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Tips For New Bloggers

26 Jan 2015
When I first started blogging and even before that when I was just considering starting, I found posts about blogging tips incredibly helpful and I learnt so much. I recently realised that I have never done anything like this myself and thought it might be fun to pass on some of my own tips.

Bookish Treasures is a book review blog but most of these tips should be applicable whatever you blog about!
 
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Have a nice, clean blog design. You don't have to splash out on expensive blog designs, especially when you are just starting out! Blogger and Wordpress both have lovely templates that you can perfectly customise to your needs with just a few clicks and minimal effort on your part. Sometimes some of the most striking blog designs are the simple ones that allow the content to talk for itself. If you do want to splash out, many of the blogs I think are simply gorgeous used Priceless Designs. I get free templates from places such as Nymphont which I do recommend but probably not for the beginner blogger as the templates occasionally have issues which can be tricky to fix if you don't know the innermost workings of blogger and a bit of HTML.
 
Establish your blogging style. In my experience most of the best blogs have a certain niche, style and something that makes them stand out. Some blogs are known for being incredibly witty and funny *cough* Cuddlebuggery *cough* whilst others are known for always having amazing giveaways or having well thought out reviews or championing a particular genre (such as UKYA queen Lucy over at Queen Of Contemporary and Project UKYA. Embrace what you like and who you are instead of trying to dip your fingers into every pot.
 
BUT
 
Don't be fake. Don't try to be for example snarky and humorous purely for the sake of page views if that is not who you are. It will just lead to inconsistencies in your style when the real you starts to shine through. Whatever your writing style is, there will be a lot of people out there who like it. You do not need to pretend to be something you are not.
 
Remember that what works for one person may not work for you. Just because one blogger has made a certain formula work for them does not mean it will work for you. Rather than copying someone else, create your own recipe for success.
 
Get a mentor. Now this is much easier said than done but if you are friendly with a pre-existing blogger or even are just a long time follower don't be too shy to ask them for a little help and advice. The worst thing that will happen is they say they are too busy. When I first started blogging, Faye at A Daydreamers Thoughts was incredibly helpful giving me guidance on lots of little things, helping me learn my way around blogger and even creating my original header and coming up with my blog name! Alongside Faye many other bloggers (too many to name them all but you know who you are!) helped me in the start by being encouraging, giving feedback and spreading the word of my brand new blog. That assistance was truly invaluable and many bloggers are willing to help and make friends with a newbie, you just need to not be too shy to ask!
 
Unless you don't want anyone to be able to contact you make sure you have contact details somewhere that is easy to find and also a review policy for authors/publicists who are interested in reviews. People who enjoy your blog will also appreciate it if you have following options easy to find. Think email subscription, twitter, facebook, bloglovin, google friend connect and many other similar methods.
 
Blogging is about the community. Talk to more established bloggers, comment on their posts, show an interest in them, and they (depending on the blogger) WILL do the same for you.
 
Remember that you are not alone! There are lots of bloggers going through the exact same things of you and many will be more than happy to discuss things with you. I highly recommend making friends with bloggers who start up at the same time as you as then you can go through the highs and lows together.
 
Try to stick to a schedule if you can. I really struggle with this due to life commitments but blogging is so much easier when you have posts scheduled for weeks or months in advance and plan out things like books to read, reviews to write, when you will do discussion posts etc.
 
Don't just do it for the free books (or make-up, gadgets, whatever is applicable to the type of blog you run)! Yes you can get free books when you blog. Yes it is pretty cool. However the effort needed to get your blog to the point where publishers will send you free books means that it is probably better value for money to just buy the books and have a job in the time you would have spent blogging. Unless you are blogging because you truly want to blog you will get disillusioned and sick of it pretty quickly.
 
Once you have established yourself as a blogger it is possible to contact publishers to request review copies and to be added to blogger lists but I wouldn't worry with that in the early stages of blogging!
 
Hootsuite is your friend! There are many tools that can help with blogging and social media and for me Hootsuite is a must alongside twitter and probably facebook. It is also worth looking into Triberr, learning about NetGalley & Edelweiss and looking for blogger databases that you may want to get your information on.
 
Don't let people pressure you into going against your wishes and what you believe. If you don't want to review books that you didn't enjoy because you want your blog to only be positive then do it! Same goes for if you want to review everything, even the books you think should never have seen the light of day. Many people have ideas about what exactly bloggers should do, most of those ideas differ wildly from person to person. Blog the way YOU want. People who stick around and become regular readers will do so because they like the way you do things. As far a negative reviews go DO WHAT YOU LIKE but I would just remember two things 1) authors do have feelings AND you are reviewing the book not them 2) ultimately your reviews exist to serve both yourself and readers / other bloggers NOT the author.
 
Most of all remember that blogging is just a hobby (unless you are one of the rare few that manages to turn it into a career) and it is ok to take a break when you need it. The life / blogging balance is something we all struggle with from time to time. If you force yourself to blog no matter what is going on in life you are just taking the risk that you will end up overly stressed and loathing blogging.
 
Do you have any questions about any aspects of blogging? Any terms that confuse you, things you want to know how to do etc.? Feel free to ask me below and I will help if I can. You don't have to be a new blogger, I am also happy to help if you have been around for a few months and need some tips about taking the "next step". I may even end up answering your question in a post if I feel it needs a long response :D
 
Also I realised recently that I cannot think of a single blog that is under a year old :O If you are a new blogger please introduce yourself!

24 comments:

  1. Wow, I am a new blogger (hi *waves*) and this is a really helpful post. I've only been blogging for a few weeks and it can feel a little overwhelming sometimes, but you have some great advice here :)

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    1. Glad you find it helpful! Feel free to ask me any questions if you get stuck on anything :)

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  2. Fab post! Great tips here....thanks for posting this. I'm a newbie.... My blog has been going since November last year... I'm really enjoying it and feel like I've found a good blogging style and definately agree with just be yourself x

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    1. Keep on enjoying it and don't let it become too much :)

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  3. Hi! I'm a new blogger (although technically i've been around for 8 months) This is so helpful and I really wish i'd know about a lot of this before I started. I kind of just jumped straight in! x

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    1. I crazily over researched before starting but I think there are benefits too to not overthinking it and just diving in :)

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  4. Great tips, Laura! I've been blogging for a few years now, but I feel like the tips you give are important not just for newbie bloggers, but also for the ones who've been at it for quite some time. My only advice to newbies would be to blog about whatever it is that you are passionate about. Even if you have a book blog, but you've tried a new recipe and you want to share that with everyone, do it. It's your blog, so you get to make the rules.

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    1. Great addition. At the moment I just stick to talking about books but I know people who mix multiple interests and their blogs are fantastic :)

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  5. Great tips, Laura! Also, it would behoove bloggers to always have share buttons on their site (ahem, you are missing this!) so that people can share their wisdom or offers on each post :) Sharing helps with visibility! Love your tip on being yourself. I think some bloggers get burned out because they aren't being themselves and it's difficult to maintain that over time.

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    1. Thank you for reminding me about share buttons! They weren't compatible with my old blog design but I forgot to add them in once I changed to this (even though share buttons were one of the reasons I changed it!). It is incredibly common to go through a burnout but yes I think being relaxed and not forcing what you do online definitely helps :)

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  6. I started blogging this month, so these tips are fantastic for me! especially since I obviously want my blog to be successful and my readers to enjoy what they see and read :) I'll definitely be taking these tips into account x

    www.sheintheknow.co.uk

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    1. I love your blog design! So simple, fresh and feminine and it definitely has the right feel for your blog :D

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  7. Hi, I'm a pretty new blogger! These tips are super helpful. I think what I love most so far is this awesome community! <3

    emmaslookatbooks.blogspot.com

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    1. The community is incredible :) I am glad you found my tips helpful.

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  8. Loving this post - especially the part about establishing your own rhythm and voice. So, so important, especially when you're just getting started. Your voice + content are the two main reasons and catalysts for why people are going to come back again and again, so those are what you should focus on! And I'd also add that you don't need to have a specific niche. Personally, I blog under a pretty wide umbrella: writing, music, books, feminism, design, inspiration, and life in general. It's worked out pretty well for me so far. ;)

    I'm not a new blogger, but I'd be happy to serve as a mentor for anyone who's struggling/needs advice! Feel free to shoot me an email at topazwinters@gmail.com - it's an open invitation. x

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    1. I think rather than having a niche it is about having something that makes you unique - which for you would be that you have a wide umbrella so for people with those same interests, your blog would be massively intriguing as you are providing everything they might want in the same place. Go you!

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  9. Love this post! I'm a fairly new blogger, and these tips are super helpful. I'll definitely be taking all of these on board x

    www.book-forthought.blogspot.com

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  10. This is so helpful, Laura! Thank you for the mention too! I would have found this so great when I first started to blog.

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    1. Well you are a great example of someone with a unique style and voice who has carved out a place for themselves and become known for a certain topic.

      Glad you liked the tips! :D

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  12. Such a wonderful and helpful post Laura!As fun as blogging is,it's sometimes also scary;)
    Well my blog is currently one month and a few days old.I'd love it if you check it out!

    http://chasingfaerytales.blogspot.com

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  13. This is such a helpful post! As someone that is struggling with starting up my blog I never would have thought of some of these ideas! I really love the idea of getting a mentor. I am totally going to build up some confidence and email some of my favorite bloggers! Thank you!

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  14. Hi! I'm new blogger too. These tips are very helpful and good food for thought as well.
    I blog on tumblr - I just prefer there because I tried blogger and wordpress and it just wasn't working for me.
    Tumblr has some limitations but it is less complex and I can focus on content and on the fun of blogging.
    Do you think that platform could be a problem for me? Should I try and switch in the future?
    Thanks for all your helpful tips.

    Oh, here is my link: http://brunawrites.tumblr.com

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