Wednesday, 4 January 2012

How to start blogging....

It's been over 6 months now since I wrote my first blog post and I can't believe how much I have learned in that time, or how much blog envy I would get when looking at other peoples blogs.  There is so much I would like to do with my blog (if only I had the time) like design a proper logo and sort out the layout, but the main thing I have learned is that your blog is only as good as the content in your posts. Although the look might attract initial readers, it's what you say that keeps people coming back.

There has been a lot of stuff in the media recently about bloggers earning 60k a year. Maybe this is true for some people but the majority of bloggers I have come across simply do it because they enjoy it. For me it is an outlet to the outside, the real world. I have, of course, accepted and enjoyed various freebies that I have written fair reviews for. I have written one sponsored post and for that I was paid, I admit. But none of these freebies have paid for the hours and hours of time I have spent when the children are in bed, scouring the internet looking for lovely things I wish I could buy if I had the money. But what I have finally realised is: no-one is interested in any of that stuff, those posts get practically no views! The posts people want to see are general information about me and my family and our day to day life, who would have thought it! Who would think anyone would want to read about silly old me.

Having said that, it can be pretty soul destroying to look at your stats every once in a while and see the visitors tail off....so I've written some pointers that I have learned, purely altruistically.

Starting a blog and Getting Readers
  • Choose a catchy cool name that encompasses what you want to put across. I rue the day I called my blog bargain mummy buys. What was I thinking?! Oh well too late now.
  • Use blogger or wordpress and follow the tutorial, simple as that.
  • Don't bother with adsense (this is when you have rotating adverts down the side of your site, through add gadget). I've earned pennies from it and I believe it puts readers off.
  • Make the "about me" section prominent. This is one of my most viewed pages.
  • Include a disclosure (just google or take a look at mine, I don't mind if you use it!) especially if you are going to be reviewing.
  • Don't have too much going on down the sides of your blog, try and strike a balance between colourful/eye catching and overwhelming your reader. I've noticed some of the most successful blogs have hardly anything in the side panels.
  • Always respond to any comments, keep the conversation going it will keep people coming back.
  • Create a facebook and twitter page and create an RSS feed direct from your blog to your twitter account.
  • However sometimes go in and update your facebook and twitter manually. This will make you look more "human". 
  • Follow relevant people/companies/groups on twitter and they should follow you back, thus exposing you to more followers/readers.
  • Retweet other people for purely altruistic reasons then hopefully others should do the same for you.
  • Make sure all the names tally up as it will then show better in search engines, e.g. your title, URL, twitter handle should all be the same.
  • If you insert a picture of a product, when you save it to your hard drive, use the actual name of the product e.g. Stowells as the file name, it will then show up more on search engines.
  • Use loads of photos and video clips, particularly of people, it just gives people more of an insight into your life.
  • Write about stuff you would want to read. Don't make your posts too long (don't always follow that advice).
  • Leave comments (genuine of course, not just for the sake of it) on other people's blogs. Leave a link to your site if appropriate.
  • Sign up for sites like blogher, britmums, netmums, mumsnet and babycentre and also blogger match if you want to be sent items to review.
  • Enjoy it! It's not your job, it's something you have chosen to do for purely selfish reasons. Simple as that!

9 comments:

  1. Great post. Really interesting to read your pointers here, especially as I consider myself to be an old-school blogger.

    I've added your post to my Blog Promotions page - if you object, please let me know.

    CJ x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your kind comments, I've just had a look at your blog too, I really like it. I would love you to feature my blog will take a look when it's on your site.x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lovely post really helpful and hopeful for a newbee like myself to read. It often feels like everyone has had their blog for years and they are so full of gadgets etc that it sometimes feels intimidating out in blog land when your just starting out. Lovely that you have simplified everything i shall try your suggestions thankyou so much
    Cat xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Cat - another tip, when leaving a comment leave your URL so other users and the blog owner can take a squiz, would you like me to take a look and let you know what I think?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi there, I love all of your advice, sometimes when you start something you can feel like a small fish in a biv ocean, so thank you again, I look forward to following your blog. Fourboysandalittlemummy.blogspot.com xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good you left your URL! I've already signed up to your site I will be coming back to check it out regularly.x

      Delete
  6. That was just what I needed to read! I have been blogging for about five months and as much as I love blogging, I would love to see an upturn in my stats. This is all good sensible advice all of which I will be taking on board! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No probs - actually I've just completed an e course from http://www.littlemummy.com/mum-blogger-e-course/ which was really useful too and adds a few more ideas to the ones I have here. What is your URL?

      Delete
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