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!
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.
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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- Image Widget – This plugin makes it easy to add photos/images to your sidebar.
- 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).
- 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!
- 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!
- 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).
- 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!
Want more tips? Here is another other post you might find helpful:
Good luck and have fun!