Blogging for me has and will always be a hobby, I started blogging when I was in secondary school and getting ready to do a degree in Economics. I knew that I needed a fashion outlet to escape my boring school life and blogging was a great outlet for that. When I first started blogging, I kept my blog a secret for many years and even my closest friends did not know that I had a blog. Fast forward to 2017 and I am still trying to grow my blog but most of the emails/ messages I get is from people trying to start a blog and there are certain questions that always come up. So, I decided to put together 12 key tips that I wish I knew when I started blogging because it would have saved me so much time and effort. If you would like to learn how to grow your blog or start a blog, then follow the following 12 tips.
1. Blogging is a hobby that takes time and effort: Most people assume that they can start blogging and become an overnight success but blogging takes dedication, time and effort to produce the level of content that you need to grow your blog and your following. If you have a steady good quality content, then you will build a following.
2. The Best Platform is always WordPress Trust me when I say this, I have pretty much tried them all and wordpress.org is the best option in my opinion. There are loads of different platforms that you can build your blog on like Squarespace, Blogger, WordPress etc. I first started blogging on blogger.com and it is a great platform for beginners because it is easy to navigate. However, as my blog grew and my needs changed, I switched to wordpress.org. wordpress.org allows a lot of flexibility and is relatively easy to use.
3. Pick your Blog Name Wisely: Choose a unique name and make sure the domain is available before you start. I have changed my blog name a few times over the years and because I get bored easily, I always ended up hating my name after a few months. I finally decided to use my name because you can never get bored of your own name. Also, make sure you get your domain as well, it just looks much more professional & will help your SEO ranking because Google only wants to point to websites that are considered serious and trustworthy.
4. Stay consistent on all Platforms: Make sure that your name/ picture is consistent across all your social media pages. When building a brand, it is very important to have consistency so it is easily recognizable to your readers.
5. Keep up with Changes in the Industry: In this day and age, things are changing quickly. Stay on top of whatever is happening in your niche industry whether its fashion, travel or politics. Also keep up with social media changes because you might need to change your strategy when Instagram decides to mess with the algorithm.
6. Great Photography is Essential: Gone are the days where webcam videos or grainy blog photos were acceptable, it is really important to upload good quality pictures and quality is always better than quality. When I first started, in order to have constant content, I would upload low-quality images. Your photos are just as important as the writing because good imagery is probably what will make people click on the post & read more. And don’t think great photography is for the blog only, make sure your Instagram feed looks good too. For my Instagram page, I use VSCO filters to keep my feed somewhat consistent & I use Mosaico to plan my feed before I publish them.
7. Find Your Tribe & Your Niche: Don’t try to do what everyone else is doing! Find what you enjoy blogging about and nail down what your brand is about & what you want to achieve by blogging. Write down what your niche is and build a ‘customer profile’, by that I mean write down who you are writing for and focus your content towards them. For example, it could be a girl in her 20’s who loves traveling and enjoys thrift shopping.
8. Learn about SEOs to grow your blog: Search engine optimization is incredibly important for your blog, Google has developed automatic algorithms that rank your site so make sure you educate yourself on how to get your blog posts to rank on Google. There are numerous websites that go into depth on how to optimize blog.
9. Use Google Analytics: This is a very important tool for tracking your readers. It is important to understand your audience, their gender, where they are from, their behaviours etc.
10. Learn to Brand Yourself & Put Yourself Out there: This is something I only just learned in the last few months of blogging. Treat your blog & yourself like a brand and be sure to brand yourself. Also, don’t just wait for people to reach out to you. Reach out to people & brands for collaborations and partnerships.
Finally…Be Patient & Be Yourself: You are not going to grow your brand overnight. It requires a lot of work and patience, grow your content and your community and you will transport your blog. Also, be yourself. People appreciate & connect with you more when you’re authentic and they can relate to you on some level.