Hi friends! How are you doing today?
I had a totally different post planned out earlier, but my mind is running all over the place and brought me here. I’m just going to roll with it. It’s only Tuesday… so I might be in trouble.
Anyways, I spent some time answering emails on this subject last night, so I thought it would be a great time to pick up where I left off long ago with Blogging FAQs. This series is dedicated to those just getting into blogging, or even readers who are toying with the idea of starting a blog of their own one day!
I don’t claim to be a blogging expert, but I do, however, feel very grateful to call this blog my main source of income these days. I didn’t start with the intention of monetizing it, so the passion to keep it running day in and day out was there from the very beginning. (Basically, I don’t believe in starting a blog just to make money!) You need to enjoy writing, engaging with others, networking, and have a drive to constantly provide new and interesting content.
In my start-up years, I found it super helpful to scroll through blogging “how-tos” I came across online, so I figured I could save you guys some trouble by sharing the tips I picked up along the way. Here, you will find tips from others as well as my personal experiences, stories, and advice I wish I knew before I started my “serious” blogging journey back in 2012.
Need a refresher?
I went on with a few more posts in the series (which you will see links to at the bottom), but I feel like this one is simply a continuation of Tips for Beginners. There’s just too many!
So, at this point, you have a blog and you’ve started producing content. Here are a handful of pointers I continuously pass on when newbies seek out advice for their own pages.
• incorporate photos
I am a huge visual person, which is why you will always see me include photos in my posts. Pictures add something you can to scroll to, break up the wording in what might turn into run-on paragraphs, and usually make longer posts easier to get through.
Plus, pictures are pretty to look at… so there’s that.
You had a salad? If it’s worth mentioning, it’s probably worth including a photo, too.
• get over the “it’s for the blog” embarrassment
Do you get shy to ask people to take your photo or to whip out your phone or camera for a quick picture or five at events? If your answer is yes and you want to blog about every day life happenings (food, travel, entertainment, events, etc.), then you’re going to have to get over that fear of embarrassment pretty quickly.
Over the years, I have learned to make friends with strangers in order to ask them to snap a photo for me. I’ve also become quick at capturing appetizers or blog-worthy meals before anyone dives into them. If people ask why I am obsessed with taking pictures of my food, shoes, or surroundings (they probably don’t know me very well), I tell them it’s for my blog. If they have a problem with it, then you probably won’t see them pop up here!
Don’t be afraid to capture the moments you want to write about. People will understand, and if they don’t, who really cares? You do you, boo boo.
• write the kind of blog you enjoy reading
I’ve already mentioned this point before, but it’s important enough to reiterate again.
What types of blogs you enjoy checking in to read day after day?
What do you like about them the most?
What do they all have in common?
Personally, I like reading blogs that provide useful information with a bit of fun. Whether it be a glimpse into their day-to-day whereabouts or obvious sense of humor, the blogs I regularly follow keep me coming back for something other than one hundred percent content.
For the most part, I try to keep things on the professional side, but I still allow myself to share my opinions and crack jokes. I often write how I talk, and that is the reason some say they enjoy following me. They’ve told me they feel like they are having a conversation with me when they sit down to read a post, and that is exactly how I feel while writing most of the entries you see on Life In Leggings. I love that!
• get an “About” page
Can readers get an idea of who you are with a quick glance at your home page?
People like to feel like they (in an sense) know the person behind the blog. Before they have to dig around pages or content, can they get an overall snapshot of who is writing the entries and what kind of posts they can expect to find?
It’s a good idea to have a welcome image or widget on your sidebar that will pop up on every page. This way, people can connect a face to the writing even on the posts where you don’t include images of yourself.
I also always recommend getting an About Page. Mine is longer than some, but it explains everything you should expect to find following my blog. I also wanted to create sub-pages to include more information for anyone interested in learning more about my family (people who often show up in posts!) or my background in fitness, dance, and blogging.
It may seem like a lot of information, but I would be lying if I said I haven’t gotten completely sucked into learning more about a blogger on their About Page(s) before. People want to get to know you, so make general information you’ve already written about easy for them to find!
• you can post quality photos without “the best” camera
Do you guys want to know a little secret?
At least half (if not more than half) of the photos I take and post on this blog come from my iPhone 5s. Really.
I have a (ridiculously beaten up) Cannon point-and-shoot camera for “serious” campaigns, but I am in dire need of investing in a new one. I have wanted a DSLR camera for years, but somehow, I’ve managed to produce quality photos for important posts and work without one.
So, what does one do until then? Photo editing. I tweak, brighten, and sharpen every photo that appears on this blog, and it’s not even through a fancy program like Photoshop or Lightroom. I’ve been using PicMonkey for years! It’s free and does the job just fine.
(See my previous post for tips on using PicMonkey!)
Also, I recently found out about Canva. It’s very user friendly and has allowed me to create some pretty neat images for free!
• just keep swimming
Every blogger has their off days. Trust me. Even the bubbliest of “big-time” bloggers go through days of not wanting to blog. It’s a natural feeling that happens with anything!
If you feel like you need a break, take one. Only you can decide how often you write, and it has to work best for you and your schedule. If you come back from a vacation or blog-cation and decide it’s something you really want to pursue, do it!
Don’t get overwhelmed by sticking to a schedule if that stresses you out. Take it one post, one day, and one blog post idea at a time. Eventually, you will get into a groove of writing and have enough content to archive.
• keep a list of blog ideas and topics handy
…. for days like today!
I woke up this morning expecting to write about something completely different. Sometimes you just don’t want to write about what you had planned. That’s completely normal. I had the idea of sharing more blog tips written down in my blogging journal, so the idea was there when I gave it a look earlier. Thank goodness!
It’s nice to jot down blog ideas and topics when they come to you, and to have them all in one place when you are in need of inspiration. Keep an easy-to-carry journal with you and make notes of motivation, ideas, and rough drafts whenever they come to you!
I feel like I could just keep rambling on, so I’ll stop myself there. If this is a series you find useful, please let me know! I’d be happy to share more tips down the road.
More Blogging FAQs Posts:
All right. I’m off to an afternoon of freelance work and (hopefully) a run before working at the gym tonight. Thanks for popping in, feel free to reach out with questions any time, and best of luck to you on your blogging journey!