Hi everyone! So Pores for Thought is over 6 months old now *whaaat?*. I’ve so loved writing it and just generally being a part of the blogging community, even if it’s meant my bank account has severely suffered thanks to my ever increasing makeup collection. I feel like now my blog is really looking and reading how I want it to. I’ve got quite a few followers (thanks peeps!) and I’m starting to get a bit more traffic. However, this definitely did not happen overnight.
When I look back at my first three months of blogging, my general thought is “what was I thinking???” I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing at that point and I think it would have been really helpful to read a post with a few tips and hints to push me in the right direction.
So that’s what I’ve decided to do today with my 8 Things I Wish I’d known before I Started Blogging. Of course, I think it’s important not to regret anything because everything I’ve done in the last 6 months has been a learning process and nothing is ever pointless. But if you’re thinking of starting a blog or still not sure what you’re doing is right (hell I’m still not sure!), here are my tips to take into consideration:
1.) Do your research: I decided to start a blog very much on a whim. My friend and I had been for a day out in London and she convinced me it would be a good idea. I went home, decided on a name, and 2 days later wrote my first post. Looking back, I wish I’d just taken a bit more time to really look into the blogging world as a whole. I should have read some blogs, seen what I liked and what I didn’t, decided what my niche could be, and made a list of the most important things I noticed in successful blogs. Sometimes when you get a great idea you just want to go for it right there and then, but it never hurts to take a little time to reflect.
2.) Take your time: On a similar note, really take your time when deciding what the name, theme and overall look of your blog should be. When it comes to a name, once you’ve chosen it, it’s very difficult to change so don’t pick something you might regret in 5 years’ time. . It’s a bit like emails. I set up my first Hotmail account when I was about 13 and obviously had to change it once firstname.lastname@example.org became socially unacceptable to give out. Although I love Pores for Thought, there are times when I regret not putting Joanna into my url, just to give it that personal touch so really think about these things. In terms of a theme, of course you can change it as much as you’d like, but I always think a blog should have a very distinctive style and if you’re changing it every couple of months (like I did) that style isn’t going to stick and people might not remember you.
3.) Get on Social Media: One of the things I really regret is not utilising social media from the beginning. I only got Twitter a few months ago, and even then I’ve only really started using it daily in the last month, and I only recently got Instagram and Pinterest (still figuring out this last one!). My advice would be to get a Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest account about a month before you start up your blog. Start following other people, forming an active online presence, and that way, you’ve got a head start when your blog finally launches!
4.) Get involved: I can’t stress enough how important it is to get involved with the blogging community if you want to get your blog out there. Again, for the first 3 months of blogging, I very rarely interacted with other bloggers. I think I was a bit shy to start commenting on other people’s posts! But once I started following people, taking the time to read their posts and commenting with my thoughts and feedback, lots more people started doing the same for me! No matter how well written, beautiful and amazing your blog is, no one’s going to read it if they don’t know it exists, so get out there and let them know! Also, I’ve found that blogging is so much more fun now I’ve got to know other people and you’ll get a lot more inspiration if you do!
5.) Show your personality: One of the things that held me back in the beginning was being afraid to really show off my personality in a post. My initial posts were all, frankly, quite dull. Don’t be shy to make jokes, write your true thoughts and generally just be yourself. If someone wanted a standard review of a beauty product, they would simply go on the website. People read and follow blogs because of the person behind them.
6.) Image is everything: Photos and visual aids are just as, if not more, important than the words on your blog, especially if you’re writing travel, food, fashion or beauty themed posts. I used to just take photos in the evening when it was dark so the quality was very poor and unappealing but then I realised that when I read a blog, the first thing I notice are the images. Now I make time each weekend to do all my photos in the morning, when the daylight really makes them stand out. Take the opportunity to learn about photography and how you can create the best visuals possible for your blog.
7.) Set a timetable: I used to just write posts willy-nilly, whenever the mood struck me. Once I set a timetable of blogging three times a week, on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, not only did I become a lot more organised but it also means followers can expect when to look out for a new post. Think about how many posts you would like to publish each week, and then think about how much time you actually have. Figure out a number which is realistic but still ambitious.
8.) Do it sooner!!: You want to know what my biggest regret is? Not starting a blog sooner. I’d been thinking about it for a long time but maybe was just too nervous to actually put myself out there on the internet, which can be a very scary thing. Now I really wish I could have written it a year before when I was living in France, had a lot more spare time and was travelling to loads of exciting new places. My biggest advice would be not to be scared, and if you feel like you want to write a blog, do it!! What’s the worst that could happen?
I really hope that these tips have been helpful, whether you’ve just started a blog, have been doing it for a while, or are considering the idea! Obviously, I’m no expert, but these are just things which I think would have been helpful to me 6 months ago.
What have you learned since blogging? Do you have any tips which you have learned along the way or which you wish you’d known before?
Thanks for reading!