I get asked regularly how I do it, how I keep my reach, how I get to review all the cool stuff with the four kids, and I always reply that it’s because I absolutely adore blogging. It’s more than a just a hobby for me. In fact, right now it’s my job. I actually cannot believe I’ve just typed that but it’s true. I started this blog with nothing and built it with the help of google, other bloggers, conferences and Facebook groups.
My Little Babog just celebrated its third birthday and I couldn’t be more proud of how much I’ve achieved in that time. My blog has opened many windows and door and right now I have weekly writing gigs from it. My partner has just dropped a day work to allow me to work in the comfort of my home on my blog, paid writing gigs and social media managing. One whole day to do what I love. I remember back when I started blogging there were very few bloggers I could approach if I needed help so I compiled this pretty long list of blogging tips that I’ve learnt along the way. I hope they help!
The Ultimate Guide: Blogging Tips
Know your worth. Join Social Blue Book to find out your brand’s value across your social media platforms. It’s a great resource and starting point for negotiations with brands and PRs.
Update your old blog posts. Stuck in a blogging rut, feel like you’ve lost your voice or just not bothered? Go back to an old blog post and revive it. I always get really embarrassed with my spelling and grammar. Sometimes I wonder how people read some of my old blog posts, cringing. It’s a great way of updating broken links, editing images and working on SEO.
Always be transparent. Unless you want the ASAI chasing or naming and shaming you, declare ALL sponsored posts, collaborations, and reviews. If you’ve been paid to promote a product, let your readers know. Aside from blogging ‘law’, it’s common courtesy.
Don’t follow for a follow on social media. Big follower numbers may look great on your page but they are nothing without engagement.
Domain Authority. When you start working with PR’s (mainly in the UK) they may request your DA. You can check yours here, the higher your number the more influence you are likely to have as you will rank higher in search engines. Also, note that wordpress.com and blogspot.ie domains don’t count, you must own your domain.
Decrease your bounce rate. This more so applies if you want to take blogging more seriously. To decrease your blogs bounce try adding related posts to the end of your posts to keep your readers on your site for longer. And stop with the StumbleUpon, you want organic readers, one-second clicks from StumbleUpon don’t count
Join Facebook groups. Facebook groups were the backbone to my blog in the early days. It wouldn’t be where it is today without them and all the amazing, supportive, and encouraging bloggers and content creators in them.
Blog graphics. Use sites like Canva and PicMonkey to edit your photo’s and create eye-catching graphics.
Schedule. Schedule. Schedule. Save time by managing your social media platforms in one place. HootSuite, Tweetdeck, and Buffer seem to be firm favourites with the blogging community. I usually spend one evening a week scheduling tweets and Facebook posts. For me, Hootesuite is the easiest scheduling platform and when you sign up you get a free months trial.
While you’re scheduling posts don’t over do it. I have Muted four bloggers on Twitter for constant pushing of blog posts. It’s nothing personal, I just don’t want to see the same thing day in day out.
Make Twitter lists to keep your favourite bloggers in one little place. Once a week I have a look through my own list to see what I’ve missed and catch up on some of my favourite blogs.
There is a huge difference in microblogging and BLOGGING. Bloggers have a blog, a website. Microbloggers have social media accounts. Please stop confusing the two. Anyone can throw out images and text on social media but building a website is a whole different kettle of fish.
Go self-hosted. If you’re serious about blogging, self-hosted is the way forward. You will have so much control over your blog from advertising to themes. I got some help going self-hosted and got Sheila Pollard to do mine for me, I’d highly recommend her.
No Follow Links. It took me some time to understand the importance of no follow links. A follow link boosts brands and businesses SEO while a no-follow link stops google crawling your site to boost your review links that you have embedded. If do-follow links are used incorrectly google can penalize you and you will disappear from their search engine. Scary. Never use a do-follow link when writing a sponsored post or a review. Angela from The Inspiration Edit has a very clear explanation on no follow links, how to add the HTML code to your links and a very handy plugin too.
Back up your blog. Last year a good friend nearly lost her blog after a glitch somewhere but thankfully Sheila was able to retrieve it. I use Updraftplus to back up my blog and I also email each post to myself just to be extra careful.
SEO is the key. This is one of my top blogging tips. Name all your images. Link your own relevant content within your posts when you can. Use keywords in your titles, URL, first paragraph and throughout your post. Although try do it naturally. Write longer posts, I try to aim for over 1300 words. Amanda Webb from spiderworking.com has a great post on SEO for Bloggers.
Twitter Dm’s. Just no, no, no, no, no. If I follow you on Twitter and I get an instant ‘follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and here’s my blog sure read my last ten posts while you’re at it‘ message from you, I will disconnect as quick as I connected. It’s so impersonal. It’s rude. It’s just darn lazy. Don’t do it. Just tweet me and say hello.
Be consistent. Decide how and when you will upload content and try stick at it. My readers know I’m not very active on the weekends and that I usually post blogs in the evenings. However, I write a parenting blog so if I’m MIA for a few days they understand and know one of my babogs is most likely sick.
Stop wasting your time blogging for Huffington Post. They will never pay you. Although, Resa from eyeheartcreative.com put together a fabulous list of places that will.
Credit. If you are sharing an image on your social media channels and it is not yours, credit whoever owns it. Same goes for your website, Kylaroma.com has a brilliant post on how to credit images in your blog posts.
Download Grammarly. It basically proofreads your post for you. I’m not great on the auld grammar or spelling front at all and I’d be lost without Grammarly.
Like and Share to win. Facebook competitions are great for engagement, new followers, and social media reach if used the right way. But did you know Facebook can shut your page down for asking your followers to share your posts? It’s against their terms and conditions. Stop asking for shares before it’s too late.
Facebook debugger. My dear little friend. Have you ever uploaded a blog post to Facebook and an old image keeps creeping up? I have no clue why it happens but Facebook debugger refreshes the link every single time. Winning
Google Analytics. An invaluable blogging tip, a tool ever blogger should be using. Find out why people are coming to your site, why they are leaving, your most popular blog posts and even your bounce rate. Google Analytics can be very complicated to get your head around so Al over at The Dad Network created a fabulous infographic over on his blog to help explain Google Analytics in a little more detail.
Find your tribe. I have a handful of blogging pals that I can reach out to, and I do so every other day, sometimes it’s non-blogging related, sometimes it is. For example, my dear friend Lisa from badmammy.com has proofread more of my posts than my mother has read. She’s a little gem, along with all my mammy blogger pals.
Free stock images. Check out sites like Photo Pin, Pexels, Stock Up, PicJumbo, Life of Pix and ISO Republic.
Social Media Icons. A little bugbear of mine and many others I can only assume. Have your social media icons visible and at the top of your web page. Make sure they are clear and visible on your website. In fact, make sure they are one of the first things a visitor will see. Social media buttons look so much neater but widgets will work just as well. The same goes for your subscription box. Readers are not going to subscribe if the box is way down the end of your page.
Pop-ups are not cool.
Media Kit. If you plan on taking your blog to the next level by working with brands and PR’s you will need a media kit. Media kits can be tedious and time-consuming so I had an awesome illustrator, Naomi from Dr. How’s Science Wows create mine, and it’s superb. You should hook up with her if graphics ain’t your thing. Mine includes a short bio, my pricing, my social media platforms and followers, page views, Domain Authority, and brands that I’ve worked with in the past. Aby over at You Baby Me Mummy has this brilliant post on how to build your own media kit if you fancy making your own media kit.
Timing is the key. Use your Facebook insights to find out when your readers are most active and schedule your posts for those times. A high percentage of my readers are female (mammies) and they are most active from 9 pm so that’s when I usually share my blog posts over on Facebook.
Save Facebook posts for later. Easily one of my favourite Facebook tools. Save or bookmark posts in your feeds for later by clicking the downwards arrow or the three little dots and press save. It’s the simple things.
Another one of my blogging tips is to Comment on other blogs. In my experience bloggers are most likely to comment on your blog posts while readers will comment on your social media posts. If you comment on other blogs chances are that blogger might pop back to have a nosey on your site and leave you a comment too.
Want more engagement? My top blogging tips are to connect with your readers, ask them questions, find out why they are coming to your site and write more of it. Make it easy for them to comment on your blog too.
NO to Captcha. A bug bear of mine and many within the blogging community. If I read your post and like it, I will most likely comment but NOT if you have a captcha. My time is limited, I don’t like riddles or silly games.
Akismet is the best plugin to block and monitor spam, in my opinion.
There’s an App for everything. Adsense, Analytics, Dropbox, Facebook Pages Manager and We Transfer are very handy apps to have.
When choosing plugins for your blog always try to pick one with positive reviews but most importantly with recent updates. Try to avoid the ones that have not been updated in less than six months.
Wondering how to make real money from your blog? There are lots of ways to make money from blogging from sponsored posts, Google Adsense and advertisements. Kerry from Oh So Amelia has a fantastic post on her blog – 10 ways to make money from blogging. While Lisa at Oh, she blogs! has a brilliant post on the best affiliates for bloggers too. My personal favourites are Amazon affiliates and Awin. This post earned me close to a grand thanks to the simple ad placement. In fairness, though, I jumped on a trend and it did get six-figure views in less than a week. It just goes to show you what the bigger websites can pull in daily. I use Adsense as I found it the easiest to use.
Sponsored campaigns are on the rise. Sign up to sites like Buzzoole (affiliate), Shopping Links and Takumi for paid social media campaigns.
If you want to to be invited to events or receive the latest press releases TELL THE PR. Simply email them your media kit, tell them who you are, your niche, audience and if they feel like you are a good fit tell pop you on the press list.
Don’t be afraid to pitch. Again send across your media kit, tell them what you want and what you have to offer. Whats the worst they can say?
Want to find out where the PR’s are? Google it. Google PR’s in Ireland look at their client list and if there are brands you would like to work with send them an email, you’ll find the address on their contact form.
All your social media accounts should be the same. For example, you will find me on all social media channels at @myliittlebabog. If your accounts differ it will make harder for readers and brands to find you, let alone tag you.
Instagram can be a pain in the bum lately with its new algorithm. Research and use the 30 hashtag allowance, engage with similar niche blogs and hashtags and make sure you turn the two-factor authentication on. There’s been a serious amount of hacking lately and it’s the last thing you’ll need.
Google URL Shortener. A handy tool for shortening your link for social media especially for beauty and fashion bloggers doing outfit posts.
Twitter is one of my least favourite social media platforms. Personally, I think it’s great for connecting with bloggers and brands – that’s about it. However following the Cuddle Fairys post on Twitter Guide for Websites I have noticed my referrals increase.
And finally, stay true to yourself. When PR’s start flashing the cash for content about tech on a parenting blog remember why you started blogging.