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Blogging Essentials – Tips and Tools
Do you remember what it felt like to swing back and forth on the swing at the playground when you were a kid? Can you recall the edgy excitement as you went higher and higher until you worked up the nerve to lunge out of the swing mid-air? Your only goal at that moment was to land upright with your feet on the ground. That accurately describes what my first year of blogging was like. I knew nothing about where to start, I just had to take the leap and hope I would land on my feet! This journey has been an amazing learning experience. Here are some tips & tools you should check out.
Blog For The Right Reasons
All too often people start blogging with unrealistic expectations of what they expect to gain from it. Perhaps, they are looking for a large following and instant popularity. Some are motivated to start this journey because they read somewhere that you can make a substantial amount of money from your blog. While having a large following or making lots of money are all possible, it takes a lot of time & hard work to make those goals become a reality (I’m nowhere close to having accomplished either of these things). These might be good goals to have for your blog but they should NEVER be the motivation behind WHY you blog.
Those who are motivated by money & fame are rarely successful. To be a “great” blogger you need to have a powerful reason behind why you do what you do. When you blog because you want to share your skills, thoughts, or adventures with others, you will measure success by genuine followers and meaningful engagement.
Build a Tribe and Contribute
One of the greatest decisions I’ve made as a blogger was to join a tribe. A blogging tribe is a group of bloggers who encourage each other, share each other’s work, answer questions, and collaborate on projects. Great things are accomplished when you work as a team. Find other bloggers in your niche or that have similar interests as you. Start a private Facebook group together and brainstorm ways that you can all benefit from each other. If you join a tribe, be a reliable contributor. Don’t expect to receive benefits if you’re not willing to do the work.
Attend a Conference
I attended a Blog Elevated conference this year and I LOVED the experience. I was afraid that as a new blogger I would be surrounded by people far more experienced than I was, nothing is scarier than being the new kid on the block or the new blogger on the web! It was a relief to find out that I was actually enveloped by bloggers of all levels, newbies, seasoned bloggers, and then some amazing veterans that truly inspired me. Attending a conference is a step in the right direction, you will learn so much.
The highlight for me was the connections I made. The blogging world has its own language, it was a fun experience talking with others who understand what SEO, Self-Hosted, and Algorithms mean! Make it a goal to attend a conference in your first year of blogging, the experience will help you take your blog to the next level.
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My best blog post brainstorming happens when I’m in the shower or any other inopportune time. I have learned that if I don’t immediately write my ideas down they will quickly vanish into thin air! Invest in a Monthly/Weekly Planner to help schedule your time wisely. Keep a notebook with all of your ideas and future projects, make a to-do list that helps you remember what e-mails you need to send or goals you need to reach. Use apps on your phone to keep you organized on the go, don’t underestimate the power of a good Memo app!
My pageviews are a reflection of how consistent I am. For new bloggers, there is no ‘easy’ button. Posting consistently on your blog and various social media platforms is the ONLY way to build your following. The world wide web is overrun with new information daily if you’re not active you’re out! Pick certain days of the week to schedule new posts. Stick to that schedule and give your readers something to rely on.
Use The Right Tools
Here are some of my favorite tools and resources:
- Every Saturday SITSgirls has a Sharefest on their website. This is a great time to share your recent work. The Sway Group is a great resource for educating bloggers. Check out their website.
- Blog Elevated – They also host weekly chats on Twitter all about Blogging. Visit their calendar for dates, times, and topics of future chats.
- IZEA – This is a great place to start earning some money from your blog. Once you connect your blog and social media platforms to IZEA they will start sending you offers for sponsored blog posts and social media posts.
- Pinterest Group Boards – Joining Group Boards on Pinterest is a great way to get your pins in front of a bigger audience. To find group boards to join in your niche visit PinGroupie.
- Facebook Groups – An excellent resource for new bloggers is Facebook groups. You can learn a lot and have the support of fellow bloggers.
- Canva – this is the best FREE tool I’ve found to create graphics for my website. All the pins you’ll see on my blog were made using Canva.
- SmarterQueue – I love this tool and it saves me so much time when planning and scheduling my posts to the different social platforms. You can create a library and a calendar so that the posts will be sent out automatically. You can get a 30-day free trial here.
- Tailwind – One of my most favorite tools for Pinterest. It’s a scheduling and analytics tool, you can schedule your pins to be posted during the best recommended times and you can track your growth. Like I mentioned before, Pinterest is my favorite social media platform and this tool has been instrumental. Visit this link for a free month of Tailwind!
- Social Warfare – this is a plugin for your WordPress website. It’s for readers to easily share your posts. This one comes highly recommended by most bloggers.
- Activate – Sign up here to start applying for various paid campaigns.
Tackle One Social Media Platform at a Time
It can become overwhelming trying to master each social media platform. We have so many options, Facebook, Instagram, Google +, YouTube, Pinterest, SnapChat, StumbleUpon, and the list could go on. Don’t waste your time trying to be the social media KING! Start with the platform you’re most familiar with and then slowly grow and build other platforms one at a time. Sharing your blog on social media is a great way to increase pageviews but it can also be a huge time waster if not done correctly. My advice is to set a time limit on how much time you will spend on social media each day. By the way, Pinterest is my favorite!
Believe In What You Do
This has to be the most vital piece of the blogging puzzle. Never settle for less than your best! When you sit down to write a post or make a video ask yourself if your topic is something you feel passionate about. If your answer is “no”… your readers will sense that and won’t take you seriously. When creating sponsored posts make sure you can really stand behind the product. If you don’t believe in your own words, why should anyone else?
Feel free to comment if you have any additional questions!