Now that I've been blogging for one and a half years, I feel ready to share some tips I've learnt over this time for those of you who are just setting up your blog or are relatively new to the blogging world. Blogging can be such a rewarding hobby, so I hope my tips can help you to make the most out of it! My advice is aimed primarily at beauty/cosmetics bloggers, but might be useful to other kinds of bloggers too. I've made a lot of these mistakes along the way myself, and I've definitely got much more to learn!
1. BE ORIGINAL, NOT GENERIC. Don’t go and buy and product and then write a post on it, just because it’s the new release that a lot of big bloggers are writing about. By the time your post is up, people will be bored of reading about the same old thing, and often it will show that you’re only writing the post to try to fit in. Instead, talk about the products and topics that genuinely interest you; it will show and so will your personality, which is what makes people really want to read a blog. However…
2. DON’T TALK ABOUT YOURSELF TOO MUCH. This might sound harsh, but if 90% of your posts are a ‘My week in pictures’, unless you have done something amazing that will be interesting to a complete stranger, or you take visually stunning photos, it’s just not going to interest someone who clicks on your blog for the first time. Established bloggers (the likes of Zoella) will get huge interest on personal posts only because they've built up a loyal following who are then interested in their lives.
3. GET YOUR BLOG DESIGN SORTED. Your blog design is the first thing a visitor sees when they click on your blog, and is basically the pretty packaging for your content. Get it right. Make sure your text is clear and easy to read, your photos are large, and your blog is easy to navigate around. If you’re really stuck with all the html nonsense, get someone to do it for you, and get your branding sorted. My blog design shop can be found here. (shameless plug)
4. JUMP INTO SOCIAL MEDIA. Set up a Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus account for your blog as soon as possible and use them daily if possible. Learn which hash-tags are used by the audience you’re trying to reach and include them in your tweets. Find out about any relevant twitter blog chats and use them to learn from other people and make blogging friends as well as promoting your blog.
5. LEARN BASIC PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS. I’ll be honest, if I click on a blog and it has small, dark, grainy photos of products and outfits, I will immediately click off of it, and I know many other people who would say the same. You don’t need a fancy camera to achieve photos that are well lit from in front (use natural sunlight), large (set your photo to large within blogger) and that show the product detail. Think about what you’re trying to achieve with each photo – are you trying to show the colour, the size of the packaging, the brand name?
6. DON’T FORCE IT. If you’re not feeling inspired or excited about anything to write a post, don’t blog that day. I think that a couple of quality posts you've really wanted to write in one week are better than a quick disinterested post every day.
7. DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH, TOO QUICKLY. It’s unrealistic to expect your first 50 followers or lovely comments to appear overnight. If you’re blogging for the right reasons (because you enjoy it, not for the freebies or follower count!), readers will arrive in due course! It’s easy to get disheartened if very few people are reading your blog, but this early stage in blogging is the perfect time to learn what you like, develop writing style and to make mistakes without too many people seeing them!
Good luck with your blogging, and enjoy it!