good way to get honest feedback on your blog, learn about your next steps and feel inspired. If you want to be a blogger you can go solo or you can be  part of the community, it totally depends on your blog, your goals and how you like to work. For me though, I have found it a huge help getting to know other bloggers and have had some really helpful advice from those already doing what I hope to achieve.

3. Be proud of your space

Your blog is your space, your little slice of you in whatever way shape or form you intend to run it. You should be proud of that space and do only what you are happy with, it needs to reflect you and it's good to remember why you started and be proud that you have made the leap into the blogging world at all. Never put on guest posts or similar that you are not 100% happy to run with and don't undervalue the importance of any blog.

4. Don't undervalue your blog with paid work

So you may not be able to completely name your price, most brands have budgets but some can be flexible. Decide what you feel a rate of pay would be that you're happy with and if an offer doesn't get close then question whether you would be undervaluing yourself and your blog/time spent by taking it. Sometimes it's better to say no or ask for a higher rate than just go with something you aren't happy with. Us bloggers can have a big impact online and it does come at a price a lot of the time which most companies expect. As your numbers increase and DA score increases you may be in a position to get higher rates so always ask around to get an idea of what you should be charging if you aren't sure.

5. Read other blogs

Without a doubt one of the things I love now is reading other blogs. It's not essential and I know many that don't but it does help to get you in blog mode, inspires your own posts and gives you the chance to comment (which links back to you - link backs are good!) and gives you an idea of what and how other bloggers in your field are doing.

6. Don't rush

If you're still in the process of starting up your blog then don't rush it. Proper research into blog platforms like Blogger & Wordpress are really worthwhile. I am on Blogger but it is packed with restrictions so at some point I will switch to Wordpress. This would have been way easier to do from the start! Research your blog names, research other bloggers in your chosen field if it's niche specific and make sure you are armed before starting your blog as believe me looking back on those cringe making first posts isn't the best feeling.

7. Think before working for free...

When I started out I naively fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to blogging. I was told if I wrote for free I would be 'top of the list for the next project with budget' or that next time they would make sure I was paid more. Needless to say I popped in those links, spent time writing and editing images on the false hope that something would come of it - it never did.
As a new blogger it seemed that it would be better to take the gamble, but in hindsight I feel very silly. Some PR people are pretty clever and I'm sure do very well from this kind of thing but it does seem a little unfair to make these promises and even sillier to fool for it.

8. Don't be too hung up on numbers

Nothing feels better than getting special mentions or hiking up the blogger charts but it's really important not to dwell on those numbers or let it take over. At some point you may find yourself obsessing over numbers such as Tots 100 scores or Klout scores, but essentially you just need to keep doing what you love and write about things that interests you. The love you have for your own blog will in time reflect in those numbers and nothing kills your mojo like feeling deflated at a score drop. Do it because you enjoy it and not just for the numbers.

9. Take a break

This lesson has taken me a long time. I've been blogging a year and a half pretty much and rarely had an evening off until recently where I realised that actually a break can be good, it doesn't kill your blog and it can actually keep your ideas flowing more than constant work.

10. Enjoy your blog

The most important thing of all is just to enjoy your blog. Whatever your purpose for starting it, if you don't enjoy it, it will just become a chore. If you find at any point it feels that way, pause, reassess and make changes.

Other Blog School Posts

'What should I blog about?'
'How to choose a blog name'
'How to start a blog in 6 easy steps'