Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Blogging Tips for Beginners - Part One


As Pink Confetti had its first birthday yesterday, I decided that I'm finally qualified to write out some blogging tips. I am absolutely by no means a master at blogging, but I did do many things wrong as well as a couple of things right during my first year, and so I decided it was probably a good time to write a tips post. These tips are going to somewhat basic as I'm aiming it more at beginners to blogging, but hopefully you find it useful!

What do you want to write about?
Before you think about anything else, you need to know what you actually want to write about. Do you have a specific niche in mind? In which case, great - if you've got a really unique idea then you'll pretty much always have an audience. If your blog is going to be more general that's fine too, but you'll still need a bit of an idea behind it. Do you want to be a beauty blogger, a fashion blogger, a technology blogger, a book blogger?

My personal favourite blogs are lifestyle blogs. The majority that I follow would come under this category, and obviously my own blog is a lifestyle one too - but I do think that where possible you still need some sort of consistency to it. This could mean that you do a weekly post (ie. Motivational Monday), or a similar sort of theme such as frequent food posts or fitness posts, but it definitely helps if you're consistent with what you're writing about. People will start following your blog because they're interested in you and what you're writing about, so if you're constantly mixing it up people may find it difficult to stay with you. I'm also a complete hypocrite - I mix it up all the time! But still, the point stands - the more consistent you can get, and the better the idea you have about the way you want your blog to go forward, the better.


Designing your blog
Now that you've got your idea in mind, you'll want to start designing your blog. Pick a name for it - if you've gone for a specific type of topic this will probably be easier for you. But don't worry too much about it - I feel that with lifestyle bloggers in particular, most bloggers seem to grow out of their name or find that it just no longer suits them. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter!

Next up you'll want to choose where to host your blog. The two main sites are blogger and wordpress - wordpress is typically seen as being the more professional and customisable, but I use blogger and I'm perfectly happy with it. I'm not going to go into two much detail on the comparisons of the two here, I'd just recommend you take a look at both and see which one you like the most. See which interface you like, or which one offers the things that are the most important to you. At a later date, look into getting your own domain name. I'd say to do this as early as possible, but if you're not sure you're definitely going to be sticking with your blog then don't worry about doing it too quickly.

What does matter, however, is how your blog looks. You'll need to pick a nice design for it that you feel represents you and your blog. It's shallow, I know, but if you're using a default blogspot layout you'll find a lot of people won't spend too long looking at your blog. I paid someone to make mine for me - it worked out well for me, I had an idea in mind but lacked the skills to make it become a reality, so I had someone else get it exactly how I wanted it and I love it! You don't have to go that route though - there are plenty of stores out there where you can buy premade layouts which are generally pretty nice, then you can customise them to suit your blog by changing the colours or the background. You can of course also find plenty of free ones!

If you don't know where to start, just look in the sidebars/info of your favourite blogs. If they've got their layout from somewhere, there will almost certainly be a little button somewhere that you can click to find the store/website of the designer. And obviously, if you're already good at HTML and graphic design - go ahead and make your own so it'll be exactly how you want!

Getting organised
The art of getting organised and staying organised is probably one of the most important things about blogging. I've definitely struggled with it - it took me a really long time to find a good system, and I've gone through several! If you have a job, school, a social life - all of this can make it really hard to find a good time to blog without it becoming a chore.

So, how many times a week do you want to post? I think consistency is definitely important here. It doesn't matter if you want to blog once a week or five times a week - having a goal in mind is important. I schedule all of my posts to make sure that I -generally- keep to mine.

If you can, schedule in some time each week to work on your blog. That doesn't work for me - I work different hours all the time, so having set time would never happen for me - but if you can make it work for you, great! However, the most important thing about staying organised is planning your posts out. You don't have to write lots of detail about your posts, just have an idea about what you're posting about and when.

Personally, I use Evernote to plan mine out. I do the bulk of my planning on my laptop, but its linked up to my phone so that if I have ideas on the go I can add them. I write out a calendar of my three posts a week up to three months in advance, and then add ideas I go. I try to spread out ideas a bit, as otherwise I would find that I kept doing something really fun and wanting to blog about it - so I'd then have to get rid of a 'filler' post and keep pushing it back and back until it ended up never getting posted, and then I'd suddenly have no ideas anymore and nothing to write about. When I've completed a post, I'll schedule it, and then highlight the post on Evernote so that I'll know I've done it already. For other people they need more detail - they like to work out ideas, they like to colour code so they know if they've started the post, if they've taken the photos already, etc. Find a system that works for you - this is probably my 5th system!


Okay, that marks the end of part one. Check in same time next week for part two, where I'll be telling you what I've learnt about writing good content, photography, and getting interactive! Hopefully you've find the above information useful so far, and feel free to ask if you have any questions or want to give some of your own suggestions!
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3 comments

  1. ninegrandstudent4 February 2015 at 21:26

    I really need to start using Evernote again - it was amazing for my A-Levels, but I haven't touched it since (in three years!) x

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Student Lifestyle Blog

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  2. Thank you for your recommendations. Evernote seems to be a good software for planning.

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  3. Some good little pointers there! Might help me get back into this blogging scene!


    Although I did put a post up yesterday so I guess I'm already back?!

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