I’ve attended a fantastic workshop recently organised by Blogsociety which delivered a major shift in my thinking. 3 years ago I started my website on photography and had a modest blog attached to it predominantly for fun and for sharing my travel stories. My blogging host was one of those lesser known companies and signing up was free so I didn’t really think twice and created an account. Being a novice and totally naive I had no concept around backing up and one day the provider went out of business and with that went my content as well.
I was devastated but at the same time I have set myself a goal. I wanted to understand as much as possible about the world of blogging, the risks around self hosting and free blogs but also all that ‘back-end’ important stuff that sets your blog apart. The Blogsociety retreat was the catalyst and ultimately that ‘kick in the backside’ telling me to just ‘plunge into it’ and get started; confirming I actually know quite a bit already… It was comforting to understand that I wasn’t the only one struggling with confidence and that awful ‘comparitis’ that so many bloggers feel when checking out the existing blogosphere…
This event had a line up of amazing bloggers who not only spoke about their own journey of starting a blog but also gave some amazing tips on what to remember when managing a blog:
THE LINE UP
Christina Butcher from Hair Romance // Steph Bond Hutkin from Bondville // Rachel MacDonald from In Spaces Between // Petina Watkins from Etsy Australia // Alice Nichols from The Whole Daily // Natalie Hayllar from Eat Read Love // Cheri Flewel-Smith from Ms. Critique // Lisa Tilse from The Red Thread // Stephanie Wilson from Lipstick & Cake // Brook McCarthy from Yoga Reach
I feel a lot better equipped in understanding how to approach blogging this time around and will try to master some of the basic learnings first. For those that missed out on this super-motivating event, here are some notes I took:
Monetising your blog
+ It’s important to be truthful to yourself. Knowing what you are about, what you would like to share with the world, how you can assist people acquiring knowledge online etc. Have something to offer for free before you think about charging for your content. E-books are a great way of sharing your knowledge and philosophy
+ Connect online with other bloggers and help eachother out. Having a posse can sometimes make all the difference. Comment on other people’s work/blog and join in a conversation on posts that you can relate to.
+ Before you clutter your blog with ads, think about developing a following and understand what your niche is. Brand associations could perhaps be your next step or joining up with a blog agency if you’ve got a solid following (10K unique visitors a month for at least 6 months consecutively)
+ Look at ways of creating scalable products online and off-line so you can manage your time and commitments more effectively.
“Always give people more than they expect , be generous and readers will love you for it.”
The lovely Kristy Hughes from Saatchi & Saatchi was up next who spoke to us about the ever important SEO component of your blog.
+ The key is to understand the nerd that governs Google. It’s all about how search engine’s read your blog. This relates to how you structure your headings, what you name your photos to using links in your stories.
+ It’s all about being legitimate and honest in your sharing intentions of your content. Repeating the same key words and adopting a ‘try hard’ selling technique for a brand will indicate to Google that your words are not genuine and will penalise your ranking.
+ Offer relevant information to your readers which brings us to understanding your audience. Sign up for Google Analytics and study the patterns of consumption on your website/blog. Most read posts, time spent on site, where your readers are from, bounce rate and the works. This will indicate the engagement of your followers.
+ Make your blog simple and easy to navigate through with relevant tagging and avoid duplication of content and keyword stuffing.
Social media relevance for your blog
+ It’s important for your business to be ‘social’ but it’s not necessary to be everywhere all the time. There are a lot of social media platforms – chose the few you enjoy interacting with the most and make it work for you
+ Be visual – it’s important to post photos and videos. The highest propensity of viewed content is pictures and videos.
+ Ask questions, engage with relevance and be present. Your followers also want to know the person behind the blog so feel free to share stories that give your readers a sense of who you are and what you do outside your blog.
+ Find your tribe – don’t do too many things rather find something that you ‘own’ so you narrow down your niche
+ Have the guts to speak your mind to create a discussion – share regularly so your readers know to expect it but don’t post anything when you are upset or angry. You might regret it the next day…
Working with brands and being represented by a blogging agency
The Remarkables Group by Lorraine Murphy
+ Before you start thinking about brand associations, work out which brands you actually like. You would probably be following a few on your Instagram and liking their pages on Facebook. It is important to stay true to your values and what you believe in rather than getting trapped in the roller coaster of brand offerings.
+ If you are writing an article on a brand, let them know you have done that so you get on their radar. You may not hear back from them but you never know – they might have started following you and one day you can get that call.
+ Start thinking about a media kit – it’s the blogger’s shopfront. Keep them simple, don’t only talk about yourself, make sure you include your blog stats (i.e. unique views, page views, traffic growth from Facebook, number of followers on Instagram etc.) And most important put a value on what you offer – include your rates!
+ Be honest and truthful with your followers – if you are getting paid for a post, disclose that.
+ Nurture relationships with Journalists and the media; attend PR events and network with like-minded people and bloggers
+ The trends according to what Lorraine observed are: video, Instagram and Pinterest, personal finance and food related blogs are in high demand
Wishing you all the best on your blogging journey and let me know whether you found these tips helpful.
SIDE HUSTLE TO FREEDOM
and find out how I turned my side hustle
into my main business.