As part of my 2 year blogiversary I am going to share some tips and tricks that I have learnt over the years to share my wisdom and try to hide how much I still don’t know.
Obviously I am not an expert and there are thousands of ways to succeed and improve your blog so this is not a list of things you have to do but just some suggestions on how to run a blog (or something like that).
First things first
(I’m a realistic) read these posts, they are GREAT:
- Xandra @ Starry Sky Books did a post about things to know as a new blogger which has lots of great advice. There is part one and part two.
- Kat @ Novels and Waffles did a series of posts on design advice which you should absolutely check out here.
- Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea did a post on tips for a WordPress blog and advice on how to get visitors
Deep down all humans are lazy so you want to make it easy for your readers or potential readers which means breaking up your text.
Large paragraphs are daunting but you can write the same amount using bullets points or smaller paragraphs. People are much more likely to read it. If you remember at school when you got given a textbook it would be a drag to sift through the information but then on a PowerPoint on the same topic it covered all the same things but it was set out to be more engaging and really we were conned into thinking it was less. So the same logical applies for your blog.
Also I like to ‘justify’ my paragraphs so all the sentences end at the same point (like in books, the real reason why I do it) but I think it looks professional and much neater.
Headers are really important for structure and are good for breaking up the text again. You should definitely use them and make them bold so they stand out or use capitals or large header fonts. You’ve got to shout out what you are writing about.
Your post is as bright as you choose it to be. And colour always entices people, we like pretty things (like aesthetically pleasing cafes and cute towns). Sometimes we can be really shallow. So colour is great in a post to liven it up and it breaks the screen up for the readers. Plus it makes them want to come back to your fabulous blog.
Try to have a colour theme for your blog (e.g. reds and purples, blues, pink and greens) as it helps people to remember you and really brings your blog together. Consistently is key when building a brand.
Ways To Add Colour:
- Pictures: if you don’t like taking photo or don’t think you take good enough photos, that’s okay. There are so many alternatives.
- Photo Collage/mood-board and Tiffany @ Read by Tiffany did a great post telling you how to create them whilst making sure you don’t break any copyright laws and how to make them aesthetic.
- Gifs (great way to add humour and easy to break up the writing. Plus there are so many you can always find a relevant one)
- Graphics: make some, buy some, use Canva to make some (Canva is SO great). Graphics are great for featured images as an alternative to pictures and you can play around with apps like Canva and discover your style and it is easier than I thought it would be and doesn’t take too long either.
- As a book blogger I use book cover pictures from Goodreads.
- Page dividers: again I use Canva to make mine. Depending on your colour theme and design you can use different things but they are so useful and make such a difference to the post to break it up and add colour.
- Coloured headers
- Make key sentences bold and a different colour— this is great for people who are just flicking through the post as they can read the key points and it is visually appealing.
WRITING BLOG POSTS
Long posts vs Short posts. Which is better?? Answer: one isn’t better than the other. What I do is write everything I want to write in the shortest way possible.
So what I mean is I will write every thought I had then go through and think can I say it in less. This makes sure I don’t repeat myself too. There is nothing bad about a long post as long as it doesn’t drag. Always say what you want to say, just edit it and structure it to make it the best possible and easily accessible to everyone.
This is quite a hard topic and you might have heard it thrown around like ‘have a good blogging voice, make it unique and it will draw all the readers in like magic’ but from my experience it isn’t quite how it works. A good blogging voice, what’s that?!?! Well I normally have a few voices that immediately jump to my mind and should they inspire your voice. In a way perhaps but ultimately I think not because it’s not so much about having a checklist on what makes a good blogging voice but having your own blogging voice. The best advice in this area is to be yourself and let it show through your writing. With me confidence normally comes through time and experience so you get to cultivate your own blogging voice over time but you just always remember that your voice is more than good enough.
GROWING YOUR BLOG
Blog hopping is where you go on to other blogs and interact with bloggers. I think it is a great way to get to know people and it does help to get your blog out there. Something I have learnt through blogging is that statistics aren’t the biggest thing with a blog but it can be important to you personally as they can indicate growth, popular content and goals. But at the end of the day, numbers can’t comfort you in the same way as genuine connection and friendship so I like to meet new bloggers and I genuinely like reading their content so I find blog hopping to be a very rewarding activity and it is the primary way that I will get views. I think the best advice with this is to be genuine and write thoughtful comments as the blogger will always appreciate it. Also don’t be afraid to interact if you like something tell them it will probably make their day. It does help with statistics a lot I find but you get so much more from it as well.
Okay marketing seems WAY too fancy of a term for where you are tweeting in the hope that it is funny (or something) but when you have a blog, your social media presence is technically marketing as you are promoting your brand and I’ve heard people say you are supposed to spend 50% creating and 50% promoting. I will say that my social media presence is….. non-existent. Well it’s like a ghost, you can’t see it but it is there. I haven’t been using any social media recently (and low-key enjoying it) and I’ve never really put that much effort into it as it can be tiring and addictive. BUT it is helpful for growing your blog and there are certain tips for it (apparently they are secrets only known to some though). I’m joking, I know the basic like on Instagram and Twitter where being consistently active and interacting is key. Then on Pinterest rotate your pins and create new ones, join group boards etc. There are also groups across some social media where you help each other out which you can join as well. And Goodreads…. well I don’t know… black magic??
But basically there are things you can do and plenty of people with a lot more tips than me so research it if you want but for me I don’t feel the need to as I blog for enjoyment and like I said I am enjoying not being on social media so it is important to know when to not use media for your well-being as much as it can be helpful.
- Be you
- Be happy
- Be active
- Be consistent
Okay so maybe they aren’t golden but I still think they’re important, especially the top two.
And that’s a wrap!! I used to think I couldn’t do all this and I needed a special skill set and I never be professional enough but I could. Maybe it isn’t perfect but I got better and I was only able to do that by starting and learning.
Honestly I think I’ve grown so much with blog design and writing over time. The best thing to do is to keep doing it and trying different things. Obviously reading advice posts has helped me but there is never one path to growth, you do it in your time and in your own way.