It’s Friday 23rd May 2020 and the truth is, I’m bored. Bored of lockdown, bored of being home alone every day whilst my key worker husband does his bit for the NHS, and bored of not having a hobby to do alongside my day job of Primary School teaching.
I love to write. It relaxes me, allows me to concentrate on a subject I’m interested in and just fills my soul with cosy feels. So I decided there and then to reboot my little blog that I pathetically began in 2019 and, I’ll admit, gave up on. My job came first and I found myself spending evenings watching Netflix and scrolling aimlessly through social media, watching random animal videos (although the raccoon ones are super cute), rather than doing something productive that I was passionate about.
I totally get that gaining a following on any blog requires a huge amount of effort, commitment and time. Now I know that if I manage my free time well, I can give this blog all I’ve got. However, when it comes to understanding the dos and don’ts of blogging, well I’m a little clueless to be honest. There are so many blogging pages from experts on how to blog successfully, usually containing ’25 top tips’. However, I find this pretty overwhelming to read and they generally fill me with panic – WHAT?! WHAT DOES ALL THIS STUFF MEAN?! WHAT IS A DA?! WHAT IS A WEB HOST?! SEO?! IS THAT A BRAND?! It just gets a bit too much at this early stage of my blogging life. I just want to start off simple and try to learn something new each day.
So what I wanted to create was a blog post, written by a newbie blogger, FOR newbie bloggers, with helpful tidbits of advice from both new and established bloggers who know what they’re doing, and do it well. So that, my friends, is what I’ve done! I compiled the advice into categories which has enabled me to create a list of 5 Top Tips that can help us new bloggers on our way, and are certainly working well for me so far.
I would like to say a HUGE thank you to the amazing people who gave me their advice, I got so much information that I just couldn’t include it all (else this blog post would take a couple of days to get through), but I’ve chosen what I thought was a good selection! Please support those bloggers I’ve included via the links I’ve attached to this post. Whether they’ve been blogging for ages or not very long at all, they all deserve your support!
@LoraReedPalmer is a published Fantasy and Sci-Fi author who has recently decided to start her own blog. She told me this:
I think the advice of networking, consistency and creating value for others is fantastic.@LoraReedPalmer
Networking is something that I’m trying to do more of. I wouldn’t have received all of the amazing support I have so far without networking loads with other bloggers! It’s not just about commenting back when others comment on your latest blog post, but sharing their links, promoting their Instagram accounts etc. We have to support each other to help us grow, too. I would like to get other bloggers involved on my blog page more, through hosting ‘guest blogger’ events, in which I can publish the work of other amazing writers on my website. I am also currently exploring getting my writing onto other blogger’s websites, which is great fun!
See Lora’s website here!
2. Be yourself
Two of my favourite pieces of advice I received were from Vignesh Bhatt (@thenomadguy) and A Bloke’s Eye View (@ablokeseyeview) and I think this is something that every single blogger should remember. I fall into the pit time and time again of, ‘Why would anyone read my posts when there are so many other great bloggers out there with thousands of followers?’ This is a horrible place to be in and it’s totally natural when you’re surrounded by social media feeds showcasing everyone else’s amazing achievements. But you just gotta remember,
BE YOU, just have belief in you and your words and keep writing consistently. That’s all one has to do.@thenomadguy
…Number 1 is definitely let yourself shine through your blog. 100% let your personality into your writing/creating and always be yourself.@ablokeseyeview
Never forget to be yourself, guys. This is what makes your writing unique. Don’t try to be exactly like another blogger, choose something you love, create something new and go for it!
3. Be committed and consistent
Something else that I know is key to running a successful blog is being committed and patient, not expecting to gain thousands of followers and subscribers overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and often years to create something successful. Don’t give up like I did at first! This piece of advice from @malkasian_david was really helpful,
With blogging, I think there needs to be dedication, genuineness, and patience.@malkasian_david
See David’s Twitter page here!
Planning is also a massive part of being committed to your blog, especially if you have a full time job too and might find it difficult to post regularly. @racheljanefoy96 had some awesome advice regarding this!
I found that creating a blogging schedule was useful, so planning blog posts in advance ready to be published whenever you like!@racheljanefoy96
What better excuse to order a cute planner, post-it notes, scented gel-pens and hi-lighters do you need?! I love the idea of having blog posts on the back-burner too, to have ready at your disposal to publish! Great advice. See more from Rachel here!
This then made me think, what about old posts? Do you post them once and then that’s it?! All that work just for one post and a few retweets and reads?! No! Lucy @LucysWorks said:
I think for making a successful blog, you need to post often and republish old posts to attract different readers…once I did, my blog grew.@LucysWorks
This is such an important piece of advice. Keep sharing that older content that you worked so hard on! See more from Lucy here!
4. Know your niche
Post consistently and focus on attracting your niche.@rachtalksbiz
So this posed the question in my head: What is my niche? I really struggled with this. When my husband and I went out on a walk yesterday, this was all we talked about. What we decided was that, whatever you enjoy writing about, make that your niche. “BUT WHAT IF I ENJOY WRITING ABOUT LOADS OF DIFFERENT THINGS?!” I hear you cry. Well this is me, to be honest, I love beauty, home decor, clothes, animals and teaching, but don’t want to purely focus on any of those things on their own! So then my husband and I came to the very simple conclusion, my niche is … lifestyle! All of the things that I enjoy spending MY time doing, writing about and wanting to share, they are my unique lifestyle. Sorted.
Take a look at Rachel’s website here!
5. Don’t give up
I had a lovely DM chat with @ohyayitsmarina, who offered some amazing advice. She has achieved so much since she started her blog in 2016 (now over 811,000 page views – find it here.) She gave me some great ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for blogging and these two ‘don’ts’ (gee, that’s a lot of apostrophes) stuck with me:
Don’t give up, first and foremost…Don’t let any hate or negative comments get to you.@ohyayitsmarina
This is just SO important in the first few months (and more!) as a new blogger. I drifted away from blogging once and I don’t want it to happen again. Just keep going at it and don’t worry if some people aren’t a fan of your work – you can’t please everyone, just write what makes you happy!
So there we have it.
This is by no means the definitive list of what makes the best blog in the world, I’ve not covered things like self-hosting or how to improve your website – I’m no way near this stage yet, I’m still learning! However what I hope it has provided you with, as a new blogger, is a little clarity, reassurance and some important advice to keep in mind. We all need that sometimes!
As I continue on my blogging journey, I aim to share with you my next steps – my latest has been buying a domain name, that is, using elizakatewrites.com instead of elizakatewrites.wordpress.com, which seems more professional and I hope will help to increase my DA score in the long run, which is essentially how high your website ranks – the higher the score, the more blog traffic. These are my next 3 steps I aim to take in June, to help the quality and success of my blog:
- Improve my website: research WordPress and how to use it most effectively, purchase a new theme and design a cleaner layout to my website.
- Research into affiliate marketing to see if my blog can make a few pennies
- Network further and promote the work of others to help increase my social media and blog following
If you are reading this and are an experienced blogger, please drop any helpful tips you have in the comments below!