Useful Tips and Resources to Make Your Blog a Success

January is my blog-versary month. Two years ago I hit publish on my first post – The Emotional Rollercoaster called Motherhood – and never looked back. I fell in love with blogging and it consumed me. Today, my blog has grown leaps and bounds from that first post (though is still not even half-way where I want it to be but I’m on a constant learning curve). I learnt the technicalities of blogging on the job – googling stuff, asking fellow bloggers and learning through trial-and-error. I made mistakes, had mini heart-attacks and survived. I still don’t know so much, but terms like HTML, SEO, DA and Page Views don’t scare me as much now.

I took an entire year to go self-hosted (more on that in this post – rookie mistake number 1) and more than that to start monetizing my blog. But the point is I’m there NOW, and that’s what matters. We all live and learn. So as a reflection on my blogging journey so far and as the first post of 2018, I’m sharing the dos and don’ts, useful tips and must-have resources that I have learnt so far. Take in what you must, share the knowledge and ask questions/ comment/ put in your inputs in the comments below.

 

 

TIPS FOR NEWBIE BLOGGERS

Content is King, but promotion is Key

Write from the heart. Write in your personal style. Let your readers get to know you – the person behind the blog – through your writing and that will make them want to come back for more. The connection lies in your content.

BUT

If you don’t promote your posts and shout out from the rooftops about your blog, no-one will know you or your blog exists. I learned this the hard way – self-promotion is an art and you will feel awkward at first, but it is essential. Share your posts on your social platforms, add them to linkies and relevant Facebook threads; basically throw your posts into the blogosphere. Let your little corner of the internet get noticed.

Join in with linkies

Yes they are time-consuming but linkies are a great way to get your blog read and noticed, to get comments on posts, to interact with other bloggers and your readers and to increase your DA. Follow the rules of the linky and share the blog love – don’t link and run, other bloggers will notice. Take the time to read other blogs and comment on other posts – that’s how I made some of my blogging besties.

Join new linkies once in a while to get a new audience and find new blogs too.

Go self-hosted from the start

When I jumped into the world of blogging, I did so with apprehension. Will I enjoy it? What if I don’t get time to blog? Will I have enough material? And so I committed my Rookie Mistake #1 – I didn’t go self-hosted for almost a year!!! If you are planning to earn from your blog – either monetarily or with products in exchange for reviews – go self-hosted from the beginning. It isn’t as frightful and will do wonders for your DA. Brands will also take you more seriously.

Of course if you’re just blogging for a hobby or to keep an online diary, it’s a different matter. Otherwise, just take the plunge and dive in!

Don’t get overwhelmed – plan and schedule

I shouldn’t be writing this as I do tend to get a bit overwhelmed with blogmin (blog admin in blog lingo) and blog stuff myself, but I’m getting more organised this year! Blogging isn’t about just writing a post – that’s only the first step! There is SEO-ing it, editing and adding images, promoting it on social media, keeping up-to-date with blogmin tasks like checking broken links etc. But planning content and scheduling posts and social media helps you stay ahead of the stress.

 


WHAT I LEARNED IN TWO YEARS OF BLOGGING…

Blogging is a full-time job

If you want your blog to be noticed and want to earn from it or make it a part-time/ full-time career, then you need to be on the job 24/7. The real hard work starts after writing the post and hitting publish.

You ain’t a blogger if you ain’t on Social Media

Well, technically you still are, but taking off from my first point, you won’t be a well-known blogger unless you are active on social media too. The more channels you are on, the better, but don’t dive in to everything and then feel overwhelmed and get lost in the maze. Instead, choose three or four that work best for you and focus on growing them. Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and StumbleUpon are the best ones for increasing your traffic and reach.

That said, work on building your email list because that is yours and yours alone – so tomorrow if Facebook and Twitter shut down suddenly, you won’t lose all your followers.

Have fun with your blog else what’s the point, really?

I guess this goes for any job you do, but more so with blogging. Firstly, because you started your blog because YOU wanted to, nobody forced you to and secondly because it is extremely time-consuming, so if you’re not enjoying it, you’re just wasting your time!

Yes it can get a bit much sometimes and can seem overwhelming, but keep in mind the reason you started blogging and let that spur you on. If sponsored posts and reviews are getting a bit too much for you, decline a few and write about things you love for a while. Write from the heart. Don’t fall out of love with your blog, instead, take a break and then jump back in – refreshed! Your blog will still be waiting for you…

USEFUL RESOURCES

A logo that stands out

Think of Nike or Starbucks or Apple or any big brand and what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Their logo. That image becomes them. So when people click on your blog, the first thing they come across is your logo. So let it stand out. I designed my blog’s logo using online logo-maker Logojoy that uses Artificial Intelligence to create the exact logo that you visualise – in the comfort of your own home! In a word – it’s brilliant. (Check out my review of the site here).

 

 

A mobile-friendly, user-friendly and attractive website

Most of us bloggers are writers at heart – or by profession – but not many of us are techies. Building a website that is attractive, fast, user-friendly and (very important) mobile-friendly can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Invest in your blog and it will bring in investments for you. Take the help of a web design agency to design the blog of your dreams – so you can concentrate on content and promotion.

A blog planner/ scheduler

Up until recently, my blog planner was a mix of ideas in my head, story ideas in drafts and other to-do lists on post-it notes across my kitchen counter. Not smooth, I admit. My blogging new year resolution was to get more organised – both with my planning and my time – and believe me, it’s made a world of difference! Here are a few basic things I’m doing:

  • I plan my posts for the month (of course this can be flexible depending on paid opportunities that come up in the middle), and sometimes plan months ahead for a post on say Mother’s Day or Breastfeeding Week.
  • I’m scheduling my FB posts and tweets rather than just posting as and when I wish. This helps form a continuous flow of my posts on social media, so my blog reaches more people.
  • I’ve made a list (an excel sheet works just as well) of all the FB threads and groups, Twitter groups and linkies I want to promote my posts on with the day each goes live – if it’s in front of me, I can’t miss it!

Of course you can work with online schedulers and good ol’ Excel, but I’m more of a pen and paper girl and I love my stationery, so here’s what keeps me organised!

 

 

 

So go ahead and make 2018 your best blogging year yet! Good luck!!!

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post and contains an affiliate link. This means that I earn a small commission should you choose to purchase the product by clicking on my link but will be at no extra cost to you.

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I’ve linked this post with these fab linkies

 

Mum Muddling Through
Winnettes
One Messy Mama

50 Responses

    • Nicole

      Yeah there never seems to be enough time! But prioritising things makes a huge difference. All the best and thank you for your comment.

  1. Helen Little

    Love it! Really helpful tips. My blog turned 1 today, so I’ve been reflecting too. Never tried a linky but may do now. Thanks for the tips!

    • Nicole

      Congratulations Helen. Linkys are time-consuming but can do wonders for your stats and reach.

  2. Jo - Cup of Toast

    This is a great post! I’m hoping to get back to being more organised with my scheduling this year too. Thanks for sharing your ideas with #Blogstravaganza 🙂

  3. Maggie

    Thank you for the tips! I’m still new, so I love to learn whatever I can. There’s a steep learning curve for me with this whole blogging thing. I love the idea of Logojoy. #blogstravaganza

  4. Mrs Jibril

    Great tips, I’m sure any newbie blogger will find it helpful. I couldn’t agree more on promoting your post every chance you get on social media.#Blogstravaganza

    • Nicole

      Thank you for your comment.
      Yes, I need to up my promotion game myself – one of the blogging goals I’ve set for myself this year!

  5. Jo - Pickle & Poppet

    Some really great tips in here! I’m now going into my second year and still learning so much! How time consuming it can be has to be the biggest shock to me. I love it though! #TriumphantTales

    • Nicole

      You couldn’t have said it better Jo. It is SO TIME-CONSUMING, there is just always SO MUCH TO DO!!! But as you said, I love it too:)

  6. Sylvia

    What a lovely post, enjoyed every bit of it. Am some few months gone (about 3 months now) and I love what am doing. Didn’t really get what you said about linkies tho. Can you elaborate please.

    • Nicole

      Thanks!
      Some bloggers host linkies on a specific day of the week – where other bloggers can link up their posts (usually around a theme) and then comment on one another’s posts. Great way to get introduced to new blogs and get comments on your own blog.

    • Nicole

      Thanks Sarah. Yes, it took me months to realise that I needed to shout out from the rooftops about my blog. It pays off – slowly but surely.

  7. Mess and Merlot

    Great tips Nicole, I’m a hobby blogger really but maybe that will change in time. As you say it’s a full time job and the promotion sucks the joy out of it for me! I have to remind myself that it’s supposed to be enjoyable and focus on that when I get a bit stressy about linkys, social media etc. I did go self-hosted last year so slowly getting there! 😉 #coolmumclub

    • Nicole

      Yes, I know what you mean. When deadlines and linkies stress me out, I remind myself that I’m doing this because I want to and not because I have to, it’s by choice, so take a step back and enjoy it!

      Thanks for reading x

  8. Jaki

    We really have NO idea when we start out, do we? Looking back it’s laughable! You are right, there is SO much more to it than writing, in fact, I would say that’s only 20% of it. But we love it, so that’s the important bit. #coolmumclub

    • Nicole

      Exactly – if there is passion, those late nights become worth it:)
      And yes, we have absolutely NO idea when we start out!!!

  9. MMT

    Some great pieces of advice here that are always worth revisiting, even many years in. I tends to go in waves of enthusiasm and definitely need to step off the rollercoaster from time to time – finding balance in blogging is key for me!
    Thanks so much for joining in with #coolmumclub – a must join linky, obvs 😉

    • Nicole

      Well said Sarah – we must find balance in blogging or else it becomes a bit much.

  10. Kate Holmes

    Love posts like this – always very good to learn new stuff and be reminded of things you already know that you might neglect from time to time. #BlogItVlogIt

  11. Katelynn|hampersandhiccups.com

    Organizing is SO important to me! A blogging friend couldn’t believe I have my editorial plan done for the entire year. It takes hardly any time at all and is more than worth it!
    #thursdayteam
    Katelynn, hampersandhiccups.com

    • Nicole

      Wow, that’s amazing! You’re super organized! But you’re so right, things are much easier when you have a plan/ schedule to work around.

  12. Emma

    I love this post and you’ve shared some great tips. I’ve been blogging on and off for a number of years but only started to take it seriously with CubKit. Plus social media, SEO etc is forever evolving so I always feel like I’m on a learning curve. Organisation is key, in fact I’m going to be sacrificing my Saturday night to get it in order for the few months ahead. Thanks for the inspiration x #thursdayteam

    • Nicole

      You’re so right Emma, social media and the Internet is forever evolving so it is like we’re always on a learning curve!
      And yes, it takes a while to get your schedule/ organiser in place, but once it’s done, it makes blogging life so much easier. Good luck and thanks for reading x

  13. Sarah

    Loved this! I remember when I started out it was a huge learning curve, so a guide like this would have been just what I needed! I totally agree with it being a full time job and needing to be organised, it makes things so much easier! Thanks for linking this to #thursdayteam

    • Nicole

      Thank you Sarah, yes in retrospect, there were so many things I’d wish I’d known when I started out. In fact, I’m still learning…

    • Nicole

      I started “planning” properly too now, and you’re right, it’s made a world of difference!

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