To make the most of your blog, there are a few things you need to know.
But why listen to me? Well, May 6th 2007 was the first blog post I ever published! Not here but over on my blog built on Blogger.
I actually started the blog so my friends and family back home could see what we were up to, everyday things, cute pictures of my son, Ebi-kun and then the house building process. This was pre-Facebook days!
Then blog took on a life of its own, I used to have a widget that tracked the countries that I had visitors from. I would get so excited when a new country was added to the list, hitting 190 was amazing!
My inner collector was very excited!
Blogging is a whole different kettle of fish these days, whereas I just started for fun now people blog to create income for their families.
I know many moms like to write a blog as a way to document what their family gets up to, so I thought a blogging tips post would be useful. I have learned a thing or two over the years!
What your intention for your blog is, whether you want to monetize it or just keep it as a family record will depend on how much you want to implement from this post.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I will get a small cut of the sale if you choose to purchase something but at no cost to you.
To make the most of your blog, you have to give and take…
Before I started my blog I was reading other people’s blogs, leaving comments, and chatting with them online in one way or another. Then when I started my blog, visitors would do the same.
I have met some amazing people over the years and made some great friends, some of which I doubt I will ever meet in real life but that doesn’t matter.
If you want your blog to thrive, you have to interact, you have to take the time to answer questions and follow up on promises you make. I didn’t start my blog with money in mind, in fact, I had no idea that you could monetize a blog other than AdWords. Money or making money wasn’t my focus.
Don’t get me wrong, making money is great but sharing and giving value should be the first and foremost objective.
Readers will see right through you otherwise, they won’t hang around!
You Have To Be Consistent
If you want to make the most of your blog, you have to show up consistently. I noticed that if a blogger wasn’t consistent, even if I loved their posts, I was less inclined to check them out on a regular basis. Those bloggers who posted at the same time, on specific days I love because I know when to go and find their latest post.
I can think of two specific bloggers who wrote great content but were sporadic, to say the least. I would often click through every week to catch up and some weeks there were 3 or 4 posts and then it would go for weeks with nothing.
Now I know life sometimes gets in the way so you don’t get a chance to sit down and write as often as you like, so do this…
SCHEDULE your posts. And not only that have a bank of posts that you can schedule out if suddenly life throws a curveball.
I try to keep 5 – 10 posts that are evergreen content, that I can whip out at any time. They just sit there, in drafts, just in case…
Sometimes when I’m super busy at work or like when I had to fly back to the UK unexpectedly a while back, I could pull a few out of my stash and still have content going out.
Think about the time commitment you have, are you going to post once a week (as I do now, it was more in the past) or do you want to post 4 times a week or even daily! Much depends on the type of post you are sharing and the time you have. As we dig in deeper, you’ll see why writing the post is the quick part of the process!
You also need to be consistent with your branding. Choose five or six colours and stick with them.
Pick one main font for your headlines and the second font for subheadings and then one for your text. Keep it simple, keep it clean. If you are stuck with your branding we have a masterclass with Jinny over in the Wonder Mom Success Club.
I also recommend getting a Canva Pro account as that will help you with all your branding needs. Pins, graphics, headers, feature images etc etc.
Get Clear On Your Reasons For Blogging
Why you are blogging plays a big part in how you set up your blog and the way that you blog.
My personal blog was just me sharing what we got up to. Whether that be Montessori activities, crafting, cooking, life in Japan and well, anything else that takes my fancy. I wasn’t doing it to make money although that changed over time.
Blogging here is a different kettle of fish, although I am sharing and helping, I’m also running a business so the blog posts are a bit more strategic, I think about what my readers need, how I can help them and what I can provide that will be useful.
I keep an ongoing list of ideas that are based on questions and feedback I get. My reason for blogging over here is to share helpful information, to hopefully turn casual readers into loyal fans and eventually clients.
Because the reason behind this blog is different, the way I approach it is different too.
I need to come up with great clickable headlines, SEO keywords and content that my readers can appreciate, rather than me waffling away about the latest crazy fashion trend in Japan or what we got up to at the weekend.
Almost all the business coaches I have worked with have told me to move my personal blog over to this site, but I am against this idea completely. Firstly, it would be one hell of a job, almost 3000 posts! Secondly, I don’t see that blog as work, it’s something I did for fun and if I moved it, I think I would lose the fun element.
Although writing here is fun too, it’s a different type of fun!
Images are a great way to spice up your blog posts and the safest way to create images for your post is by taking photos yourself. But maybe you don’t have your own photos suitable for the post you are writing or maybe you are not confident with your photography skills.
Either way, you can still use beautiful photos, you just need to make sure you are obtaining them legally.
I am mentioning this because many bloggers are under the impression that you can take someone’s image (or find one via google) and post it as your own or just give them credit.
Well, you can’t. You need to get permission from the owner of the image before you post it anywhere on your own site.
Now, if you take photos like my mother (it’s a small miracle if she manages to get the person’s head in the shot) then you might be better off using stock photos. To buy them one at a time can get expensive but there are several places you can get stock photos for free ALWAYS READ THE T&C FIRST, sometimes you need to leave credit or mention the site in your post.
The best free stock photo sites
In this post, I have 100+ Stock Photos Sites and advice on how to stay out of legal trouble! Go and bookmark it!
With your own photos, it’s also a good idea to brand them or add a watermark, this can easily be done by adding text using sites such as Canva, Picmonkey or Stencil.
Canva is an excellent choice for bloggers, not only in Canva pro can you set up your branding, they literally have millions of stock photos and videos and you can size your photos so that it won’t slow your site down.
Whilst you are editing your photos you should also reduce the size or more accurately the weight. Large images are heavy and can take a long time to load. If you have a blog post with large several images, the loading speed will be slow putting your potential reader off hanging around. Google will also score you negatively if your site takes a long time to load.
I recommend saving images as JPEG and at 72dpi.
Batching Will Save Your Sanity!
I talk about this often in the Wonder Mom Success Club. Batching and setting up systems.
Batching is doing the same thing in one chunk of time, for example, batching for the blog might look like…
- Taking photos.
- Batch upload the photos at once.
- Delete any that are rubbish.
- Edit all the photos in one go.
- Upload the edited, compressed photos to empty blog posts. I will give it a draft name.
- Research SEO keywords
- Write the post.
- Add the keywords, alt text etc to the images.
- Schedule to publish.
By tackling the photos/SEO etc for say 5 posts at a time, it saves me time.
It’s OK To Be Picky to make the most of your blog!
I get approached by a lot of PR companies wanting me to promote their goods – for a fee! Sometimes they will send me a product to try out and review other times they will pay me for a sponsored post.
Some of the products I get asked to promote are absolutely no interest to me or my readers so although I could easily say yes, do the post and take the money. I’d rather not, I only accept promo posts about products that I think my readers will be interested in.
When you are writing a post that you have been compensated for, you need to declare at the start of the post if you have been paid either for the review or compensated in some way, the same with affiliate links.
I have had some amazing products in the past from books to clothes to lunch boxes to free tickets! I have also reviewed products just because I loved them and then had the company contact me and send me a bundle of goodies!
So, if you go down the route of sponsored posts and advertisers, make sure the products are in line with the rest of your blog. Don’t be afraid to say no, even if you could really do with the money, your readers will thank you and something better will soon come along.
Steer Clear of black hat tactics
As your blog takes off you will start to get approached by companies that would like you to write a post or they will write it for you and pay you a set amount, for your trouble.
DO NOT SAY YES until you have agreed to the following:
1. You will only use no-follow links (this means that you are telling Google bots not to follow the link). One of these black hat tricks is to get you to link to their site which, will boost their site ranking but is likely to damage yours, especially if their site is something spammy.
The main reason that these guys approach small and new bloggers is that it is easy to get these links.
2. You will state at the start of the post that it is sponsored post and that you have been compensated for it. This is an FDA requirement and by not doing it you are putting yourself at risk of getting into legal trouble. Anyone who is above board will agree to these terms. Anyone who is not will disappear in a flash.
I recommend either setting up a canned response or a page with your terms laid out, those that truly do want to work with you will have no problem following your terms.
As for the payment, that comes down to the amount of traffic you are generating plus your social media following.
Make the most of your blog and become An Affiliate
Along with being a woman who likes to get shit done, I also like to have constant passive income. Now, passive income isn’t really passive, you do need to do some work! But once it is set up, there is very little for you to do.
I don’t rely completely on my affiliate payments, but they do make up a considerable chunk of my income. I view them more as an added bonus, always nice to get a payment notification through!
For passive affiliate income, my Resources page is a perfect example, I set the page up because I was often getting asked about which software etc I use for my business so I decided a page with all the info would be helpful.
I am also an affiliate for a number of those products – because I love them, I wouldn’t promote them if I didn’t!
So it makes sense to use affiliate links on that page. When a reader invests in something from that page, I will get a cut of the sale, at no cost to them, we all win!
There are plenty of other ways to make money from your blog if you want to go down the path of creating courses, ebooks, training, coaches and of course advertising.
Ads… the easiest way is to sign up with an ad network such as Mediavine or She Network. You will need to have considerable blog traffic before you can sign up though.
So far it sounds great but which platform?
Choose whatever you are comfortable with and what you consider is your endgame.
My personal blog is on Google Blogger but I have the jojoebi.designs.com domain for it rather than the blogger domain. The plus side of Blogger is that it’s easy to use, it’s free and it’s a Google product so it will rank better than other platforms. You never need to worry about updating things in the backend as it is all automatic!
The downside is its limitations, it is built for blogging, not as a commercial site. There are different templates and if you are a techie you can work with it but I find it far more restrictive than WordPress.
This site is built on WordPress (the paid version), not for the tech-challenged, it is definitely more work BUT I have more control over the look and feel of the site.
WordPress is a for building whole sites, not just a blog, it is a powerful bit of kit but if you are planning to blog just for fun then you are probably better sticking to Blogger or using the free version of WordPress.
I have a post here explaining the differences between WordPress and Squarespace. And about the type of hosting.
And if you want to be as hands-free as possible and just write for the fun of it, Medium is worth taking a look at.
Don’t forget your domain name!
I use Namecheap for mine. I used to use Godaddy but when I found out that the CEO is an exotic trophy game hunter I switched everything as soon as possible.
It is recommended that you keep your hosting and domain separate. I would also say that it is worth springing for the WHOIS privacy protection, otherwise, all your personal details are available to anyone out there on the internet.
Don’t go onto a site that sells domains and search for the name you want because some of those sites track what you are doing. Then when you go back to buy, BAM, the domain has sold!
But hey look… you can buy it here for 10x what you could have bought it for.
ALSO – don’t share the name you are thinking of in Facebook groups or on social media because there are people who will go and buy it, with the hope of you buying it off them!
If you do want to see if a name is available, open an incognito window and just type in the name plus the .com as if it were a website address, if it’s taken, it will pop up!
But what if you don’t enjoy writing?
Blogs don’t have to be just written these days. If you like being on camera start a vlog, if you prefer not to be on the screen start a podcast. Can’t decide why? Try all three!
FOR MORE TIME-SAVING TIPS AND RESOURCES PLUS PLENTY OF THINGS TO KEEP THE KIDS BUSY, SIGN UP FOR THE FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY…