Since The Travelista was shortlisted for a Cosmo Blog Award earlier this month (yay!), I feel as if I’ve reached my first milestone and achievement with my blog. Traffic to my blog has gone through the roof, I’ve connected with some lovely people and discovered some rather fabulous new blogs to follow.
Recently I wrote a post on my career story so far, telling my fellow Travelistas I managed to go from Tea Girl to Luxury Travel Blogger. The response to this post was amazing and I was overwhelmed at how many comments it generated. Lots of people started asking for tips about how to get into blogging. I’ve been blogging for less than a year myself, so I would consider myself no expert, but I thought I would share my top 10 tips to start a successful blog. They worked for me so they can work for you too!
Whilst I write a travel blog, this advice applies to any context of blogs, so hopefully you will all find it useful.
1. Identify What You Love
Ok let’s start with the obvious. If you’re thinking of setting up a blog, chances are you’re smarter than your average Doris. You’re probably internet savvy and enjoy stringing a snappy sentence together. But before thinking about putting finger to key, you need to decide what you want your blog to be about? Think about your passions and interests in order to find your niche. If you love what you’re writing about, you will attract like-minded people who share your interests. With the right niche, maintaining your blog will never feel like a chore.
TOP TIP: Find a unique angle for your blog. I love Hitched and Ditched relationship blog as it combines the musings of 1 single girl and 1 married girl. This unique angle on relationship blogging allows for great two-sided perspective and attracts a wide female readership. (H&D is also shortlisted in the Cosmo Blog Awards!)
2. Give yourself an identity
Once you’ve decided what you’re going to blog about, you need to give yourself a unique identity. With hundreds of thousands of blogs already out there in the blogosphere, this is becoming more and more of a challenge. If you think of a awesome blog name, make sure nobody has it already before you create your domain.
3. Content is King
The core of any successful blog is unique and engaging content. You need to be creating posts that people actually want to read. When I say content, I don’t just mean the writing. Words, photos, videos and audio all come under the umbrella of content, and the more organic you can make these elements the better. I love blogs that are photo-rich. I take photos of EVERYTHING I do these days, just incase I blog about it (my friends and passers by think I’m totally mad). You don’t need a fancy SLR either. A smart phone and a bit of Instagram magic does the trick! A picture speaks a thousand words and colourful content will really help bring your blog posts to life.
4. Social is Queen
What’s the point in writing all that amazing content if nobody is going to see it? When you become a blogger, your social media channels become marketing tools as well as platforms of communication. Be sure to share your posts across all your social media platforms to maximize the reach of your posts – a well hash-tagged tweet can get your blog in front of the all the right kinds of people. Once your blog has started to grow, I would recommend setting up separate blogger profiles to your existing personal ones. As a blogger, you’re clearly still a person, but your followers won’t care about your wild night out or those pictures of your sister’s new baby.
TOP TIP: When sharing your posts, be sure to compress your links using www.bit.ly.com to save on character space. You can use bit.ly to monitor click throughs too!
5. Be Prepared to Share Your World
Whilst you know you want to start a blog, you might find it a daunting prospect. You are essentially sharing snippets of your world with whole world! So you’ve got to make sure you pick out the best bits! Pick out the highs, the lows, the triumphs, the disasters, the out-of-the-ordinary. They’ll be the bits people want to read about. People love reading about people, so try to make your posts as personal and experienced-based as possible. Show the world your personality from the very first post.
TOP TIP: Sharing is caring, but make sure you don’t publish any really personal information contact information such as your address or number.
6. Get Your Geek On
If you’re serious about getting a blog off the ground, you have to have a bit of a geeky side to you. Once your blog is set up, you’ll probably spend a lot of time Googling techy ‘How To’s” and get seriously addicted to the web analytics, hit rates and stats of your blog. You may even start to dabble in coding. But it’s such a great feeling when you start to see your traffic creep up!
TOP TIP: Spend some time deciding which blog hosting site to use. This article shows the comparisons between Blogger and WordPress, the two main contenders. I have only ever used WordPress and I love it.
7. Network the Blogosphere
Starting a blog opens up endless new opportunities for networking with people all around the world. Blogger communities are massive and incredibly supportive, and once you start blogging, you have the chance to become part of one. Reading other peoples blogs is just as important as making sure people read yours. If you read an awesome post – leave a comment and tell the blogger! 9/10 they will check out your blog and repay the favour. Staying on top of what other bloggers are doing can provide inspiration for your own blog too. Consider it as a bit of friendly market research.
8. Make Friends with Your Audience
In order to build up a loyal readership and steady traffic to your blog (warning: this takes time), you need to give your readers some love. Talk to them like you would talk to your friends. Make sure people can see that behind your blog there is a human with thoughts, feelings and personality. If you present yourself to be friendly, approachable and real, people will be 10x more likely to relate to you. If someone kindly leaves a comment on your post, endeavor to respond to them.
9. Get your head around SEO
SEO is something I really knew nothing about before I began blogging and working in digital content. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, which basically means sneaky tricks to ensure your blog appears at the top of Google’s search listings (other search engines are available!). Google uses something called an algorithm to scan content online and pick out what is most relevant to a ‘Googled’ term. Eg. If someone types: How to start a travel blog into Google – then chances are this post might end up somewhere near the top. This is primarily to do with the matching title. Other things that improve your SEO rankings are keywords, links to reputable websites, reputable websites linking to your blog, well titled images and entirely unique content.
TOP TIP: The Moz Begginers Guide to SEO is a great place to start if you want to find out more.
10. Be Patient
Growing a successful blog doesn’t happen over night. When you start, it’s a little planted seed that needs lots of love to grow! Think of your blog title, niche, strapline as the roots and your design, layout and content as the stalk. With a bit of sunshine and attention, your plant (blog) will begin to expand and grow. The roots will get stronger and the flowers will bloom! Don’t get disheartened if you don’t see results as soon as you’d like. If you love writing your blog, it will show. The hard work will eventually pay off. As it did for me.
I believe everybody is entitled to their little own piece of the Internet where their voice can be heard. You can fill it, dress it up and sculpt it however you please. So what are you waiting for? Take your piece of Internet today and own it!
Did you find this post helpful or inspiring? Did I spark a burning question that you’re dying to know the answer to? Perhaps you just want to say hi! Please leave me a comment in the box below. I’d love to hear from you.