Who doesn’t love a good list of blogging tips! Everyone who blogs, wants to know how to do it better, right? We’re all looking to improve our craft in one way or another – and that’s where blogging tips can come in handy!
I am by no means an expert in the field of blogging. My first blog began in the wilderness years before social media, where photos had to be hosted on another site and inserted into a post using html and nobody really understood what a blog was. Most blogs were very wordy without much prettiness – since anything other than bog standard text on a page required a lot of coding.
Since starting Singke Mother Ahoy in 2012 though, I feel like I’ve learned more about blogging in that time than in the preceding ten years. I thought I would share what I’ve learned; you may already know some of it, but I think a lot of it bears repeating/reminding…
1 Make use of social media! I don’t mean just share your posts and run away; really try to build a community and interact with people. On Facebook especially, you need to be an ongoing presence or there’s no point in bothering to begin with!
2 Join in with linkys and blog hops – but again, don’t just link and run. Take time to be a part of the community and visit other people taking part. If you’re not sure about where to find linkys to join in with, take a look at the Weekend Blog Share, which includes a comprehensive list of linkys, and is regularly updated. Commenting on other blogs will also provide your blog with backlinks, which are useful for your page authority.
3 Be careful with your commenting. Although commenting on other blogs gives you backlinks, don’t comment just to get backlinks. I try to only comment if I genuinely have something to say. I can’t stand it when I receive a comment notification and it’s just a variation of “aw hun” with no actual conversational value. It’s irritating, and if you keep doing it, you will be seen as leaving spam.
4 Read other blogs and articles. Even if you don’t join in with blog hops or linkys, take the time to read. This helps you to find out what other people are talking about, and may well give you ideas for your own blog posts too (though obviously don’t rip off other people’s ideas). I love this quote from Stephen King. You can’t write well if you don’t read.
5 Be consistent. You don’t need to update every single day, but you do need to be reliable in your posting schedule – so that people know when to expect something new. If you are haphazard with blogging or go weeks without posting, people will stop coming to check for new content.
6 Keep an eye on your stats. If you’re really only writing for your own pleasure or to keep your mum updated, then stats will mean nothing to you – and really, neither will anything else in this post. If you have any desire to reach a wider audience, your stats can help you to do that.
7 Create a brilliant “About Me” page. Check out this podcast for some top tips to help you. An about page helps people to see who you are, what sort of content they can expect from you, and perhaps how often. You could point them in the direction of some of the more important posts on your blog. For example, if your blog is all about life after a foot amputation, point people in the direction of your post about why your foot was amputated – and then the rest of your writing can be seen in context.
8 Work on your titles. This is not so important if you’re writing a post about your weekend, but if you’re writing about something that could be of interest to a wider audience, you need to write a title that will help to draw those people in and make them want to read it.
9 If you want to improve your writing, blog daily. Writing is like exercising a muscle, and it will get stronger the moe you use it. You’ll also get more used to putting together photo montages, cracking titles and great posts if you’re doing it regularly.
10 Being consistent doesn’t just apply to publishing posts regularly. You also need to be consistent in your names and images. If your name is “the big mum blog” on your blog, but your blog address is “jennygreen.com” and your Twitter handle is “the mum next door” people will fid it hard to remember your name or where to find you. On Single Mother Ahoy I use a photo of myself with S wearing a lion suit. It’s getting a little old now, but it is the same wherever I am representing that blog on the internet (or if I appear on TV or in a magazine) – so people can always recognise me.
11 Link to other posts. If you refer to soemthing you’ve mentioned in a previous post, always include a link to that post. This makes it easier for your readers to follow what you’re on about, but it’s also good for SEO and page authority.
12 Allow easy sharing. Include buttons at the bottom of your posts to allow people to share them on social media. Make it really easy for people to share your posts with their followers, and they are more likely to do so.
13 Allow easy following. Make sure there are links to your social media accounts in a prominent position on your site. If someone stumbles across your blog and likes what they see, they may want to follow you on social media so that they don’t miss future posts – but they won’t want to fuss about trying to find it, so make it really easy for them.
14 Consider scheduling posts. There are lots fo reasons for doing this, and lots of tools to help you. Check out this post about blog scheduling.
15 Always learn more. I read books about blogging all the time, and whenever I see a blog post about blogging, I always read it. You can always learn something new, and there is always a different approach you’ve not thought of yet. Even if you don’t necessarily learn anything new, it might give you inspiration for a post of your own.
16 Don’t rush! I know I said it’s best to be consistent about posting, but not at the expense of quality. Make sure you’ve included everything you want to say in your post, with all relevant links and photos. Proof read it. More than once if possible. Then hit publish. Silly mistakes are forgivable, but but when they keep happening it looks like you just don’t care enough to make sure it’s right.
17 Add a link to your blog in your email signature. Never miss a chance to promote your blog! Think about other places you can have it as well.
18 Write what you know. If you know about something, however obscure – actually, the more obscure the better – write about it. Tell people how to find the best fertilizer for their tomato plants, but only if you honestly believe you know the best way to do that. Don’t try to write about something you don’t really know about; people will see through it, and there are plenty of other people out there who do know the subject.
19 Be patient. If you’ve been blogging for two months and you’re still not raking in the millions, don’t panic. Keep at it and keep your writing consistent and good quality.
20 Hustle! Blogging is not a case of “build it and they will come” – you need to really shove it under people’s noses. Not only by using your social media, but by engaging with people on a regular basis so they know who you are. Get yourself “out there” as much as possible.
21 Write guest posts. Approach other bloggers in your field and offer them a guest post. Often bloggers will be happy to have some good quality content to fill a gap on their blog. Just make sure you provide them with a great quality piece of writing. It should be so good that you’re tempted to keep it on your own site. By placing it on someone else’s site you can show their readers how brilliant your writing is – so they’ll want to come and check out your blog.
22 Don’t try too hard. If you’re a naturally funny person, you won’t need to spend half an hour trying to make that paragraph sound funny; it will just be funny. If you naturally use long words in your everyday speech, then by all means do so in your blog. But people can usually tell if you’re trying to be something you’re not by adding in long words or trying to make everything sound hilarious. Just be yourself, whoever that is.
23 Make your posts easy to read. List posts are great for this. If you can’t make youre post into a list, try to at least make the paragraphs short with a space between them. These days we have so many different things vying for our attention in so many different directions, it’s hard to concentrate on a huge block of text – and even harder to make someone want to read it! Break it up and make it really easy to follow.
24 Use pictures. If you’re writing about your new car, take a photo of it. If you’re writing a post like this, use pictures for posts instead. They break the text up a little as well as giving people something to pin on Pinterest, or a graphic for Facebook to pick up when you share your link there
25 Bear in mind optimum image sizes. If you’re planning to share your posts on social media, you’ll want to have decent-sized images in your post that will help with sharing. These sizes are worth bearing in mind:
26 Encourage interaction. Ask people what they think, or whether they have anything to add to the discussion. Give people a reason to comment on your posts!
27 Make sure there are lots of posts on your front page. That way people can see more of your work without having to click to older posts. People are inherently lazy, and often won’t bothr to click “older posts” so make sure they can see as much of your writing as possible.
28 Be sure who you are writing for. If you have an ideal reader in mind, this will help you to decide what to post, and whether that idea you’ve just come up with is suitable for your blog.
29 Don’to be afraid to do something different. You don’t need to do exactly what every other blogger is doing, and what works well for them won’t necessarily work for you. If you think you’d like to try something a bit off the wall, get on and do it – regardless of whether anyone else is doing it.
30 Include a list of your most popular posts in your sidebar. This could either be the most popular posts this week or month, or the most popular posts of all time. This allows people to see your best content, without trawling through lots of pages to get to it.
31 Ever made a mistake? Blog about it! People love to read stories where the teller is not perfect; it makes you more human to your readers. And if you managed to overcome whatever the mistake was, telling how you did it will be of interest to others.
32 Make notes! I come up with loads of ideas for blog posts every day, but if I don’t write them own my brain loses them and they may well be gone forever. I have Evernote on every device and also make notes in notepads all over the house. Never trust your brain to remember a blog post idea; it has a million other things to be going on with.
33 Set aside time for planning. If you can take an hour every week or so to sit down with a pen and a pad and plan what you want to post this week, it can help to allay that panic of “how can I possibly come up with content for X number of posts this week” Your brain will actually get used to coming up with ideas if you get into the habit of doing this regularly.
34 Remember you’re on the internet. These days lots of bloggers are aspiring writers or do freelance work on the side. Remember that the internet is worldwide, and it’s really easy for a potential client to Google you and find your blog. I say this not because I think you should censor yourself in order to seem “professional” but more because if you want to be paid to write, you need to make sure your blog is a good example of your writing ability.
35 Think ahead. I don’t just mean “hmm what shall I post tomorrow” but try to think a little further ahead. Look at your calendar; are there any things coming up tht you would want to blog about? Preparing ahead a little can help to make sure you don’t miss things you really would have loved to cover.
36 Remember why you started. It’s easy to et caught up in rankings and comparisons to other blogs, but why did you start in the first place? If you’re doing what you wanted to do, who cares how you stand in rankings or comparisons to others? Most of us didn’t begin blogging in order to have our blogs read and enjoyed by other bloggers, so don’t get caught up in what other bloggers are saying/doing/thinking.
37 Link to other sites wherever relevant. If you mention another blogger, link to their site. If you mention any other website, include a link to it. The clickout rate of your blog has an impact on your SEO so providing links can improve your ranking.
38 Write how you talk. That’s what people always say, and I do agree – but I would add a couple of caveats. By all means write in the way that you talk, but also bear in mind that your writing needs to be easily understandable, or you won’t get very far. Write in complete sentences, and try to ensure you’re using correct words. For example, you might always say “seen as..” but the correct term is “seeing as…” and while you may always say the former, it can make you seem uneducated, especially if, as in point 34, you’re trying to set yourself up as a freelance writer.
39 Reply to comments – where appropriate. This is probably quite controversial, but I don’t reply to every single comment. Not only because I have two websites, and a limited amoun of time – but also because sometimes comments don’t warrant a response. If someone has commented “nice post” I don’t have time to go back with “aww thanks hun” – it’s pointless. If a commenter has made a thoughtful or engaging comment, or they’ve asked a question, I will answer but I don’t feel the need to “aww thanks hun” all over the place.
40 Don’t feed the trolls! Another time where comments are best left ignored is if they are deliberately incendiary. You will always get people who disagree with you, and it’s fine to enter into a discussion – but when they’re just spouting insults and bile, they’re best left to themselves. Responding only encourages them; take a deep breath and move on.
Bonus tip #41: take everything with a pinch of salt; it’s just opinion. If someone tells you not to do that with your graphics/posts/layout, but it works for you, thank them for their opinion and carry on as you were.
So those were my 40 top blogging tips, plus a sneaky bonus one! Have I covered anything? Is there anything I’ve missed – or anything you disagree on?