Writing & Blogging

Tips for New Bloggers

I know, I know. Aren’t there enough posts about this? Yes and no. I’ve been a blogger since 2013 (2012 if we want to get technical), and I’ve learned a lot and seen a lot over the years. I’ve also read a lot of posts including tips for new bloggers. Some are helpful, some are rehashing the same material over and over. I hope that this post isn’t one of those, but who knows?

I also think that this post could be applicable to intermediate bloggers. A while ago, I wrote a post with tips for them and another with tips for beginning-to-intermediate bloggers, and I think that these tips are less for brand-new bloggers and more those who have been blogging for a little bit (as in, months) or those who are getting back into blogging. Either way, I hope that these tips help you out, and if you have any tips for new bloggers that aren’t included in this post, comment down below with them!

There are a lot of tips for bloggers out there on the Internet. I've personally been blogging for over 5 years, and so I've accumulated quite a list of tips. I'm sharing my 12 best tips for new bloggers, which will hopefully get you started on the right foot.

Make an easy-to-navigate site – I hate when I go read a blogger’s post, and then try to go to literally any page on their blog that’s confusing. How do I read other posts? Where can I learn more about that? How can I contact them? Is there a search bar? (Good god, please have a search bar on your blog.) If you’re not sure if your site is easy to navigate, ask a friend or family member to evaluate it for you. Maybe they can try to find a specific page or post, or they can give you their general opinion.

Make a privacy policy – This is especially important now that GDPR is in effect. GDPR is a European law, but if you have European site visitors, you need to follow it. Essentially, you need to make it clear that you aren’t adding people to an email list unless they choose to and that you’re not giving your subscribers’ data to other people. Here’s how to become GDPR compliant as a blogger, and here’s a great example of a privacy policy. It’s also a good idea to have a disclosure policy if you have/want to have sponsored posts and affiliate links. Which brings me to my next point:

Know the laws – In the United States, it’s illegal to use affiliate links or sponsored material without saying that you have them. Are you really going to go to jail if you do this? Probably not, but your site could get kicked off of Google searches. How do I know this? Because it happened to me several years ago. While I had some disclosures, I didn’t always have them and I also used dofollow links in sponsored posts. Basically, there are two types of links, dofollow and nofollow. Nofollow links tell search engines not to follow the link because they are paid. This is also required by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Here’s the thing you need to be VERY careful about: some people who want to do sponsored posts with you will say that they will only work with you if you have dofollow links. I can’t tell you the number of times companies and brands have argued with me about this. But ever since I got kicked off of Google, I won’t budge. These companies will still argue with me even when I tell them that it’s illegal and that it’s non-negotiable. Don’t work with these companies. They are asking you to break the law because they don’t care if you get kicked off of search engines; they only care about the money they can make from your site. (Not coincidentally, these are also often the companies that only want to pay you $25 for literally hours of work. But we’ll get to that later.)

12 tips for new bloggers Click To Tweet

Have your social media links in your header or footer AND your sidebar – If you want people to follow you on social media, you have to make it easy for them to get to your social media. If you have a header or footer that sticks with readers as they scroll down your blog, then you might not need to also have your links in your sidebar. But if your header or footer stays in place, then make sure your links are also in your sidebar. If people have to go searching for your social media, they’re less likely to follow you. 

Write about what you want to write about – Blogging is supposed to be fun! If you have to force yourself to do it on a regular basis, maybe you’re not writing about what grabs you. It’s your blog; you should be able to write about what you want to. It’s one thing if you hit a rut and getting blogger’s block, but it’s something else if you rarely enjoy your time blogging. So make sure you’re writing about what you enjoy.

Give yourself some time – By and large, it can take years to get to grow your blog significantly. Yes, you might be one of the few who is able to hit it “big” (depending on what your definition of big is) quickly, but you just as likely might not be in that position. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your numbers. Maybe try setting smaller goals for yourself when you start, or set one for where you want to be a year after you started blogger, etc. And cut yourself some slack! Blogging as an industry changes a lot all the time. I’ve been blogging since 2013 and it has changed sooo much since then. Plus, when you’re getting started, it might take some time to find your footing, what schedule works for you, building your following, etc. So if things don’t move as fast as you want, it’s okay. Take your time! This blog has grown verrrry slowly – or it’ll be up a lot one month, down a bit the next, up a bit the next month, way down the next. Again, take your time, and have some fun.

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Get on Pinterest – Pinterest is amazing for bloggers. Ah-mazing. Why? Not only is it a form of social media, but it’s also a form that’s very search engine friendly. Pinterest was always helpful for my traffic, but once I started focusing on search engine optimization, my traffic shot up. In December 2017, Pinterest brought 12% o my traffic. In January 2018 – the month I started focusing on SEO – it went up to over 50%. I’m not going to get fully into why Pinterest is great for bloggers because I’ve written a whole post on it, but basically, it’s awesome.

How to use Pinterest for blog traffic I How to use SEO for blog traffic | Why Tailwind is worth the money

Make good-quality vertical images for Pinterest – The one thing about Pinterest that I will get into right now is that the images that are successful on Pinterest are vertical, good quality, and not small. If horizontal images work best for your blog, that’s fine! But you really need to have vertical ones for Pinterest. And if they’re nice and clean and not small, they’ll do better. I haven’t found one definitive answer as to how large is large enough – if you search online, you’ll find a variety of answers – but I personally use 600 px wide for my blog and 1400 px wide for Pinterest. I use the same image, but I make 2 different sizes of it.

Get on all social media – And be on all forms of social media, or at least Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. All 4 of these can be great ways to promote your blog posts, and they can all be great to build an online presence. Building followings on social media can translate into blog views, and blog page views can translate into social media follows. Now, I wouldn’t have social media for the sake of having social media, especially if you don’t have time for it and/or don’t enjoy it. But it can be so helpful as a blogger, and it’s worth trying. If you really don’t like Twitter, for example, then don’t use it. But I think it’s worth trying.

How to optimize your social media networks as a blogger | How to use Twitter as a blogger | Why you need a social media content calendar

Network with other bloggers – This is another reason why social media is great for bloggers: you can network. You can connect with others, engage with them, and even become friends with them. You can also network with them offline. See if there are any blogging groups (especially on Facebook) in your area. Many of them will do in-person hangouts. You can also go to blogging conferences! Those, however, can get expensive, so just be aware.

Make it easy to share your posts – Some of the best ways that you can get traffic is from people sharing your posts. And that can’t happen unless it’s easy to share your posts. There are a variety of ways to make this happen. If you look to the left side of this post (unless you’re reading this from the homepage), you’ll see a collection of ways to share this post. This is from a plug-in called SumoMe. There are also a variety of ways to make it so when you roll your mouse over an image, something pops up so you can pin that image. (This is one of the reasons why I make the images in my posts vertical, so even though they’re not really large, they’re at least in the right orientation for Pinterest success.) Many blogging sites also give you the option to put sharing icons at the end of your post. And, as you saw up above, I also use the Click to Tweet plug-in for writing tweets to go inside my posts. This way, all someone has to do is click a button or two to share this post on Twitter.

Know your worth – Once you get at least a little bit established, you’ll start getting emails from people (if your email is readily accessible) who want to work with you. My advice is don’t work for free. It’s one thing if you’re reviewing something, but even then, after a certain point, you probably shouldn’t unless you really like the product. If you’re not sure what to charge, look at what other people are charging. It could be bloggers who are kind enough to share that information with you or it could be what blogging-business intermediaries offer. But also make sure you’re looking at prices that are for stats that are equivalent to your own. For example, if you ask a blogger what they charge for a sponsored Instagram post, make sure they have the same amount of followers and/or engagement that you do. And also know that some people will not want to share what they charge! Don’t press. It’s their business.

What things about blogging would you like to know about?

Like this post? Check out:

How Blog Traffic Reports Can Get Traffic to Your Blog, 5 Ways To Master Instagram Hashtags + Free Hashtag Tracker, How To Promote Your Blog Posts, 12 Blog Traffic Boosting Tools to Try in 2018

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