Monday 25 January 2016

My Advice to New Bloggers

I’ve been blogging for nearly 9 months. 9 months! I can’t really be considered a new blogger anymore, I mean this’ll be my 96th post! Yeah, definitely not a newbie anymore. So I thought that I would share some things that I’ve learned along the way to hopefully help some of you who can still be classed as “newbies”!

1. You don’t have to fit a specific niche

My blog is a mishmash of whatever I want to write about. It doesn’t really fit into a niche, even though I may have tried sometimes, but I think that my readers now know what sort of content to expect from me: creative writing, 5 Fridays, opinion posts and personal posts, to put it more generally. As longs you’re writing about subjects you love and are passionate about and enjoy writing about, then your content will be the best quality it can be. If you enjoy writing about topics that would cover a wide range of niches, go for it. Call yourself a lifestyle blogger, it’s what most of us do if we’re honest here.

2. Comment and be an active blog reader

Learn about blogging through other bloggers. Meet and discuss things with new people from across the world and become part of the amazing blogging community. Pick up advice and tips from other bloggers that will make the whole blogging thing easier. Actually leave proper, thought-out comments on posts that interest you and make you want to share your opinion. Agree with the writer, disagree with them. Just participate. Some blog posts can change your mind completely on a certain subject and others can show you brilliant products that you may not have picked up before. 

I honestly think that the community element of blogging is one of my favourite aspects of it. I can chat with new people who have different experiences to me and support is always there if I need it. 

Commenting and engaging with other bloggers is a great way to boost traffic and follower count as well, even though that shouldn’t be the main reason you do it. But it does mean that potential readers are more aware of your blog’s existence - which can never be a bad thing!

3. Don’t worry, you will get a layout you are happy with eventually

It could take 1 try or 100, but you’ll get there. There are so many different ways of presenting your content that it can sometimes be quite overwhelming and HTML just brings added confused to the subject (I’m really trying with HTML but it’s just a load of gobbledygook to the uneducated mind!). Find something that expresses you in a way that a website layout can. Use colours you like and fonts you love! If you want you can buy a pre-made template from one of the various companies that sell them online (I’ve seen quite a few on Etsy, although there are loads of websites that offer lots of cool designs).

Your tastes will change over time but that’s good. You can keep changing and adding or taking away bits here and there. You don’t stay constant as a person, so why should your blog layout?

4. As hard as it is, try not to compare yourself to other bloggers

There are so many blogs that have hundreds of thousands of followers and have had millions of views, and that can be a bit intimidating if you’re just starting out. You see all these pristine and seemingly flawless blogs who have loads of comments as soon as they post and look all professional. But they’re just ordinary people like you. They started out in the same way you did: with a computer, a platform and an empty blog. They had no followers or views in the beginning but they wrote and kept on writing until people read what they wrote. The experimented and tried different things and they found the tips and tricks that worked best for them. And most of them starting blogging a few years ago when blogs were a much rarer species than they are now. 

Different types of blog will get different amounts of followers. For example, beauty and lifestyle blogs tend to get more traffic and followers. They’re just more popular. Book blogs can also be popular, but are often a bit more niche. My blog is primarily my writing - sometimes I like to think of it as my writing portfolio - and that doesn’t interest some people, so I don’t get as many followers as a beauty blog may get. But that’s okay, I want my readers to be engaged and interested, not there for no reason.

Don’t get intimidated and start doubting your worth as a blogger. You can do it, it just takes time.

5. Sometimes you will want to give up - DON’T!

For the first few months of blogging, I felt a little downhearted as I had had a surge of views in the first month which then died down a bit. I got Bloglovin’ and no one was following me. I had no comments. Frankly, it felt like no one was noticing my blog, let alone reading it. That’s not a great feeling, but it’s likely you’ll experience the same thing. 

My advice for this situation? Keep posting and keep going. Make sure that you carry on writing and improving your writing. People will read your blog as long as you put enthusiasm and effort into it. Growing a following, even if it’s only a small one, takes time. You can’t rush things.

6. Take pictures!

Photography is really fun, even if it’s just the odd silly selfie thrown into a post. You can dabble with photo editing and different angles and flat-lays and new, inventive backgrounds. It’s all so exciting! I personally love taking pictures - it’s just another way to be creative and that just appeals to me a lot! And plus everyone loves a blog with pictures, it makes it look so much prettier and more personal!

Good luck guys! Comment the link to your blog below and I’ll have a look at it!

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