Starting a new blog is like being interviewed for a job – but instead of having to answer a few questions from a potential employer, new bloggers must create attractive and unique content to impress the internet and find their niche audience. Blogging is also a continual learning curve involving everything from design & photography to editing & html coding + so much more – during which time the blogger must also be frequently creating and uploading interesting and attractive posts to continue growing and keeping that all important audience.
When I started blogging I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, zero blogger-friends to ask for advice and had to rely on the incredibly general how-to’s available online and my creative brain to figure out how to do just about anything behind the scenes. To save others from days of frustrating searches I’ve gathered my top 7 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Blogging:
The Time Involved: Before I started blogging I had absolutely no idea how long it took to create even the shortest of blog posts. The time it takes to read and enjoy a blog post versus the amount of time and work that went into creating it are very different. My personal post creation times are as follows:
A Confessions of a Refashionista post that takes 30 seconds to read took 3 – 6 hours to create.
A Confessions of a Refashionista post that takes 1 – 2 minutes to read actually took 8+ hours to create.
Confessions of a Refashionista videos, indepth tutorials and articles can take days or even weeks of work.
Blog Post Titles: A clever, esoteric name for your post may seem like an attention grabbing idea however the complete opposite is true. When searching the ‘net for tutorials do you type obscure song lyrics or literary quotes? Nope, in all likelihood the text for your searches is incredibly specific to the topic you’re seeking info about so it’s completely logical that blog post titles containing descriptive searched for words and phrases will receive more visits than those without. It may seem boring but a post titled “How to refashion jeans into a bag” will be loads more popular and rank higher in search engines than a post with the same content named “Forever in blue jeans”.
An organized blog is a joy to visit: A blog that easy to navigate and search through will absolutely have repeat visits. Having a clearly visible, easily understood menu, category selections and search function not only allows readers to find exactly what they’re looking for but also encourages them to check out more of your fabulous posts!
Edit, improve and resize your photos: For the life of me I will never understand how people can publish photos of themselves or their projects with mess, dirty laundry or general clutter in the background. Blurry, untidy pictures completely destroy a blog and guarantee it won’t be taken seriously or receive repeat visits. Visitors to your blog are there to be inspired – fabulous photos and content are the key to providing that inspiration and engaging your audience!
Be sure to resize your images before uploading. There is absolutely no need to use up all of your blog server space with unnecessarily huge photos. Images up to 1000 pixels wide are more than large enough to be seen clearly on nearly any device they are viewed on. + having images that are all centered and a similar width makes for a clean, visually symmetrical blog.
Re-name your photos: Giving each photo in your posts the same name as the post title not only increases your visibility in search engines but also ensures that the correct name of the post will be visible when it is saved to a pinterest board or shared on social media.
Featured images: Take a second and add a Featured Image/Post Thumbnail to every one of your posts. This will ensure that the correct thumbnail photo is paired with each post when they are grabbed by search engines or shared on social media. (Upload these images in WordPress directly by clicking on the “set featured image” link in the Post Edit screen – usually found below the area where you add your Tags).
Auto sharing/publicizing: If you’re planning to spread your posts around with social media save yourself some time and set up the sharing feature found under Settings on your wordpress dashboard. Once you become more blog savvy you may want to look into one of the many social media sharing services available online but when you’re just starting out the auto sharing that’s included with your blogging platform is a huge help.
If you’re a seasoned blogger, what are some of the things you wish you’d known when you first got started?
Check out all of my backstage of blogging series and feel free to request a behind-the-scenes topic that you’d like to learn more about in the comments below.