Tips For Bloggers Q&AMonday, January 25, 2016
I've been meaning to write a post up like this for some time, and today I have finally whipped my bum into gear (well not literally cause that would be super weird) to get this post up which hopefully is a little bit helpful to anyone starting a blog or even just feeling a little lost with it all. Whilst I'm deffo no blogging Dalai Lama, I have been blogging for almost 6 years so I kinda have learnt some stuff along the way. Let me know if you have any other questions, and I can always do a part two if this is an actual useful post and not just me waffling on again (probably the latter.)
How Do I Set Up A Blog?
Once you've decided to start a blog, then comes the 'ahh what now.' I would recommend using either Blogger or Wordpress to blog on, I use blogger and I find it SO easy to use. They're both free, and although I've used Wordpress here and there, I'm always team blogger. It's so easy to use, that I am sure that even a donkey could set up a blog about the different ways they eat their carrot and be okay with it all. Though let's just take a minute to think about what a cracking blog that would be.
How Do I Make My Blog Look Nice?
I kinda feel sorry for new bloggers these days, as blog design is SO important. Back in the days of 2010 when I started blogging, you could get away with a super simple design, these days most blogs look like an online version of Vogue or something. However do not fear, visit YouTube and google for HTML tutorials if you fancy having a go yourself, or buy a template. You can find lots of nice simple templates on Etsy for less than £10, or if you do have a bit of money you don't mind spending on your blog then head to somewhere like Pipdig where you can get a fully responsive template for £30/40. But it's not essential to spend money on your blog if you don't need to, and never feel like you have to bankrupt yourself for your blog. What I would say would be essential is a pretty simple template with large pictures and pretty easy to read font. But have a good look round and you might even be able to pick up a free template for the time being!
What are your best tips for new bloggers?
First of all, if you're starting up a blog, one thing I would say is; don't compare yourself to other bloggers. There's a lot of bloggers out there who probably have inspired this decision to start blogging, but they have probably been blogging for years and years. So this means they've learnt a lot in this time, and worked out their style of blogging, etc... so it can seem daunting that you don't really know where to start with it all. Don't feel disheartened if you don't have your blog sorted straight away, it will happen, but don't sit looking at all your fave bloggers feeling sad. I would also say to just get out as much content as you can. Pop up blog posts whenever you can and you'll soon get into the swing of things :)
How to get your blog noticed?
Remember that followers wont just swarm to your blog over night, I'm pretty sure that I blogged for about six months and only gained about six followers in that time (one of them was probably my sister) It can be soul destroying when no one wants to read your blog, but if you do want to get your blog out there then what I can suggest is posting about your blog on social media, joining a network such as Bloglovin can both really help to get new people to read your blog. Post consistent content, self promote and keep going! I also think that things such as commenting on other blogs is a great way to bring new people to your blog, comment at the end of every post you read (with a genuine comment) and the chances are some new readers may come on over! Twitter chats are also great for bringing new people to your blog, there's so many twitter chats these days, I lose track but #bbloggers is always a good one, maybe do a little research and see what people join in on :)
How To Get Inspiration For Posts?
Keeping fresh with content on your blog can be hard and can sometimes seem like you run out of ideas. However instead of pressuring yourself to think of blog post after blog post, try and have a break every now and then. If I'm struggling with motivation or inspiration, I'll have a break from my blog and usually this helps things. I'll look for inspiration by looking at sites like Pinterest, Bloglovin and Tumblr. I'll also flick through books and magazines which can inspire posts too! Sometimes I find that doing random things will often inspire content. For example, I always find showers as a good time for ideas, walking etc... But don't put too much pressure on yourself, ideas will flood back, I promise!
How Would You Try To Engage With Your Audience More?
It's always nice to feel like you know the readers of your blog, I think it makes things more personal and easier to to write posts as you have them in mind. What I will try to do, is ask questions at the end of my posts such as; 'what's your favourite drugstore product right now?' etc... this usually will prompt comments and answers from your readers which can help to encourage conversations and make your readers feel like they're involved with your blog. Using Disqus is good for comments as it's very easy to reply to comments on your blog, I will hold my hands up that I am RUBBISH when it comes to replying to comments, and I probably should get better at doing this! I would also try and be really chatty on social media, reply to your tweets, instagram comments etc... and show that you have a personality. Then your readers will see you as a real person who's blog they want to go back to again and again, and not just a robot blogger who they're not sure who even exists.
How Do I Work With PR's And Brands?
Back when I started blogging in 2010, there wasn't too much happening with PR's and brands as blogs were relatively new. There were a few events here and there but it wasn't half as big as what it is now. Everyone seems to be like 'oh bloggers they get everything for free' errrr no. Don't ever set up a blog to just get free stuff as that is not what blogging is about! However, once you have a fair few followers maybe consider signing up on a non exclusive contract with an agency. If they accept you, these will help you work with brands and will put you forward for campaigns without you having to do any dirty work such as negotiations etc... You could also email PR agencies asking to be put on their press list. Never ever send them a shopping list of what you want, that's not cool. But introduce yourself, tell them about your blog and some key figures :) I remember once speaking to a big make up brand about this and they said they love it when people email them as there's so many bloggers out there that sometimes you can miss an amazing blog and this brings it to their attention. Be polite, and don't pester people. Always remember though to not let people take the mick out of your and your blog. Make sure you are both getting a good deal out of working together, some brands even in this day and age think that bloggers will do a ton of work for absolutely nothing, so don't let people get away with this! But also remember that just because you have a blog, you are entitled to everything. It's a two way street. But also remember that working with PR's and brands isn't the be all and end all, it's more important that you have a blog that you are proud of and love.
These were all the questions that I have been asked recently about blogging, but let me know if you have any other questions at all and I can always do a part two :) especially if there's any questions about photograpghy maybe? Also in case you are new and starting a blog, here is a video I made back in the summer which some people have found quite helpful so might be worth a watch :)
What would be your number one tip for bloggers?