The world of blogging has changed so much since I started my lil' blog two years ago. Microblogging has started to be a thing that people adopt over 'traditional' blogging; the photography most bloggers put out there is insane and there's a few more expectations placed on the average blogger.
This time last year was the start of six months out of work for me for my mental health. Fighting my anxiety, trying not to relapse with self harm and still continue a normal daily life just got a whole lot too much. Thankfully I had a strong support system to help me out mentally and financially; without them I don't know what I would have done.
I used some of the time I had to work on doing a buttload of research into how to improve my blog. At that time I was churning out random spur of the moment posts that I usually had to force myself to think of. My blogging was irregular, my photography was pretty awful, despite having a nice camera, and I wasn't interacting with other bloggers at all. Pinterest, 'how to blog' style posts and inspirational flatlays became my new best friends, and eventually I learnt some things which now I just wish I had spent the time looking into a year earlier.
1.) Don't force content. If you're not interested in a post you're writing, then why the hell would your audience be? If you're stuck for inspo then take a week off, or a month off, or however long you need. Wait for your mojo to come back to you.
2.) Spreadsheets are your best friend. I'm thinking of doing a whole post on this one because it absolutely revolutionized the way I organise my blog. I have each month laid out, I fill in blog post ideas when they come to me, I can colour code things according to theme. It makes me feel pretty darn professional.
3.) Get your butt onto Pinterest, and make your blog post images pinnable! Pinterest is something that I've only got into this past year, but it's been so helpful. I've got a whole board on blog post ideas posts people have written, one for general blog aids and a whole load of pretty ones for general photography inspo. I always try to pin posts I've enjoyed reading, and it's so frustrating when you want to share that post via Pinterest and the blogger hasn't made their blog pin friendly! It's an extra platform to drive traffic to your blog from, and if you're lucky it can be really easy for a post to go viral on there. Check out my beginner's guide to using Pinterest if you're stuck.
4.) A media kit is always useful to have on the back burner. Earlier this year a brand asked me for my media kit ... I didn't have one. Cue hours of panicked searches on 'how to make a good media kit' and 'what is a media kit?'. Even if you don't want to have it made public on your blog, it's just handy to have in case anyone asks for it. I've actually written a post on how to make one here.
5.) Make your social media platforms recognisably linked to your blog. This was a hard one to word, and I'm sorry. What I mean in essence is to have a coherent 'branding' across them all, though I hate using that word. Having a similar handle or username on the different platforms that resonates with the name of your blog makes it much easier for other bloggers to remember who you are and connect with you on various types of social media. You could even extend this to do things like sharing your Instagram posts on Twitter and Facebook. That way you direct traffic between your social media accounts and you may gain a larger following/more views.
6.) Twitter chats are fab. My personal favourites are the #fblchat and #thegirlgang chat. These are usually filled with lots of positivity and inspiration. You can get to know a whole load of other bloggers through this, and it makes the whole process of sitting behind your laptop and writing feel a lot less lonely. There are a whole tonne of these chats out there, and you could probably sit in them all evening every evening, so it's best to give them all a whirl and see which ones you want to stick to.
7.) Get your own domain name. In case you don't know how to do this one (I didn't), then I've got a step by step guide on how to do it in this post. You know all of those Moz updates that people tweet about every month or so? You basically need a domain name to get involved in that. The Moz update shows how good your domain authority is. A lot of brands will only use bloggers in collaborations once they have their own domain, and some even insist on using bloggers with a certain domain or higher. I'm not saying you should just do this for the collabs, as it can also be a chance for a rebrand. I was a bit sick of my old blog address (http://nourishmeclean.blogspot.co.uk) because it just didn't fit with my brand anymore. Originally Nourish ME was all about clean eating and having a healthy diet, but as I moved away from that, the 'clean' part just seemed a bit odd. So, when I got my own domain it became www.nourishmeblog.co.uk.
8.) Update your old posts. Posts from a year or two or even longer ago can be pretty cringe. Rubbish photos, a tendency not to proofread and an incoherent format are all things that can be solved fairly easily. A little photo re-edit, some new wording, and maybe even a new title can make old content feel brand new. This is especially useful if you've run out of inspiration and don't want to make new content.
9.) Try new things with photography. There's a massive line between being inspired by someone and simply stealing their style. If I'm stuck for Instagram or blog photo ideas, I tend to have a look at a few of my favourite bloggers' accounts to see what kind of props people are using at the moment, the kind of backgrounds that are popular, and to investigate how people are using diffferent types of lighting. If you've never tried a flatlay before, then why not give that a go? Or go out and take some landscape style photos. At the moment I'm working on building up flatlays to make them bigger and more detailed.
10.) Blog for yourself, not other people. This is an odd one I'll admit, but oh-so true. Your readers are important, obvs, but it'll become noticeable if the content you're making is something you're not interested in. Be passionate, be bold, and remember that you're the content creator here.
What blogging tips did you learn over the last year?