For those who are seeking help in blogging, I present my “Blogging for Beginners” guide! A step-by-step guide to creating your brand and voice, I share my tips I’ve learned these past two years. Did you know my blog turns two this month?! Happy Blog-iversary! How has it been two years already? I take you through what I wish I would’ve known before I started. Let’s dive in!
Blogging for Beginners Guide
Tip #1: WordPress
Whatever you do, start with WordPress! This is advice nugget number one in my “Blogging for Beginners” guide. I’ve heard so many stories about people starting on a different platform and later transferring to WordPress. Just start there. It has so many plugins that help ease the function of editing, SEO and the overall look of your blog. Make sure to upgrade and pay for WordPress Admin. It’s worth it! (It’s a once a year fee of $100. Worth it to have support and flexibility to begin with.)
Must-Have WordPress Plugins:
- Akismet Anti-Spam
- I swear by this plugin for spam. It automatically blocks spammy comments or emails from bots. It also helps protect my blog from phishing and hackers.
- Insert Header and Footers
- You’ll need this for Google Analytics. This helps connect your blog to analytics.
- This is an analytics and connections tool. You can have automatic shares to social media from each post as well as analytics to traffic, post views, etc. (*This isn’t 100% correct because it doesn’t filter out bots. It’s a good comparison tool though so see actual traffic through Google Analytics compared to Jetpack.)
- SEO Data Transporter
- If you’re wanting to revamp your design and blog theme, this plugin will be your bestie! It helps transfer SEO data from one theme to another.
- Yoast SEO
- Oh where would I be without Yoast? For those of you who struggle with SEO and writing for views, download this RIGHT…NOW! With guided steps to optimize traffic, it has changed the way I draft posts. I love it!
- Simple Social Icons
- Obviously we need these to share our content. Easy peasy!
- WP SEO HTML Sitemap
- Partnered with Yoast SEO, you’ll be on fire in terms of analyzing your traffic and what works. Sitemap creates a map of all visits, clicks, etc. of your most popular content.
Other posts you may enjoy: Blogging 101
Tip #2: Collaborate
This is such a huge part of blogging. Collaborating not only online but in person is crucial. Some of my favorite partnerships have been cultivated in person. It’s becoming a lost art! Go to events, meet bloggers, reach out via DM, just connect! If I could go back and yell at myself two years ago to do this more, I would have a lot more friends. 🙂 It’s goofy, but it’s true! We all need connection to feel fulfilled. I’m so grateful for the connections I’ve been able to make.
Collaborating with other bloggers and brands gives you additional exposure on multiple channels. It’s a win/win for everyone because you’re sharing their content to your audience and vice versa. Nugget number two in the “Blogging for Beginners” guide!
Tip #3: Never Stop Learning
It’s been two years and there are still eight billion things I don’t know. Thank goodness for Google and other experts! If you don’t know something you have the internet. Search via Google or even Pinterest. I’ve found some amazing gems on Pinterest. If you have the funding go to conferences, blogger meet ups or educational events! (If you’re local and want to be added to our “Let’s Get Social” events, email me. We’d love to have you!)
Tip #4: Research
One of the best things a consultant told me was to research my dream blog. I searched through Instagram, Pinterest and Google to find my “reach for the stars” blog, the blog I wanted to emulate. I searched others in my niche, what they were doing and how I could utilize that in my own voice. Begin following other bloggers you appreciate and hope to be someday. Mic drop.
Tip #5: Put in the Work
Many don’t realize that blogging can be a part-time or even full-time job. I spend hours shooting photos, editing, writing, and creating a strategy on my social media channels. If you’re really serious about blogging, make sure you realize the time commitment it takes to be successful. Even those who do put in the hours, it takes lots of dedication and patience to “get your big break.” Put in the work and it will pay off eventually. Be prepared that eventually may be years down the road. (This is probably one of the biggest nuggets in my “Blogging for Beginners” guide…never give up and do work!)
Tip #6: Good Things Take Time
Like I said above, good things take time. If you want to start a blog, be in it for the long haul. I see so many Instagram accounts start a blog and then end up quitting because they don’t have 10,000 views their first month of doing it. Be patient!
Tip #7: Don’t Try to Be Someone Else
Do you! Everyone has their own unique perspective on life whether it’s fashion, recipes, family, makeup tutorials, etc. It’s ok to be influenced by someone else’s work or content, but your followers will want to hear from YOU. Be creative and showcase your unique voice. That can be through raw connection through Snapchat or IG stories, or planned strategically through your writing and images. Whatever it is, connect and be yourself.
Tip #8: Content & Photography
Content is the biggest thing that will drive your blog. It is the one thing what will drive collaborations with brands. A following is great; however, if you have crappy content, no one will want to work with you. When I first started I had less than a thousand followers but since I created consistent and pretty content (thank you to every photographer that has worked with me, including my Instagram husband), I still landed collaborations.
Tip #9: Be Strategic About Social Media
My last and final nugget to the guide is about social media. I see so many accounts throw content out just because someone says they have to post everyday. Stop! If you don’t have something to post that you’re proud of and can put your “I’m awesome!” stamp on, then what are you doing? Have a content calendar and plan blog posts along with your social media. It not only keeps you consistent with your readers and followers, but is a major time saver.
As far as Instagram apps go, here are some of my favorites for quality content and planning:
- My number 1 pick for editing photos on my phone.
- I use this to track how I’m doing weekly in terms of new and lost followers. Don’t get hung up on your unfollows though. Keep this as motivation to love the followers who do support you!
- Another editing app that allows you to play around with color schemes, filters, etc. It’s just a different variety from VSCO.
- A Beautiful Mess (ABM)
- If you want text overlay or creative quotes, I use this a lot too.
- Plan out your Instagram content in nine squares. I pick and choose my planned content to make sure I like the layout and look of the photos before I post. Major time saver!
Here’s to another 23 years of blogging! (I can retire when I’m 50 right? 🙂 ) If you’re thinking about starting a blog or are just looking for new information, I hope my “Blogging for Beginners” guide helped! I’d love hear your feedback. For those who have supported me from the beginning and the new friends I’ve met this week, “THANK YOU!” I’ve always loved to write and be creative. Connecting with others makes my heart happy. Blogging will always be the perfect fit.
Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.