People always ask me how my blog is doing and their follow-up question is, “Are you making any money at it?” I have an answer to that question and it’s got 11 parts but here’s the bottom line: I’m having fun creating a business out of what I’m passionate about. It’s so wonderful to have “made up a job for myself” and doing all of the items on this list.
I’m thankful every day to have the opportunity to do this. I love that people read what I’ve written – thank you!! I love interacting with readers and especially when I get to meet them in person. I love how my blog/business is creating opportunities for me that I otherwise would not have had. I love setting my own schedule. Neither Martha Stewart nor Oprah Winfrey have called me with any show offers but I’m sure it’s just right around the corner.
These tips aren’t just for new bloggers – if you’ve decided to turn your blog into a business, these may be helpful for you as well.
Blogging Tips for New Bloggers
- Make it work for you: A blog takes time and needs constant updating, reviewing, and content. If you’re already working full-time, trying to raise a family, not exercising and skimping on sleep perhaps a blog isn’t for you right now. Your time for a blog may not be today. I waited to launch my blog until both my kids were in middle school, walked themselves to and from school, and were gone all day. They were self-sufficient and helping more and more with the household chores and cooking . I also couldn’t do all I do without help from my husband – both around the house, with the kids, and in support of my business.
- Blog about your passion: Blogs are constantly changing content so make sure what you’re blogging about is what you’re actually passionate about. I’m passionate about simple, frugal living but it’s also how I live so I’ve got a constant and ongoing flow of material.
- Be yourself and be a person: Yes, be a person, not like me when I started. I wanted to be a bit more anonymous but with encouraging from my #1 fan (my husband), I decided e-how was already taken and I needed to be ME and let my personality shine through but it’s hard because I’m not a writer. I’m a honey-do-list, love-note-writing mom who would rather talk with a friend over a cup of coffee or a brisk walk around the park than sit down with an outline and type. But, with practice, I’m getting this whole blogging and posting thing down!! I also struggle with too much sharing because I want to respect my family and their desire to remain nameless on my site. It’s a balancing act but what isn’t in life?
- Be an expert: What do you stand for? What is your brand? What are you an expert in? Why would someone want to read your stuff? Ask yourself these questions and let them guide you to what is right with your business – what you’re willing to say yes to or what you’re willing to do for free.
- Don’t do it for the money: There’s no actual “income” in blogging unless you do it for a company or a publication. If you want to turn your blog into a business, establish yourself as an expert through your regular postings and you’ll gain creditability, exposure, and traffic. You can use this as a way to launch a business or get hired by groups or organizations to speak about your topic. Paid writing jobs are also an option if you want to be a “contributor” elsewhere around the web or in a print publication.
- Create a business around your expertise: Be willing to donate an hour consultation or a gift certificate for your product at a school auction or some other community event to get your business name out there. Speak to groups without charging a fee to get practice speaking and gain confidence. Then, after you get experience, be confident about asking to be paid since you’re now an “experienced speaker.” Check with your public library to see if they hire speakers and get started telling people they can hire you to speak. By the way, did you know you can hire me to speak to your group or organization?
- Be your own ad manager: This is easy to do by setting up a PayPal account. Look at my advertising page and get an idea how it might work for you. I don’t list my prices because I like to support local, small businesses and charge them less than I would a larger, well established company. Trades also work well here. I’ve made more money by running my own ads than going with a company. Another reason I run my own ads is I get to choose the ads myself. I don’t want to have ads for companies that I don’t use or endorse.
- Create and participate in a blogging community: Bloggers want comments so leave comments elsewhere. Helping another blogger market their content always comes back around to you in a good way. You know – treat others how you want to be treated. It also helps to attend a conference to get to know other bloggers in person or IRL (in real life). There are lots of blogger meet-ups around also. This is another way to connect and bounce ideas off someone in your same boat.
- Be social: Social media is an excellent way to connect with and be exposed to other folks in your same niche that otherwise you may not have connected with. Set-up your social media channels and then devote a few minutes each day to marketing and interacting. I’ve “met” lots of great bloggers through social media and we’ve been able to help one another and connect through telephone calls or Skype to work on joint projects. Just last week, I gave my telephone a workout getting to know Amy of Frugal Mama.
- Start today: Meaning sooner rather than later. Don’t get caught up in your site not looking exactly how you want or any other small points. Once you decide to have a blog, start adding content, today! You want to give readers a number of interesting posts to read rather than just one or two. Make a list of all the post titles you have in mind. If this list isn’t 200+ items long, reconsider your topic. You need to have ongoing posts.
- Keep going, keep going!! Most blogs fail within the first 5 months. I can understand why – it’s lonely when you begin. You’re posting and taking pictures and blogging your heart out and no one (except your relatives and very good friends!) is reading your fabulous stuff. Fear not! There will be readers. Give your readers good, regular content, sprinkle some key words about, and use pretty pictures (preferably your own), and soon you’ll be crashing the servers at your hosting company – this is what I dream of, by the way!
Special thanks to Gwen of The Frugal Connection for contacting me with several questions related to blogging. She’s the reason I made this list.
Go Gingham related links:
BlogHer in my backyard – a fun blogger event I hosted
BlogHer food and too much fun
Blogging tools for your site
Comment policy – yes, I have one
WordPress resource books I recommend
Create your own blog – my first post!
15 thoughts on “Blogging Tips for New Bloggers”
Great tips! I’ve tried to be myself on my blog, and it’s a little fluid in content, but it has replaced the scrapbooks that I used to make. It’s become a living scrapbook of my life, with a few things that we do -DIY and recipes – written down to make it easy for us to look up afterwards. I like having it as our own family scrapbook and recipe file. The fact that people read it and leave comments is icing on the cake – I love it.
Thanks, Heidi! You do have a regular list of your activities and recipes and I love that about your site. It is easier to have recipes in one place! Now, when I cook, I check to see how I made something “officially” so I get it right 🙂
Great post, Sarah! I have a question for you: How important is Twitter to bloggers? Or if not all bloggers, to you? I’m resisting it because I feel as if I don’t have time for one more thing, but I read that it’s imperative for bloggers to be active there. Wondering what your thoughts are on that.
(Oh, and #1 is so true: I work almost full-time and have two teens. I realized early that I just wasn’t going to be able to do the things some others bloggers can do. Decided to be OK with it–and proceed to #10!)
Thanks, Rita! Good for you on proceeding to #10!! I do think Twitter is important. It’s an entire other method for getting your “stuff” out there. Once it’s set up, it doesn’t take long to check in and then check out – quickly. I think it’s worth getting all the same “brand” for your blog, too. You never know if someday you may want to use it. Think future here…when those teens are off on their own 😉
Great tips, Sara! We just started using HootSuite to update Facebook and Twitter together. Have you tried that? It’s nice to be able to communicate in both places with one button click.
Off to write a new blog entry on my visit to Channel Islands National Park yesterday! See you in cyberspace, and maybe one of these days in the ‘hood???
Thanks, Erin 🙂 I haven’t tried HootSuite but I do use TweetDeck for the same purpose although I don’t think I can do Facebook?? Well, I honestly don’t know. Can’t wait to read all about your adventures! Congratulations and happy travels, neighbor.
Thanks for these timely tips, Sara! I love reading your blog. 🙂 I recently started a blog about home decor and organizing. It would be fantastic if it turned into a business someday, but right now I am managing a full-time job and two children in grade school, so it’s just fun. It’s nice to learn more about how to make it better. Thanks for posting!
Carrie, you’re welcome and thanks for reading 🙂 I love your blog!! Also, thanks for the post on Martha Stewart – I had no idea it was her birthday and she does look great. Keep going…you never know where it will take you!
Sara, this made my day 🙂 For sure the best part of blogging so far has been getting to “meet” great new people.
Great post, Sara. You are always so generous with your wealth of knowledge. Thanks for sharing and being so encouraging!
Thank you, Annie! I’m having fun and want to share it. Hope your summer is coming along nicely 🙂
This is an amazing compendium of information for hopeful bloggers, Sara! I agree with everything you have said. And as much as I love blogging, I really really love meeting people in person — our phone conversation was a great example of how online relationships can turn into “real” ones — especially when you find people that really share your views.
Wonderful tips here!
Oh, Amy! I totally agree. It’s been so fun getting to know you and the other writers you’re pulling together. Thank you for including me and I can’t wait until we cook up plans to meet in person!!
Great tips!! I started my blog about 10 months ago and can relate to each of your points. Even crashing the server … I had a big feature one day in July and was nervous/excited about the potential for a big day … would it be the day I crash my server?!?! LOL (it wasn’t) 🙂
Karan, we can only hope! I know what you mean about someone linking up early on – LifeHacker featured my dining room table ping pong project and I had so much traffic, I thought my site had been hacked! 🙂 Can’t wait to check out your blog….thanks for leaving a comment.
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