There’s so much that goes into blogging that so many people don’t realize, which is probably why so many people turn up their noses at bloggers! Whether you want to start a blog or are just curious, I hope this helps you understand blogging as an industry!
What I do will be different than other bloggers. I’ll shed some light when I can, but if you have questions about other bloggers’ processes – especially if they are of a different niche than I am – then reach out to them! Plenty of bloggers are more than happy to share their advice and I can’t give you the exact same advice that a fashion blogger can.
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Write blog posts – This probably sounds really obvious, which is why I’m starting with it, but it still deserves to be talked about. At the heart of blogging is the actual blogging, the writing itself. How much we write depends on the genre, the topic, and, of course, the blogger. I’m a writer (complete with an MA in English literature) so words are my jam; I might write a bit more about certain topics than other bloggers would. For others, writing blog posts takes very little time and is a quick part of the process.
Research – This is something that will vary wildly from blogger to blogger and even post to post. Bloggers will research things to make them better bloggers, different blog post ideas, and information for their blog posts. For example, for my post last week about chronic vs. acute pain, I researched the official differences between chronic and acute pain because it’s important to me that I share accurate info.
SEO – One type of research that bloggers generally do is SEO, or search engine optimization. In order for my posts to be seen by lots of people, I need to optimize my posts for search engines like Google and Pinterest. (Yes, Pinterest is a search engine!) This includes finding the perfect search term and optimizing the post with that term. It can be tricky if you’re not used to it, so if you’re blogging on self-hosted WordPress, I strongly suggest getting the Yoast SEO plugin.What exactly bloggers do Click To Tweet
Take photographs – The extent of this will definitely vary from blogger to blogger and niche to niche, but most bloggers take their own photographs. For some bloggers – especially fashion bloggers – taking photos is a bigger part of blogging than writing is. This is not a dig at them! The great thing about blogging is that you can do it how you want to. So lots of bloggers focus on photography.
Edit photos – The other element of photography and blogging is editing the photos. Do you really need to edit your photos? Yes, if you want to have the best photos possible for your blog. And there are a couple different versions of photo editing, namely one where you change the image to improve its appearance and one where you make a graphic for you blog. I personally use Photoshop Elements, but lots of bloggers like Lightroom.
Run social media accounts – This sounds so meaningless to people who haven’t ever consciously tried to grow their social media. Part of having a blog – if you want to get blog traffic – is running social media accounts. If you only had to have two social media accounts, they should be Pinterest and Instagram. Pinterest is a search engine that brought in over 76% of my traffic in the last month. You need to be on it! I use Tailwind to schedule my pins and it is soooo helpful and 110% worth the cost. But as you have probably figured out, Instagram is the social media network d’jour. Lots of people make their living from their Instagram. Brands want Instagram.
Successfully running social media accounts doesn’t mean posting whatever whenever. Yes, you should post what you like, but you need to have a plan. Learning what works for you and your accounts takes time and effort.
Pitch to companies – Want to make money from your blog? You need to pitch. You need to convince people that your blog and your time is a worthwhile investment. This involves some elements of persuasive writing, compiling the relevant data that will make your point, coming up with great post ideas, and more.
Manage finances – Look, blogging costs a lot of money. Between hosting, domain, technology, social media, advertising, and more, it can get really expensive. And then if you make money, you need to keep track of that because in the US, if your profit is more than $600, you need to file taxes. Again, that’s the profit number, not the number of all money you take in. It gets complicated around tax time if you’re not on top of it! I personally use Quickbooks Self-Employed, and it has been SO helpful. You can keep track of what you spend and earn, make invoices, track how many miles you drive, and more.
Negotiate prices – Bloggers often have to negotiate prices with possible collaborators. A lot of people want bloggers to work for free – don’t let them take advantage of you! Come up with a pricing system and the services you’ll offer. Also make sure that you know the laws in your country that pertain to influencers. For example, in the US, bloggers have to disclose if they received anything in exchange for their work, including a free product for free. We also have to use nofollow links. I didn’t do this for a while and it came back to bite me. While I didn’t get into any legal trouble, Google kicked my entire blog off of their search engine results. That’s HUGE. Like, my overall blog pageviews decreased by over 25% that month. You can read more about that here. Learn from my mistakes!
Form business connections – In order to have a profitable blog, you’re going to have to make some business connections. This can mean networking (in person or online), going to conferences, reaching out to people, and more.
… sometimes all while working full-time! Most bloggers aren’t full-time bloggers; they have other jobs, or at least they did for part of their blogging career. When I started, I was teaching, and over the years I’ve worked part-time and/or been in grad school. Bloggers are more impressive than most people realize!
What would you like to know about blogging? I’ll add things to my list of post ideas!
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