Things I Wish I knew When I First Started Out…
I’ve been on this blogging journey for 5 plus years now. Blogging was a lot different from what it is now and blogging tips were few and far between. It was more journal/ It-Girl about town. Now, blogging is very much help and advice, with a little bit of realness in-between. Instagram is the place now to ‘blog’, though personally, that is now blogging to me. Whilst some people may consider that traditional blogging is ‘dead’, for me, it’s the complete opposite. Whilst traffic to my blog did decrease, since the beginning of this year, there has been a surge. Especially during the lockdown.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog, now is the time. I can speak from both sides of the blogging and influencer world. As a blogger, I love having this creative outlet and serving you lovely lot with my knowledge and advice that I know you’re looking for (I’ve seen the search data). From a Marketing/ Brand point of view (this is what I do for a career) having a website is a plus when it comes collaborations. Blog posts can be optimised for SEO, they last longer than a social media post and longer-form content. Also, links to the website, a bit thing still in the marketing world.
Right now, there are so many more people online searching for advice, hints and tips. If you have the knowledge, you can be that person to provide the content. Here are my top 10 blogging tips for beginners that I wish I knew when I first started off blogging…
LINK UP YOUR DATA.
The first thing you need to do once you’ve figured out your blog name, know what you’re going to write about and set up the website is to get linked up know your data. The first being Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Both are free and require a bit of code adding to your blog (a quick Google search will show you how to do it). Google Analytics will show you where people are coming from to your site (organic search, social media, etc). This allows you to really understand your key drivers, invest your time in these areas to improve your results and build up more traffic. It also shows you demographics (what does your reader look like) and what countries your content is resonating with).
Google Search Console gives you an indication of what keywords are driving impressions to your site (how often do you show up for a particular search term), how often they are clicking through and where you’re ranking on the page.
Before I took this seriously, I was writing about anything and everything. I was promoting it on Instagram, blogging every single day and wondering why no one was seeing my site. Once I actually looked at the data, I was able to work on what I needed to boost traffic and drive readers to my website.
SET UP A PINTEREST STRATEGY.
By far, Pinterest is my number one traffic driver. If you think it’s a social media platform, you’re wrong. It’s a visual search engine and one of the largest ones out there. Before I really dived into a Pinterest strategy on my site, I was getting the odd reader here and there from the channel. Now, it accounts for 80% of my daily traffic. Setting up a Pinterest strategy isn’t that hard, essentially you need good looking pins, the right keywords and dedication. My pins are now scheduled on an app called Planoly (it’s what I also use to plan my Instagram feed). It takes a couple of hours a week to plan and I’m sorted for the rest of the week. I don’t even have to think about it.
My Pinterest guide could do with some updating (but has the main essentials in it), so if you’d like to know more about this, comment down below and I’ll get working on the guide ASAP!
Across blogging and Instagram, you’ve got to be engaging with your readers. We crave communication as humans and that’s the same with social media. Readers and followers are coming to you for advice and inspiration. You have to respond to their comments, queries and questions. If you don’t, they will move on. Therefore, make sure to respond to every comment and DM.
Engagement doesn’t just mean on your account. You have to spend some time on other peoples feeds, like images, writing comments. Same with blogs. We love seeing a comment pop up, so make sure you’re responding to other peoples posts. Not only is it a quick way to link back to your own content, it’s a way to show off you and your personality. I’ve seen crazy stats like you need to be commenting an hour before post and an hour afterwards to gain followers. For myself, I would say 15 minutes after initially posting an image and a couple of times throughout the day. If you make it a chore it will read in your comments. You want your engagement to be as natural as possible. So, make sure you’re logging on what feels natural to you. The rest will follow.
GET AN EMAIL LIST.
Quite possibly my number 1 blogging tip. If Instagram went down for a week or cease to exist, how will your followers know what you are up to next? Never, ever put your eggs in one basket. Especially if it’s a platform that you do not own. This is why I say it’s important to be blogging also as well as putting time into your Instagram feed. More important than that is your email list. This is a direct way for you to communicate with your readers, rather than them having to find you.
You can easily start an email list with platforms such as Mailchimp. It’s free for the first 2,000 subscribers. However, it is very limiting in its visual creation, unless you’re a whizz at code. Personally I’ve moved to Flodesk, which does cost a subscription monthly but 100% worth it in my books. The emails look chic and in line with my brand (unlike on Mailchimp). It’s $35 a month, however, if you click here, you can get 50% off your subscription for life. Yup, no introductory offer. For the rest of the time you use the platform, you will get it for $19. It’s how I got signed up so I would highly recommend it to everyone wanting to get serious about their email marketing to sign up right at the begging of their blogging journey.
PUT IN THE TIME. BE CONSISTANT AND BE PATIENT.
Possible the hardest of all the blogging tips but one that will be important if you want to make something out of it. You have to put in the time. Now, in the beginning, I was blogging every single day. Even on Sunday. Now, I only blog three times a week and I’m getting more traffic than ever before. Putting in time doesn’t mean every single day. It means being dedicated and ensuring that if you’re going to set a schedule you stick to it.
Consistency is key. We are creatures of habit. And if we’re sitting down every Monday with a coffee in hand to read your latest post (cause that’s when you put one up) and you miss it, most likely they are not coming back. Set a schedule that is realistic and reasonable and commits to it.
The other thing you need to consider is that all of this takes time. You need to be patient when you first start your blog. It is not going to go from zero to 60 in the first month. That’s with gaining readers and making money from it if that’s what you want to do. I didn’t get invited to my first blogging event until a year in and my first paid collab until six months after that. You have to be doing it for the right reasons. Which is to share your knowledge and inspire others. Otherwise, you’ll not be able to keep this step at all. Those who are in it for the wrong reasons tend to give up quite quickly. Be patient and you’ll be rewarded for your hard work I promise.