29 April 2016

10 Ways to Improve Your Blog Today

10 easy ways to improve your blog today - gain followers, improve page views and more! Nourish ME - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

I'm always looking for something I can do to tweak my blog so that it becomes more appealing to readers, contains better content and eventually will start making a little profit (all about that side hustle). Over the past month or two I've been doing this almost daily, and I'm finally starting to see the results I've been wanting for months and months. With blogging I definitely think that 'you get what you give' in terms of giving time and getting results. But, there are some things that you could kick start today to up your blogging game in ways that you might not even have considered. Here's my guide to 10 things you can do, or start doing, today to finally see the results you've been wishing and dreaming for.

Get your own domain

I've actually only recently just done this - no longer is Nourish ME living at http://nourishmeclean.blogspot.com, but instead it has moved to www.nourishmeblog.co.uk. There are a whole host of benefits to this, but the main one is that brands and PRs will take you a lot more seriously if you have your own domain. Some brands won't even agree to a collaboration, let alone any payment if you don't have this. 

Another benefit is that you can rename your webpage without having to make an entirely new website. I was pretty sick of my blog being called 'nourishmeclean' in the URL - originally Nourish ME was all about clean eating and creating healthy recipes, but as it's evolved to what it is today this name seems a little odd and really irrelevant. I'm now a LOT happier with 'nourishmeblog' as I feel like it summarises my blog a little better. I bought mine from GoDaddy for 0.99p for owning the domain for one year. There are other packages you can buy that offer you more protection - in the end I think I paid about £8 for the year. 

Make sure your blog design fits your brand

This is going to be the most expensive thing on this list by FAR, but it really is important. Have you ever clicked on a blog and decided that you just can't deal with the overload of colour or poorly organised layout and left without following? I definitely have. I'm a bit rubbish with anything beyond seriously basic html, so my blog was designed by Jen from Magic Feather Designs. She was really sweet and did everything exactly as I wanted to almost a year ago, and has been really helpful as I consider updating it at the moment. I wanted bright, fresh colours to match my theme of enhancing your mental and physical wellness, which is why I went for the blue and yellow. 

Optimise the size of your images

The irony of this is that this is the first blog post in about six months that I haven't done this with (her's me choosing pinterest over blogger - #sorrynotsorry). On blogger the optimum picture size is about 650 pixels wide. This allows your photos to remain as wide as each other and your text, meaning that the whole blog post appears to be coherent and well organised when you first view it. However, each social media platform has its own optimum image size, so it's best to have at least a few height varieties, or keep separate photos that aren't on the post for promoting your blog post on social media. Canva is my go-to for making photos specifically for social media, as they have templates for pretty much any social media platform you might want to post to. 

Have a blog brand focused social media account on all main platforms

Sorry for the massive jumble of words here! What I basically mean is ensure you have a Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest account and a Facebook page that is not something personal that you use to rant on (been there, done that), but something that is focused on your brand. I recently went through a mini social media rebrand by making sure all of my accounts have the words 'Nourish ME' at least somewhere in the handle or name and I've noticed a much better response in terms of following since I've sorted this. By doing this you make sure that your followers know what brand you're affiliated with immediately, so they're more likely to follow you. This also allows you to tweak the content you share on each platform so that it is brand focused, but not sterile or pointless. For example, my twitter is my most personal social media; because I write so many tweets daily I post links to blog posts three or four times a day on there and this doesn't overwhelm my followers. On my Facebook page however I only post something if I've written a new blog post, or if I want to share relevant posts from other users on Facebook. My instagram is different again. I post once or twice a day, but use this more for general life updates, with the odd picture for a blogpost. And finally we have Pinterest (aka my new love), which I make sure I pop on at least once a day to gain some foodie inspiration and make sure I'm putting my blog posts out there.

Enhance the quality of your images

If you're a veteran blogger, then this is pretty much blogging 101 - a picture is, after all, worth 1000 words. BUT, I know that for well over a year I considered a semi alright picture with no attention to the background or editing something that was appropriate for my blog and would draw readers in. Now almost all of my photos are taken on my camera (a Canon 1200D). I'm not suggesting you need expensive equipment, but definitely use the highest quality piece you have. Another really important thing to do is to make sure you have an appropriate background. A lot of blogger opt for white, marble or single toned backgrounds; this ensures that your readers are drawn to the real content of your image, and aren't distracted by a background. Once you've actually got the picture, editing really is important. I use PicMonkey to improve the brightness and contrast of pictures, crop out anything unwanted from the background and add text when relevant. 

Make your blog post titles appealing and SEO friendly

This is one that up until recently I've been seriously guilty of not doing, and since I've started focusing on improving my blog post titles I've noticed that they've been getting waaaay more hits. Statistics show that there are certain title templates that really work for drawing in readers. Ones containing numbers (like my 10 things we can all learn from Disney's Zootropolis) and ones starting with 'how to' or 'ways to' are statistically proven to draw many more readers in than titles without these attributes. Obviously you wouldn't want to do this all the time, but for example, '75 blog post ideas for when you're low on inspiration' is a much more appealing title than 'Ideas for blog posts when you have no inspiration' - I know which one I would click on. Also, using straightforward titles may seem boring, but helps you greatly in terms of SEO. If you're reviewing something let your readers know, and don't write a prosaic title that has little to do with the actual content. 

Have a media kit set up and available to view on your site

I've got a whole blog post dedicated to making your own media kit. A lot of brands and PRs will ask for one if you want to collaborate with them, plus it means that readers can have a brief perusal of your stats and see what your blog's about all in one place. 

Start being social on social media

This sounds really obvious, but since I've started interacting with other bloggers, particularly on twitter (blogger chats are fab for helping you out with this), I've learnt so many things and met some really lovely bloggers. If you don't interact with anyone, follow other bloggers or check out their blogs why should you expect them to do that for you?

Get organised with spreadsheets

Jess from The Indigo Hours has an amazing post on this here which is what inspired me to start using excel spreadsheets in the first place. My spreadsheet currently has pages for April, May and June blog posts (yes I am now that organised), monthly stats and a record of any brand collaborations I am planning on undertaking. I love being able to just pop a new blog post idea down when it comes to mind, and colour coding the posts on themes (fashion, lifestyle, food, etc) means I can make sure that I don't write too many similar posts in a row. 

Update old posts

This is next the next big project on my blogging to-do list, and soon I'm probably going to start updating at least 5 a week. You know earlier I mentioned my awful photography skills and not brilliant content? Well those posts are still sitting around waiting for people to read them. I'm (eventually) going to revisit them all, alter the images, improve the content, possibly change the post title and ensure that none of my links are broken. So, when people go rooting around on my blog, or I want to talk about an old post, this can happen without me dying a little inside.


What would you add to the list? I hope this was helpful!



16 comments:

  1. This is a great post! I'm a somewhat new blogger (about six months now) and I just took a course on what I can do to improve my blog. It included a lot of the points you mentioned and this is really helpful! :)

    www.christinaschiccorner.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you've found them helpful. I keep toying with the idea of going on a blog improvement course, but maybe picking up tips along the way is the better option for me.

      Steph x

      Delete
  2. Superb post!! I've learnt a lot. I'm actually going through rebranding all my social media as I type. I deleted all 'personal content' and anything bad quality of Instagram and will push this as a main blog platform. Pinterest is my next move. I signed myself for some awesome seminars about marketing on social media and it's truly been an eye opener. Website is next. Once I get it professionally designed I'm switching to my own domain, potentially changing the name entirely :) well written post! I saved it for future reference !! Xx

    Love, Dorota xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you've learnt things from this post! I've found Pinterest really useful in terms of picking up awesome blog tips that have really helped me in the past month

      Steph x

      Delete
  3. Brilliant tips! I think it's so important to be social!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Angie! Yes it really is

      Steph x

      Delete
  4. Thank you so much for linking me in this Steph! You have some fab tips, I'm really thinking about changing my Instagram handle to my blog name... I really want to invest in a better camera, too, as I feel like I've hit a wall with the quality with my little point-and-shoot :/

    Jess xo | The Indigo Hours

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome Jess. I really starting enjoying blog photography a lot more once I got mine - I would definitely recommend it if you have the money to spare

      Steph x

      Delete
  5. I started my blog on Friday, so I'm loving these kinds of posts at the moment. Fantastic read! thank you for sharing x


    www.sheintheknow.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw I'm glad it was useful!

      Steph x

      Delete
  6. This post is so helpful! It will definately help me improve my blog
    Nicole x
    Nicoleannx.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  7. So many amazing tips, I really need to go through all my old posts...

    Parie x
    classandglitter.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I've only done 4/5 so far - it takes SO long!

      Steph x

      Delete
  8. This is really helpful. I've started going through my old posts but I have so many! I adore your blog design, I love the colours!

    Kirstie | Behind The Scent

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've only just started too! So many to get through! Thank you so much

      Steph x

      Delete

I read each and every one of your comments, and really appreciate the time you've taken to add them! If you want or need a more immediate response then contact me through my twitter @stephhartley4. Thank you!