Blogging is a lot of fun as a hobby but if you’re hoping to turn your blog into a business there are certain things you need to know. Here are 10 things I wish I knew before starting a blog.
When I started A Parisian Journey roughly 4 years ago, I really had no idea of what blogging entailed. For me, A Parisian Journey was all about sharing my new life in Paris with my friends and family back in Australia. The focus wasn’t about creating a hugely successful monetized site. It was more about the small successes, like seeing my photography and food styling skills grow or producing a really well written, witty article. However, as months went on, I did become a little disappointed with my blog’s lack of viewership. I thought the quality of my work warranted more views than I was receiving at the time. I started to doubt myself and wonder what I was doing wrong. After doing a lot of research and meeting some great blogger friends, I discovered that growing your blog requires more than just great content. Knowing some very specific facts can really help you to drive much more traffic to your blog and help you gain a loyal following. To save you the time and frustration I faced, here are 10 things I wish I knew before starting a blog.
- Running a blog is a full-time job. It can it take anywhere between 1 to 3 days to write a blog post start to finish. You need to find your inspiration, clothing, supplies etc, test recipes, photograph the objet or scene, retouch the photos, find SEO friendly keywords to include in your post (more on this later), write the post then spread the word through email and social media. All this takes a lot of time particularly when you’re aiming to publish 3-4 times a week.
- You additionally need to spend a few hours a day driving traffic to your site. This is something I struggle to find time to do but it can be a major game changer for your blog. If you’re regularly pinning your images on Pinterest, commenting on other blogs you like, or posting your images on Facebook and Instagram, you’re likely to see your blog traffic increase very rapidly.
- Make sure you’re posting regularly. If you decide to post 3 times a week, make sure you do this every week. Blogging consistently will lead to more subscribers and happy readers.
- Make your blog SEO friendly. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and basically it refers to your search engine ranking. Say, for example, you just published a chocolate tart recipe. If someone searches in google for a “chocolate tart recipe”, you want your article to appear near the top of Google’s list. To ensure this happens you need to do a number of specific things when you write your post. This is a great in-depth article to explain exactly what you should be doing
- Don’t start a blog for money. The first year or so of blogging, you’re more likely to lose money than gain money. You really need to blog because you’re passionate about your subject, not simply to make money.
- Never stop improving your photography. A visually engaging blog is essential for growing your audience. There are so many great, free online photography guides and courses so make sure you’re always improving.
- Make Pinterest your best friend. It has the ability to drive a crazy amount of traffic to your blog. Try to pin at least 50 pins a day and include as many of your own photos as possible.
- If you plan on creating a food blog, make sure you install a recipe plug in. This means that google will recognize your recipe as a recipe and it also makes it easier for readers to view and print your recipe.
- Pay attention to the size of your photos. Large image files can really slow down your blog. I wish I knew this when I first got started. It takes a long time to go back and resize all your images so make sure you do it from day one. This is a site I commonly use to reduce the weight of my photos.
- Learn how to use Lightroom. This something I’m just learning now and I wish I learnt this years earlier, it’s incredible. It’s helped to really take my photos to the next level.
When you are really passionate about your blog and put so much time into it, it’s the best feeling to look at your site stats and see that others are loving it too. By following these 10 critical tips, you’re sure to build a blog with a large, engaged audience from day one. If you need any specific blogging advice or if you have a question, make sure you drop me a comment below and I’ll try to help you the best I can.