Note from Lana / Lifestyle Queen Bee: I have a secret to share. Lifestyle Queen Bee is NOT my first blog. I started a blog 8 years ago when my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I were on our journey of buying our first home. It was a big deal for us both because we were 24 years old, buying our first home, living together for the first time AND living away from our parents for the first time (it was also the first time I’ve ever moved in my life!). I thought sharing the journey would be a great way to share our story with our friends and maybe inspire others to start their own home buying journey. Well, I sucked at it. HARD. I wrote in a voice that wasn’t mine, saying things I thought my readers wanted to read. So I quickly abandoned it. Fast forward to last June, when I got bitten by the blog bug again. After some internal debate, I went for it but this time, being sure I was writing in my voice, about things I was interested in and I’m happy to say I’m still at it! All this to say, if you’re on the fence about starting a blog today’s guest post is perfect for you. My guest, Christine H, is giving you some awesome tips to get you started off on the right foot.
It’s 2017. If you don’t have a blog… why not?
A blog is the perfect place for you to refine your writing skills, have a portfolio of your best work, and build a community where you can get support. People start up blogs for different reasons. Some have extraordinary personal stories to share. Others simply want a place where they can share news with family and friends. Other people want to share advice from an industry professional in order to get their name and brand out there. And then, of course, there’s the awesome benefit when your blog becomes successful enough for you to monetize it and make some side cash.
Whatever the case, there are certain things that you should do in order to make blogging an effective practice for you, and they’re true across the board.
[ Be Authentic ]
Modern readers can spot a phony from a mile away. We’ve all read a lot and we’ve heard similar stories. What makes you unique is your voice. So be authentic!
I know that in the vast realm of mommy bloggers, it’s tempting to put an Instagram filter on your life and just share the shiny, happy moments. It’s true that some readers are there just for a vicarious fantasy experience. But a true community is built when you share confidences and challenges, confess to your personal demons, and commiserate with each other. I truly believe that the beauty of a blog is that, by cracking open your cool exterior, you’re able to accept the rush of acceptance and sympathy that pours in.
Now, tapping into an authentic voice isn’t as natural for some of us as others. In fact, for those of us who blog just so that we can put up a smoke screen of perfection, it might feel nearly impossible. This article has some ideas to help you tap into your vulnerable side and be more authentic as a writer and a person.
[ Be Consistent ]
Your readership grows gradually, and it’s usually through small and steady efforts on your part. Nothing is less welcoming than a landing page with no updated posts for the last 6 months (unless it’s one that hasn’t been updated in 12 months). People who are regularly interested in your blog will drop off, and you’ll lose the momentum that you were able to summon at the beginning of your blogging efforts. To make matters worse, search engines watch to see how regularly you update your content in order to determine how highly ranked your site is. On social media accounts, you also lose momentum when you stop posting, and fewer and fewer people will see your updates.
So, one of the best things that you can do to make your blog successful (no matter what your metric on success is) is to set a schedule and stick to it. It’s easy to get sidetracked, but one way to get around the rigidity of a schedule is to write in bursts, and then schedule things out so that even if you only put in significant efforts once a month, your blog always looks consistent.
[ Build Positive Affiliations and Networks ]
As I mentioned above, one of the most rewarding things about blogging is building a community of readers and sharers. There’s actually a psychological boost that happens when people respond to our posts and opinions, whether that’s readers commenting on your posts, or your reader hearing back from you and knowing that you care about their input. Building your network will open up possibilities for your writing to be shared on other sites, sometimes even major ones. Affiliations allow you to stay on top of the news in the industry that you blog about, and responding to comments will build a more faithful following. And bonus: building a better network of contacts can help you find creative ways to make your blog more profitable.
Here are some ways that you can build positive connections on your blog:
- Guest post for other bloggers and invite others to guest post for you
- Respond to comments as quickly as possible, and make sure that you’re personal and communicative about it
- Read and comment on other blogs in order to make contacts with people who share your interests. Getting links back from sites that are in your same wheelhouse is especially valuable to your site. You can read more about that here
- Contribute to communities and groups on social media. These might be Facebook groups, Twitter conversations, or even contests, awards, and giveaways
[ Find Your Niche ]
Most of us, when we start a blog, are tempted to make it about anything and everything. But here’s the truth: finding a comfortable niche where you can really speak as a specialist will actually be much more beneficial. Find just one or two things that you’re passionate about, and build your blog around those topics. No, it won’t be a comprehensive description of everything that you are, but it will help people who actually want to know about specific topics to find you. Some people decide to have a personal blog where they can put anything that comes to mind, and then they have a separate place where they can focus on one specific passion.
To all you blogger-readers out there: what are some tips that you’ve found to be handy in your efforts?
What do you wish you’d known when you first started blogging?
Share your advice below!
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Psst! If you’re interested in submitting a guest post for my blog, send me your pitch on the Collabs page!