What are the secrets to having a successful blog? How do you get people to read your blog, to get followers, and to get brands wanting to work with you? These are the questions every blogger wants to know the answer to. I know when I started blogging, I would read other successful bloggers’ posts and wonder how they took those amazing photos. I would look at the bloggers at the top of the TOTS100 chart and aspire to have blogs like them.
Do I have a successful blog? I think that depends on what you class as success and what you personally are looking for when you write a blog.
The first question you need to ask yourself is why do you blog? If you are doing it to get ‘freebies’ and for instant fame, stop right now. Blogging is a lot of hard work, it takes more hours in the day than a regular job, and you need to do a lot of work building up your blog’s content and followers before you will get products to review.
Why do I blog? I blog because I genuinely enjoy sharing my life experiences with people. With so much bad happening in the world, I want to share mindless things that will make people smile, like cute pictures of my children, nice things I’ve seen in the shops, just a bit of happiness. I want other parents to know they are not alone, to share what life as a mum is like, and to show what you can do with your children. I share things about my life, not to show off, not to show I have a perfect life, but to show that at whatever stage you are in your life, you can still achieve your dreams. It is never too late.
I want to show local parents in my town of Slough, that you know what, we don’t live in a ‘crap’ town, there ARE things to do with your children in this town and there ARE nice people who live here. I basically want to share my happiness and positivity and kindness with the world. Yeah it’s people I don’t know, but it’s people who I hope enjoy getting to know me. If ONE person has read my blog and it has helped them, it has made them think you know what, I CAN do this, then my blog has achieved the success I wanted from it.
Am I successful? I have been blogging for nearly 3 years, and I do have regular readers. My social media followers are growing steadily. I have had brands contacting me to work with them, I have had paid collaborations. I have been a brand ambassador, I have received products to review. I have made friendships, both with bloggers and with local parents in my area, through my blog. I have had comments from strangers saying that I have helped them. I may not be at the top of any blogging leaderboard, and I may not be earning the most compared to the top bloggers, but in my little blogging corner of the world, I do feel this is a success.
What are the ‘secrets’ to blogging success?
I can only tell you what I have learnt from my experiences, so maybe these points will help you if you are thinking of starting a blog.
1) Spend time setting up your blog, thinking up your blog’s name – choose a name that has longevity. I chose ‘The Mummy Stylist’ because I will always be a mum and I like styling my children and styling my home. I chose not to have ‘Slough’ in the name, because what if one day I move from this area? I don’t plan to, but you never know what life throws at you. I chose not to mention number of children because what if you have more children. Go on WordPress.com and browse their themes. I really recommend WordPress as it’s so easy to set up a blog on there and spend the £20 buying your URL so you don’t have a wordpress.com bit on your URL. It’s looks more professional and brands want to work with websites that have your brand name only in the URL.
2) Write because you LOVE writing. If you don’t enjoy writing, it is not worth it. Writing a blog should not feel like work, you should enjoy it. Write about things you know and write about things you think people will relate to. When you are choosing the title of your post, think of something you think will catch a readers attention, like make them stop and think I WANT to read more. Ask a question at the end of your post? You want your readers’ opinions, you want them to engage with you
3) Buy a decent camera. I only did this recently and I feel now that I can take photos like those bloggers I aspired to, not only do I feel proud of these photos, my stats have gone up. Good photos are a MUST. And make them full size on your post, the whole width of your post. Don’t make them into small squares. Big, crisp, light photos. I have the Canon G7x Mark II and I can’t recommend it enough! I love playing around with it. It is small and compact, but the photos are still so crisp like a DSLR, and I can wifi the photos straight to my phone so I can upload to Instagram and Facebook instantly. Or you can go for a DSLR if you really want to get into proper photography. They are big though!
4) Make sure you have ALL the social media channels – a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. Choose usernames that match your blog’s name. Unfortunately in my case, themummystylist was already taken on Twitter and I already had a YouTube channel and they won’t let change it to my blog’s name. But if you can, make them all the same name. It will take time to grow your followers, and each channel requires different ways to grow them. For a start, invite your Facebook friends to ‘like’ your page. There is a lot to learn and I’ll touch on each of the social media channels in separate posts. Choose a profile picture that is the same across all your channels, and make sure it is a photo of yourself, not the logo. You want people to relate to you as a person. And your logo goes on the header bits.
5) Join blogger Facebook groups and get to know fellow bloggers, read their tips and advice. Join threads where you follow each other’s social media, that will help your follower numbers grow initially. Read other bloggers’ posts, comment on them, get them to get to know you, to recognise your name. But do NOT compare yourself to other bloggers. do not feel like you are crap and do not feel jealous. You are looking for inspiration and you are supporting other bloggers. Every blogger is different. Everyone’s ‘success’ is different.
6) Find your niche. There are THOUSANDS of parent bloggers out there, and more new ones starting every day. What makes your blog different? Look at your stats and find out what people are reading, what’s the most popular post on your blog? For me it was writing about my local area of Slough. My blog has grown because I am writing about things that people were googling, what people were looking for information on. Really have a think about what can make your blog that little bit unique from everyone else.
7) Share share share. It may feel like you are being annoying. But if you don’t share, how will people find your posts. Once I’ve written a post I share on Facebook, and sometimes on Twitter. Most of my clicks come from Facebook. And don’t share blog things on Instagram – that platform is for photos that complement your blog. I don’t use Pinterest enough, but a really committed blogger will ‘pin’ their blog posts so you get readers coming through Pinterest. People also use StumbleUpon too to get their posts ‘out there’. I personally don’t because there aren’t enough hours in the day. You have to find a balance between living your life with your children and making the time to work on your blog.
8) Don’t give up. Some days you will feel like you have no creativity and you don’t want to write. So take a break. You can blog even just once a week, but keep in touch with your readers with pretty photos of your day-to-day life on Instagram and Facebook.
Those are my ‘secrets’ to blogging success. I hope you found that useful. Also, if you have any blogging tips, please share with me too. We are all learning constantly. I know I am not the expert!
Do you have any tips? What are the secrets you’ve always wanted to know about blogging?