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.
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!
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.
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?