10 THINGS I WISH I KNEW WHEN I STARTED BLOGGING

10 Things I wish I knew when I first started blogging @gymbunnymum gymbunnymummy.com

My sister has just started her own blog & is asking lot’s & lot’s of questions, the kind of things I just learnt along the way by making lot’s of mistakes and by reading lot’s of other blogs. If she’s asking these questions then it’s pretty likely that lot’s of other new bloggers are thinking the same, I know I was completely lost & overwhelmed when I first started & I’m constantly learning new things along the way.

So here’s the 10 things I wish I knew when I started blogging

1. THINK ABOUT YOUR STYLE

What are your tastes? Do you like bright colours? A simple layout? A vintage, scrapbook feel or ultra modern? I didn’t think this through properly when I started and changed my design & WordPress theme so many times. Eventually after about six months once I started taking my blog more seriously, earning money and working with brands I decided to bite the bullet and buy a theme that suited me, my blog and what I wanted style wise for Gym Bunny Mummy. I’m so happy with it & wish I’d have done it sooner.

2. SIMPLE IS USUALLY BETTER

Simple words, colour scheme, fonts etc. You want to have your own style & tone of voice. I like to write as I would talk so my posts are very conversational. I don’t use overly complicated words unless needed, I want my readers to relate to my writing & be easy to read.

Bright text on a black background my look bright & eye catching but it is so hard to read, many people will just click straight off your blog if you don’t keep it simple. Dark text on a light background is always best, but you can introduce brightly coloured text for headings, key phrases or text overlay on images.

3. BLOG NAME

This was one of the hardest things for me to decide on, it took forever to think of a name I was happy with. So many of the names I liked were already associated with other blogs or websites. Before I bought my domain I was blogging under the name of A Northern Mum until I found out a more established blogger was using something very similar then Gym Bunny Mummy was born.

When choosing a name you really need to think about it’s longevity, looking back now it would have probably been a better idea to call the blog Gym Bunny Mum rather than Mummy as kids grow up and I won’t be Mummy forever but I don’t think it’s a major issue. If I’d have called the blog Mummy to Two Boys or something along those lines then went on to have a girl I’d have to totally rethink the name which is not something you want to do once you have an established blog.

10 things I wish I knew when I first started blogging

4. PHOTOGRAPHY

Some of very early posts are pretty shocking, my photography was rubbish with no thought about the overall look of the photo, just simply snapping a close up shot. I’ve now developed a consistent style of photography with some text overlay to make it much more interesting. I always try to use long, portrait shots as my first image which makes it ideal for Pinterest.

If I don’t use my own shots, then I’ll search for free images that match my style. Don’t just pull them from Google as you can get into issues with copyright etc.

5. SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media can be a minefield, trying to figure out which platforms you should be using & how. I’ll go into specific social media in another post but you need to make sure you cover the basics when first starting out.

Sign up and create your usernames across all the platforms, even if you won’t be using straight away, this means you have your name ‘banked’ for later use and no one else can use it.

Try and use the same name across the different platforms, especially Instagram & Twitter. I used the name @gymbunnymummy on Instagram & @gymbunnymum on twitter which meant whenever someone tagged me on Instagram, I never got the notification or mention through Twitter. Plus it makes it so much easier to find you and will help increase your followers.

Also, make sure your social media icons are at the top of blog or easy to find. So many bloggers have their social media icons either missing or hidden somewhere. If I like what I read then I want to follow you, don’t make it hard!

 

6. LINKIES

Linkies are a great tool for new bloggers, they help increase your views & also help to integrate you into the blogging scene. Through linkies I’ve really increased my page views, followers & interaction. If you have never heard of a linky or are a bit confused about them then have a nosy at my Linkies I Love page which gives advice for newbies and a list of my favourites.

7. OTHER BLOGS

I think it’s just as important to read other blogs. You can learn so much and get lot’s of great ideas but keep own your own voice & style. Don’t copy another blogger, find yourself & your own style. The reason you wanted to start blogging is because you have something to say so say it.

How to start a blog in 6 simple steps, a step by step guide plus lot's of blogging tips gymbunnymummy.com @gymbunnymum

8. WRITE THE BLOG YOU WANT TO READ

Chances are other people will have similar interests so will search you out. Also, it comes across as so much more sincere if you write content you genuinely care about which is likely to keep your readers engaged and coming back for more.

9. KEEP A LIST OF IDEAS

I have both a notepad and use a WordPress plugin called Editorial Calender. Whenever I get an idea for a post I’ll jot it down or create a new draft post, even if it’s just a title or a few key words I’ll still write something then come back to it later. It’s so easy to have a fab idea then forget all about it.

10. DON’T POST FOR THE SAKE OF POSTING

I’ve got to admit I did start to do this, panicking that I wasn’t posting enough to just writing quick posts to make sure I had something up on the blog that day.  It didn’t help with my views & just stressed me out so instead I like to think about my content & plan ahead, my planned & well thought out posts are much more read than the ones I rushed in the early days. Plus if it’s great content then even if it’s an old post it will still continually keep getting traffic to your blog.

I hope this has helped some of you newbies out there, or even given a few ideas to those that have been blogging  a while. What would you add to the list? Is there anything you wish you had of done earlier?

 

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73 Comments

  1. August 10, 2015 / 9:46 am

    Definately number 10! It really annoys me when people write rubbish/take part in linkies just for the sake of ia couple of extra page views. It actually puts me off clicking on their blog again.

  2. August 10, 2015 / 10:35 am

    great tips! I also find that only writing when you feel like it, works for me! A few weeks ago spending every day stressed, pumping out mindless posts for the sake of views. In actual fact this did more damage than good. I find one great post creates more views than a week of awful ones!

    • August 11, 2015 / 7:22 pm

      It really does, some weeks I write loads, other weeks not so much. It doesn’t have much impact on my views, the really good posts are when you see a big spike in stats 🙂
      Toni @ Gym Bunny Mummy recently posted…GETTING BACK IN THE SADDLEMy Profile

  3. August 10, 2015 / 12:47 pm

    Great advice!! There is so much to learn when just starting out but blogging is a learning process….I have made so many mistakes….My photography was so bad in the early days….It still is but Pic Monkey helps so much….lol x
    Kim Carberry recently posted…Our Weekly Meal Plan!! – #mealplanningmondayMy Profile

  4. August 11, 2015 / 8:03 am

    Great post! I’ve been blogging for a while but only kind of part time, here and there. I am now ready to step it up a notch and these tips are both great for beginners and also those that have been out of the game for a while. Thanks x
    Caroline Magovern recently posted…Miscarriage – it’s all overMy Profile

  5. August 11, 2015 / 1:53 pm

    Great list! Your blog is beautiful and I love your articles ! The linky list with a tutorial is really helpful too — I wish I’d found it earlier as it would have saved a lot of worry! Thanks so much for sharing these pointers on #twinklytuesday
    Jennifer {The Hollyhock Door} recently posted…Summer Fun Redux: The SandboxMy Profile

  6. August 11, 2015 / 2:47 pm

    Thanks so much for this post, this has been a super useful read. You’re so right about number 10 always better to post quality driven content. #TwinklyTuesday
    Nancy Straughan recently posted…My Top Six CandlesMy Profile

  7. August 12, 2015 / 4:04 pm

    Great tips, all things I have learnt/am still learning more than two years in! The last point is really important, and is a trap I fell into in my first year, happens easily. Quality and consistency of style/voice are much more important x #sharewithme

  8. August 13, 2015 / 12:10 pm

    The photography I still have to improve on my blog. everything else I am trying to keep up with. #sharewithme
    Janine recently posted…How to deal with eczemaMy Profile

  9. August 13, 2015 / 6:51 pm

    Great tips! I’m so glad I was a friend on #SharewithMe 🙂 I’m following you now. I for sure want to read your detailed posts on social media because it is stressing me out! Ha!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori
    Lori Schumaker recently posted…When Grief Wants to Drown Your SoulMy Profile

  10. August 13, 2015 / 6:56 pm

    I agree with all your comments, especially “write the blog you want to read”, when new it is so hard to figure out what to write, but if you step back and look at it and you realize that you wouldn’t stop to read the post, then don’t post it to your blog! Who am I kidding, even when we’re not new we need to do this!
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…“WAYWOW” Linkup #11My Profile

  11. August 13, 2015 / 8:51 pm

    Great tips – and yes I do wish I’d known some of them before I started blogging! I’ve shared this on my FB Page 🙂
    Ali recently posted…A Shabby Chic Bathroom MakeoverMy Profile

  12. August 14, 2015 / 1:24 pm

    I wish I knew some of this now! Great list! Thanks for linking up! #bigfatlinky
    Al recently posted…Care Makes a Man StrongerMy Profile

  13. August 14, 2015 / 9:31 pm

    Great list thanks for sharing, I have only been doing this for a few months and struggle to get everything in!! Sometimes I verge a little on writing for writings sake so thanks for the advice 🙂 #TwinklyTuesday
    MudpieFridays recently posted…The Gruffalo Experience – Bluewater KentMy Profile

  14. August 14, 2015 / 10:46 pm

    I definatly fall into the writing for the sake of it category at times.. I will be working on this I think! Thanks for the hints! #thelist

  15. August 16, 2015 / 11:39 am

    Great list! I’ve only been blogging a year but there is so much more to learn, so I love lists like these. I definitely agree about the not blogging for the sake of it. I was really worried about not getting something up everyday but I realised that I’d rather blog a few times a week and have something interesting for people to read rather than stuff thats there for the sake of it! #anythinggoes
    Elaine @ Entertaining Elliot recently posted…CBeebies Alex Winters InterviewMy Profile

    • August 22, 2015 / 11:02 am

      I’ve been blogging for a year too 🙂 I’m still learning new things every day, it’s a constantly evolving process & I love it!

  16. August 16, 2015 / 1:37 pm

    This will be a great reference guide for new bloggers! Completely agree on all your points. Particularly photography. One thing I learned over time, is that effort is everything because it shows!
    Lucy Dorrington recently posted…Silent SundayMy Profile

  17. August 16, 2015 / 5:18 pm

    Fabulous list of tips hunny. I was the same I started out and was clueless and changed and learned so much in the first two years and constantly learning more still. Good luck to your sis. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
    jenny recently posted…Siblings {August}My Profile

  18. August 17, 2015 / 10:13 am

    This is a great post – I agree with every single one. When I think back to how pink my blog used to be, I cringe a bit. It looks much better now but I still want to have a play around and make it look prettier and tidier! And definitely quality over quantity! There are days I feel I should be publishing a post but if I have nothing to write, I’d rather just leave it! Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
    Lisa (mummascribbles) recently posted…Mummascribbles meets…Entertaining ElliotMy Profile

  19. August 17, 2015 / 8:49 pm

    Thanks for linking up with Anything Goes linky. This is a fantastic post. So good for all bloggers to read not just new to the scene bloggers. Your last point really annoys me, when people for for the sake of it. I would rather someone stops posting for a week or so until they have something decent to post. Keeping a list of ideas is also a fab tip. I always used to think of things and then forget. I now have a pen and pad with me anywhere I go. x
    Blogging Mummy recently posted…Anything Goes linkyMy Profile

  20. August 19, 2015 / 12:10 am

    I also have a notepad of different ideas for blog posts. It will take me weeks to get to them all. I personally don’t like using the WordPress draft because just this week, I accidentally published a post that I really wanted to wait for. I then unpublished it (or so I thought) but when I went to publish it again, it didn’t show up on my Facebook feed or on my home page because it was already published. It was totally my own mistake and not WordPress but I use my Microsoft word documents now, just to be safe. I also love the linky parties. This is great information. I hope this helps your sister. I’m still figuring things out.
    Michelle recently posted…Doctor Who? My Son’s Favorite DoctorMy Profile

  21. August 20, 2015 / 7:50 am

    I’ve only just started so this is great for me, thank you! *bookmarks linkies I love* #brilliantblogposts
    Saffy recently posted…Big fat pigs. My Profile

  22. August 20, 2015 / 8:01 am

    Great advice. I definitely agree with number 10. Sometimes we fall into this rut of comparison and end up posting little things just to keep up with other bloggers. And before we know it, our blog has lost it’s voice. Thanks for sharing these tips.
    Christine Kenny recently posted…Countdown to a MeltdownMy Profile

  23. August 20, 2015 / 8:20 am

    Brilliant post, wise words, I bought another domain recently and you are so right about the name, you need time to feel it’s right then find one that’s available, I would say self-hosted from the get-go too, love this x
    Honest mum recently posted…Warm Salad Nicoise Recipe with La RedouteMy Profile

  24. August 20, 2015 / 10:54 am

    Some great points. I’m about 8 months in and can totally relate to the last point you made. I’m just about to take a step back and re-evaluate what I’m doing! thanks #brilliantblogposts
    Zoe Dunn recently posted…The White Loaf: Simple Things For…..My Profile

  25. August 20, 2015 / 1:45 pm

    Don’t post for the sake of posting is a great one! Blogging needs to be for you and something that you are passionate about, without that it becomes a chore 😉 x #BrilliantBlogPosts

  26. August 20, 2015 / 2:04 pm

    Some really great tips here! Smashing post.A must read for all blogging newbies. I would also add, find your own voice and have confidence in it. Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers (hard sometimes), just concentrate on making your blog the very best reflection of you it can be. X

    #brilliantblogposts
    Katie / Pouting In Heels recently posted…HOW ‘WELL’ IS YOUR WELLBEING?My Profile

  27. August 22, 2015 / 12:40 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog post and am keen to read more. I’ve bookmarked the favourite linkies as that’s something I’m looking into this week and that’s how I’ve found you.
    Helena recently posted…5 Things to do in Your Local AreaMy Profile

  28. August 25, 2015 / 10:10 pm

    Lots of great tips here. Thanks for posting. I’ve been blogging for years but only for myself and friends so the idea of publicising it is all new to me and I’m a bit clueless!
    Min recently posted…Piglet Takes First Steps. Mummy Misses It.My Profile

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