I have been blogging for a very long time. I started in 2007 and haven’t stopped since. In all those years I have become a bit of an expert on both blogging and the blogging industry.
It’s a business that is constantly changing and evolving. It looks completely different depending on if you are blogging in the UK, US or Sweden. Only the difference between this blog and my Swedish blog is massive. It’s two utterly contrasting ways of blogging for two wildly different markets. Sure I can share some imagery and topics between the two blogs, but that’s about it.
So what worked for me when I started blogging in Sweden will most likely not work for new bloggers starting out now here in the UK.
However, I do know what my readers appreciate and I’m also very experienced in the industry. So these are my 10 best pieces of advice for new bloggers starting out;
1. Make sure to start on WordPress.org, and then self-host as quickly as possible.
It can be a nightmare to move a blog. Even I, who am a part of the big network United Influencers and have loads of technical help, found it stressful when I moved over from another network last year. I have done 4 blog moves in my 12 years as a blogger and unless you have proper help or are on a platform that makes it really easy, it’s a bit of a nightmare. So start where you intend to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
2. Pick a topic you are truly passionate and know a lot about.
My blogs have always been about lifestyle. I focus mainly on fashion, beauty, travel, interiors and recently a bit of mom-life since I had Ace. I’m very fortunate to have a really wide variety of subjects to choose from. It truly makes my life a lot easier.
However, the blog market is a lot more saturated now than when I started out. So these days I would strongly recommend new bloggers to pick a particular subject and stick with it. And if you are going to spend all that time immersing yourself into a subject, it better be something you truly love. So think long and hard about your subject before you do anything else.
3. Post high quality-photos that are your own.
Ok, are you ready for some hard love?
A few years ago you could get away with a lot more quality-wise. Camera phones, badly put-together collages and stolen photos from Pinterest. Now the competition is fierce, so great photography is the key. If you are serious about blogging, it’s worth the investment to get a good camera-kit or hire a professional photographer to help you out. I have both and I still sometimes struggle. Imagery is at times harder than the actual writing.
Also, the stock photo route might look tempting, but honestly, very few blogs can get away with it. It only works if your photos don’t really matter and basically just there to break up the text. If not, you just have to suck it up. You can’t go wrong with your own high-quality imagery.
4. Find your voice.
Not every blogger need to be all “hey ya’ll gals”…
I’m Swedish, and it comes across in my writing since it makes me a more direct and a bit less girly and fluffy. My followers have come to know this as my signature style. Sure, not everyone will love it, but we are not looking to please everyone, only our target group. It’s not sustainable to try to be someone else in the long run. Just do yourself and use your own voice, even if you are a grumpy old Swede. I promise your followers will love you for it.
5. Find your own style.
Just like on Instagram, it’s really easy to look at what’s already out there and try to copy it. The problem is that it won’t ever be anything else than a slightly less great copy of something cool. So do yourself a favor and skip the whole step of “researching” other peoples photos and way of writing and find a style you love. Every time you post on your blog, think “is this me and do I love it?” before you press publish.
6. Find a rhythm and be consistent.
When I started blogging 12 years ago it was the norm to update 5 times a day. Crazy right?! It was quantity over quality, but people loved it. I actually had readers message me if I hadn’t posted in the last couple of hours.
These days it’s more about what you put up than how often. Find a schedule that works for you. If you post more often you will have more pageviews but possibly the same amount of followers than if you post less. I post 3-4 times every week on this blog and 6-7 times every week on my Swedish blog. If I only had this blog I would post every Monday-Friday, so 5 times a week. I think that’s a nice amount and very doable for me personally.
If you want to post often then you will have to learn to master the art of letting things go. Done is better than perfect. Just a little side-note form a former perfectionist who spent way too much time on each post and almost hit the wall.
7. Share your content.
Don’t just write and expect people to find you on their own. Yes, you will have readers come from Google and other search engines (if you are on top of your SEO). But honestly, if you want to have a shot at growing a blog these days, you need to push it.
I’m talking sharing on multiple platforms (Instagram/Pinterest/Twitter/Linked-in/Bloglovin’ you name it). Research the right Facebook groups for your target group, do swipe ups from Instastories to every new post you publish and make sure to pin your work on Pinterest. Use 50% of your time to produce content and 25% to share it.
8. Get out there.
Contact the relevant PR people for your genre. Don’t be shy, they need you as much as you need them. Make sure to get invited to events and meetings. It might feel a bit daunting to new bloggers, but it’s honestly the only way to get a foot in the door. If you want to earn money from your blogging, then people need to know you personally. This is where the last 25% of your time should be used.
Get out there and network your cute little butt off, they will love you.
9. Treat it like a job.
Even if it’s your side hustle right now, hopefully, you will one day end up blogging full-time. So be professional from day one. Block out the time you intend to spend on your blog every week and stay consistent using it to create content/promote or working on your network. Answer all emails, even if it’s only quick and always keep your promises. You don’t get a chance to change a first impression and as with any other business, reputations are important.
10. Have fun and stay creative.
After 12 years I’m a bit of an expert at staying creative. I have over 9 000 posts on my Swedish blog. That is a lot of hours of writing and just as many different headlines and takes on my subjects. If there is one thing that’s important to me, it’s to keep inspired and motivated.
I create at my best when I have a good balance in my life and it’s up to me to make sure I keep that balance. You have to find what inspires you and what gives you that new energy you need to keep going.
I find that magazines, books, yoga and spending time with inspirational people really help me keep my focus.
Find a way to re-load those creative batteries and do it often.
…and most importantly, just stick with it.
It won’t happen over a day. I have seen sooooo many new bloggers come and go. But the best blogs with the really passionate people behind them, they always do well sooner or later. So believe in yourself and keep on creating.
I believe in you!