3 Things that will take your blogging to the next level
Blogging can be hard. Good blogging is even harder.
For blogging, there are so many posts right now about promoting your blog and driving traffic to your site, many of which are really useful. I especially love Kachee’s post on this.
However, I believe that for good blogging, promotion is only a fraction of the important work. It shouldn’t just be about getting the page views, but about being a good blog. If you have a solid blog and then promote, people will eventually find you and even if blogging is just a hobby and not a job for you, you want to reach people and connect over the things you both love.Becoming a good blogger made easier with these three tips! Click To Tweet
WHAT IS A GOOD BLOG ANYWAY?
While ‘good’ is subjective depending on what kind of blogs you like to read, a fine blog would be one that adds something to your life whether in terms of education, inspiration, entertainment or just information.
HOW DO I CREATE A GOOD BLOG? or HOW DO I BLOG BETTER?
These 3 things changed my approach to blogging completely and instead of just watching my stats like a hawk, my pleasure in my work skyrocketed and then my stats got even better! (win-win!)
1. Have a purpose and/or a niche:
When I first started blogging, I didn’t really have a purpose for blogging besides for fun. Blogging for fun is perfectly fine and It helps to remember that if you ever start to stress about page views: “I’m honestly just blogging because I think its fun. Nothing else”. For me, the just for fun narrative wore off after the first year or so of paying for a domain name. I had to start thinking about what I was actually doing with this thing I love. That’s where purpose comes in.
Why do you blog?
Are you a freelance writer, photographer, interior designer, aspiring chef? Then your blog could be a portfolio of sorts. It’s a wonderful way to document your growth and let people know about your work.
Personal blogger hoping to monetize and grow your blog into something larger with a permanent contributor or two in the near future? Start tailoring your blog toward the kind of growth you want.
Literary blogger aiming to be first stop for all things bookish? Write as much about books as you can! Read, read, read.
Style blogger? Travel blogger?
Why do I need to have a purpose?
So you know where you’re going. When you don’t know where you’re going, it shows on your blog. Trust me, I’ve been there. It feels like ‘variety’ but variety without a common thread running through is slightly confusing, especially for readers. It’s also harder to brand yourself and tell people what you’re actually about. A purpose helps you focus and with a goal to work towards, you travel even faster. You’re quicker to avoid things that won’t take you where you want to go. This is also where niching comes in.
Why niche? What if I don’t want to ‘box myself in’?
A niche can be as wide as you make it, just as long as you have a common thread. For example, if you have a personal blog and you’re a mum and also a food enthusiast and a Nigerian, you can blog about mummy hood, food, food for babies, hacks for new mums, kitchen equipment and the like. If you’re super stylish, you can even add personal style. It’s still a niche, albeit a really wide one. What you’ll find though is that two or three categories will more than likely top the others. These could be the posts you enjoy writing most or what people enjoy reading most. You can now niche even further down to bring better content in these areas.
Personally I’ve really enjoyed niching my blog. I find that people know what my blog is about and my people, the people I write for deeply enjoy my content. My blog is also growing because readers who really love what I write end up telling other people who they’re undoubtedly sure (because my blog is so niched) will enjoy my content. For example, If you’re a photographer who blogs about photography hacks and offers courses about the like, you will attract photographers, photo enthusiasts and clients. No one will have doubts about referring other photographers to your blog, if that makes sense.
So, niche down as much as you can/want to. It’s scary because you want to leave your blog open to as many people as possible, but niching helps your people find you more easily. If I’m looking for a Nigerian travel blogger, I know to go to Ufuoma’s blog straight away because I know she knows her stuff and she has so many resources. Niching doesn’t mean you have to only blog about one thing, rather, try answering this question:
What THREE (or less) things do I blog about?
Now, is there a common thread? No one says you can’t be more than one thing, but if you’re a blogger looking to take things to the next level with your blog, it’s time to figure out what you’re about and how to make all you’re about work together.
2. Write content you’re passionate about:
So, the thing is: people can tell when your content is not genuine. They can tell when you’re just writing so you have a post up according to your posting schedule.Blogging better, step 1: Write content you're passionate about! Click To Tweet
Quality over Quantity
If you really don’t have the time to blog five times a week or even three times a week, it’s OK. What you can do is make a schedule that works and ensure that every time you’re sitting in front of your computer pounding out posts, they’re posts you feel good about, your readers will benefit from/enjoy and that you’ll be proud of in the long run.No time to blog three times a week? It's OK. Quality > Quantity Click To Tweet
These days I think about people who read my blog a lot, not just in a really-want-to-please-them-so-they-don’t-stop-reading way, but in a what-am-I-giving-them? way. I want everyone who spends five or ten minutes on my blog to leave feeling inspired to try something new, to leave armed with information they didn’t have before and I try to do that with every post. So a vital part of blogging is caring about your readers. Thinking about the issues your ideal reader faces is also helpful when you’re dealing with writers block.To be a better blogger, ask yourself, what does my blog do for my readers? Click To Tweet
Comparison doesn’t just steal your joy, it steals your purpose
And causes you to lose sight of small victories, which you can’t afford especially when you’re a blogger, because the small victories are what keep you going. When you spend time comparing you miss the small great things happening in your own life and blog.When you spend time comparing you miss the small great things happening in your own life and blog. Click To Tweet
Comparing also disrupts your path in the sense that you start to think that you should do what everyone else is doing because it seems to be making their blog popular. If it’s something you’re really passionate about, its excellent to be inspired by others, but there’s a thin line between being inspired and just plain copying. The downside of copying or just following the trends is that you can’t keep up for long. You burn out when you keep trying to do things that you truly do not care for.
Be inspired, but never lose your own voice, your authenticity. It’s not about avoiding the bandwagon. The bandwagon can be great when it’s also what you want. But bandwagoning on something just for views is a slippery slope.
Find your own path.Be inspired, but never lose your own voice, your authenticity. Click To Tweet
Something I’ve noticed lately is that in reading some posts I feel hurried toward the end. I know a lot of people have tight schedules with side hustling but don’t let readers feel rushed to the end. If you find yourself running out of steam in the middle of a post, take a break and come back to it. Remember, quality over quantity. Take your time creating blog posts. The love really shows.
3. Promote EFFECTIVELY:
Promoting effectively is something that I’m still learning, but a trap bloggers can fall into is using the same phrases to promote the same blog post every single time, sometimes every single day. To be honest, promotion can be annoying, but the point of repetitive promotion is this:
-for people who missed it the first time. This happens more often than you think. Some people like the tweet but never go back to read it because life is busy, so your tweets should not just be for nothing, but should be strategic reminders.
-to convince people who didn’t think they needed that post when they saw the title that they do need the post. This is why you post different quotes from the same page and switch up images. Sometimes, the entire post is not for everyone but snatches of it are.
-for people who need a reread and because circumstances change. Someone on your social media who wasn’t a blogger two months ago may just become a travel blogger and need blogging tips, or someone who never was into DIY just got bit by the craft bug and is devouring resources. This is why we promote consistently.
If you say the same thing over and over when you promote, it can begin to sound lifeless (robotic) and monotonous. While its no secret that many tweets are scheduled ahead of time nowadays, you still want to sound like a person like you do on your blog.
Life is busy, but you may need to go the extra mile to get more people to read your masterpiece.
So, sell your content well.
What helps me to be more intentional is rereading the post (or even skimming) and thinking who would need this and how I can sell the post to them. You don’t need 24 scheduled tweets, or even one every two hours to get readers. You need well crafted tweets at optimal times to promote effectively.
Why do I need a mailing list + Using your mailing list
Your mailing list is honestly your most reliable way of staying in touch with with your readers. I learned this first hand when I changed my blog name and domain name and really couldn’t move my old WordPress subscribers to my new blog. People on my mailing list always know what’s going on with the blog. While I’m still learning how best to use my mailing list, a couple of things I recommend are:
–Keeping the information you share with your mailing list exclusive: Why would I join your mailing list if every email is shared on Twitter? I know you want us to see all the good stuff but if every single email for your mailing list is so easily accessible, why then should I subscribe? I’ve subscribed to many mailing lists without knowing anything besides “omg i love this blog, i want more so yes”. People who want to will subscribe and actually open and read your emails. And engage. Which is what you want, no? Just keep reminding people that you have a cool newsletter.
–Give freebies! I’m really enjoying seeing all the bloggers offering something in exchange for joining their mailing list because that’s a great way to get people on board, especially if you’re giving away a super useful resource!
–Connect: I’ve been terribly busy recently and not feeling like being vulnerable lately so I haven’t been doing this much in my newsletter, but my favorite kinds of newsletters are those that read like private, just-for-you blog posts. That’s my goal for the second half of the month so if you’re feeling that kind of vibe, you should sign up for my newsletter here!
Your mailing list is your tribe. Never forget. I share blog post plans ahead of time with my tribe and I have a few freebies planned for next month too!
No one has achieved perfect blogger status yet and I’m still working on these aspects of my blogging and branding but they work and that’s why I’m sharing.
(Side bar: I recently rebranded my blog in March. See why here).
Which of these tips resounds the most with you? What other tips do you think are helpful in the blogger-verse? Please share!
And if you found this post useful, don’t hesitate to share with other bloggers too!
Have a productive week! Be intentional.
PS: See also:
Cassie Daves seven blogging steps for quality posts + free checklist here