Blogging is far more complicated than it seems to be, which is why when asked what tips I would give to a beginner…I normally blank. There are so many things you need to know. But I think I managed to scale it back a bit. Here are my top 10 blogging tips for beginners!
10 Blogging Tips for Beginners
1. Choose a niche.
It doesn’t have to be specific and you don’t have to stick to it forever. Just choose something. My best tip for deciding on a niche? Write about the things you want to read about. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at cooking. If you hate collecting recipes and reading food blogs, then food blogging is not the niche for you.
2. Just start.
Don’t worry about having a month’s worth of posts. Don’t worry about the design. Don’t worry that your photos aren’t the greatest (though you should work on that as you go). Don’t even worry about whether you want to monetize. Just start writing. Getting started is half the battle. Figure the rest out as you go.
3. Concentrate on other people.
This is going to sound negative, but it’s the truth…the majority of your readers don’t care about you. They care about themselves. They care about their problems and how you can fix them.
It’s not until you’ve hooked them with a great post that they start thinking of you as a person, rather than as a blogger. Concentrate on your readers enough and they’ll develop an interest in you. Which is where social media, email newsletters, and your “About” page come in.
4. Claim your username on ALL social media platforms.
It doesn’t matter if you like Twitter or even if you plan to use it. Claim the username. You don’t ever have to use it, but trust me. Googling your own blog name and then finding someone ELSE is a top ranker for that name on social media is a bummer. It also might confuse your readers if they Google you and find someone else. Keep that from happening by claiming your name on everything. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
In fact, check to make sure you can before you settle on the name. Finding out someone took your username or that it was too long for Twitter may make you change your mind.
Oh, and then post your social media accounts (and an email sign-up) on your blog immediately. Don’t just wait until you have more traffic. Social media will be important for getting that traffic.
5. Write for clarity and proofread everything.
It’s no mystery to me why many of the people I see complaining that no one is reading their blogs are terrible at writing. If I can’t understand what you’re saying, I’m not coming back to your blog. That goes for social media, as well.
Don’t have time to proofread? Then you don’t have time to blog. Blogging is way more time-consuming than proofreading. I have a lot of problems with the, “I don’t have time” excuse. The people who are complaining about not having time seem to have plenty of time to sit on Facebook and complain about not having time….
Here’s the thing, though: you’re going to make mistakes, no matter how good you are. I have an English degree and my posts are riddled with typos. It happens. Your writing will get better the more reading and writing you actually do, though. So do it often. I spend a lot of time writing for my blog, but I spend WAY more time reading. In fact, that’s something most successful bloggers and writers will tell you. As Stephen King says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
If you have trouble proofreading, read what you’ve written out loud and use the Hemingway App. This is great for making sure your writing is clear and easy for anyone to understand. Just type your posts into the app and it will show you what to fix. Also, it’s free.If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. -- Stephen King Click To Tweet
Want some reading? Check out these books (affiliate links to follow):
- How I Made $40k My First Year of Blogging by Chelsea Lords
- How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Regina Soukup
6. Be consistent.
I can’t stress this enough.
If you’re not serious about blogging, then you don’t need to worry about this.
But if you want to call your blog a “business,” you don’t get to take three months off and expect your followers to still be there. You have to treat it like a business. Which means choosing “hours of operation.” Or in this case, your posting schedule. My normal posts go up MWF at 7 AM. That’s been true for the last two years.
This is important if you want to network with other bloggers, as well. As a blogger, it is very annoying to join a tribe or bloggy group that looks really great…only to find its members are inconsistent and flaky.
You don’t need a strict schedule, either. If you want to post once a week, fine. But choose a specific day of the week and stick to it. Readers want a blogger they can count on.
And if you do wind up taking an unscheduled break, don’t write an apology post. I once followed a blogger who ONLY updated her blog so she could apologize for not being around. After a few times, I just stopped following. Writing a post just to apologize without including actual content sends the message that you don’t have anything to write about. Readers will think the long absences are going to be your norm. And, as I said before, they don’t care about you, they care about what you can offer them. Flaky bloggers have nothing to offer.
7. Network with other bloggers.
Reach out to other bloggers. Make bloggy friends whose blogs are the same age and size as your own. If your goals are similar, create a tribe and help each other grow. You do this by sharing each other’s posts, guest posting for each other, linking to posts that are like the ones you write, setting goals and helping each other reach them, etc.
There are TONS of Facebook groups to join, as well. Hunt them down. Ask other bloggers if they know of any. Right now, I’m in the following groups:
If there’s something new going on in the blogging world (and there always is), those places will know about it.
8. If everyone else is doing it, there’s a reason.
If you see posts about SEO popping up on other blogs, there’s a reason for it. Don’t ignore it and assume it’s not a real issue. Dig deeper and find out what you can about topics that people are concerned about. Why is everyone talking about no-follow links? Instead of saying, “That sounds complicated” and ignoring it, save the post, read it. If you don’t understand it, Google the parts you don’t understand. Like, “What is a no-follow link?”
If you’re a food blogger and you see a bunch of recipes for something like salted caramel, there’s a reason. It’s trendy right now. And jumping on that bandwagon will make a huge difference in your traffic.
Don’t ignore a topic that keeps popping up everywhere. See what you can do with it and try. Use it to create content for your own site.
9. Remember that Google is your friend.
Is there something you don’t understand about blogging? Google it. I can’t tell you how many questions I’ve answered that are easy to figure out if you just use a search engine. I enjoy helping other bloggers with things that are difficult. But getting emails asking how to set up a Twitter account is a waste of my time. And yours, because you could just find the answer on Google instead of waiting for me to get back to you.
I know we were all brought up hearing, “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” But that’s a lie. There is absolutely such a thing as a stupid question (someone once found my blog by Googling, “can I use dryer sheets to filter almond milk” so…). Anything you can find out easily on Google falls into the “stupid question” category.
10. Always test your site.
Check to make sure links are working. Sign out of your social media accounts and see what they look like to other people. You may find out that all of your Google+ posts are showing up as “Private,” which explains why you’re not getting any engagement. Speaking of which, here’s how to fix that.
There are all kinds of problems your readers will run into…and they won’t tell you when they do. There was a point once where no one was able to comment on my blog. I didn’t know about it because no one bothered to email me. I found out when I had the same problem with someone else’s blog…and then decided, on a whim, to check my own comment form.
Check your site. It’s your responsibility to know what’s wrong and get it fixed. Not taking the time to check everything will result in visitors who never return.
What tips would you give to a new blogger?