Starting a blog can be a joyful experience, but it can also bring frustrations along the way.
Although there are plenty of resources available to help with design and the technical aspects of blogging, some things are never discussed until you have an issue.
With that in mind, here are 10 blogging tips to ease the growing pains.
One – Remember why you started
No matter your reason, know it and write it somewhere you can see. If your site server goes down, you don’t get approved for affiliate marketing/sponsorship, or you’re not acknowledged for something you’ve worked hard at, you’ll need a reminder of why you began. If it’s not enjoyable or your goal is lost along the way, it won’t be worth doing. A lot of bloggers quit in their first year because it wasn’t what they were expecting, or it was harder than they thought. Remembering why you started can get you through those tough times, and those happen to all of us.
Two – Use your Hosting
You pay them, so use them. A few months in I tried to update my PHP solo, and my site crashed. If you’re not very tech-savvy, using your hosting will save you numerous headaches and obstacles. Some hosts can be difficult to contact but be persistent. You are their customer and pay for their services. They can do anything you require from checking compatibility to creating a sub-domain and can see issues that you may not know to look for.
Three – Write and Save your Posts in a Separate Program
This seems like twice the work but moving a post to your blog is as easy as copying and pasting. A separate file allows you to have an original copy of your post, off of your website. In the event you need to re-write a post for whatever reason, you’ll have it handy and won’t have to rely on memory. As well, your blog editor may not do more than spell-check, so using something like Word for Microsoft or Grammarly gives you the ability to write, edit, and revise any posts before they go live. I have also found that 400 words in, I don’t like what I have written. Saving posts in a separate place allows you space for a drafts folder. Drafts are nice to have on those days when you can’t come up with an idea of what to write about.
Four – Join the Community
Being a part of the blogging community for your niche can be daunting because you’re new, but leaving sincere comments on other blogs (ones you enjoy) and replying to comments on yours with gratitude goes a long way. It takes months if not longer for search engines to catalog your site and organic searches won’t place you at the top of the list in google for quite some time. If you don’t get your name out there, no one will know your blog exists.
The blogging world can be a bit cliquey, but those who don’t blog won’t understand your excitement or a disappointment like another blogger. It can only benefit you to have someone to discuss the joys and tribulations with. Not everyone will like your work but you will build a community you can rely on with just a small amount of effort. Knowing other bloggers will also aid you when you have tough questions that the google gods can’t seem to answer.
Five – Get on Social Media
In the beginning, we all rely on comments and likes to know how well our blog is received, but many readers don’t want to go through the process of creating an account. Depending on your blog niche, they may not want their name attached to it either. Using social media allows you to get your work to a larger audience. Using platforms like Twitter or Instagram, you’ll be able to form a community with other bloggers and your followers. Social media is also a great place to ask questions in a group or interact with your readers, and sometimes it just helps keep it all fun. Depending on your blog content, it could become your best advertising. Don’t let it suck you in though, it can be a major time trap if you let it.
Six – Be Ethical in your Dealings
This is about giving credit where it’s due. Simple things like adding “header image found at …” or thanking another blogger for use of an image, quote, or other works. This shows that you value their time and energy. And of course, unless using an open-source, ask before using someone’s work. You’d hate to come across your art on another page without the correct credit given, so don’t do it to someone else. If people find you unethical, they’re less likely to want to work with you, which will make collaborations, affiliations, and sponsorships really difficult. Don’t forget to watermark your images too, they are yours after all and you deserve the credit.
Seven – Update Regularly
Your site’s admin page will tell you when an update is needed and most of the time it is pretty straightforward. For updates around PHP or themes, you may want to check with your hosting or run a compatibility test (there are some great plugins for this). Most updates work out bugs related to theme and PHP. So having everything up to date makes your site work and run faster. You can set your site up to auto-update, but unless you know that all your plugins will be compatible, it’s best to do them one at a time. But before you do, read the next tip…
Eight – Back-Up regularly
This is the most important tip I can offer. I once made the mistake of relying on my hosting to back up and lost three weeks’ worth of posts (about 15). Thankfully, everything was saved in a separate file and location, so it was fairly easy to integrate into new posts. Using a plugin like Updraft Plus or going directly through your hosting, you can save all your site’s info to a location on your computer. This simple step can be the difference between reposting and completely reinstalling. Most hosting companies offer full back-ups for a fee. But when the backup was completed may be an issue for you. Doing it manually will give you some peace of mind.
Nine – Edit Past posts
After a year or ten of blogging, you’ll have an endless array of posts. When you re-read them, you may find that they aren’t quite as good as you remember. Blogging, like everything else, takes time to perfect, so don’t be afraid to re-edit old work. I use a plugin called Revive Old Posts that tweets two past posts every day. Using this, I can read through theses posts and update anything that doesn’t seem right. I’ve also found plenty of spelling errors, questionable wording, and photos that weren’t credited and was able to fix these small issues with ease.
Ten – Be Yourself
We are all individuals, and your blog is an extension of that individuality. While you may like another blog, don’t think that you should copy their style. You are you and your blog should show who you are. Like it was stated in number 4, not everyone will like your work, but you should still be yourself. Building a following takes time and consistency, but you’ll achieve it faster if you are genuine and authentic. We’d all rather have the real thing than a cheap knock-off.
Short cuts also known as hotkeys can be your best friend. A couple I use frequently are:
- Alt + 0169(on the numeric pad) – This will give you a copyright symbol without having to change font, ©
- Alt + 0153(on the numeric pad) – this will give you a trademark symbol ™
- Alt + 13 or Alt + 14 – These hotkeys will give you music notes, for days when you’re quoting lyrics. ♪ ♫
- Alt + 1 – This will give you a smile emoji if you choose to use them. ☺
If all else fails, remember tip number 1. Keeping your stamina going can be difficult at times but having a predetermined reason for writing each post will do wonders along the way. Blogging will become what you make it, so make it the best it can be. Before you know it, you’ll be a pro!
Have some blogging tips of your own? Leave a comment so others can benefit too.