Beware of pickpockets in touristy areas… Never go partying with your passport… Don’t accept the first ‘special price’ you’re offered in the souk… There are some things when travelling that are just common sense. The same kind of rules also apply in the blogosphere, although some of them aren’t quite so obvious.
I entered the world of blogging just short of a year ago and whilst I still have a lot to learn, heck, I have learnt a lot too. Blogging is one of those things you can only learn by doing, so here are a few little ditties that I’ve put together that I think ever savvy blogger should know. Don’t say I never give you anything…
1. Never underestimate the power of your fellow bloggers
Whether you’re blogging about travel, fashion or the music scene in Outer Mongolia, chances are someone out there will be blogging about exact same thing. Instead of seeing them as competition, see them as alliance. If people are reading their blog, there’s a chance they might like to read yours too. Try and build as many relationships with your fellow bloggers as possible by following and following their blogs, telling them you like their work and adding them to your blog roll. Oh and don’t forget, blogs that link to one another can serious points in the SEO stakes (SEO = Search Engine Optimisation)
2. Social Media is far more than just Twitter and Facebook
Every blogger knows the important of promoting their posts on social media, but what does social media mean to you? If you just think of Twitter and Facebook, take a long hard look at your blogger alter ego in the mirror and then read on. Whilst Facebook and the Twitterati are fantastic platforms to share content, other social contenders can make a serious impact on driving traffic to your blog. Videos, blogs and image lead blog posts can do amazingly well on places like StumbleUpon and Google+ and there’s no better place to visually inspire followers than on Pinterest. Links can be shared on all of them, so get posting and make your posts as hard as possible!
3. Blogging is free
Lots of clever e-commerce folks have invented endless ways to monetise the blogging industry, but guess what? Creating a good blog doesn’t have to cost a dime, nickel, penny, get it? WordPress and Blogger are the two most popular blogging platforms and are completely free. Of course, you can pay for pricey extras and design templates, but they’re absolutely not necessary. All I’ve ever paid for on The Travelista is my web domain www.thetravelista.net which cost about £15 for two years, but your hosted domain is totally free.
4. Always carry your blogger details
Just like you never know when you’re going to bump into Mr Right / The girl of your dreams, you never know when you’re going to bump into a great contact for your blog either. And when you do, fumbling in your bag for a scrap of paper and jotting down aint’ too chic. Make a great first impression by putting your website and all of your contact details on a blogger card (in other words, a business card for your blog). Try and use similar colours and design to your blog for a professional and consistent look. I designed my own cards recently with Vistaprint and made sure I handed lots out when I attended the Cosmo Blog Awards.
5. Only grow it as far as you can manage
Once you get the ball rolling with your blog, the ball can roll and if you’re any good at this blogging lark, it can roll FAST. After reaching a certain level of traffic your blog becomes a commodity to many PR’s and fellow bloggers. Opportunities and working partnerships WILL come your way, but if like me you have a job / studying to do, chances are you won’t have time to be able to say YES to all of them. In A Day in the Life of A Travel Blogger, I talk about how I manage blogging and travel writing with a full time job. I only have so many hours in the week to spend on my blog, so I am selective about which opportunities I take on. If you say yes to everything, chances are you’ll burn out and end up disappointing people. Manage your time and don’t let it get out of control.
6. Don’t just accept things cos they’re free
I love a good freebie as much as the next girl, but just like you need to be selective about the opportunities you take on, you need to be selective about the freebies you accept too. Only accept a freebie if a. You’re willing to write about it on your blog and b. it’s relevant to the content within your site and c. It’s a brand you’d be proud to associate your blog with. As a travel blogger, I’d never write about something that isn’t related to travel and that wouldn’t be a valuable read for my followers. Be polite and respectful to PRs that try to send you stuff, even if you don’t want what they’re flogging. They are just doing their job and might offer you something perfect for your blog next time round. Maintaining good relationships are key in this game.
7. Respect content ownership
This is one nugget of information that you’re better off not having to learn the hard way. Whilst the world wide web is a never ending void of content, everything on the web is owned by someone. Words, music, photos, ideas. You can copy and paste just about any of it, but that doesn’t make it OK. Just like Lady GaGa would get pissed off if you illegally downloaded her music track, that awesome photography blogger would get just as pissed off if you pilfered her images for your blog. Unique content is without a doubt the most valuable attribute for your blog, but if you’re after using a certain bit of content, always ask permission and accredit the source it came from. Better to be safe than sorry.
8. Don’t let take over your life
This is the most important point of all, and one I tell myself repeatedly all the time. Whilst blogging is an amazing, fun, creative and exciting hobby (or career for some), it can also be very time consuming, all encompassing and addictive. Like most bloggers, my blog is my baby and I want to nurture it and give it lots of attention, but also I realise the importance of switching off and living some of my life offline. Take everything in moderation, no matter how much you love it.
I’d love to know if this post helped you and what you’ve taken away from it. Equally, I want to hear your blogging tips too! So please leave me a comment in the box below. I reply to all of my comments.