Other // A Few Blogging Tips I Wish I Knew Sooner

It may not seem like it but I have had this blog for about 6 years now. Obviously all of the old and embarrassing posts have been deleted, hopefully to never resurface. I never used to take it very seriously and I would just babble on about any old rubbish just to make a small portion of my day go by quicker. It was just a hobby. Somewhere to write about nonsense. I didn't even really mind that no-one else read it but it has only been recently that I have actually started to take it seriously.

So many bloggers are turning their hobby into their job now and I really admire that. I love that you can make a job for yourself out of something that you did for yourself, to me that is just wonderful. The other day I was sat staring at a blank Blogger post page, waiting for some inspiration to strike me and I started thinking about what I wish I knew about blogging when I first started. If I had read a useful post like this when I first started out then perhaps I wouldn't have had to delete about 100 too-embarrassing-for-words blog posts which I knew took me so long to write. Here is a few useful tips about blogging which I wish I knew sooner and actually, some of these I only found out recently!

Stick to what you know.
This may be simple and straight forward but when I first started blogging I had no idea what I was doing. I wrote about anything and everything and actually? No-one really cared. It's okay to be a bit of an everything blogger, as long as you are strong at every aspect - just try not to get carried away. It's okay to not know what niche you want to get into but if you have an interest or a passion for something, whatever that may be, then go for it, even if you don't think anyone will want to read it. The chances are that someone else will like what you like and before you know it, there will be a whole community of you.

Layout is important.
When you first go onto someones blog, what is the first thing you see? The layout, of course! I can't really remember what my first layout was but I do remember it wasn't very inviting. The only tip I have regarding layout is keep it clean and simple. An overly chaotic, all-singing all-dancing layout which hurts the eyes can make some hit that back button pretty quickly. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to layouts but if music automatically starts playing when I enter your blog then chances are I may hit that back button.

It is worth mentioning that you don't have to pay hundreds of pounds to get a wonderful layout! Pipdig is very popular for Blogger and Wordpress layouts, although they are so popular that you may find other bloggers with the same layout as you. Etsy is another great website for layouts. There are hundreds. Thousands, even. It may take a bit of scrolling but you are bound to find one you will love eventually. Once you have found your layout then it is useful to know a little bit of HTML for installation and for a bit of tweaking to personalise it a little.

Photography is key.
Photography is really important to me, which is why I deleted loads of old blog posts. Oh how I cringed looking back through my archive. I took a photo of a mascara for review and rather than lay it down flat or stand it upright, I balanced it on my knee. Why, Louise, why? I try and keep all of my photos bright, clean and simple now. It can be hard coming up with new backgrounds for photos but magazines, other products, a piece of A4 paper and pieces of white wood from B&Q can really help for a flat-lay, as can mini cacti and fairy lights.

I take my photos with an Olympus Pen E-PL7 which I recently wrote all about but you don't need a fancy camera to get good photographs. We live in a world where phone cameras aren't as bad as they once were and even an old digital camera will do. Editing photos after they have been taken can really help too and I recently wrote about the way I edit mine. One of the eldest versions of Photoshop which you can download for free has been my real saviour and can instantly transfer a dull photo.

Promote, promote, promote!
If you aren't going to sing your blog from the rooftops then who will? I have only recently started promoting my blog through the power of social media and it has really improved my blog views as well as follower count. Scheduling tweets to old blog posts and tagging retweet accounts via Hootsuite has really helped improve views, as has posting new blog links to blogging groups on Facebook. I will post all of the useful websites below but it does really help. Scheduling tweets is a complete and utter bore so I found it useful to write all of my tweets once, then copy and paste them into a word document for next time so I don't have to write everything out again. Lil' tip for you all there.

It's not about money but..
If you want to make money out of your blog then affiliate links can really help. Creating a Skimlinks account is one of the best things I have done. All you have to do is sign up then add the HTML link to your sidebar (it's invisible, don't worry) and now whatever content you create Skimlinks add in links to the words you have written. For example, if I were to write 'flat-screen television' then it would automatically add a link to a flat-screen television and you would get a certain amount of money each time someone clicks on it. You don't get much from it but every now and then they will email you telling how much money you have made and if it is over a certain amount, they send you it via Paypal. Money for not doing anything!

Also, a similar website to sign up to is ShopStyle Collective. If you are writing a review on a perfume for example you can search the website for it, find a link to it then paste it into your blog and whenever someone clicks the link or buys it then you get some pennies. So essentially it is like Skimlinks but you create the links yourself. Again, you don't get much money but it all adds up in the end.

SEO.
..Or Search Engine Optimization as it is commonly known. ...I know, I don't know either. If you are a blogger already then I am sure you are already bombarded daily by kind chaps named Rohit who promise to help improve your SEO and get you to the top of Google search results. The whole idea of SEO is purely to get you more page views and to get you to the top of Google. There are so many things you can do to improve this and there are loads of articles online telling you how to improve this but I will tell you a couple of things I do.

The first thing is keywords. If you are writing a blog post on perfume, for example, name your blog post after that product. It may sound really silly and a bit "well duhh" but not necessarily. Calling your post "the best perfume I have ever tried" isn't really telling Google what product you are talking about. How will the person who wants to read about the Chloe perfume know you are talking about it? If they type Chloe perfume into Google, your post won't come up as Google won't know what product you are talking about. In this instance, the Chloe perfume would be the keyword so you want to try and include this in your post title, first paragraph and throughout the rest of the blog post. You also want to try and add the keyword into the permalink/URL as search engines look at that to see what you are posting about.

Secondly, meta description or search description. I only learnt this recently and I can't believe I never learnt it before! When you see any search result on Google, you will see the title and the writing underneath. The writing underneath is the meta/search description, something which you have the ability to change. Rather than having your first few lines of your blog post show up on Google, you can custom change it to the first line of the review or to something which would make the person sat on the other side of the world click on your Google search result rather than the person below you. It is really easy to change and you will see this on Blogger when you write a post in the sidebar on the right. It also helps if you try and add the keywords in there too!

Social media is your friend.
Other than scheduling tweets and posting your blog links to blogging Facebook groups, social media can really help in the blogging world. It is nice to follow fellow bloggers, interact with others, join in with blogging chats and find new blogs to follow. I think it is also really nice to comment on fellow bloggers blog posts and check out other commentors blog posts. I like to spend a couple of hours a week catching up on other bloggers latest posts and let's face it, we all like to receive a kind, encouraging comment every now and again!

Social media groups and hashtags.
Finding Facebook blogging groups can be really helpful. You can interact with others, find new blogs to follow as well as promoting your own. These are all of the groups I have joined where I share my content. This is a great way of getting blog views and new followers.
FBL, International Beauty, Beauty Bloggers, Beauty & Fashion Bloggers, Fashion Bloggers, Beauty Blogger, Beauty Bloggers International & Beauty Bloggers United.

For Twitter, when scheduling tweets I always include blogger retweeting accounts and hashtags so people can always see my content. The accounts I include are..
#BloggingGals, @BBlogRT, @UKBloggerRT, @UKBlog_RT, @UKBloggers1, @FemaleBloggerRT and #bbloggers.

Useful websites to know.
StumbleUpon. A website where you can upload a web page to what I can only describe as a lucky-dip in web pages. You can pick from different interests and view web pages from other websites that fellow users have uploaded which is under that genre. For example, I read a lot of beauty pages on there and I upload my beauty reviews on there. You can get a lot of blog views, new followers and find new websites through StumbleUpon. It is really quick and easy to use so I definitely recommend it.

Hootsuite. An incredibly easy to use tweet scheduler which saves a hell of a lot of time. I really suggest scheduling tweets as it drives traffic to your website through fellow Twitter users.

Skimlinks. A great website which installs affiliate links to your blog. You write the content, they add the links. It is simple and easy, you don't do a thing.

ShopStyle Collective. Another affiliate website but you choose and create the links yourself.

I hope some of you have found this post interesting or useful at all. I'm sorry it is so long-winded - props to you if you have read the entire post! If you have any useful tips then please leave them in the comments!

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32 comments

  1. great super helpful article, defo bookmarking this one:-) x
    www.whatrosiewrote.com

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    1. Thank you Rosie! I am glad it was helpful! x

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  2. I could've done with this when I first started !
    Www.glitzandglamourmakeup.co.uk

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    1. I'm hoping it will be useful to those starting out! x

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  3. Great tips! I think I follow pretty much everything. When it comes to blog layout, I like simple and clean, but I also like something that shows the blogger's personality. If a blog looks exactly like 20 other blogs I've visited that week, I'm not very likely to remember it!
    Beaumiroir

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    1. That's very true, it's all about everyone's personal tastes at the end of the day! x

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  4. I never even considered using StumbleUpon, that's such a great idea! The entire post was so useful! I can't agree enough about promoting yourself, I see a huge decline in comments and views if I'm lazy and don't use social media enough to promote my blog posts!

    Becki | beautyandthebrunette.co.uk
    xxx

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    1. StumbleUpon is a really useful way of getting your web pages out there! I am glad you found it useful x

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  5. Love your tips, I so wish hootesuite would let you schedule the same tweet just at different times, it would save so much time (and my sanity haha) Its soul distroying! And I have only just started using StumbleUpon, hoping it helps too :)

    http://www.makeerinover.co.uk

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    1. I completely agree! If only you could save them all onto the website and pick and choose what you would like to schedule each time! x

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  6. Great post! I only found out about the search description box a few months ago. I have really tried to improve my blogs layout and photography and noticed my followers have grown massively since doing so.

    Emmy | Emmys Beauty Cave | Bloglovin

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    1. I completely agree. Since I have changed my layout and the way I take my photos I have found my follower count has really grown x

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  7. great tips! this post was super informative

    http://www.carolinapinglo.com/

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    1. Thank you Carolina. Glad it was of use! x

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  8. These are really great tips! Definitely agree with the promotion part, it doesn't matter how good your content is - it won't sell itself! Also wow, 6 years is so long! x

    vvnightingale.com

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  9. I've not heard about StumbleUpon before, I'll definitely have to check that one out. I love these kind of posts because there's always something new to learn :)
    xxx Claire
    http://www.claireellis.co.uk/

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  10. Loved this!! I am going onto stumble upon, I hope it helps! Thank you for sharing xx

    www.lauralivinglife.com

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  11. Wow this was very helpful! I knew a lot of this, but I need to be reminded sometimes. Thanks for sharing the Facebook groups!
    Obsessed Fashion Blog

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  12. That's really helpful, I'll definitely be checking out the Shop Style, Skim links and the free version of Photoshop!

    www.beautyfromkatie.blogspot.com

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  13. Great post, so informative and helpful! I don't currently share my posts through fb groups but I'll defo look into joining a few!
    Tenz
    www.shesabouthatlife.com
    xxx

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  14. I really agree with layout, some blogs just confused the heck out of me and I want to read more posts but can't even figure out where to start. What's worse is when I find a blog I love but have no means of following them. I think everyone should be aware of the tips you mentioned! :)

    Sally - DiagonSally

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  15. This is incredible helpful! Woweee six years blogging, so impressed! xx

    http://www.thatnewdress.com

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  16. I wish I knew this before, blogging really is a learn on the job type of thing though!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  17. I agree if you want to take your blog to the next level, you do need to be serious about how it looks first of all so like you said layout & photography are key, but also about sticking to what you know & being true to what you like to write about. Fantastic post x

    Beauty with charm | Benefit Cheekathon Giveaway

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  18. I've just started using StumbleUpon & wish I'd come across it sooner! I need to look into affiliate links, something I've been putting off for a while but I'm not sure why. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

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  19. This is so useful!! Thanks a lot for sharing! xx


    AGNESE from http://www.theblogness.com

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  20. I haven't been blogging properly for long, probably only the last year or so I got really invested into it, and this post has given me so many tips and tricks so thank you! x
    meg / megsbeautycorner.blogspot.co.uk x

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  21. This is so useful for a new blogger! Thank you xx

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  22. This post is so useful as a new blogger! Thanks xx

    Laura from thepalegirlblog.co.uk

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  23. I definately need to start promoting my blog in the right way, I've been blogging for over 2 years, and I've never took the time to promote it correctly.
    Thanks for this post, I needed something like this.
    Obsessed Fashion Blog

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  24. Great post! I got some.really good ideas, thank you :)

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