10 Tips for Newbie BloggersWritten by: Anyonita Green on
Welcome to the Blogging Crash Course!Helping you grow your blog into the powerhouse you know it can be!
New bloggers naturally seek out these bloggy rock stars and pour over their content, hoping for some of their blogging brilliance to rub off on them.
It makes sense. Blogging is so competitive. Not in a nasty Tanya Harding way, but in that there are so many of us who blog. In April 2013, a figure was released that there were an estimated 239,882,754 blogs not including Blogger blogs.
What every blogger wants to know, especially the newbies, is how to not be another digit in that statistic. How to make their blog stand out and get noticed. That's where these 10 dead easy tips come into play. These 10 tips will help you get your blog noticed and respected.
- Have a purpose or USP. In marketing, the thing that usually encourages you to choose one brand over the other is the brand's USP or unique selling point. It's what makes brands stand independent of each other and identifying one for your blog is on of the best blog decisions you can make.
When done correctly and effectively, a USP will help readers identify your blog as being an industry leader. It will also help to keep you on track when writing and sourcing content for your posts. A blog without a clear identity isn't an effective blog. It's a confused scrapbook. There's nothing wrong with this type of blogging, but if you want your blog to stand out for something, you have to first identify what that something is. Identify it and then reiterate it as much as possible.
- Read other blogs. When I was growing up, the thing I wanted to be more than anything in the world was a writer. In fact I've got a BA and an MA in that very subject and I've written for magazines and newspapers, companies, marketing materials and, of course, blogs. Every writing instructor I've ever had has drilled the same thing into me: if you want to write, you have to read.
If you want to be a good blog writer, you have to be a blog reader. If you're a food blogger, then you should be reading every food blog your search engine takes you to. You don't have to read every post, but read enough to get a feel for the blog. Read enough to be able to identify whether or not your like it and then keep reading. Reading what you don't like is just as important as reading what you do. When you read something that you don't like, identify why it doesn't work for you and make sure you're not producing the same type of content. You'll have improved your blog already.
- Link parties are your friend. Oh, these crazy link parties. They're such a brilliant idea. Did you know that 80% of all blog readers are other bloggers? Link parties are the easiest, most enticing way to tap into that 239.8 million reader pool. A good party will have a selection of participants. It will stand out from others so that it can attract more attention. Not for the party host but for the participants. A good party is about the participants benefiting and it should be about promoting the participants as well. That's why link party features are so important and why people make such a fuss over them. It's easy notoriety. I would say that 30% of my footfall comes from link parties. And there are certain parties where, when I've been featured, that percentage easily triples. That's the mark of a good party: one that drives traffic and benefits the participants.
- Find opportunities to guest post. I was at a blogging conference over the summer and in one of the workshops, one of the workshop leaders said she was offended when people asked to guest post on her blog. "It's my blog! I don't want anyone else writing anything on it," she said. I understand where she's coming from. Blogs become very personal things and they require so much attention and effort that it can be hard to relinquish that to anyone. But every good blog should really be opening itself up to content by other bloggers.
When you allow a guest to come into your space and write a post you're doing two things: 1. you're providing something new and fresh for your readers and 2. you're giving yourself a break! We don't all perform at 100% all the time. It would be impossible. It would also be impossible to think that we can meet every need of every one of our readers all the time. We can't.
Here's a quick example: if you stumble upon a generic food blog with a tagline of "mains, desserts and sides to salivate over" or something, you expect to find a variety of posts. Recipes for mains and desserts and sides. Well what if the blogger is really rubbish at desserts and has decided not to post any or very few? They would be doing their blog and their readers a great disservice because they've included it in the tagine! They've promised desserts to salivate over and all they've delivered have been wonky Rice Krispies treats and sugar cookies! That's a blog I would stop reading. If you tell me you're going to give me something to salivate over then you better do it! So what options does this blogger have? Well, she could open up her blog for guest posts specifically for desserts! This way she's delivering on a promise and backing herself up as being a credible blogger in her chosen niche.
Let me also say this: get the right person to guest post and your blog figures can catapult. When I was starting out, I had a blogger guest post for me who delivered a knock out dish. I mean it was fantastic. It got viewed far more than any recipe I'd ever posted at the time and it helped to flag my blog up with some of my most loyal followers who have still stuck around, even though I didn't write the post! Why did they stay? Because even though that guest post got them in the door, what I had already posted kept them there.
- Promote your own posts. It doesn't matter how you do it or on which social platforms you choose, just promote it. Promote. Promote. Promote. If you won't back yourself, why should anyone else? At that same blogging conference with the anti-guest post workshop leader, I heard this quote: A good blogger spends 25% of their time creating content and 75% of their time promoting it.
- Claim your work. You're blogging up against 200 million bloggers. A good majority of them want that rock star status we talked about. Don't make it easy for them to get it by poaching your work. Your work is yours. You should be proud of it and you should claim it. If you're not proud of it, don't publish it. If you are going to publish, put your name on it. Remember, as a kid, teachers used to have to drive that in? If you wanted your work graded and the grade recorded, you needed to have put your name on it. It was the first thing you did before doing any homework or taking a quiz or test. It's should be the same with your blog. Don't post an unwatermarked photo. Put your name on it.
- Take your time. There's lots of us blogging, but it's not a race. It doesn't matter if it takes you 8 weeks or 8 months to get more than 200 readers. Just take your time. Find your rhythm and you will get there. It's a process and you have to put effort into it every day.
- Ask for help. Bloggers with high readership numbers do things differently. They do things that get results. If you see something on a blog that you admire, drop them an email and ask for pointers or help. There's nothing wrong with it. I do it all the time! Just last week, I asked a trusted bloggy friend to spill the beans on a new change she'd made to her link party. I get emails and comments every week with people asking all manner of things from "What was the font you used on your 10 Unmissible SEO Tips for Food Bloggers post?" to "How do I get my recent posts to display at the top of my blog like yours?
- Get SEO savvy. There's no need to take a weekend course in SEO, although if you did, it would certainly benefit your blog! But, getting your wits about you when it comes to SEO is definitely a good idea. For starters, why not familiarize yourself with these 10 Unmissable SEO Tips for Food Bloggers or this #1 SEO Tip that will improve your food blog overnight.
- Stick with it. While I can't provide you an estimate of time it will take for your blog to take off, I can say this: if you stick with it, it will happen. Just keep plugging at it. Get yourself a core group of encouraging bloggers and when it gets difficult and when it looks like you aren't making any headway, ask for some encouragement! For a clear view of how you're progressing, record your blog stats every month and then you can see how things are going.
- Relax, it's just a blog. It's just a blog at the end of the day. And it's your blog. All I or any other blogger can give you are tips. There are no golden rules about blogging. Do the things you like and don't do what you don't like. Your blog is yours. You make the rules.