Blogging tips 101 & how to grow your blog!
1. How did you get started?
I started blogging in 2010 because my friend had a blog that I religiously read. I was a receptionist and had a LOT of down time so I decided to blog! I wanted to document my life and this was the perfect creative outlet. I also love design and I loved playing with my blog design and learning more about html. Simple as that.
2. What do you think is important to get a blog going and to keep people coming?
There are a few things I think that are super important.
a) design. I think design is so huge! If I come across a blog that has a design that is all over the place (weird fonts, unprofessional looking design aka all one color or something that looks like a scrapbook page, a sidebar that is like 100 feet long with tons of content, pictures that are too big or too small, etc) then it doesn't stick out to me as a blog I will revisit again. If you are trying to grow a blog, design is so important! A clean and professional looking design always draws me in and, honestly, sometimes I follow people because I love their design so much! If you need any help, I design blogs here
b) content. Content is so important! When I read a post that has VOICE, that is something I love and I try so hard to add into my posts. I try to write my posts as if I'm talking to a close friend because I think voice is so dang important. Every now and then I think it's okay to rant and vent, I mean, it's YOUR blog, right? But when there's a ton of negative posts, I don't stick around.
c) pictures. Everyone likes pictures! and you know what they like even more? high quality pictures! You can get nice camera lens for under $100 and it makes pictures so much more interesting to look at. I use this lens.
3. What is the best way to get people to visit your blog?
Commenting on other peoples blogs! There are literally like a million blogs out there. That's a million people who don't even know your blog exists!! Commenting on other blogs has been the most successful thing I've done to get my name out there and to draw readers to come check out my blog.
Leaving MEANINGFUL comments can't be stressed enough. Leaving your link is so important, too! That way you make it easy for someone to just click your link and hop on over to your blog.
I always think it's so funny when I get a comment that says "nice blog" or "lovely" or something so simple like that. I 100% assume they just visited 500 other blogs and pasted that same response, thus not really attracting me to visit their blog. I am grateful for every interaction but my goal is to gain a readership, so meaningless comments are a no go because obviously, you didn't read anything.
Giveaways can be great, I'm sure. But I have noticed that some people ONLY follow for the giveaway and as soon as it's over, they dip! It's a good way to grow quickly but won't necessarily bring a loyal readership. They can also bring some awesome new readers who stay and are totally awesome! So it's kind of hit and miss with giveaways :)
Advertising can also help a lot! it can also be a big waste of money. Just be sure to research the person you want to advertise for. Do they have a lot of loyal readers who visit their blog? Are they active in the blogging community? Will it be worth your money to pay for a sponsorship? I offer paid spots AND trades! I like trades a lot because then we both advertise for each other and it didn't cost us a thing :) Don't be afraid to ask for their numbers, too! If you are paying them, they should be happy to prove why they deserve your trust. sponsor page can be found here.
4. What is your biggest blogging mistake?
STOPPING. haha I repeat stopping! I was on point with my blogging game for 2.5 years. I had a lot of interaction and I was very blessed to have companies wanting to work with me to show off their stuff. When I moved back to Arizona, I got so busy and blogging was not something I was passionate about anymore. So I simply just abandoned it. I know that hurt my readership so much because I wasn't updating so people stopped checking back. I think updating a few times a week is a really good way to keep people updated and keep them checking back. I also think QUALITY is more important that QUANTITY. Way better to post a couple times a week with good content vs posting every single day with decent content just for the sake of posting. Some people do post quality content everyday and that's great, too!
5. How did you approach brands?
Sometimes, companies will find me and email asking if I would be interested in their item. Sometimes I approach companies asking if they would like some extra exposure by being featured on my blog. Same thing as with comments- there are billions of companies who have no idea you exist. It never hurts to ask. When I do sponsored posts, I will only post about things I truly do love! And not all product posts are sponsored :) I love a lot of products and I love when other bloggers write about products they like, so I like to do the same!
6. Blogger vs Wordpress
I use blogger for my blog and wordpress for my design portfolio. I've for sure dug deeper into blogger when it comes to customizing my template more and just customizing my blog in general. Overall, I feel that blogger is great for beginners and very user friendly! There are about a million blogger tutorials to help you fix little problems here and there that you might come across. With wordpress, it is a lot better if you want your blog to look like a website and not just a blog website. It is better if you're trying to get a professional look for your page. You will eventually have to pay money if you want to fully use their templates or if you decided to purchase one from a 3rd party so you will probably end up spending some cash to get your wordpress blog to look super professional and like an actual website. Wordpress seems to require a little more html knowledge than you would need with blogger. I haven't used wordpress enough to fully grasp their website and tools but i've designed a couple of wordpress websites and this is what I have discovered. Overall, I love blogger and I prefer it to wordpress. I like GCF that blogger offers and I feel just feel more comfortable with using blogger .
Have any other questions? Ask in the comments below and I'll be doing a followup post to answer any other questions! And be on the lookout for some awesome guest posts this week where some other bloggers share their tips!
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