I have recently been tweaking and changing little bits here and there around the blog in hopes that it becomes a bit more user-friendly for you guys and that it’s easier to read and access for you. I have been blogging for about three months now, but I have only had the use of a laptop the past two! Before the laptop, everything was published using my phone and the Blogger app. They were dark days…
But now I want to share with you some really basic and easy tips that I have picked up over the course of my feeble two months floating around the blogverse. For some, they’re painfully obvious, but for me, they were tips that nobody told me that proved to be incredibly valuable.
1.Relevant # Hashtags: From my blogging experiences, there seems to be an appropriate hashtag for just about everything. That’s good, because it means there will be a hashtag specific to your blog’s content and you’re going to need to find it if you want to push your blog out there into the big wide world. No one ever told me there were universal hashtags that all bloggers of the same type used, so it took me a while to get the hang of things. In case you’re wondering and you’re a mummy/parent blog, the main #hashtags I use are are: #mummybloggers #parentbloggers #mbloggers #pbloggers #mblogchat. When using Tumblr, I tend to use the #mumblr hashtag most often.
2.Creating A Twitter List: I never used to use twitter too much before I started blogging, as I had no real need for it. Then along came the blog and I discovered that Twitter is an excellent way to make connections with other bloggers as well as being a useful tool when marketing yourself. One of the best things I have done lately when working on all things ‘blog’ was to create a Twitter List. It allows you to create a page and choose who’s updates you want to see – basically, you can categorise your tweets. No one told me this! I now have one set up with all the Mummy Bloggers that I follow on Twitter and I can easily skim through and catch any updates that I would have most likely missed on the dashboard.
To start creating a Twitter list, click on your profile picture next to the Twitter search bar and select list from the menu; the create list option is on the right hand side of the screen. To add people to the list, go to their profile and click on the little setting symbol and click on add/remove from list and make sure the check box is ticked!
3. The Related Posts Widget: I use blogger as my blogging platform and although there are loads of widgets listed when editing the layout of your blog, I have recently found out that there are loads more you can add that aren’t available in that list. They do require you to fiddle around with your coding slightly, but there are excellent tutorials on how to go about this. My favourite widget that I have found is the “Related Posts” widget that shows a list of posts that feature the same labels as the one you’re currently reading. It’s a great way for people to browse through your posts and find other things they’re interested in.
4. All Things Pinterest: I have always loved Pinterest and, like many, I am a little obsessed. But I never thought to use it as an aid to my blog. As it turns out, Pinterest is great for blogging and seems to be the bloggers best friend – it can seriously increase your traffic. You need to make sure your posts include ‘pinnable images’ – these are images that you see on Pinterest all the time that grab your attention. The best pinnable images are long and skinny as these seem to attract more attention than square images. Include text wherever possible on the “main” image of your blog that you can then link up to Pinterest. We all know what sort of images attracts our attention when surfing through Pinterest, so replicating them can only be a good thing. Don’t forget to add a Pin It button somewhere on your blog – Pinterest Help Page has a whole section on building widgets and adding Pin It buttons to your blog.
Pictures: A big one I have learnt is: do not underestimate the power of pictures! I try to add a picture to every blog post and there are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, it goes hand in hand with Pinterest. If adding a picture and linking up to Pinterest is pretty much a sure fire way of increasing your audience, it’s worth it, right?
Secondly, they break text up! I am so guilty of opening a really interesting blog post and immediately being put off by a vast body of seemingly never ending text! You may have written the most wonderful post full of passion, but if it doesn’t attract readers, no one is going to appreciate it. One or two pictures break text up and make long blog posts far more reader friendly.
Rubbish at photography? Don’t have photoshop? Only have your phone’s camera? No worries! I quickly found an online photo editor called PicMonkey that is used by pretty much all the bloggers I know, there are also sites like Canva. It’s free, but you can choose to upgrade your services for a few dollars per month if you wish. As for phone cameras, there are loads of helpful guides dotted around the internet to help you get the best out of your phone’s camera, whether you’re an Android user or not and point you in the direction of some wonderful photo editing apps.
When posting images, do not forget to watermark them! Also, bigger is better! Eye catching, bold and bright pictures are going to capture the reader’s attention, so use the biggest size picture your blog layout can handle without distorting.
5. Linkies: It took me about a month to even come across the term ‘linky’ and another week or so to understand what the blooming heck they are! They are ‘hosted’ by bloggers and focus around a specific subject. Using some snazzy widget software magic, you are able to add the link of your post to a collection of other bloggers who have participated. The beauty of this is that you get to find other wonderful blogs, spread some comment joy, and get your name out there. Usual rules go along the lines that if you ‘link up’, you should comment on at least two other blogs who have also joined in. There are also #hashtags that go along with each linky, helping to spread the word.
6. Everything Takes Time: I never expected my blog to take off just like that, but sometimes I do feel a bit of “blogger desperation”. Hungry for page views and comments, twitter mentions and follows. It’s a bad place to be, kiddos, as it is very noticeable and off-putting. It’s far better to sit back and enjoy what you’re doing, whether you’re writing as therapy or because you get a sense of achievement at the end of each great post you publish. Make friends via social networks, comment on blogs and connect with the community – steadily, things will start to take shape. Take your time, Rome wasn’t built in a day…!