While I am by no means a successful or well known blogger, I have been on the scene for just over 2 years. In that time I have picked up tips and information that has proved invaluable. Its time to pass on that knowledge.
- Take your time – Blogging is not a race, its not about who review’s an item first or how many you can ‘knock out’ in a day. Pounder and muse over your writing and let it flow naturally.
- Check and recheck – Reading over your work helps to spot mistakes and helps plant the idea of the next paragraph. I find it useful to write a post then step away for a moment. When I reread it after a short break I often find parts that need wording differently or think of more to add.
- Stick to the topic – If you are writing a review, stick to that product. Outline the pro’s and con’s and your own opinion. A little extra info can sometimes add a personal touch but don’t run away with it and go off on a tangent.
- Listen to your writing – I use google translate to check my posts by sound rather than sight alone. Listening to it rather than just reading reveals a lot more than you’d think.
- Review your own items – Reviewing products you have bought yourself, as well as those given to you for that specific purpose, adds weight to your blog and shows companies you are not simply ‘in it for the freebies’ (although they are a bonus).
- K.I.S.S – “Keep it simple stupid”. A difficult to navigate blog is likely to put readers off, regardless of the content. Use menus and tags to group reviews, giveaways and posts together.
- Giveaways – Make it clear in the title what it is and make sure you have all the details in your terms and conditions. What is the prize, how many, where (UK, Worldwide ect), start and end dates, how long participants have to reply to your email before it is withdrawn, what they need to do to enter and if any are optional and if you will be announcing the winner on social media. Rafflecopter and gleam make it a lot easier for your readers to enter, with all comments, links and entries in one place.
- Create a warm welcome – Visitors will be drawn to your blog for the personal touch just as much a they are for the content. A good ‘about me’ page and widget lets readers (and PR’s) get to know you better and feel as if they are checking up on the adventures of a friend. It also allows you the opportunity to have a little fun, you can use pictures or fun facts to describe yourself and the reason for your blog. On mine I included a comical ‘likes and dislikes’ for both myself and Jack.
Make yourself known
Blogging relies on virtual word of mouth, you could write a brilliant post only for no one to read it.
- Social media – as much as a distraction and nuisance they can be, facebook, twitter, google + and the countless other social media sites can give you a wider audience to share your posts with. Many bloggers set up their own facebook page and post regular links to their latest post. There are also blogger groups on facebook, such as UK bloggers and blogsrus where you can pick up tips, ask questions and spot review opportunities.
- Schedule - Facebook pages give you the option to schedule a link or status but I personally use Buffer. This site allows you to link your blog to every social media page you use and schedule links for all of them. Blogs themselves have the option to schedule, handy if you can’t sleep and no one will see the post if you publish it. Scheduling also means you can spend one day a week blogging yet have posts publishing all week, keeping your traffic steady.
- Communicate - Interact with your readers. End posts with, “What would you do differently?” or “What are your views?”. Entice your readers to connect with you. Joining in with linkys is also a fab way of becoming friendly with fellow bloggers. A full list of linky’s can be found on the blogsrus facebook group here.
- Actively seek out work – if like me you use your blog as a little more than a diary, then you need to search for the guest posts and reviews. Twitter is a good media to use with its hashtags such as #bloggerstoreview and #bloggerswanted, facebook blogging groups are also useful to watch as opportunities are sometimes posted or screenshots from other sites added.
- Use networks - There are tons and tons of blogger networks out there ready to support you, offer tips and blogging opps and help push your blog to a wider audience. As a parenting blogger here are a few I use: Mumsnet, Netmums, Britmums, Tots100 and Bzzagent.
- Make it clear – use a PR/contact me page to explain the reason for your blog, if you are looking to earn or work with brands and how they can contact you. An email address will suffice, you dont know whos reading your blog!
- Don’t let yourself be pushed around – if you agree to reviewing a product or writing a post to an agreed set of guidelines, both sides need to stick to it. If a brand or PR company are messing you around or changing things at the last minute, you can refuse or pull the post. When it comes to sponsored posts (posts where you are paid to write about a certain product or topic) the rules are very similar, but you do need to add a disclaimer at the bottom of you post stating it was sponsored and you do need to inform the taxman of your earnings. Products sent to review are classed as tools for the job. They only become taxed if you sell them.
- Watermark – watermarking pictures can help avoid them being used elsewhere, as they will have your blog name or copyright on the image. This can be done on photoshops online editor by clicking tools, Photoshop express editor then upload a picture. You can then crop and edit it as you like and add a watermark by clicking on decorate and then text. You don’t have to use pictures but they help draw your readers in and break up walls of text.
- Ranking – We all hate leaderboards but they are a necessity in the blogging world. When working with companies, especially on sponsored posts, they will more than likely ask for your PR or page rank. This can be found easily by entering your blogs url at checkpagerank.net (you can also find other rankings that are useful but not as important as page rank) but there are many other sites you can use to check page and other ranks.
- Be passionate - Remember how boring it was writing essays about the book you were reading in English or how to solve algebra while you were at school? You don’t want your blog to be the same or you’ll soon lose interest. My main interest is my son Jack and what we get up to, so thats what I write about.
- Keep notes – I keep a notebook with me at all times to jot down ideas or reminders. Too many times my early morning call of nature has been joined by an idea, only to be forgotten when its time to get up. Organisation is also key, all those information sheets and contact info has to be stored somewhere.
I hope my tips are helpful and not too overwhelming. Feel free to bookmark this page and use it as a checklist or reminder while working on your blog or contact me if you need help.
Do you have any tips you would like to share?