When you’re starting a blog the hardest thing to figure out is where the heck do I start. The internet is flooded with blogging tips and tricks that after a while can start to feel really overwhelming (trust me I’ve read all gazillion of them). So today in an attempt to make your life a little easier I’ve compiled a list of a few things you should be sure to avoid in the early days of your blog. First and foremost is to always have solid content; the rest of the craziness will come later =)
Writing about stuff you don’t care about.
Just because it’s October doesn’t mean you have to write about how to carve a pumpkin. If those types of posts don’t inspire you then chances are they won’t do anything for your audience either. Bloggers make tips, and holiday parties look so easy to write about; even I fell for it a while back which is what inspired this post. I wrote a post about products that I’m always repurchasing and although it turned out great I can tell you right now I’m having more fun writing this one than I did that one. The more excited you are the more excited your reader’s will be.
Feeling pressured to write every day
I’m all for a full editorial calendar, but sometimes you just need to shut off. Take a day or two for yourself and really evaluate what type of content you want to produce. I used to think that writing 6 times a day would get my blog noticed more, I could get successful faster! But with blogging slow and steady wins the race. If only two out of the 6 posts you post a week are solid content then you should re-evaluate your blogging schedule. Quality over quantity!
Signing up for every social media platform
I am not a social media junkie..like at all. If it wasn’t for sorority recruitment I probably still wouldn’t know what Instagram was (we had to use it for recruitment promo). This is one of the areas of blogging where you can really spread yourself too thin. You start thinking “how hard could it be to make a Facebook post, send a tweet and post a picture”? But when you really look into it is more than just that, when you’re a blogger everything becomes more analytical; when is the best time to post on Facebook, what hashtag should I use on Instagram, how do I build my Twitter following etc. Everything just got wayyyy more complicated. I would suggest mastering one and then slowly progressing to another one. So far my main platforms are Instagram and Twitter but I recently started to use my Pinterest account to promote my blog as well!
Taking photos from the Internet
I know it’s so tempting to use that cute photo on Pinterest instead of taking your own but trust me it’s worth it. People want to see your work; they want to understand your identity. If you’re constantly using stock photos or pictures off the internet, you make it hard for your audience to relate. Why should they read your blog when you have the same generic stuff everyone else has? Don’t get me wrong I certainly did my fair share of google images, but it didn’t get me very far. I didn’t jump into a full on DSLR or anything crazy like that, but I started using free stock photos and downloading my own fonts for them (like the picture used in this post). I would make my own pinnable images and over time I grew a creative flair. I followed a lot of Instagram accounts who were masters at flat lay and I slowly started to pick it up too. I’m no pro but I have a general look that I’m trying to go for, a story to tell and I’m slowly perfecting my overall image.
Doing things just because everyone else is doing it
This goes back to writing stuff that everyone else is writing just for the heck of it. Many bloggers will tell you self-hosted websites get you the most traffic, or you need a DSLR to shoot good pictures etc. Over time, this may be true but in the beginning you want to be smart about how you invest in your blog. It makes no sense to have a self-hosted blog when you know nothing about HTML or web design, and the same goes for a DLSR with no knowledge of ISO or aperture. Study an item first before you decide if you want to convert to using it. I personally started with a wordpress.com blog, and after a year I realized I wanted more control over my blog design (the pre-made templates just weren’t cutting it). I did research on the pros and cons of switching and who the best companies were to host my new blog (Bluehost is great). I still use a lot of templates and paid resources for things but being self-hosted challenged me creatively. I designed my own signature; I changed the color of my hyperlinks. You start to pick up little details here and there and before you know it you’re a pro at designing!
The number one rule out of all of this is to do what works for you. In my two years of blogging, I’ve learned the majority of it all from trial and error!
What little tips and tricks did you do as a beginner blogger?