I know I’m not a professional blogger, nor do I have years of experience but I’ve been blogging consistently for a (little) while now and I do think I have learned a lot already. I want to share some of the things I’ve learned over time by reading other blogs (and while improving my own) and what I think is important to know.
1. Blogging takes a lot of time
If you want to create a “professional” / good-looking blog you will need to invest a serious amount of time in blogging. I knew that before I started out but I didn’t realize how much time I would end up actually investing in blogging. You pretty much are a one-man company. You are a graphic designer, a writer, a photographer and more.
2. Decide on how many times a week you want to post a new blog
I, at first, was very optimistic and wanted to update my blog every single day. But then I realized how much time I was investing in creating those blogs and I decided I couldn’t do that anymore. Or I had to cut out sleeping of my day & we all know how much I love sleeping. Especially not while wanting to deliver great content and interact with all of you. I now blog about 5 times a week (usually on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday), which is still a lot I think, but this way people “know” when to expect a new blog. I personally feel it looks very inconsistent if you blog 6 times one week and then only once the other week.
3. Good photos
There is nothing more unattractive to see, while reading a great post, then looking at blurry, bad quality photos. You don’t have to run to the store to get the best camera but try to make sure your photos are the same size (length and/or width) and everything but blurry. I use a free editing program called PicMonkey and iPhoto. I sometimes edit photos on my phone, because I’m a huge fan of some photo apps, too.
4. Don’t make your posts too long
I try to limit my posts to a maximum of 1500 words. If I do want to blog more about a certain subject I will post several blogs about that subject and create a little series. This way the reader will most likely read everything you’ve just blogged about.
5. Use links in your posts
We’re all lazy humans. Or at least I can be a lazy human every now & then. When you’re reading a post and you are interested in finding out more about a certain subject/website/anything, you want to be able to just click on a link mentioned in a post and voila. Ain’t nobody got time to google that. I mean, that’s a lie, I just like clicking on links that are already provided. (Edit: Nadya mentioned that adding too many links can make a post look a bit spammy and it may hurt SEO!)
6. Be consistent and organized
With this I mean being consistent when it comes to how many times you blog and how your blogposts look but also how your blog looks like in general. Maybe I’m a bit OCD, okay I definitely am, but I LOVE reading & visiting blogs that look clean and organized. I get super distracted if there are too many things going on, but again, maybe that’s just me. Welp.
7. Ask questions
When finishing up a blog post, ask your readers a few questions. I love interacting with other bloggers and when you’re reading a fun post it’s always nice to get involved & be interactive. That way you’ll create a relationship with your readers.
8. Create an “about” & “contact” page
I love getting to know the person behind the screen. I like reading about the lovely human who’s writing all these great & interesting posts down and sharing all those beautiful photos. A contact page is obviously also very useful for when someone wants to get in touch with you, of course. Again, we (I’m just talking about myself again) are lazy and it’s easier when it’s just there.
9. Don’t spam on other blogs
Leave comments on other people’s posts when you’ve actually read the blogpost. Leaving a one-word comment behind, then adding all your social media accounts, looks very copy-paste to me. I love receiving comments from people but I love it even more when someone has actually read the post or looked at the photos.
10. Credit others
I tend to only use my own photos (and I obviously write all my own content) but whenever I do use a photo from somewhere I immediately make sure I credit my source. It’s not cool to steal from others (content or photo-wise) and it’s actually kind of illegal. So just to stay out of trouble (and to be fair to whoever owns the original photo and/or content) credit them!
11. Be you
Don’t try to be someone you’re not. I know it’s a little intimidating (hell I still think pretty much every blog is intimidating) when you see other bloggers who create great content & have a beautiful designed blog, but those people have probably been blogging for quite a while. If you write from the heart or share your passion, people will genuinely love hearing what you have to say.
12. Create great blog titles
Google picks this up a lot quicker and it’s kind of the same as reading a newspaper. When you read an exciting or intriguing headline you will immediately be interested!
13. Carry around a notebook
I have a pretty good memory but I always have a notebook with me. Just in case. I sometimes get inspiration while watching TV, while eating, while blogging, while reading other blogs, anyway you get the point. My little notebook is filled with ideas I will and want to blog about in the future, for whenever I don’t have inspiration.
I know I sort of already mentioned it in #7 & #9 but interacting with other bloggers and readers is a great idea. Not because you have to, but because it’s so nice knowing what your readers think and hey, they’re taking time out of their day to read what you just wrote so I think responding to (most) of your comments and messages is very important. I love reading comments from people who often visit my blog, it must mean I’m doing something right. Or at least that’s what I like the believe.
15. Quality over quantity
Take your time when you blog. People will overall much rather read 3 good posts a week instead of 7 poorly written ones. Easy as that.
In the end you don’t have to do any of the things I’ve mentioned above, it’s your blog and you have to write because you love to do it (Expect for the crediting, that’s a must). Blog because you want to share your story or talk about your passion. There are only a few select bloggers who have found a full time job in blogging. Do it because this is what you like to do and you have something you want to share with the world. Everything else that might come along with blogging is a plus.
What is the best advice you would give to someone who just started blogging?