You’ve probably been reading blogs a while now, why not give it a go yourself and set one up of your very own? It’s an amazingly rewarding hobby that can open up so many great opportunities, although be warned, it requires serious hard work too.
I’ve been blogging around 18 months now, and am by no means an expert. However, the last year or so has been a steep learning curve; my blog has turned into my second job and is my creative escape from my normal day-to-day life. I’ve also been lucky enough to meet some of my best friends through blogging and it has opened up so many different opportunities and avenues I never expected. The world of blogging is getting fiercely competitive so I’ve put together my top tips for starting out, and getting yourself noticed too.
1. What are you going to blog about?
So, the first step of blogging is deciding what content you want to feature on your blog. My advice here would be to be as honest as possible. Write what you want to write about, not what you think might be popular. Make sure it’s you feel passionate about. A true bloggers personality shines through the screen so be yourself and let go.
2. Name your blog
A catchy name is essential. When I chose my name I never thought my blog would be so popular and thinking back, I wish I could have chosen something a little more fitting to my blog theme. Saying that, apart from being called ‘Fuzzy Peach Sex’ at work (don’t ask) it’s caught on well and people remember it as it stands out from the crowd, so I would never change it now. Your blog name becomes your brand, so should be something short and easily recognisable.
3. Decide on which platform to use
Most of the blogs I read are on Blogspot so I chose to host FizzyPeaches there. I find it really easy to use as it hosts my blog for me, plus I can log in from my phone or tablet too. At the time of starting my blog GFC Friend Connect was huge so I used that, however with Bloglovin’ being the next big thing for blog reading it doesn’t matter as much as to the platform you prefer. WordPress is another popular one, with options to self-host your blog too. Check out other people’s blogs to see which platform you prefer and go from there.
4. Purchase a domain
I always think a blog comes across as more professional and established if it has it’s own domain name. I purchased mine for only £15 per year from 123-reg, so they aren’t pricey at all. It also is a lot easier to remember if you give your blog address to someone verbally at a networking event or when talking to a brand.
5. Set up social media
One of the most important techniques for getting your blog out there and noticed is to set up social media accounts for your blog. Twitter is the most popular place for bloggers to chat and exchange links, brands and PR agencies are also on there so it’s really the place to start. Instagram, Google + and a blog Facebook page are also other ways to link up across the different social networks. Make sure your blog name is included in your username to make sure people know who you are and always include your blog link within your bio. On Twitter there are various blogger chats using the hashtag ‘#bbloggers’ or ‘#lbloggers’ (to name a few) – they are a great way to connect with other bloggers and get involved in the community.
6. Blog regularly
You want to keep things interesting and new so blogging regularly is essential. Some bloggers post daily, but as I work full time I post around 3-4 times a week. I would say at least try to blog once a week to keep up a decent presence as you don’t want your readers to forget about you. I write a few posts in advance and schedule them if I’m going to be super busy or going away.
ALWAYS include photo’s within every post of your blog. No one wants to read block paragraphs of text and will easily miss what you have to say. Break things up by including photos, especially if you are reviewing an item; close-ups and different angles are important to really show off the product. Photo’s keep a post interesting and add colour and creativity to your blog. You don’t have to have a super-duper camera – I use my phone, which is a Samsung Galaxy S4 which has a decent enough camera on it. As long as the pictures are well thought out, clear and light any digital camera will do to start.
8. Working with brands
It’s no secret that bloggers can earn decent money and get a lot of freebies for blogging. Let me tell you if this is the reason you have started blogging, you’ll be in for a long wait. I didn’t get my first freebie for around 6 months and sponsored post for about 10 months so it’s a lot of hard work. Understandably, brands want to spend their time and money on established bloggers with a good follower base and regular readers so get that under your belt first. PR agencies like Total Media Agency or brands will then start to come to you for opportunities. There are also lots of opportunities on Twitter to get in touch with PR agencies and such like.
9. Enjoy it and don’t get hung up on stats!
Lastly, it’s your blog so enjoy it! It’s so easy to get caught up on stats, page views, rankings or links but ultimately it should be your hobby so do it how you want to. Have fun and good luck!