Since one of the most popular emails I receive is asking about starting and growing a successful blog, I figured I’d share the few things I do know that have made a big difference for me.
I don’t write often (um, at all) about blogging itself. Why? Well, I guess it’s because I prefer the topics of food, life, and cute kids. Still, I have been blogging for several years now and have picked a few solid tips along the way. Since one of the most popular emails I receive is asking about starting or growing a successful blog, I figured I’d share the few things I do know really make a difference.
Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. I have used all of the products listed below and recommend them because they are helpful and are companies that I trust.
Set up your blog correctly from the start. I started blogging at blogger and while easy to hop right into, it created quite the frustration when I switched a few months later to WordPress. WordPress is the industry standard and you’ll want to use that platform. Here’s how you do that…
Buy your domain name. My domain name is ahealthysliceoflife.com and I purchased it through Bluehost. I highly recommend them. They make the process of setting up and maintaining a blog super simple. Bluehost has a technical support line that is open 24/7 and available by both phone and live chat.
Here are the steps to signing up with Bluehost:
Go to the Bluehost site to start and buy your domain name.
Type in the blog domain you want to use, then you will purchase the blogging package that you want.
You will be taken to a screen to activate your newly purchased domain name through WordPress. Simply select WordPress under website builders.
Then you are all set to start blogging! Trust me, it’s so much easier than transferring down the line.
Title Your Posts for SEO. In the beginning I often titled posts with cutesy titles like ‘I Ran on Sand!’ While they may sound fun, if the post is really about an exercise beach routine you created, you will want to title it more appropriately. This means using key words. If people were wanting the information in your post, what would they search for? Exercise on vacation? Beach workout routine? Use these key words (and help find others using Google Insights) in your post title.
Write about Topics that Interests You/ Stay True to Your Voice. I’ve found that if I’m writing posts that I’d want to read myself, I get more engagement. For example, I was really unsure about incorporating motherhood into my blog when I became pregnant with Hailey since I started my blog to talk about health coaching and healthy living. However, motherhood is such a big part of my life, it would have been awkward to not include it. Write what you know and care about. Also, you can admire another blogger’s style but stay true to your voice. Judy Garland knew what she was talking about — Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.
Ask yourself these questions: Is this helpful? Is this entertaining? I’m busy. You’re busy. It’s best to write about something that will add value to your reader’s day, whether that is entertainment value, inspiration, or useful information.
Love Your Readers. And I do. You guys are so awesome. I appreciate you stopping by, reading and contributing to the conversation. David often jokes about me having virtual friends, but it’s true. I really feel like I get to chat with my friends every morning! I also really value your feedback, so if there is ever something you want to see more (or less) of, holla.
Along with this, I’ll add respond to questions. I’ve been really turned off before when blogger has flat out ignored my question after I attempted to ask it more than once. If you’ve reached out to me and I haven’t responded, I promise I didn’t receive your question. I always respond to questions, even if it may take me a few days right now. (My computer time is a little limited these days!)
You may also like: Seven Inevitable Truths About Blogging
Be Consistent. People are much more willing to check back in if they know when they can expect a new post from you. Whether you blog once a month, once a week or twice a day, consistency is really helpful!
Rename Your Pictures Before Posting. This helps with SEO too. Instead of that delicious looking cookie picture being titled DSC00341, change it to ‘healthy oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe.’ Bonus: this helps me locate old photos in my media library for future reference and use. For free editing software, you can use Picmonkey.com. I used it for years before upgrading to Lightroom.
Get Social! I love social media. I share a ton of meal and family pictures on Instagram and enjoy asking you questions and sharing stories on Facebook. Don’t be shy! Jump on it and chat. It’s more fun when it’s a conversation.
Have Your Contact Info Easily Accessible. It’s amazing how many times I’ve wanted to email a blogger or follow them on Instagram and can’t find their contact info. Try to make your email address and social media handles easily accessible. You don’t want to miss out on cool opportunities because someone can’t reach you.
Make it Easy to Comment. Chances are if a name/url option isn’t available or I have to fill out a captcha code, I’m not commenting. Yes, I realize it only takes an extra 30 seconds, but it stops a lot of people from adding to the conversation, especially since so many of us read blogs from our phones. Some people claim that comments are dead, and though I know people read blogs differently and are busier now, comments are still one of my favorite ways to engage.
Let’s help each other out…
What is your best blog tip that you’ve learned?