I’ve gotten to the point in blogging where I’m getting a lot of emails from other bloggers asking for advice (which I absolutely love, keep ’em coming!) And I’ve noticed that a lot of people have the same questions, and that I am giving the same advice out to a lot of people. So I thought if I compiled some of my most common recommendations here, people could get answers immediately, as opposed to having to wait for me to respond! So if you are looking for advice on growing your blog, you’ve come to the right place!
Who will this guide help?
- Bloggers who are just starting out.
- Bloggers who want to start monetizing.
- Bloggers who want to see more page views and a lower bounce rate.
- Bloggers who obsess over blogging advice like I do!
- People who are thinking about making a blog.
A lot of new bloggers will link me to their blog and have zero pages. Which isn’t terrible, but if you really want to take your blog to the next level there are a few pages I recommend having:
- About Me – I love stalking about me pages! It’s fun to get to know the blogger behind the blog, and if you ever want to work with brands in the future – they are going to want to know about you, too!
- Contact Me – I have had my contact me page up from the very beginning, and my first opportunity for monetizing came from a brand finding my blog and contacting me through my contact me page. Without that I would have missed out on my opportunity and the realization that this blog could be more than just a hobby for me!
- Work With Me – If you plan on making money from your blog, it is nice to have a work with me page. It will share your recent stats and follower counts that way a company knows if you fit what they are looking for before wasting their time and yours by emailing you.
- Organizational Tabs – You’ll see on my navigation bar I have links like “college” and “DIY” among my other most popular blogging topics. This allows my readers to find what they are looking for without having to endlessly scroll through the blog!
When it comes to blogging, a minimalist approach will always be the best, because instead of overwhelming the reader and giving them a million things to look at, they can stay focused on your fabulous content. What does this mean? One sidebar is better than two, and don’t overload it. What do I recommend having and not having?
What you need:
- About me – again, this is just good to have made available. Your blog is an extension of yourself, let everyone know who the brilliant mind behind it is!
- Social Media – let everybody know where to find you! Having a following is super important!
- Subscribe – let everyone know when more fabulous content comes out!
- Search – No matter how well organized your tabs are, there are still going to be things that people will want to search for!
What you might want:
- Popular Posts – let your posts get all the love they deserve by featuring them in the sidebar!
- Ad Space – If you are monetizing your blog, there is nothing wrong with a bit of ad space! Make sure that it doesn’t take up an overwhelming amount of room though, and don’t go overboard! One or two ads look nice, more than that and things can start looking too busy. There are ways to put more, just be careful that it still looks OK!
What you don’t want:
- Meta – for some reason when you make a wordpress blog Meta is automatically added to your sidebar. You don’t need or want it!
- Archives – the only exception that I can think of is fashion blogging, otherwise your archives are just taking up space as readers are more likely to look to your navigation bar if they are looking for content. Archives have no rhyme or reason to them and just look cluttered.
- Recent Posts – you will be better served advertising your featured posts!
There are a few things that make up a ‘good’ post, and a few things that you should avoid.
- Write in your own voice! Don’t try to be someone you’re not or worry about coming off as too casual. Type how your voice sounds in your head!
- Be mindful of the pictures you put on your blog. How is the lighting? Is there clutter in the background? Would this picture look better cropped or with higher contrast? Improving your photography is one of the biggest steps to taking your blog to the next level.
- Monitor the length of your post. I never will post anything less than 400 words, though my posts tend to be closer to 1200 (I am too long winded for my own good!) In most cases I would recommend writing shorter posts than I do, as a lot of people won’t sit and read all the way through.
- Be Consistent. If you are not going to post regularly you are not going to do well. By regular I mean at least once a week, but I’d recommend trying for more. I pinky promise that once you get used to blogging you can pump out a high quality post in an hour. Just keep trying to find your voice and your blogging style! It gets easier!
- Be Genuine. When you start making money do not jump aboard every sponsored campaign that comes your way, only support the ones you believe in.
- Obvious selfies. Don’t let your readers see your arm holding the camera out from your body. Set your camera on a timer or have a friend take the picture. Or be sneaky in taking the selfie. The pictures in this post are all selfies, but I think I hid it well enough!
- Repetitive pictures. If you are reviewing a bracelet, don’t post three pictures of the bracelet on your wrist. If you want three pictures of it try one with the packaging, one with it laid out on a plain background, and then one of you wearing it. Too many similar pictures will bore your reader.
- Mistakes. I know it’s easy to make mistakes, but try to triple check your posts before they go live. I am super lucky because if I ever accidentally publish a typo, my wonderful friend Tiffany (thanks Tiffany!) will snapchat a picture of my mistake so I can fix it!
- Hatefulness. There is no reason that you can’t get your point across without being mean. Spread kindness!
This is my least favorite part – I find social media to be so tricky! But it’s something I am working on and finally getting the hang of!
- Facebook – Attach pictures, put the link in the comments, and like the post yourself. Facebook is mean to bloggers, and all three of those things can help people actually see what you share, because otherwise only five or ten percent of your followers may see it.
- Twitter – Use relevant hashtags! I really never used them until recently, but now all the sudden I am gaining followers! To some of you Twitter pros, this may have been obvious but I am blown away!
- Pinterest – This is your best friend in the blogging world. 98% of my traffic comes from Pinterest and I’ve started to gain a large following there. My biggest piece of advice? Pin to group boards. I get so many more repins when I pin to relevant group boards than when I am only posting to my own.
I compiled this by looking through the questions I get the most often, but if I missed anything feel free to shoot me an email! And if you found this post helpful, I’d be over the moon if you subscribed!