I have been blogging for around 4 years with the last two years being solely on this blog. A couple of years ago I didn’t take blogging as seriously as I do now and I certainly didn’t earn much of an income from it. Over the years, I have definitely made plenty of blogging related faux pas. I’ve also come across some of the nicest people I have ever been blessed to meet who have given me a ‘foot up’ and a helping hand when I’ve needed it. I’ve also come across some not so nice people that have dampened my spirits, and made me question myself and my worth. Some of the advice here may become a bit of a waffle (read:rant) as my list reflects some of the negativity I have grown tiresome of.
You may or may not blog for profit, that’s not really relevant here. This list isn’t going to miraculously turn your blog into a profit making machine but I do believe that it will help improve your approach both to blogging and other bloggers within your network. I also want to share some of my blog-wins with you which will hopefully give you a nudge in the right direction if you are unsure what path to take.
Do consider opt-in boxes
I have an email subscriber list at the bottom of each post it is the one where the majority of my readers will sign up, a fly-in box in the lower right-hand corner AND a form in my sidebar these both get an equal amount of sign ups. I use the paid version of the Mailmunch plugin which syncs the collected emails to my Mailchimp list. I have a campaign set up each week that emails out my posts from the week before.
Email subscribers are important because when you send out your posts by RSS you retain readers by alerting them to what they may have missed. I would recommend using a campaign format that sends only snippets of posts so readers click-through to your blog to read further. If you have a large list this will only ever be beneficial to you in terms of working with brands so always mention it. I have seen pop-ups and opt-in forms being discussed negatively in Facebook groups, such as ‘I immediately click off if I get a pop-up, I HATE them’ In my experience it is only other bloggers that are affronted by them and not general readers. Think about the last time you visited Tesco online or Topshop. Did their pop up offend you so much you clicked away? I doubt it.
Don’t do Twitter DMs
They are completely unnecessary and invasive I never even read any DMs on Twitter unless it’s someone I know. When someone new follows you and you want to/have time it is better to personally send them a proper tweet to say hi and thanks but don’t do the whole auto DM ‘hey! Thanks so much for the follow, please check out my blog and give me a like on Facebook’ they are so ANNOYING!
Do check your spelling and grammar, but…
Don’t whine about other people’s spelling and grammatical errors on Facebook unless you are meticulous yourself. This is a huge bug-bear of mine; we all make mistakes, it is only natural. No, I don’t want to read a blog that’s littered with errors because that’s not easy on the eye nor is it enjoyable to read. However, I do understand and appreciate that not everyone is able to write at an advanced level. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be blogging and it certainly doesn’t mean they can’t have a voice. I have noticed a LOT of bitching lately and a holier than thou, I’m better than you attitude.
The saying ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ is very apt here because I can pretty much guarantee I could find mistakes on their blogs except I wouldn’t go and do that then write about it because that wouldn’t be nice. It’s a bitchy, mean and unnecessary thing to put all over facebook, nobody is perfect. If you have the time to go and write a status update specifically to slate people that can’t spell ‘definitely’ (or insert word here) properly then frankly, you need to get a life. This is essentially sneering at other people and making out you are better than them and that is not cool. Why not direct all that negative energy and turn it into saying something nice?
Ok, and breathe.
Do approach other bloggers for help
Especially those that have been around for a while. I never mind when someone approaches me, in fact, I’ve recently become friends with someone who initially emailed me to say hi, not just to bombard me with questions. I do get the odd person asking how I make money from my blog and freelance work but there is no magical answer to this. You just have to work your ass off! I never mind giving anyone advice or sharing contacts but please, if you are going to reach out make sure you say thanks to whoever has helped you as that is a common courtesy.
Do join in blog linkys
By joining in with linkys you will increase your blog reach to a wider audience you will also become more immersed within the community. Make sure you are adding the badge or a link back to your host and share the linky love by visiting other blogs in the link up. You might even make a new friend and you will definitely find other fab blogs to read. It’s win, win!
Don’t turn down small offers without considering the bigger picture
Another thing you will come across a lot in blogging facebook groups is a newbie blogger saying they’ve been offered a small value item and should they review it. You will then get an influx of people being offended on behalf of the person who has been offered a low-value item, protesting that not in a million years would they work for whatever the equivalent £ an hour would be. My thoughts on this are: if you are new, take the lower value review op if you want it. There is no shame in reviewing a lower value item. It will give you an excellent opportunity to understand the process of reviewing items with brands and what is expected from you.
It will also most likely lead on to more work, bigger reviews etc. We all have to start somewhere; one of my very first reviews was a children’s book written by David Walliams, he picked up my tweet about it and sent a link to my blog out to his followers, this led to a massive influx of traffic (very nice) and a huge boost for me on social media. You just never know where these things can go. I still work with the same PR to this day and most recently was given an item for review that retails at £700.00. Small acorns and all that.
Do take inspiration from other bloggers
I often read other blogs and feel inspired, I look at styled photographs, take elements and ideas from them and apply this to my own photography work. What I wouldn’t do, though, is copy. If someone starts a new blog series, linky or hashtag on Instagram, admire it, learn from it and then come up with an original idea which works for you and your readers.
Don’t be a Twitter nuisance!
If you’ve written an amazing blog post that you think will spark the interest of others, do tweet them a link. Don’t then go and tweet a link of every single post you write to the same person though. I have a few people that do this and fair enough if they engage with me at other times, or even read my blog, but they don’t! I also get the odd couple that ask me to RT their blog post to all my followers, which I have done and then not even got a thanks in return. Unless you are going to engage then it’s plain rude, also, it’s a good idea to be following the person you are asking for retweets from or at least retweet some of their stuff too. Remember manners are as important on twitter as they are in real life!
On the subject of persisitent Twitter badgering, If you have started a new project or linky then great, try and drum up some initial interest by tweeting those in your niche, I would absolutely do this myself. Don’t tweet them every single week for a year and ask them to join in and link up if they never have. I would hazzard a guess that after a year the linky isn’t for them so save your Twitter characters for someone else!
Do use Instagram to your advantage
I see my Instagram as an extension of my blog and my brand. I know there are people out there that hate a styled Instagram, again I think this is mainly a problem other bloggers have and not general Instagram users. Don’t be afraid to use your ‘big camera’ for Instagram and only post your best pictures if you really want to use Instagram to your benefit. I have written about the pretty/fake Instagram debate and listed the reasons why there is nothing instant about my Instagram.
Do find your blogging tribe
Having a group of people as a sounding board to run ideas past is so important to me. I doubt very much that I would have got as far as I have with my blog if I didn’t have my girls to keep me motivated, to collaborate with, share my work and build friendships that will last a lifetime.
Don’t get sucked into Facebook
Facebook can be useful but generally scrolling through your feed will waste your time and prove unproductive. Most of the time it will rain on your parade bringing nothing but doom and all the negative soul sucking people that come with it. If you need to take a break scroll through Instagram or Pinterest instead, these places are instant happy-makers.
Don’t compare yourself to others, it will drive you barmy
There will always be a slicker, fancier and amazingly well-written blog that is better than yours. Try and improve, of course, but don’t compare yourself to the point that it gets you down, or worse your green eyed monster comes out to ruin your day.
Do unfollow people on social media if they don’t follow you back
Another contentious issue! If you have engaged, attempted to chat, retweeted their work, liked their pictures etc and you still get nothing back then unfollow. The only time I wouldn’t recommend this is if they bring you some value eg. you really admire their blog and want to keep up to date with it, that, or they are Channing Tatum who isn’t going to follow you back, soz.
Talking to and following someone on social media (on the same social level as you – not Channing) and being ignored, is like having a conversation in real life, and having someone not answer you! In that situation, you would walk away and find someone else to chat to, right? So if you’ve made every effort with them and get nothing in return then it’s ‘Bah Bye’
Do take the best images you can
You don’t have to be a pro photographer but do make an effort to learn how to use your camera. I started out with my DSLR on dummy mode, I wasn’t happy with the way my pictures looked so I taught myself how to shoot in manual. I only ever use manual mode now and am passionate about producing the best images I can. It is also appealing to brands if you take good photographs. Brands may even buy your images to use on their packaging, just like the one I took below!
Don’t buy followers
For starters it’s obvious, someone on Instagram with over 13k followers but only 17 likes a picture. Hmmm suspect, much? Also really annoying for those in charts such as Tots100 who genuinely work their way up to the top of the chart without cheating and buying followers. Brands aren’t stupid and will be able to spot it a mile off, they are looking for an engaged following and not fake followers so just don’t do it!
Don’t get too wound up by traffic and follower numbers
The longer you blog the bigger your audience will build organically. The more well-written content you write, the more it will be shared which in turn means backlinks and new readers/followers for you. Take it from me that this will happen in time if you keep plugging away. You need to post consistently and do these three things to increase your traffic, a tried and tested method that works. You can also follow my 20 ways to help drive traffic to your blog which goes into more detail about hooking readers in. If you want to make an income from your blog then it is possible, but you need to build on what you have. It will happen for you eventually and could even change your life if you work hard :)
So there you have a few of my blogging dos and don’ts. Take them or leave them as you please and apply them where you see fit, after all, it’s your blog and your online space. Hopefully, this will help you get to a happy and positive place with your blog and network. You will always find negativity and bitchiness online and in real life but don’t let it tarnish your blogging journey or make you forget the reason you started writing in the first place.
I hope you’ve found this useful, if you have I would appreciate it if you would share it!
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