Hey guys! It’s time for another blogging tips post, which I know all you fellow bloggers love and everybody else… well, don’t worry, I’ll be back with a fun & exciting post Friday! Anyway, I get a lot of questions about how to start a blog, how to grow your blog, my experience growing my blog, etc. and since I haven’t done one in quite a while, I thought I’d share my best tips for starting and growing a profitable blog.
Also, this “ultimate guide” is pretty extensive, so make sure to bookmark or pin it for later! 😉
Put in the work & effort and your 100%. So many people think that just because you’re working from home or working for yourself you don’t actually have to do “work.” Listen up, working from home or for yourself means that you actually have to make a dedicated effort and work. I mean, I think everybody knows we have to work, but we kind of pretend that we can just procrastinate and get nothing done in the process. If you ask any successful blogger (or any successful person, really) what the #1 thing they’ve done to become successful is, they’ll answer hard work. Working hard is the absolute number one thing you need to do to become successful.
Be consistent and work daily. If I have a question when I am working on a project or am looking for project ideas, I’ll most likely go on Pinterest and search for it. Then I click on one of the graphics and am redirected to a blog post. If the content is helpful, clear, concise and well-written, I’ll usually proceed to check out the rest of the blog. But if the blogger hasn’t posted anything in 3 months, or if they post very sporadically, I might second-guess the advice I received from the original blog post I found on Pinterest. Likely, I’ll go back to Pinterest and find another blog post with better advice.
See what I mean? In a world where people can find out pretty much anything they want to know in a matter of seconds, nobody wants outdated content. In fact, if you’ve been blogging for a while, it’s not a bad idea to go back and retake photos, check out keywords, and really just update your most popular older posts. Since you can’t change the date it was posted, you can simply put “Last Updated 7/17/2020” (or whatever day you updated it) at the top of the post.
Another thing is just to get in the habit of working on your blog daily. If you want to be successful at something you have to be consistent and work hard. Just get into the habit of checking your blog and doing something every single day.
Focus on the photos. If you haven’t noticed, good quality photo (and even video) are essential for blogging in 2020. It is absolutely 100% essential that you have good photos in your blog posts, on your pages and just around your blog in general. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that is absolutely just so true.
If you’re doing your own photos, I’d highly recommend investing in Lightroom. The photo editing software is soooo high quality and it’s super easy to buy presets. (btw. Etsy is a great place to buy high quality and inexpensive presets) I use presets for the majority of my photos, just to keep everything consistent and cohesive throughout my brand.
Decide on a “person” you’re writing to. Honestly, this has been soooo helpful for me, especially for the past couple of months. I literally just have some imagined person that I’m constantly writing blog posts to. I won’t go into specifics about my particular “person” or as they’re called “persona” because your persona and my persona are going to be different, but I will tell you that I know where this persona shops, where they like to eat, their favorite foods, what they wear, what they don’t like, what platforms they’re on etc, etc.
Remember that “overnight success” never happens overnight. We see all these social media influencers and YouTube stars that just seem to have “overnight success” like one day they just woke up and were successful. In reality, it never happens like that. When we see “overnight success” happen for somebody, that success is behind years of hard work, day in and day out. These people have likely been putting out high quality content for years and building up their audience for that “overnight success” moment.
Invest into the blogging community & don’t be afraid to make friends. In order for you to have followers and a community of people who read your blog, you need to interact with them and invest into the blogging community. Respond to their comments and at the very least, their questions, if they have blogs, visit them and if you’re enjoying their blog, follow and leave a comment. However, I don’t follow every person that follows me. In fact, I only follow around 75 blogs while about 2,000 follow me. And that’s totally fine!
Also, don’t be afraid to make friends with other bloggers! You guys could collaborate, guest post or just be friends! And more importantly than just looking for friends, be a friendly person and a friendly blogger. 😉
Solve a problem your “person” might have. We talked about writing to a “person” or a persona. If you have taken the time to really get to know your persona (what they like/don’t like, where they shop, what they shop for, etc) then you’ll likely figure out some problems or questions that they might have. Use your blog to answer those questions and find answers to those problems.
More than likely, you’ll have quite a few people following you who are VERY similar to your persona. If your readers are messaging you and asking questions or if you’re getting comments with questions, etc, use those as blog post ideas. If you’re ever lacking post ideas, go through your comment section! And also, don’t be afraid to ask your readers what they’d like to see from you, you could do this in the comments or by directly messaging some loyal readers!
Avoid using “free” photos if you can. Okay, so I know a lot of people will tell you to use “free” photo websites when you’re first starting out blogging, especially if you don’t have a good camera or if you’re not really into photography. And it’s fine if you need a featured image here and there, but don’t rely on it as your main source for photos. The thing is, most of the photos on places like Unsplash.com or Freepik.com are SUPER overused and if you’re using a lot of overused photos, this will make you look less credible and trustworthy. If you do use photos from Pinterest, make sure to link to the pin in the “caption” section of your photo. Give credit where credit is due.
And, a word of caution. Never, never, ever use google to find photos to use on your blog. Just don’t do it. Why? Because in short, you could get sued.
I take 99% of the photos for my blog, partly because I have a camera and a lot of props that I use irl (in real life 😉 ) and also because it’s inexpensive for me to do. If photography isn’t your thing and you don’t have props then you can totally buy stock photos to use around your blog.
Now I know what you’re thinking. Why on earth would anybody buy photos to use when you can just get them free? Like really, it’s a huge money saver!? No. No, it’s not. If you’re going to use other people’s photos and create a professional looking (even if you don’t plan to become a professional blogger) blog, then buy stock photos. They aren’t that expensive (especially if you look for smaller shops that are producing high quality photos) and you can review and purchase the correct license for your blog.
Invest in what matters. If you’re going to have a successful blog, you’re going to have to invest in it at some point. And I get it, you might not have $$$$ to spend on your blog right now or ever. Here are 4 things I’d recommend investing in for your blog:
- Upgrade your plan or switch to self-hosted for a .com website.
- Use a high quality smartphone camera or dslr camera and get Lightroom OR find a good source for payed stock photos and get some pictures of yourself professionally taken.
- Buy some fonts for your website and design a professional logo and graphics, rather than using basic overused fonts. (Creative Market is a great place for fonts, I bought mine off of there and it’s great)
- Find a theme that works well for you and is highly customizable. Depending on your blog, this might be free or you might have to pay for it.
I just wanted to note that often the process of starting and growing a blog can seem kind of daunting, and there might be things you think you need that are preventing you from just starting now. Here are some things you don’t really need for starting and growing your blog:
- A new laptop, keyboard, mouse, etc. (as long as you have something that is reliable and has the ability to download software you should be good, I’ve been using the same computer since I started blogging almost 4 years ago in 2016)
- Upgrades to programs like Grammerly, Bitly, Mailchimp and Canva. (okay so I know that there will be a lot of people who would disagree, but especially when you’re first starting out, this is not where I would invest my money. I do think that eventually these will be things you’ll need to have, but they are all pretty expensive and if you can’t pay for them with your business, then you’ll be losing $$$ every year)
- Multiple tripods, a bunch of lenses, a backdrop and a huge lighting setup. (Assuming you’re doing your own photography, I think there is a ton of misconceptions about what you actually need to get started. I do love my camera and use it for the majority of the photos around my blog, I do use a tripod for quite a few of my photos and I do have some lighting equipment. However, I don’t have a huge backdrop and lighting studio, etc. Typically, I shoot photos of myself outside or on my bedroom’s white wall, for my product photography I use my lightbox and I go outside and for my flat lay photos I usually just shoot in natural light or use some lighting equipment)
I hope you guys enjoyed these tips and found them helpful! If you have any blogging tips you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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