Year One, Overall Lesson Learned: Everybody is making this shit up as they go along, there is no right or wrong way to do this.
I started this blog on Blogger, I don’t know why. I must have typed ‘free blog’ into Google and that was the top result (obvs it is). So I clicked and created an account and email address. I didn’t have a blog title in mind at first, its very hard to make that decision. You can go back and edit posts and titles and pictures but you can’t change the name of your blog once you’ve defined it. I wanted Confessions Of A Working Mummy but that was already taken – well it was a year ago – I just googled it now and can’t come up with a site. What the fuck? I could be a mega-star by now with that blog name! Anyway, I opted to change the word ‘confession’ for another adjective and ‘Mummy’ for another derivative.
I turned back to trusty Google ‘another word for confession’ please.
Acknowledgments Of A Working Mum
Revelations Of An Employed Mama
Disclosures Of An Employed Parent
They’re all pretty shit really.
I obviously felt I had a lot to confess. Plus I was now a bona fide Mum. The two go naturally hand in hand… right?
In the end I settled for Admissions Of A Working Mother, which was fine. I mean it does what it says on the tin but Jesus – its long isn’t it? What a mouthful. There’s no going back now though.
Here’s the link to my first ever post, cringe cringe cringe. Doesn’t sound like me does it? And look at the crap placements of the photos haha! I could go in and change this but I’m not going to, it makes me kinda happy !
Anyway, a year later here we are, and that is that.
I was going to write a history about what I’ve done on and with this blog over the last year but I just can’t be bothered – I mean you don’t really want to read that crap do you? So I’m just going to tell you the five most important things I’ve learned in my first year of blogging and if you are a newbie and wondering how to proceed I hope they help you.
WordPress Is The Sexiest Thing Ever
I started with Blogger and its a great way to find your feet but be-jeez its archaic and frustrating. I wasted so much time faffing around with their templates and could never quite get the look I wanted. WordPress is easy and slick as fuck, it will make you look like an Internet genius when all you’ve really done is pick some colours and added a few widgets.
Work For Free At First
Look if you want to “monetize your blog” (I hate that phrase – its banded about all over the shop – like its a bad thing to want to do – its the best thing to want to do – you don’t need to be embarrassed about this) you have to build up a bit of portfolio to demonstrate you can actually do it. The best way to do this is to work for free, which sounds sucky I know – people completely underestimate how much hard work and time go into a review or a sponsored post. And the emails, oh all the emails back and forth! A blogger never gets anything for ‘FREE’ thank you very much, it can take literally days if you are giving it your all with fancy photos and logos and sparkling wit. But remember, you are playing the long game here not the short one. So, yeah at first review that product or tweet about it for free. Build up a relationship with companies and brands, teach yourself how to communicate with them, teach yourself how to write engaging reviews. Think of it as a training course, a crash course in business and advertising.
Link With Linkys Until It Hurts
Do not underestimate the power of the linky. Linky’s gain you four things:
1. Comments, site visits and potentially regular readers
2. Relationships with other bloggers
3. Inspiration from other bloggers
4. Back links
Try lots of them out in your first year, see which ones you fit with best, which ones ‘help’ you most and which ones give you the kind of content you like to read.
Here are the best ones I’ve discovered this year:
Social Media Is Your Trumpet
Pre-blog I only really used Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook, because everyone has Facebook – I loved it when it first came about – there’s loads of hideous photos there of me in my early twenties. But if you have a Blog you also need a Facebook Page to promote your blog posts – plus people can like and share your page with their friends which is good news for you.
Instagram I’ve always loved, not that I’m a photographer in anyway but I’ve had it for about four years and just had it as my own personal photo type diary with originally 5 or 6 friends following me. I use it best on a Friday night when I’m on my third glass of wine and I feel like being my terribly drunk hilarious self.
Twitter is the social media resource that will bring the most traffic to your blog. It is also the best way to chit chat with other bloggers. Real quick tips: schedule tweets of your blog posts using Hootsuite / don’t schedule them every five minutes – people will get bored of you going on about yourself / use relevant hashtags / include images in tweets they grab people’s attention / engage with other people.
Pinterest I have little time for, I’m not going to lie. I have an account, I pin occasionally – its just not for me. HOWEVER if you are a lifestyle/ cookery type blogger Pinterest is a freaking mahoosive outlet for you and you should be pinning like a blue-arsed fly trapped in a bottle.
Be Brave, Make Inappropriate Advances
I do this frequently, I get more tumble weed blowing in the wind then I do responses but I DO GET SOME RESPONSES! Which I have and do now regularly receive work from. Email a brand/store you love asking who there PR company is – email a PR company and ask what brands they work with. Why not? What have you got to lose? Also don’t be boring when you do this – these people get these kind of emails everyday – be funny/ be interesting – stand out – don’t hide – they don’t know you are there if you don’t tell them!
You can also check out Blogging 101: How Not To Be A Dick if you fancy some more blogging advice from someone who is not very successful and has no idea what they are doing.