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Tips for New Bloggers

If you’re here on this page, you should have already started your blog! Congratulations! :) (If you’re not up and running yet, please check out my “How to Start a Blog” post, first!). And now, here are of my best tips for new bloggers.

Just a note that some of the links below are affiliate links. Thanks, as always, for your support!

Tips for new bloggers

Original Photo taken by Ben Powell Photography

1) Windows Live Writer.

Instead of using the blog writing box on my WordPress dashboard, I write all my posts (and publish them) through Windows Live Writer. I’d highly recommend downloading it – it’s free and really easy to use (although only available for Windows computer users – it won’t work with Mac)! It makes blogging a million times easier because you can preview everything you’re adding to your blog, and see exactly how the fonts, spacing, colors, and images will look, before you publish. You can even publish a post for a specific date and time in the future, so that if you’ll be away from your computer a post will appear while you’re away. It’s way easier to add photos to posts, too. I’m seriously not sure if I’d still be blogging without it! Here’s a screenshot of what it looked like when I was writing this post.

blogging_tips_screenshot

2) Work on your photography skills!

No one likes reading blogs with tiny, dark, blurry photos. Enlarge your photos so that they fill up the whole screen area of your post. Looking for a good point and shoot camera? Check out the Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS 12.1 MP Digital Camera. I’ve had it for years and love it – it’s really durable and takes great dim lighting photos, too. Once you’re ready to upgrade to a DSLR, I’d recommend the Canon Rebel T3i, which is what I have. It takes beautiful photos!

For more tips, check out my post about how to take better photos using a point and shoot. For more help (including details for cell phone cameras, point and shoots, and DSLRs), check out the series of guest posts below!

3) Stay Motivated & Increase Your Traffic!

So you have a blog, you’re got your theme all pretty and how you like it, and you’re publishing posts. Everything is great, but… where are the readers? Here are some tips to stay motivated and increase traffic, too.

  • HAVE FUN! If you aren’t enjoying blogging and it becomes a chore, stop. Blogging should be fun, and it will show through in your posts.
  • Don’t feel pressured to post every thirty seconds – save it for when you have something to say. That said, try to be consistent – once a week, once a day, one a month around the same time – whatever. Consistency = people coming back.
  • Don’t expect to have a million readers immediately and don’t be discouraged if you don’t. It takes time to gain readership, but they will come if you keep up the awesomeness.
  • Blogging is time consuming and there is no way around that; spend time on your posts so that readers get what they deserve. Quality over quantity.
  • Want to drive more traffic to your blog? Participate in the community of similar bloggers to get your name out there and get more readers. Comment on other blogs, do guest posts, talk to others (like me!) on Twitter (and use hashtags so more people see your tweets – #fitblog and #runchat are good healthy living ones, and #rdchat is good if you are an RD but there are plenty more!), post links to your blog on your personal Facebook page (and think about starting a page for your blog, too!), share photos on Instagram and Pinterest, and participate in contests/movements/online bake sales/etc. The more you interact, the more others will start to notice you!

4) My Favorite Plugins

Plugins are to your blog like apps are to your smart phone. They add fun features to your site! Here are a few of my favorites. To install a plugin, simply go to your WordPress dashboard, and click on “Plugins” on the left, then select “Add New.” Search by any of these by name (use the exact name I list), click install, and then follow their instructions for setting it up!

  1. Alpine PhotoTile for Instagram – This plugin will allow you to add a cute little feed of your recent Instagram photos to your sidebar. Look on the right of my blog to see mine for an example!
  2. Comment Reply Notification – Have you ever left a comment or question on a blog and then forgotten to go back and check for the answer? I do this all the time. This plugin will email someone if their comment receives a response, so the conversation can continue!
  3. Facebook Like Box – This plugin will allow you to add a Facebook “like” box for your blog’s Facebook page onto your sidebar. To see mine, look right! :)
  4. Image Widget – This plugin makes it easy to add photos/images to your sidebar.
  5. nRelate Related Conent – This plugin adds links to related posts at the end of each post. To see it in action on my site, click over to my homepage, click on one of the posts, and scroll down to just above the comment section. It’s the “You may also like:” thing with other posts below it. (I have it set so it doesn’t show on pages, just on posts, which is why it’s not showing over on this page).
  6. Pinterest Badge – This plugin will allow you to add a cute feed of recent Pinterest pins to your sidebar. Again, to see mine, look over to the right!
  7. Pinterest Pin It Button For Images – This plugin will display a pin it button on your images when someone hovers their mouse over them. To see how it works, hover your mouse over the image at the start of this post!
  8. Shareaholic – This plugin adds social bookmarking icons at the end of your posts. To see it in action on my site, click over to my homepage, click on one of the posts, and scroll down to just above the comment section. It’s the thing that says “Share and Enjoy!” with an arrow to all the social media sharing icons. (I have it set so it doesn’t show on pages, just on posts, which is why it’s not showing over on this page).
  9. Twitter Widget Pro – This plugin will allow you to add a feed of your recent tweets from Twitter onto your sidebar. To see mine, look right!

5) Additional Tips & Blogging Ethics

  • When you try another blogger’s recipe and post about it on your site, simply share a link to their original recipe (and include your own original photos and comments). Don’t repost the recipe on your site – it’s like plagiarizing in the blog world! Not cool.
  • If you significantly alter someone else’s recipe (e.g. change at least 3 major ingredients – not just things like adding walnuts or a little more cinnamon), then you can post your updated version, but it’s still good to link to the original recipe (e.g. Adapted from: RECIPE NAME).
  • When you do start working with brands, be sure to be clear about your relationship with them when you post. If you’re talking about a product, for example, you should say if you got it for free. Being transparent is a good thing!
  • Wondering how everyone adds text to their photos (like I did in the image at the start of this post)? Or creates cute Pinterest-worthy workout graphics? Or makes picture collages? The secret is an awesome website called PicMonkey! It’s free to use the basic version and no registration is required. Try it out! :)

picmonkey

Want more tips? Here is another other post you might find helpful:

Good luck and have fun!

Comments

  1. 1

    This is a great post! I love that you have a variety of blog posts on your blog and truly want to help other bloggers. Do you know how I could put a Pinterest and Instagram button on my page? Also, do you keep your personal Pinterest and Instagram and one for your blog seperate for privacy? That is something I’ve been thinking about and not sure what to do with that. I also need help with my html :-/ My page is still not quite right because I don’t know how to put my own slide show photos, etc. I still have a lot of work to do. I love your blog! Thanks again for your advice!

    • 2

      I am knew to blogging, but you can add pinterest button by getting a plug in. If you use wordpress, go to plug ins and and add new, in search box type “share buttons”, lots of different downloads will come up. This allows readers to share your posts to their pinterest, twitter, facebook etc. Also, you get follow me buttons that allow your readers to follow you on twitter, pinterest, and instagram as well by searching for “follow me buttons”. I hope this helps a little bit.

    • 3

      Great question! I’m actually going to add a section to this page about my favorite plugins (which is how you add stuff like that to your site). Stay tuned! Should be up later today or tomorrow.

      For Pinterest and Instagram, I don’t have personal pages – just blog ones. I do have a personal Facebook that I keep private, though!

    • 4

      The plugin favorites list is up – come check it out!

  2. 8

    Thanks Anne!! Also thanks for the advice via email. I finally started my blog, but have lots of work to do. Thank goodness my boyfriend is more tech savvy then me. Also thanks for the tips on photos. I am not a photographer!! I hope that doesn’t hurt my blog!!

  3. 10

    Thanks so much for the tips! Blogging as been so much fun since I started 3 months ago. It has really opened me up to new workouts, foods, and conversations. Awesome how the energy grows. Thanks for inspiring :)

  4. 12
    Sandra Laflamme says:

    Thank you for sharing these helpful tips Anne! I always like to find new tools and widgets t my blog.

  5. 13

    Great post. I would also add stay consistent to that list. If you blog a few times then stop blogging for three months, people aren’t going to come back.

  6. 15

    Thank you for all your helpful tips!

  7. 16

    Great tips! :)

  8. 17

    Thanks! I have added the instagram plug in to my site.. yet I am having issues installing it. Any tips?

  9. 18

    Awesome tips! This is one of the best compilations I’ve seen yet so thanks very much Anne.

  10. 20

    Great beginner tips! :) Nicely done!! I’ve seen an amazing growth in my blog over the past few months and I am thrilled.

  11. 21

    This is such a GREAT post!! Thank you especially for the plugin recommendations! I have been struggling to find a great social sharing plugin. Thank you again!

  12. 23

    Hi Anne, I am so glad I came across your blog (from nutrition blog network).

    I am new to the blogging world and finding it very daunting.

    I like your tips about twitter… that’s one area I haven’t ventured into yet and I know that I should.

    I look forward to more posts on this topic. I have been looking for dietitians that are relevant in the blogging world so I can follow them and be guided.

    Thanks so much!!
    Rachel

  13. 24

    Thank you so much for all of these amazing tips! I am new to running and ran my first half in April and wanted somewhere to have my family and friends who couldn’t be there feel as though they were there, and so my blog was born! These tips are awesome and very helpful to a new blogger. Can’t wait to build my blog to look as amazing as yours does.
    Thanks again and awesome running!
    Ellen

  14. 26

    Anne – these tips are wonderful! Thanks so much for compiling and sharing them. At times it is hard to find these types of honest and real tips! Googling blogging tips doesn’t really pull the types of tips I’m looking for! Especially just beginning as a blogger it can be a bit hard. Thanks again!

  15. 28

    Love this post! I’ve always enjoyed your blog and since I just started my own a few days ago (baby blogger alert!), I thought I should come on over and check this out. Thanks for the tips. :)

  16. 30

    Thanks for the email back. Great advice on this post. I will be patient….if I build it…they will come :)
    Carolyn -DC Wellness Scout
    http://www.DCWellnessScout.com

  17. 32

    Anne,

    Thank you so much for this, and your other blogging ‘how-to’ posts. As a new blogger, they have been endlessly helpful. Now that I’m using PicMonkey, I look back at my first few posts’ photos and think they look so blah!

    Again, thanks for great content and for truly caring about helping us newcomers. Love your blog!

    Sam

  18. 34

    Those are a lot of great tips! Thank you very much for the help. I really need it and I am sure I am not alone ;)

  19. 35

    Awesome tips. Thanks for sharing! Xxx

  20. 36

    This is a great post and so helpful for a new blogger like me!! I’m a nutrition and dietetics student and want to get my blog going to learn from others and eventually share and inspire others too! Keep up all your hard work and I’ll be sure to follow!

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