In no way do I claim to be a blogging wizard. If that was the case, I sure as hell wouldn’t be working other jobs in addition to running this site and my closet would have way more clothes in it. In the two and half years I’ve had this site, I’ve learned a lot of lessons; both from my blog and from other blogs I’ve read along the way. Lately, my inbox has been flooded with aspiring bloggers asking me for my “secret” to becoming successful. While PLIG is far from being my “ticket to the top” I figured I’d dedicate a post to my personal advice on being a blogger.
Back in 2010 when I started, blogging was popular, but fast forward to 2013 and the market is so saturated it’s almost weird if you come across someone that doesn’t have a website. The difference between a “real” blogger and one who simply blogs is the mission behind why you are writing in the first place. For me, PLIG is not a hobby, it is a job…and I’ve always treated it as such. I post consistently. I hire people to help me with my site. I do it even when I don’t feel like it because it’s my j-o-b. You know the saying “If it was easy everyone would do it!” Well, everyone does blog, so how do you set yourself a part from the rest? Or are you even trying to? Make sure you know where you blog stands and where you want to take it in the future. If it’s simply a place for your family to check to get updates on your kids or what you ate for dinner last night, that’s fine. But if you want to work with brands, get advertisers, etc. you need to show that you’re providing a service. That people come to your site to learn something and are inspired by your content.
It’s a misconception that bloggers just sit back as brands beg to work with them and throw gifts their way. As previously mentioned, the market is saturated with millions of blogs; brands/PR agencies don’t have time to research every blog that has ever existed. It takes your initiative to show these brands you want to work with that you’re different. Have a particular brand you want to work with, do a little research and find the PR agency that represents them and tell them why they should work with you, ways you could collaborate, etc. Don’t just expect brands to be banging on your blogging door to work with you. You have make the first move and put in the grunt work if you want to get noticed.
Blogger friends are the best kind of friends. I met Jessica from My Style Vita after she asked me on a blogger blind date…and alas a friendship was born! A year later her and I have become real life friends in addition to starting Southern Blog Society. You can learn so much from other bloggers, so start out with local groups (or start one!) in your city and branch out. Bloggers are always helping other bloggers grow. However, this doesn’t mean you can randomly ask someone “What are your site numbers? How do I get mine up there? Can you send me your brand contact list so I can use it to build my blog?” Yes, these are real life questions people have asked me. Stop.
You’ve heard it a million times: the key to being a blogger is being consistent. Just like a restaurant is successful if they consistently provide great food and service; a blog is successful when there is consistent and original content provided for its readers. While no one blogs seven days a week (if you do, you deserve a fruit basket), if you want to blog three days a week then stick to that schedule! While things always come up and sometimes a post just can’t go live, you need your readers to know they can count on you for new content if you want to count on them to come back to you website.
Spell check. Fact Check. Properly credit images if you take them from another site. Make sure your sidebar isn’t a drunk mess. List your city and your email address on your site where it is easy for people to find. Keep your images a decent size so they don’t take forever to load. And for the sake of all that is holy in the blogging world, have your URL and the name of your blog match. I’m left confused when they’re completely different. Please, don’t hurt my brain.
Have some blogging tips and tricks you think I’ve missed? Would love to hear what you’ve learned along the way while being a blogger…leave a comment below!
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