Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Tips for New Bloggers

I honestly cannot believe that I've almost been blogging for a year and a half- it still seems like yesterday that I just started my blog and trying to figure out how to design my blog and make it look pretty. The first few months were, as expected, interesting and I honestly went for months believing all of my traffic was from me looking at my own blog. I cannot believe the tremendous growth Chic in Carolina has seen since March 2015 (like my Instagram is about to reach 1,000 followers, be sure to help me out and follow me!) so I figured it would be a perfect time to share my advice for new bloggers!




Be original
It's okay to draw inspiration from other blogs but in order to truly grow, you need to be providing your readers with original content, ideas, or pictures that can't be found anywhere but your blog. Anyways, if you're going to be a carbon copy of ________ blog, what's the point of you putting all of your hard work into blogging?

Utilize social media
Social media is the best way to grow your blog and to allow your readers to know you a bit better! Instagram is perfect for sharing snapshots of your life, outfits, and travel. I primarily use Twitter to share with y'all the behind-the-scenes and random day to day tweets. Pinterest is awesome for sharing your posts as well as building inspiration. Your social media helps you build a cohesive brand for your blog, which is super helpful!

Post frequently and develop a schedule
I usually post Monday through Friday at 8 AM, which I have found works for me. Setting a schedule, no matter how many days a week you post, is super beneficial to increasing your page views as returning visitors know "ok Katie usually posts at 8 AM so at 8:15, I'm going to go read her new post".

Reply to ALL emails and comments!

Personally, I never want to make myself seem unreachable or out of touch to readers so I try to respond to emails and comments as quickly as possible. Some bloggers dont respond to their comments because they get too many or they simply don't respond, but I feel like it's a great way to interact with your readers!

Connect with other Bloggers
Blogging can appear to be very competitive (who has more Instagram followers or who gets a sponsored post) on the surface but let me tell y'all, it's vital to find a community in blogging. At first, it does seem a bit weird to connect with other people over the Internet and it's definitely a bit scary the first time you meet another blogger in real life (are they going to be the same as on the blog? what if we have nothing to talk about?) but it's so worth it! I have been fortunate to meet several other bloggers in the past year and I have also learned a lot from them as well. I've attended two meetups in the Charlotte area through the InfluenceHer Collective (read the recaps here and here) as well as two meet up with Renee (read the recaps here and here), Annaliese (read the recaps here and here), and Riley (read the recap here) in the past year or so!

Keep a sense of privacy
Don't share everything on the blog. It's definitely a fine line between letting readers know who you are in real life and then leaking personal information. Although the blogging community is super welcoming, you still need to maintain your privacy (and the privacy of your family and friends) for safety reasons. Personally, I don't share my last name, hometown, names of family members/friends, pictures of my younger cousins/kids I babysit, name of my school, and so on.

I would definitely make sure to check how "secure" your social media is as well. I had my Pinterest account before I started Chic in Carolina so I simply removed my last name from my bio and changed my username. I love the maps feature of Instagram but be sure not to have where you live as a location tagged just to be safe. I also don't tag things like the Starbucks or Target I tend to go to regularly.

Don't worry about the numbers
With blogging it's so easy to fall into the "I need more followers" trap. The best way to grow your following is naturally and that takes a lot of time. It's definitely easy to look at another Instagram account and be like, "why do they have 5,000 more followers than me, what am I doing wrong" but just post your best content, be active, and your numbers will grow, I promise so don't worry about it!

Blog for You!
Like the Bachelor, sometime it's hard to tell if someone's "doing this for the right reasons" when it comes to blogging. Yes, blogging does sometimes include getting free products and/or making money but that shouldn't be the reason that you start to blog. Honestly, I always hear stories of bloggers who only blog to make an income off of it and then get discouraged and stop blogging. If you're thinking of starting a blog, think of why you want to- is it because you want to have a space to talk about _____ or is it for something else?

Comment on other Blogs
I've found this is a great way to build community as well as to drive traffic to your own blog. Each weekday, I try to comment on each post in my Bloglovin feed (make sure to follow me on Bloglovin) that I love or can comment something on. Make sure your comments are meaningful (don't comment "cute" and call it a day) and also leave a link to your blog. I typically write xoxo in one line followed by my name followed by my blog link. Comments really make my day so I love commenting on other blogs because I know how great they are to receive!

Ask family/friends before featuring them on the blog
If you've been reading Chic in Carolina for a while, you probably have noticed that I keep y'all updated on my day to day life through my "My Chic Week" series, in which I do include personal photos of my family and friends. I love showing y'all more of my life but one key thing to note here is to always ask permission before posting pictures of anyone you know "in real life" on the blog. It's as easy as "Hey ____. I have a fashion and lifestyle blog and I wanted to check that it's okay for me to post a picture from ______ on it. If you don't want me to post it, that's totally fine too".

All of my friends have all been open to it but I would have never wanted for them to find my blog and find all of these pictures of them that they had no clue were on the Internet.

Be true to who you are in "real life"
One thing I always try to do here at Chic in Carolina is to have my blog "image" be as close as possible to who I am in real life. Yes, parts of your personality may be hard to show in your writing but I definitely believe in being honest and not creating myself to be someone on the blog that I'm not in real life. This is definitely hard to do but if you're struggling with your tone or how you're portraying yourself on the blog, pretend that you're talking to a friend in real life. Also, just stick to who you are on the blog- there's no need to pretend to be someone you're not just as readers can usually tell when a post feels forced.


What tips would you add for new bloggers? Let me know in the comments!

2 comments:

  1. As a new blogger, I found this post so helpful that I book marked it! Thanks for the tips!!

    Bailey
    baileysbulletin.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Yay! So glad this was helpful, Bailey!

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