This post is very much my own personal take on blogging and although I am certainly no blogger expert, I thought I’d share a few of my top tips! I started my blog in April 2010, and I find it crazy that I’ve now been posting in my own little corner of the web for almost 7 years.
Blogging Tips & Tools
There’s so much to know about blogging, the online world is forever changing, and it would be impossible for anyone to put it all into a guide. But recently since starting my new job in Digital Marketing, I’ve been thinking about giving my blog a little revamp, and here are some things I have learnt recently.
|Image source: For Working Ladies|
I think that the visible appearance of a blog is a very important factor. If it’s too plain, then readers may become bored, or if there’s too much clutter then it can be difficult to read. Any website needs to have a good structure and layout, and a blog with lots of content and photos needs to be easy to focus on.
If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed that I now have a brand new layout! My blog had barely changed since starting out in 2010, so it was certainly due a facelift! Although you can download and install free layouts yourself, I simply do not have the skills (or time!) for blog design and html coding. Therefore a few days ago I started looking for someone that could help me with getting a new layout, and I stumbled upon the lovely Serena who runs an affordable blog design website called Pretty Wild Things.
I purchased a bespoke, custom design for only £50 and Serena got to work straight away to create my fresh new layout. I advised her by email how I would like it to look, and it was finalised and completed to my specification within a couple of days! I now have drop down categories and social media buttons in my nav bar at the top of the page, a newly designed header and theme, and a snazzy featured post slider; I am so pleased with the final results!
If you’re interested in getting a new blog design, Serena has kindly offered my readers £10 off a custom design using code VICTORIA10 (expires 23rd March).
Despite my very new role as SEO Executive I only have fairly basic knowledge of SEO, but I am looking forward to learning much more. SEO is basically manipulating your blog or website so that it appeals to search engines so that they bring traffic to your site instead of your competitors. There are various methods to try and get your page ranking highly, but here are a few simple things you can do to improve your SEO when blogging. There are loads of SEO blogger guides online explained much better than this, but here are a few easy steps you can take…
- URL/Permalink – Before you click publish on a new post in Blogger, if you look in the Post Settings in the right hand column you will see Permalink. This shows you the automatic link that your post will be connected to. You can click on Custom Permalink and change this link to shorten the it and include keywords which may increase your search visibility.
- Search Description – Under Post Settings you will also see Search Description, and any text entered in this box will be pulled through to search engines and social media posts. Try to give your Search Description a short outline of what’s included in the post, using relevant keywords.
- Internal Linking – If you have an old blog post that is relevant or can be referred to in your new blog post, then add a link to it using a relevant keyword. Internal links strengthen a website and help readers to navigate around your site. Make sure you also tag your posts with labels so that relevant content can easily be found by a reader.
- Quality Content – Probably one of the most important things is to make sure that you regularly post quality content that your audience genuinely wants to read. For extra SEO juice, use relevant keywords, internal and outbound links, and try to make the post over 300 words. Use headings in your content too, to break up big bits of text!
- Optimise Images – When you upload an image into blogger, click on the image and then go into Properties. Here you can add ALT text to your images describing what is in the photo, which helps search engines find your post and image if relevant to the reader. Again, use keywords here.
- URL – Having your own domain name is always better than having a .blogspot url! I bought mine from GoDaddy very cheaply.
|Image Source: LifenStyle|
One thing that I am awful at is blog photography. Whether it be outfit posts, or close up pictures, my photography will never look the way I want. But even if your photos aren’t super high quality, beautifully styled and cleverly edited, it doesn’t really matter. Good photos are great to look at on Instagram, but quality content in a blog is what is important to most readers.
As long as you make a small amount of effort when it comes to your photography, that is fine in my opinion. I have been using the same cheap camera since 2012 and I edit my photos using the standard Windows photo gallery editor. There’s nothing professional here! I have decided to treat myself today though, and I have ordered a new Nikon bridge camera (still cheap.. I am tight AF), which I am very excited to get to grips with!
If you need a bit of extra help in making your photos more appealing or better quality, think about investing in a tripod and lightbox, and there are loads of blogger props you can buy cheaply to use in the background of your photos. Some people even use free wallpaper samples as backgrounds for beauty products! (I’m totally stealing this idea…)
Use social media regularly to engage with your readers, as well as other bloggers and companies you work with or admire. Share your links, chat to others on Twitter, and use hashtags! Instagram is my favourite social media site, and the best thing about it is that you can use loads of hashtags and be found by people all over the world.
You can even copy and paste hashtags from websites which list all of the top hashtags in your niche. For example, if you’re posting about fashion, there is a whole section of hashtags which you can simply copy and then paste into Instagram so your image can be easily found.
If you share your blog posts on Twitter, you can also tag blogger pages and blogging hashtags to increase visibility to others with the same interests. I often use @femalebloggerrt @ukbloggers1 @bblogrt #lbloggers #bbloggers #fblchat
Top Facebook Tip! I have found that when I share a post to Facebook, if I let it automatically pull images from my blog then it doesn’t get seen by many people. Whereas if I manually select an image to upload from my PC and paste the link but don’t allow it to pull the data automatically, it gets seen by much more people!
Top Twitter Tip! Twitter does not automatically pull data to allow a preview or image of your blog when you tweet a link, it just allows a text link. Therefore generally I try to upload a couple of photos along with the link. But if a reader wants to share a link from your blog, no image would appear unless you add Twitter Cards to your blog. This allows Twitter to pull image and text data from your blog to use in a preview in the tweet! Find out how to add Twitter cards here.
|Image Source: kikki.K x|
A lot of bloggers probably swear by Google Analytics, but this is too complicated for me! I have been using StatCounter for years and it’s so easy to see how many page views and unique visitors I have had, and this is presents on a graph so you can compare it to other days.
It also allows you to see your most popular pages, the links people are clicking on, and how they found you. It’s really interesting data, and I love seeing how someone ended up on my blog and what pages they click on!
I hope you found this post helpful! Please do feel free to comment if you have done any blogger guides or SEO posts.
- StatCounter – Free and easy to use blog statistics
- Gooyaabi Templates – Free blogger templates
- Pretty Wild Things – Custom design for blogger sites
- LinkWithin – An easy to install blog widget that appears under each post, linking to related stories from your blog archive.
- TagsForLikes – Copy and paste lists of hashtags relevant to your image to increase visibility
- GoDaddy – Buy your own domain name
- SEO For Beginners – A guide to SEO for bloggers
- Blogger Guides on Pinterest – There are loads of amazing guides on all things blogging on Pinterest!
- Blog Planner – Printable blog planner templates are a great way to organise your bloggy life!