So you know they say hindsight is a wonderful thing? Well they weren’t lying. Looking back at how I first started my blog and where it is today… the amount of things I wish I could have done differently is insane. And while I could beat myself up about it, or keep telling myself ‘if only…’, realistically it happened. My past had made me who I am today. And I still love it… so!
But if you’re starting out, or you just want to read some ramblings from a 24 year old wishing she was still 18, well here we go!
Social Media is King
This sounds obvious… but while I made social handles right at the beginning.. I didn’t really use them.. And now I’m trying to grow when Instagram has changed its algorithm and Twitter has become somewhere people just go to complain. But either way, I still get a high percentage of my traffic from social channels, and I’m currently obsessed with Instagram. So I got there eventually. But joking aside, some people see insane levels of traffic from the likes of Pinterest or Instagram, so if you have a little time here or there, it’s worth cultivating these channels.
Edit Your Blog Photos
While this one isn’t key. I feel like my blog really came leaps and bounds when I started doing this. Now I’m not claiming to be an expert, I’m not going to start photoshopping people into images or cutting things out… all I do is up the brightness, lighten the shadows and darken the highlights. You get the idea. If you want to know how I edit my blog photos (from someone who knows next to nothing about photo editing)- this is how I do it: How I Edit My Blog Post Photos | Free Photoshop?
It’s Important to Find a Blogging Platform That Works For You
Now this is something I really wish I did right back at the beginning of my blog. I started out on Blogger, and while I’m not bashing it at all, it just didn’t work for me.. in the slightest. And it’s one of those things you can’t really explain why. I currently use WordPress and I couldn’t be happier. I know these days there are a few other blogging platforms that have popped up (omg and who remembers Tumblr…!). But maybe YouTube a few videos on how people have got on with the platform you’re thinking of using. Because I had to swap over 6 months in… and while it wasn’t that difficult, it was just inconvenient.
Canva is Queen
Now if we’re talking about social as king, it only feels fair to mention Canva as queen. This website is amazing. A lot of what you need is free, but it does have a premium service if you’re looking for something a little more technical (not that I pay for it, but work has in the past). You can overlay text easily, add boxes, it has some stunning templates, and you can crop and resize images super easy. This website is just a life saver… I use it for everything.
Don’t Be Afraid To Be Yourself
Now I feel like this is a really intangible thing to say. But I think when I started my blog I was trying to be what I thought people wanted me to be.. wow doesn’t that sound a little wanky. And now, I feel like I’ve finally got to where I want to be. Not saying it wont change, I’m bound to continue growing in real life (even literally, I grew 4 cm in the last few years!!), and this will reflect in my blog. But I think you’ve got to find the confidence or ability or whatever you want to call it to be yourself. Now I’m not a writer, never have been, never wanted to be, which is why my content comes out a little ‘conversationally’. But that’s what I like, and that’s who I am. And I feel like it works for me.
Things Take Time
Yes, there are those lucky few out there, who start something and within weeks/months it’s a mini empire with 100ks for followers or page views, or however you measure success. But for the most of us, things take time. I’m in like year 4 of this, and my blog is nowhere near where I thought it would be when I started out. But also, I’ve learnt not to care. This is my hobby, it’s what I enjoy doing, and keeps me from sitting on the bed all night, watching Netflix and eating ice cream…!
Engage With The Community
I can’t believe how long it took me to understand this… but this little corner of the internet is a community of people, and the only way to grow in a community (in real life) is to dive head first into it. Talk to people, get involved in things, bring some lasagna over to your new neighbour, run a cake stand at local fair… I feel like I’ve gone a little deep into this analogy. But it’s the same thing for blogging. If you start commenting, liking, retweeting, following other people’s content or channels, it gets your name out there and people will start engaging back. It’s really sweet actually.
And there you go. I’m sure there are realistically a hundred things I wish I could have changed from back in the day, but a lot of it springs down to technology, age, money, space or lots of things you just really can’t control, so it feels unfair to talk about it.
But either way, I hope at least one of these was helpful for you. Let me know your top tips in the comments below