Whether you want to blog about photography, another hobby, or a specific topic, your blog should always be about you.
Writing every day or weekly takes discipline. I practice blogging as part of my daily workflow. Often, it's the first thing I do in the morning. I write for my friends, clients, and readers. My site has become a place where I share, connect, and promote myself. It's almost like my second home. It's a funny feeling to be able to do all this in one place! And while I have struggled with blogging for that last year, I don't think I would trade it in for anything else EVER!
Tips for a successful blog
Know your niche
Knowing your niche before you begin, will help you tremendously. You need to know exactly WHO you're talking to and WHY. Otherwise, you'll attract all the wrong people or even worse – no readers at all!
Consider these questions (and write them down!):
- Who are you “talking to” on your blog? (your perfect client)
- Why are you blogging with them in mind? (your purpose)
- What can you help your perfect client with? (problem-solving/service you offer)
TIP: the more you can niche your blog towards your target customer, the more successful it will be. If you, for example, are a child portrait photographer, you need to know exactly what type of child is your customer avatar; exact age, gender, personality, likes, hobbies, style, type of parents, location, etc. The more you know, the easier it is to connect with the parents of that child.
Be personal – be you
I know some people are afraid to put personal photos or stories on the web. But this is exactly what makes most blogs great. It helps readers connect with you and makes a blog likable. It helps if they know who you are, why you blog, what you blog about, and why they should trust what you blog. You can create an “about me” page with information about you and your blogging purpose.
TIP: Don’t overthink things. Simply write as if you are talking to a friend. It takes the pressure off and allows you the freedom to express yourself just the way you speak. Don’t worry, even with all my spelling mistakes, I still get new readers every day.
Create a series
Serial posts make readers come back. The series can be anything: interviews, tips, ideas, videos, or photos. Before you create a series, make sure you can follow through.
Comment on other blogs
Commenting on other blogs will help you connect with other bloggers and will draw more readers to your blog. The better your comments are, the more readers will click on your website link to visit you. You should comment on blogs with similar content to yours as their readers will likely be interested in yours.
TIP: Ask a question to build engagement and dialogue with other bloggers and their audience.
It's very important for first-time visitors to feel that they will get new content if they return regularly. When they see this they'll bookmark your site or subscribe to your blog feed. Many bloggers are too busy to post daily – once a week is also fine. Blogging often is important for two reasons: search engines like active sites more than inactive sites; readers will get bored when they don't have fresh, regular content.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stumbled on an interesting blog, read a good article, bookmarked the site, and returned only to find nothing new. If I like a blog’s style, I check back in a couple of days or weeks. If there is still nothing new, I’ll remove the blog from my must-read list. Many people do the same. If you are serious about blogging, you must keep this in mind.
Build connections with other bloggers
Link to their blogs and they might link back to yours which will drive more visitors to your blog. You can let them know that you link to them and that you love their blog, sometimes doing so, can give you a wonderful new network-body or friend.
Post blog links on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram every time you create a new post or have some photos to share.
TIP: Use an engaging caption with your post so readers know what to expect when they click through.
Readers love free stuff! This is a great way for you to get more readers. You can give away a photoshoot in your local area (I did that in the beginning with great success) or give away photo prints that they can hang on their wall, or use as a screensaver.
Sign up for communities like Facebook Groups, Bloglovin', Networked Blogs, and Pinterest Group Boards. It's a way to build links and get traffic to your site.
TIP: Be active in these communities, don't just link drop. Share other's content and participate in conversations.
What do you do when you lack inspiration or time to create your posts?
You can avoid this by being prepared. On creative days, I prepare several posts and save them for later posting. When I am busy or lacking in ideas, I can quickly upload one of my drafted posts. As of this writing, I have 160 posts in draft! This removes the pressure to write on an off day or days I just want to hang with my kids.
Finding inspiration for blog posts
There are many websites that are lifesavers for bloggers in search of inspiration. Here are some of my favorites:
Type short, boring comments on other blogs. ( Comments like: “Beautiful” and then your URL will not gain you anything and have people feeling like you're a bot!!) Make an effort to create a more personal and friendly message.
Don’t ignore comments visitors make on your blog posts. If they had taken the time to say something about a particular post, it is always polite to acknowledge them.
Don't put music on your blog that starts automatically, this drives me NUTS! Many readers will leave your blog quickly…especially if they are reading blogs at work, or at night when the children are asleep. Consider adding a playlist to your blog, but let visitors decide if they wish to listen to music while reading.
Don't add too much “bling” to your blog layout. Too many photos on the sidebar and too many ads, big fonts, or different colors will distract! Keep it stylish, elegant, and simple. Your blog should be blissful (that's the word that Instagram likes to use!) to the eye. Especially as a photographer, you want to focus on your images, right so make sure that you have lots of pretty photos in each post and as your header.
Never spread negativity by nagging, cursing, and insulting other photographers or bloggers. Everybody can have a bad day, but avoid bringing it to your blog. Take a break until your mood improves!
You should look at your blog as an extension of your business. It is a two-way advertising mechanism that allows you to connect with and inform your customers. Don't take it for granted, but don't take it too seriously either 😉