So as we’re now at the end of 2014, and nearly two years of blogging for me, blimey! I thought I’d gather together a handy list of some of the things I’ve learned in my blogging lifetime that could be really helpful to others.
Whenever I’ve had a lightbulb moment over the last two years with my blog, I’ve
often always thought I wish I’d known that information earlier. Also, I now freelance in blogger outreach, so I read lots of other blogs, and I’ve noticed on occasion where I couldn’t find contact details, or a bloglovin link to follow, or some other minor thing that could be easily added to really improve that particular blog.
Before I go any further though, I just want to add that I definitely don’t know it all, and I’m still learning new things all the time. Getting my head around Pinterest and perfecting my photography are two of my goals for 2015! Anyway here’s my list of tips, I hope you find them helpful.
1. Add a search bar. Seriously, do not under estimate the importance of a search bar! It’s such a handy tool so visitors can search your entire blog for a brand or product, or anything at all, rather than having to scroll through zillions of posts and just hope to come across what they’re looking for. A search bar in an easy to spot location at the top of your blog or in your side bar is the perfect place. If you google it there are plenty of posts and sites showing you how you can easily add one to your blog!
2. Make sure your contact details are visible. I can’t stress the importance of having your contact details made clear and visible – and I can’t tell you the amount of blogs that I’ve skimmed past because I couldn’t find their email address. Many bloggers have a contact page but also include their email in their side bar too, usually at the top under their profile image, which is a really great easy to see spot. If people want to contact you, whether it’s PR’s or anyone else, you need your contact details easily accessible.
3. Visible social media links. As above, it’s vital that firstly you are signed up to as many social media sites as you can, and all your social media site links are clear to see – and working – on your front page. Depending on your preference, there may be sites you use more than others, for example I don’t really use Pinterest (though I really should) and I don’t use Tumblr, but I’m signed up to both sites, and have my blog posts auto published to Tumblr, so those that prefer to use that platform can follow my blog that way if they wish.
4. And on that note – Autopost to your social media sites. I’d highly recommend setting this up. I have my WordPress set up to auto post to Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr and G+, then I manually post to my Facebook page as I like to select my preferred image to go with the post. In WordPress this is super easy to edit and amend in your settings, if you use Blogger though I’ve found this post which should help you set it up.
5. Add your follow links to the bottom of every post. This is such a simple, yet effective way to increase your social media following. If somebody happens to be reading a post and they like it, they’ll be more inclined to follow your blog too if you have all your network links conveniently situated at the bottom of the post they’re reading. This is slightly more technical to do, so I actually had my blog designer set this up for me. Again google can help, but if you’re not technically minded then there are plenty of blog designers out there who can help!
6. Sign up to blogger networks. Sign up to as many networks as you can to increase your chances of ‘getting your blog out there’. Linking up with different networks can also lead to creating new contacts, collaborations, sponsored posts and who knows what else! I’ve written a post on Blogger Networks which includes all the networks I currently know of. Please do check this out and let me know if there’s any more I should add to the list.
7. Include links to previous posts. Where you can, and where relevant, always link to your previous posts. Apart from providing information, this drives traffic to your older posts, and is also fantastic for SEO purposes. I’ve just added the SEO Automatic Links widget to my site, so hopefully this will work and include relevant links! (I’ve literally just done this so I’ll update this post when I’ve had a chance to check it out properly)
8. Install a ‘You Might Also Like…’ widget. If you don’t know what this is, take a look at one of my posts, you’ll see at the end of the post there is a section called You Might Also Like… with images and links to four other blog posts. I use Engageya or there’s also Related Posts and Linkwithin. This is a fantastic way to self-promote you posts, and once it’s set up, you don’t need to do anything!
9. Photography is everything! Do not under estimate the power of a beautiful image to attract readers. Of course you don’t need to be an expert, but practicing with you camera or camera phone will really help improve your photography, as will playing around with lighting and compositions. One of my favourite blogs, A Beautiful Mess has a great post on photography tips here. And don’t forget to Make sure your images are LARGE. I can’t help but feel a little disappointed when a great blog has tiny images. Of course content is important, but imagery really is equally important! You should be able to change the size of your images easily in your settings.
10. And lastly, Add an archive. Adding an archive widget to your sidebar is another super handy navigation tool. I love the ones where you click to open the month, and it opens up a list of clickable blog post titles from that month. It’s an easy way to display and also promote all of your posts in chronological order. I use EZ Post Archives for WordPress, and I also found this post on how you can create an archive list in Blogger.
Well I hope this has been a helpful post! I’d love to hear your thoughts? xxx