Now that the Christmas rush is behind us, its time to regroup, reflect and make some kick ass New Years resolutions. This year is a little bit different for me when it comes to goal setting… where most of my resolutions in the past had more superficial goals in mind, this year I’m all business. At first glance you might think I’m all pretty in pink with my interiors and even my personal appearance, but beneath that carefully branded surface theres a bit more that meets the eyes. One of the biggest undertakings I took on as a new business owner was starting this blog. There was so much to learn behind the scenes and I’m still learning new things every day. Why am I telling your this? Because there is no better time to start your own blog than right now. Some people shy away from the whole blogging world because it just seems so saturated. While there may be a ton of successful bloggers already making their marks, think of how many readers are out there that you can reach. All the Instagram accounts, all the Pinterest Moms, all the brands that are constantly scouting for new influencers to work with. I can’t even begin to describe how rewarding it is to see your work featured on other accounts (see my kitchen on Studio Mcgee HERE) or to be contacted by companies in your niche to try out their products (stay tuned for an exciting collaboration to come). At times it can seem so daunting but once your blogging foundation has been laid the sky really is the limit when it comes to growth. So if your ready to take the leap and start your blog, or grow your blog from a hobby to a business keep reading for my 5 Blogging Tips for the New Year.
Build your brand and DO NOT waiver.
This really is the fun part. Grab a pen a make a list of the things that best describe you and your aesthetic. Are you a boho minimalist? Or are you frilly and feminine? Do you prefer loud patterns and colors or is the new neutral totally your thing? We all have our own distinct style so why not use that to your advantage? Not only will this make branding your blog more fun, but it will set you up to attract the right reader. Your target audience. Of course your brand will naturally evolve over time. Your look will change with experience and your brand will change too. But when I say do not waiver, what I really mean is do not compare… It’s so easy to get caught up in someone else’s success and think you need to copy their entire website so yours can take off too. Those thoughts will get you no where. Trust me on this. You will become successful when people fall in love your YOUR distinct brand, not your watered down version of someone else’s.
Social media is your BEST FRIEND.
Ahhh the age old question of the which came first, the chicken or the egg? Almost identical in theory to the new age question, which should come first the blog or the social media account? Well in my personal opinion it should always be the egg. Or the social media account. I’ve also learned this one the hard way. When I started my first blog 3 years ago I wish I had that mindset. I figured if I built it then they’d come, right? Nope. No one is going to come read your blog if they don’t know you exist, except for your mom and maybe a couple of close friends. Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are the most powerful tools to let your audience know that you are out there, ready to inspire. Did you know that Instagram alone has 700 million users. That’s 700 million people that could potentially click on your profile that leads them to your website. Now reaching those users can be a bit of a challenge with the every changing algorithms but one thing that remains constant with social media is image quality.
Put yourself out there with PICTURE PERFECT images.
Say it with me. I WILL NOT POST IPHONE PICTURES. I WILL HAVE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY ON MY BLOG AND SOCIAL MEDIA OUTLETS. I really wish this one wasn’t true but its just the nature of the beast. Sure an occasional snap chat, or iPhone portrait setting is OK every once in a while… but if you want to get noticed and get noticed by the right people, image quality is everything. Taking quality images is tricky but its not impossible. A Canon Rebel with a 50 MM lens can really go a long way when your just starting out. With all the software available editing those photos is pretty straight forward. I like to use A ColorStory on my phone before I upload to Instagram. For desktop users, Lightroom and Snapseed are other blogger favorites. For my portfolio images and other big photoshoots I always hire a professional photographer. This is an expense that is hard to justify when you just start out but it takes money to make money… and no one is going to buy what your selling if your pictures don’t look good.
Know the tech stuff or HIRE SOMEONE who does.
I know you probably don’t want to hear this but there is a lot more tech stuff that bloggers really do need to know. Yes we would rather spend our days styling a photoshoot but if you want to turn your blog into a thriving business you need to know the basics of making a website, getting your website seen on search engines, and the necessary software you will need to use in order to keep your blog running. It can all feel very overwhelming to learn in the first few months, especially when you are starting off with little funds to get started. But in my opinion if you are going to pay for a web host and a genesis framework, it is worth the extra money to hire someone to design the child theme for your site.
Diversify your income sources.
Just like any other business, your blog income is going to have its ebbs and flows. One month you could make a killing through affiliate links and the next you don’t make a dime. That is why it is so important to diversify your revenue. I like to break my blog income down into 3 categories: sponsored posts, affiliate marketing and advertising fees. Once your blog has become more established you can offer e-courses or coaching services to your readers. This is where a lot of big bloggers make most of their profits from. But I think a realistic goal for a new blogger should be to make enough money in the first year to cover your startup costs. Once you have accomplished that you probably have enough readers to sell your own products and services through your site.
I hope this post was helpful. I know its a bit out of my norm but if someone would of told me 6 months ago what I know now, it would of saved me a crap load of time just figuring things out for myself. Now grab you pen and make some goals for yourself. In my opinion blogging is just like any other business and if you want it bad enough there is so much room for success. Happy New Year and cheers to making 2018 your best blogging year yet!
Photo by Tracy Marshall