5 useful things I've learnt throughout my short life as a blogger...
I've had this little blog for a year and a bit now and along the way, there have been many things I've started doing that I wish I'd been doing already. I've picked up inspiration from other blogs that I love as well as realising how certain things could make my blog so much better. I've got to a stage now where I'm pretty content with how my blog is, the design, the layout and the photography. That's not to say that I still don't have room for improvement because I think I definitely do, but compared to how my blog was when I first started a year ago, I've come a long way.
Now most bloggers will tell you that you don't need a fancy camera to take nice photos for your blog, and this is true. But layout and lighting is everything, whatever device you use to take your blog photographs with, you need to make sure you think about these two things. A nice background is always a bonus, but you don't need one to take a nice photo. Your carpet or your wooden floor or even your dining table will do just fine. Just make sure whatever you're photographing is laid out nicely, and isn't overcrowded so it's easy on the eye. Props are always nice to use too but I think sometimes you can overdo it, especially if you're writing a product review, you want the product you're reviewing to be the focus of the photo. There's many different styles to blog photography and I personally like them all because who wants to read loads of blogs that look the same? But making sure you have a crisp, bright photo that's nicely laid out is so important because it is 99% going to attract more readers to your blog.
Without trying to be insulting, there's a lot of blogs I read that do reviews on products like lipsticks and don't include swatches. This doesn't stop me from reading their blog of course, but quite often photographs of lipsticks or any other makeup products, don't show the true colour it is when swatched. If you review a lipstick that I like the look of and include a swatch, there's a 90% chance I'll click on your link and buy it. If you review it and I think "oo that looks nice" but then there's no swatch, the chance that I'll click on your link and buy it reduces to about 5% if not lower. If you put affiliate links on your blog to try and bring in commissions from purchases, then not including swatches is doing you no favours whatsoever. I might google for a swatch instead but by that time I'll have clicked off your blog and if I end up buying the said product, you won't get any commission from my purchase. It's worth thinking about as swatches really do make such a difference :)
If there's one thing I hate, it's when I always comment on someone's blog but they never return the favour. I've probably been guilty of this too but I honestly try my best not to be. If you comment on my blog often, believe me, I do notice and I try so hard to remember to pop a comment on one of your posts too. I know that it's probably not something bloggers do on purpose, but it's just those few bloggers that upload posts almost everyday and I leave so many comments and never ever get a single one back. It just seems a little rude and I think the best thing about the blogging community is all of the friendly bloggers. Also, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for other blogs because blogging to me isn't just about uploading posts and getting viewers in, it's about enjoying reading other blogs and interacting with other bloggers. So if you can, take the time to see who comments on your blog often and make sure you return the favour because they'll really appreciate it, believe me! I'm definitely going to make more of an effort to do this myself.
Okay so you've spent hours writing up the perfect blog post and taking some really nice photos to go with it, but you're not getting many viewers in. It's upsetting right? I can't tell you how much social media makes a difference to blog views, it really does. A tweet with a couple of hashtags or an Instagram post, or even just sharing it amongst your Facebook friends. It really does make all the difference, you have to get your blog out there! I know most bloggers will probably already know this but I've sort of aimed this blog post at those who are beginners or looking for some useful advice. When I first started my blog I was hardly getting anywhere until I started using Twitter, Instagram & Facebook to really promote my posts. People can't read what they don't know is there. In the first few months of having a blog, I was so shy about promoting it and I felt like I was going to be seen as a 'spammer' and people would find me annoying, but it did the complete opposite and helped to grow my blog to what it is today. Just go for it!
Blogging isn't all about receiving freebies, but sometimes it's nice to make connections and work with companies after all the hard work you put into your blog. Sure some companies will contact you and ask you if you're interested in working with them, but a lot of the time you need to network and get your name out there. There's plenty of blogging networks such as The Bloggers Hangout that will email you about brand opportunities and you just go on their website and apply to work with them. All you have to do is tell them a bit about yourself and your blog and what you can offer them in terms of a collaboration. I've contacted a few companies through there and I wouldn't have had the opportunity to work with them if I hadn't! They don't always get back to you, which is probably because they get hundreds of emails from all kinds of different bloggers, but what's the harm in contacting them and giving yourself a chance? You never know if they'll add you to a list of bloggers to contact in the future :)
So that's a bit of blogging advice from me, no I'm not an expert on blogging but I would have loved to have known these things when I first started my blog. I never really do posts like these so if you liked it and would like any more useful advice I might have, let me know and I'll rack my brain and do another one sometime.