I was lying in bed last night trying to get to sleep and my mind started drifting to blogging tips. I’ve read some fantastic posts covering the topic lately and I wondered whether my two cents was worth throwing into the pot! I don’t know if it is but here it is anyway – what I’ve learnt from my first year blogging!
You’re the boss, the writer, photographer, editor & PR person for the blog – You create the image for your blog and that involves time and efffort, but thankfully fun too.
- Beginning to blog – The internet has all the free tools you need to start, from wordpress, blogger, Twitter, Facebook and editing sites like PicMonkey and Pixlr. These are your bread and butter tools for a blog and will ensure you can set up a blog easily and maintain it, create noise and awareness for your blog around the country and beyond and create posts that have a fun and professional look. All without a penny spent.
- The Blogging Community – I didn’t realise there were a whole array of Irish beauty blogs out there until I started my own and through them I’ve made some wonderful allies to speak to about products and to bounce ideas off. The blogging community is far reaching so that means you’ll meet all types of people, some who will be great to deal with, some who won’t. Choose your blogging friends carefully and you’ll find a really rewarding network of support out there. If you meet negativity, whether on the blog or through social networking, politely sidestep it and move on.
- Take time with your posts – At this stage I’m able to create posts at a reasonable speed, but at the start you need to find your groove so take your time. Set aside time in good light for photographing products and think about the shots you want – close ups, swatches, photos of the product on you? Don’t be afraid to use sites like PicMonkey and Pixlr to help jazz your photos up and to keep them as tidy and professional as possible. An expensive camera isn’t essential, I flip between an expensive Canon, a small Nikon digital camera and my camera phone and I can rarely tell the difference in shots!
- Thinking ahead – I tend to have a few posts on the go at once but if I get a product that I’m really excited about (or equally I’m instantly hating) I like to jot down my first thoughts and impressions while they’re flying around my head. On a regular day I write the post in one go and preview along with the photos to see how the layout looks, how it reads and most importantly to check for spelling mistakes or sentences that just read a little oddly. My boyfriend is my greatest editor as sometimes it’s hard to see your own mistakes on a piece you just wrote so get a loved one to help you out! Remember if you’re not happy with how a post looks or reads, it’s a fair bet no one else will be either so don’t be afraid to try different methods.
- Consistency – I tend to blog four days a week from Monday – Thursday although if I have a lot of posts ready to go I may post on Friday also. This routine works for me but if there’s simply a day I’m too busy or when I have blogging fatigue, I don’t force myself. That’s the great thing about being the boss – only blog when you want to or else it will become a chore which defeats the whole purpose of starting in the first place. I also like to keep ahead of myself with posts so it feels like the pressure is off, I always have a few posts in the bank when I need them. It’s best to plan a few days ahead so you know roughly what each week’s posts will be but there will always be times when you try out a new product and have to blog about it then and there!
- Free Products – This is almost a dirty word (or words) as there is a lot of contention online about free products and people’s entitlement to them. If you start a blog solely for free products my advice is don’t bother, it’s far less work to just save up the money and buy the product. When I receive a free product it’s a silent contract that the product is gifted to me with the knowledge that if I believe it’s genuinely relevant to the blog I’ll put in the work and effort to try it out, photograph it and write about it to a certain standard. It’s a great privilege and very exciting to receive products but it’s not the be all of blogging. It’s just a lovely bonus and will come with time and effort.
- PR – Speaking of products that leads me to PR people. You may get the chance to deal with many in your blog travels so treat them with respect and always be polite. They’re an important source of information and news for your blog and I’ve encountered countless lovely girls who are a real pleasure to deal with. With the best PR relationships, they will understand the value of your blog and your voice so make sure you value the time and effort they put in with you also. Again, this takes time so don’t expect it straight away. If your blog becomes popular they’ll find you and there’s nothing wrong with sharing contacts with fellow bloggers you befriend along the way.
- Time – If you start a blog and then sit there wondering why 5 weeks in you haven’t had a single comment and have 15 visitors a day (some of who are spam) I urge you to have the gift of patience. I’ve been blogging for one year which is still a relatively short amount of time and my blog is still growing and forming. It was 6 or 7 months before I really felt like I was getting anywhere and even now I feel very much at the beginning of a journey rather than rooted firmly in the middle.
So that’s all my tips for now but if I think of anything else I’ll be sure to add it. I hope you found even a grain of wisdom amongst the post and if you have any questions at all, feel free to ask or, if you’re a blogger yourself, feel free to contribute with your own tips!