This is a collaborative post
I don’t often blog much about my experience blogging, but, as the year is nearing an end it offers an opportunity to reflect on things.
It’s always a bit hard explaining to people what it is that I do – my blog started primarily as a way of keeping a log of the things I was doing with the children, then as we moved into home educating it became a bit of a tool for me to reflect on the decisions we were making.
I was a bit clueless when I started blogging, and terms such as DA, SEO, and alt text were all a bit alien to me. Forget about Pinterest friendly images and the such! I literally wrote something, published it and hoped someone would read it; I wasn’t concerned with getting search engines to crawl and index my site.
I’ve worked hard on my blog and now, many years on, I am reaping the rewards of that. Living in the digital era has afforded me possibilities to earn extra income in a way that just wouldn’t have been possible 20-30 years ago. I am proud that my blog enables me to earn an income to make me staying at home with the children a reality. All too often people will make the comment of ‘oh, you got that free’ and I almost always correct them – nothing is free; it’s always in return for access to you, my audience. If I put something on my site or social feeds it’s because I believe it’s a worthwhile product that can offer something of benefit or interest. If you follow my Instagram stories you’ll know that I often sit up late working on my blog! It’s certainly isn’t easy to create and maintain a site.
I was approached a few months ago from another home educator whose son was looking to set up a blog, and she was asking me what tips I would share. I thought I’d share them below for anyone who might also be thinking of setting up a blog.
Don’t start a blog for the intention of getting ‘free’ stuff. You can create a blog in minutes but to generate an audience, and an audience that is loyal and returns and trusts you takes time and lots and lots of effort. It doesn’t happen overnight and requires patience. Write because you want to; write because you have something to share. If your blog is good the opportunities will find you.
I’ll admit I am still not brilliant at SEO (search engine optimisation)and there is still a lot for me to learn. It was many years before I started really sorting this out on my blog and I really do need to find time to audit everything and make my older posts more SEO friendly. I need to spend time updating old posts and adding in better images and creating key words and adding in things like alt text on images etc. It takes time, but it’s worth it to clean up your site and create a better experience for your audience.
It’s really worth taking time to understand all these things. Whilst you should always write for yourself it does help to see that your posts are reaching people, and it’s always lovely when readers interact with you or ask for your advice on something. Getting the basics of SEO right at the beginning means that you can start to attract that audience at an earlier stage and saves you having to go back at a later date (like me!) and updating all your older posts.
Interact with fellow bloggers
Social media is a must for bloggers. When I first started blogging I was very active on twitter and ‘met’ a lot of fellow bloggers there, It was also a place where I started to pick up opportunities from companies looking for bloggers to promote their products, or other companies found me based on reviews I’d written etc. It was also the place where I managed to get into contact with companies such as Click Consult who I’ve worked with across the year.
I’ve now become more active on my Facebook page and my Instagram feed, especially with the arrival of Instagram Stories. All three platforms offer something different and I know what my followers across those different platforms like me to share and how they like me to interact.
Plan your content
My final tip is to plan your content – it helps you to get into a rhythm and brings some consistency to your blog. I don’t always manage to do this, but I am getting slightly better. Planning your content also means that you can make sure your social media feeds match whats on your blog schedule, as well as helping you to re-use seasonal content. So I know that there are posts that I’ve written in the past that are always popular in January, I plan an update to those each year and schedule them to share across my facebook page. Planning also means that if any opportunities do arise, you know if you have the capacity to take them and fit them in.
What would be your tips for new bloggers?