One question I often get asked is 'how do you take your blog to the next level?', so I thought that I would put together a blog post to share some of my tips and here they are today. Whether you're someone who's been blogging for a while now, have wanted to start a blog for ages or just started your blog, hopefully this should give you a couple of tips to bear in mind...
Plan out your blogging schedule in advance
This has to be my biggest blogging tip and one that works particularly well for me. Without some semblance of a schedule for the upcoming weeks/month, I do find myself procrastinating a whole lot more and if I know that I've got a bit of a deadline to meet for a particular post, slotting it in to my schedule really helps me keep on top of everything.
Up until recently I just created a word document with the days that I post on and then I can slot in blog post ideas beside them, such as this;
W - How To Take Your Blog To The Next Level
T - June Favourites (YouTube)
F - Benefit Brows
S - Zoella Beauty Sweet Inspirations Range Review
So for that week I know exactly what I'm working on and can make sure to prioritise these posts when it comes to taking photographs and writing up the post itself. You don't need to stick to your schedule rigidly, as it's your schedule and of course you can switch certain blog posts around but it just takes that pressure of thinking 'what am I writing or photographing next?' away, for me anyway.
Therefore, you might be able to understand how excited I was when I spotted this Bloggers Journal in Paperchase. I'd definitely recommend it to any blogger looking to take their blog to the next level as it has absolutely everything you need to keep track of all things blog related. It's also great to see a High Street retailer recognise us bloggers. Hopefully this will just be the start of things when it comes to that.
Schedule tweets to promote your blog posts
Okay, so this is something that I have only just started doing but already I'm starting to see the benefits. It means that you don't need to worry about reaching for your laptop or phone at certain stages throughout the day to promote your latest blog post or even link back to older content. I've been using Tweetdeck and it's fairly self explanatory and simple to use. Being able to promote your content all in one go saves a lot of time and certainly helps with procrastination levels again too.
Invest in a professional blog template
There's no doubt about it, blogs are definitely becoming increasingly visual and I know that I can often be put off a blog simply if the font is too small for me to read or if everything is all over the place. You don't need to spend a small fortune to give your blog that professional and clean look. You can find some absolutely stunning blog templates with all the bells and whistles for as little as £4 on Etsy but for me, it's all about Pipdig. This is the Venture template, which I've had for just over a year a now and still absolutely adore but I'm definitely thinking of treating myself to one of their newest templates very soon. If any little thing doesn't work thanks to Blogger's silly updates or if I want to change or update something or things, Phil is on hand to deal with it quickly and efficiently.
I see my blog template as a way to really highlight my photography and writing and having it work well on tablets and smartphones is a big thing too. No matter your taste or the topic of your blog, let your content shine by presenting in a way that does it justice. Having it be easy to navigate is key.
Make it easy for brands, PR's and readers to get in touch
This is simple. Have your first name and an email address located somewhere on your blog. This is especially helpful if your blog name has nothing do with your actual name. I would really recommend putting it in your sidebar, if you have one, so that it's one of the first things someone visiting your blog sees. Having an 'About Me' page is even more beneficial as both your readers and potential collaborators can get a feel for what you're like and how to get in touch with you.
Make your social media channels easily accessible
The first thing I do when I find a blog that I've really enjoyed reading is to head over to their Twitter and follow them. You could be losing out on potential followers simply by not displaying social media buttons on your blog.
Upload a photograph from your blog posts onto Instagram
This is something that I only started doing after a good couple of months of blogging. If you don't share your content on Instagram already, why not? Many of your Instagram followers won't necessarily read or follow your blog but by sharing a photograph from your latest blog post, you will be sharing that content with more people as a result.
I now even try to make sure that one of the images from each of my blog posts is 'Instagram ready', meaning that all of the important details or products from that blog post roughly fit into the 'Insta' square. I also always make sure to say something along the lines of 'check this out on my blog (link in bio)' so those who are interested in reading more know where to find me and my blog.
Tag brands on social media
You have no idea how many brands have approached me after seeing me write about one of their products. Whether you're writing about your favourite lipstick, where you got your new dress from, what you've used to make your dinner that night, etc. etc., tagging the brands that have featured in your posts on Twitter and Instagram in particular, could be the beginning of a relationship with a brand that you obviously love.
Check that the links on your blog actually work
This works both in terms of making your blog easy to use and also for SEO/DA purposes. Sometimes certain algorithms are changed, such as Instagram's and Bloglovin's and that can change your links and although these are outwith your control, it's always wise to check and see that your links actually take people where you want them to. There are so many blogs who have social media buttons that lead nowhere or just take you to a broken link on their own blog.
In terms of SEO/DA purposes, broken links (links that no longer work) can actually damage your blog as it looks as though your blog has spam links. The biggest offenders are sale links, links to products that are limited edition or fellow bloggers links who have either been left in your comments incorrectly or who have stopped blogging and deleted their blog. A simple broken link checker search shows you exactly where all the broken links are so you can go and replace or delete them, where applicable. I try to run a broken link check every Saturday morning and I'm always surprised at how many there are each week.
This doesn't mean that you have to post every day or that you can't take a break because you're going on holiday/not well/just not feeling it that day but consistency is key. It doesn't even need to be the same content every week or whenever you post, just as long as readers know there's something to look forward to reading and it also makes your blog a much more attractive entity to brands and PR's if they see that you are someone who consistently puts up posts.
Love What You're Doing
We all have those days when we lose motivation or get struck by a serious case of writer's/blogger's block but if you don't love what you're doing, what's the point? As long as you enjoy what you're doing, you're going to be much more inclined to keep doing it. No matter how small the victory, be it reaching a certain number of followers, getting to work with a particular brand, going to a blog event or meet-up or whatever it may be, always celebrate the little things.
What do you think of my tips? Do you do any of these? And would you like to see more blog posts like this in the future?