Recently, I've been rethinking my whole approach to blogging and I really want to get serious. Things tend to be a bit unpredictable in my part of the woods, but if there's something I know, it's that this little blog of mine is definitely here to stay and I want to start making it meaningful and profitable.
I've come up with 6 simple ways to get serious about blogging and I'd love to share them with you. Let me know if you use any other ways!
1. Make a business plan
Making a business plan is probably the first thing you should do when you're ready to get serious about blogging. It'll help you gain focus and clarity on your goal, purpose, ideal reader and brand. Once I complete mine, I'll share it with you guys so you can see the different aspects it contains.
For now though, if I can suggest one thing, figure out why you blog and who you're doing it for, then create a few associated categories for your articles. That should be plenty to start getting serious about your blog instead of just writing random, unrelated articles.
I have been working on mine for ever and I'm starting to feel like it will never be done. I keep trying to niche myself, but doing it that way just doesn't work for me because my ideal audience and purpose cover a variety of topics.
I want to write about motherhood. Not the usual kind of parenting blog you see around, I want this place to be a hip happening hub for young busy moms, you know, the place where it's cool to hang out and you don't feel like your life is on hold. A place where you go to find quick makeup tutorials, practical style tips, cute DIY decor ideas, easy and delicious recipes, parenting stories and tricks, fun activities you should try, and info on starting your own small blog/business on the side. Anyway, the more I think about it, the clearer it gets, but for now, I'm still experimenting.
2. Brand yourself
A brand is not a blog and it's not a business. It's what makes people think: "Hey, that's -your name here-!"
It's a mix of the fonts you use, the colors you chose, your profile picture, your logo, your tone of voice and many other things.
Are you funny or serious? Do you use vivid or neutral colors? Do you use serif or hand lettered fonts? Are your pictures dark or bright? Are you a story teller or are you more of a "get to the point" editor? All of these things will help you stand out from the crowd and is how your audience will identify you.
I encourage you to explore and experiment, but when you've figured out what works for you, don't forget to adjust your social media platforms accordingly so that they reflect your brand. Don't forget that your brand evolves over time and it's totally OK to re-brand, just make sure you let your readers know.
At first, considering the name I chose for my blog, I wanted a banner that was a bit cartoon-ish with stars and a moon. Now I want something a bit more bright and happy in color, something that conveys trust, womanhood and happiness (I'm still planning on adding stars though, lol). I'm slowly transitioning to a blue, mint and bright pink brand with hand lettering and sans-serif fonts. I want my profile photo to look inviting, trust worthy and fun. Just like my business plan, I'm still figuring everything out, but I like the direction it's taking.
I also suggest getting your own domain, it makes your brand look a lot more professional and official. I personally use Namecheap* and I'm quite happy with their service.
3. Schedule and batch your tasks
Oh my god you guys. I just can't believe I haven't done this from the start. The best investment I have ever made for my blog was pay $10 for Buffer. It allows you to schedule social media posts. The free one only allows for 10 scheduled posts per social account but for $10/month you get 100, plus, you can schedule Pinterest pins too!
There are plenty of other ways you can schedule social media posts around so do some research and find the one that is best for you. I've been hearing good things about Boardbooster* and I'm excited to start using it because it can loop already pinned pins and automatically delete duplicates.
Have you tried it Boardbooster*? Do you like it?
As for writing posts, taking pictures, doing administrative tasks and investing in my ongoing education, I try to batch those as well. I've been trying to post once a week, on Mondays at 10AM. I suggest starting small, 1 a week or every 2 weeks, and working your way up, otherwise you risk getting burned out. When I sit down to write, on that day, I'll write and write and write until I no longer can. That way, I get a rhythm going and I am a lot more efficient.
On another night, I'll schedule as many social media posts as I can; articles from fellow bloggers, my articles, my products, affiliate links, and all that jazz. I used to post 1-10 times a week very sporadically, and now I post every single day about 10 times. Big difference in engagement.
For taking pictures, it's the same thing. The night I choose to turn my house into a disaster zone and take out all my props and lighting equipment is the night I do it all. Fantastic and again, super efficient.
I try not to be too strict about it though because I like to have a life outside of my 9-5, mommy-hood and blog.
4. Extend your reach and build community
This is just as important as any of the above mentioned tips. How do you expect people to know you exist if you don't put yourself out there and talk with people. I mean, it's pretty much the same in real life right? If you never leave your house and meet people, no one will know you're there. On the other hand, if you go out, even if it's just to the store, and you greet strangers warmly, eventually someone will remember you and you might even make a friend. It's the same for blogging.
Get out there and comment on other blogs. Share other people's articles and mention them (@name) on social media. Sent them a short email telling them how much you love their work. If you don't already have an email list (Mailchimp* is a great choice), you should make one. It can be a fun way to connect with your readers by asking them question and even sending them free exclusive gifts!
I'm still working on this one but I'm getting a whole lot better. The reason I find it a bit more difficult than the rest is because it's the only thing I can't batch. I kind of have to be present everywhere at all times.
Do you have any tricks you could share about building community?
5. Explore ways to monetize your blog
Isn't this the big million dollar question everyone wants to know the answer to? How can I make money with my blog?
Seriously though, there are so many ways, it's crazy. There's even ways no one has thought about yet. There's the obvious affiliate links, sponsored posts and banner ads but every since I opened up my Etsy shop, I've been wondering if there's more. Sure, I like to promote other people's products and services, and I still plan on doing so, but wouldn't it be more fun to sell and advertise your own?
I've been exploring the idea of creating eCourses and offering consultation services. I just don't know exactly about what yet. My egg free vanilla cupcake recipe is super popular so I was thinking I could start by doing an eCourse about egg allergies as a trial. Let me know what you think or if there's other courses you'd like to see me teach!
How are you monetizing your blog?
6. Invest in your education
I think this is super important. Very few people ever got anywhere without proper education. Think about your current job. You went to highschool right? Maybe you got a certification or went to college? University? That's cool. Well, it's the same for blogging. If you plan on making some money, be it a full time salary or passive income, you'll need to invest in your education.
It could be by reading articles from other well respected bloggers or eCourses. Maybe you need to book some consultations with a professional blogger or small biz owner. Regardless of how you do this, remember that there is always more to learn and the more you learn, the more you grow.
Personally, I invested $50 in the A Beautiful Mess "Blog Life" eCourse and I love it. There are a few other ones I'd love to take, mainly "Pinfinite Growth" by Melyssa Griffin of The Nectar Collective.
So! How about you? What are you going to do to get serious about blogging?
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