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This month will mark a whole year since I started blogging. I now earn hundreds of pounds every month from my blog and am able to focus just on this since leaving my full-time job as a journalist last month.
Although my earnings do fluctuate occasionally I’m now able to earn enough to keep my head above water and with more time to devote to the blog, I hope to forge a successful career out of it.
I’ve come across a lot of good advice, some bad advice and some pointless advice.
So I thought I would compile the best of the best advice I have had, all of the things that actually helped me get to where I am. If you’re at the beginning of your blogging journey or struggling to focus, I hope this helps you find the tools that will make your blog a success!
1. Write decent content
You’ve probably read this a million times, but I’m just going to come out and say it.
Content is king.
It’s absolutely true. If you want to build an audience, you need to write compelling, relatable, interesting, helpful and decent content.
This means getting the basics right – such as spelling and grammar – and knowing your audience. You need to write posts that will get their attention, and keep them coming back for more.
Figure out who your audience are – are they mamas of new babies, mums with big families, parents of kids with autism? Whoever they are, figure it out and write to them
Your posts don’t all have to helpful how-tos and lengthy deep dives – although you will find these types of posts gain a lot of traction on Pinterest. Posts can also be funny, emotional and just plain silly – a good listicle is always a winner on Facebook for me.
I worked in newspapers for 13 years so I know a thing or two about good writing. To help fellow bloggers, I wrote a course all about writing brilliant blog posts. For just £20 you get access to my course modules packed with content and helpful printables aimed at helping you make your blog a success. You also get one-to-one support from me. Check out my post about the course for more info!
2. Build a professional website
I don’t have any screenshots of my first blog which is a shame as it’s a sight to behold! It did not look professional at all and the logo was pretty awful.
In the early weeks you don’t need to worry too much – focusing on the content is more important – but if you’re moving forward you will need to think about tidying up your site.
Make a beautiful logo – which you can do yourself for free in apps such as Canva – and try not to make your homepage too cluttered.
3. Go self-hosted
Take the above a step further by going self-hosted as this gives you more freedom and design options for your site.
I have a Pipdig theme for my site, which cost about £40, and am hosted by SiteGround, which has been brilliant.
4. Create beautiful images and graphics
Get stock images for free from Pixabay or if you have the cash, buy them from Shutterstock which has more choice.
If you’re not so confident with your own camera, remember that practice makes perfect.
Your smartphone will take good enough images in the right light, but you’ll get far better pictures from a camera. I use the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Digital Camera as it’s also fabulous for vlogging and is compact enough to slip in your handbag.
5. Use Pinterest
This is my number one driver of traffic so it’s well worth putting the effort in. You need to be pinning daily, not just your own content but other people’s as well, and make gorgeous pins for your blog.
Canva has brilliant templates for Pinterest so it does the hard work for you.
I’ve shared all of my Pinterest secrets in this post.
6. Engage with Instagram
If you want to make money by working with brands, you need to be on Instagram. Brands are loving this social network and a lot will only work with bloggers based on follower numbers.
Find similar accounts to follow and engage with them. Don’t just like photos, but leave as many comments as you can.
Research relevant hashtags in your niche and use these, but be sure to mix them up whenever you can and try out new ones.
Me and Orla has loads of fab Instagram advice on her blog, including a free seven-day Instagram challenge to help you perfect your account.
7. Watch what others are doing
Find other bloggers who do similar content to you and draw inspiration from it. This isn’t the same as copying! You don’t need to cut and paste content from other people. You have plenty of your own stories!
See what style and filters people are using on Instagram that you like, what kind of pictures are people taking?
When it comes to content, what is getting the most repins that could also work for your niche? Do your own version of popular blog posts.
8. Use the right tools
Some blogging tools are worth paying for and some absolutely are not.
I get very little traffic from Twitter, so I don’t bother with Social Oomph or Buffer. Having said that, it is worth making sure you’re tweeting regularly so use the free versions of these two scheduling tools and write manual updates to make sure you have tweets going out throughout the day.
Tailwind is an absolute must for Pinterest. I use it to schedule 15 pins a days and then manually pin at least another 15 every day.
I use the Tribes feature in Pinterest to really boost my traffic. Check out my Pinterest tips for more about working with Tailwind.
Do not pay for followers for social channels such as Instagram, as they are just bots and you will lose them all the next time Insta does a clean up.
When it comes to your mailing list, you can use free services such as MailChimp. Although Converkit is good, it’s bloody expensive!
9. Apply for opportunities
Don’t just wait for brands to come to you, put yourself out there.
Brands often ask for bloggers to apply for opportunities through Facebook groups. Also search the #bloggersrequired in Twitter as many PR companies use this to find bloggers.
Mumsnet, BritMums and Tots100 offer opportunities for bloggers to work with brands on sponsored content such as video and blog posts. I’ve had the most opportunities through Mumsnet and they are lovely to work with.
10. Find your tribe
Blogging buddies are essential for success! Join Facebook groups such as Mamapreneur Revolution and engage with other bloggers on Instagram to find like-minded bloggers.
I’ve made some brilliant mates since I launched my blog, and they are such a huge support (and a good place to go when I need to vent).
I hope these tips were useful, do let me know if you have any questions!