I often receive questions from new bloggers asking for advice on how to grow their following and work with brands, so I decided to put together a beginner’s guide to blogging. I’m excited to continue my blogging series and can’t wait to give you guys a closer look at my workflow and process. Previously, I covered topics on how I left my job on Wall Street to blog full time and a few photo editing tricks. But in today’s post, I’ll be walking you through the most basic parts of starting a blog. Whether you’re interested in blogging as a hobby or career, this post is for you.
Finding your audience
Social media makes it easier to find an audience for your blog these days since you can easily connect with the community online. One of the ways I got started building my audience was through commenting on other blogs and then engaging with those in the comments section. From there, you can begin to make friends with other bloggers and promote each other’s websites.
It’s also important to learn the basics of SEO (search engine optimization), so that your content can appear on the first page of a Google search. Oftentimes, people searching for a specific type of content will convert into a loyal reader. Using catchy titles, relevant keywords, and tagging your images are all helpful in getting your content across a wider audience.
Pinterest is also a great traffic driver since it’s such a visual platform. If someone sees a great outfit you’re wearing, they’ll typically click over to your blog, giving you the chance to gain a new reader. Of course there’s no perfect formula that works for everyone. The best advice I have is to be authentic and don’t set huge expectations.
Maintaining a readership
To maintain a readership, you have to post regularly, no matter what. This is oftentimes the hardest part about blogging when you have a full-time job and social life. You don’t have to post everyday, but consistency lets your readers know when to come back.
Starting weekly and monthly series are also a great way to maintain a steady readership. I remember when I started my blogging series over a year ago, it was well-received and you guys were always excited for the next post.
Finally, always promote new posts on social media. Since there are so many blogs today, your content can get lost in the noise. But sharing them on social media is a great way to drive traffic and increases the possibility that your content will get re-posted. Make sure you sign up for Bloglovin so your readers can see new posts.
Regularly check your analytics
Once your blog is up and running, set up Google Analytics to monitor your traffic. I worked on Wall Street before I became a full-time blogger and really learned the value of analytics. Having data that validates your content and that you can show to brands is a great way to get into monetization. Not only that, but you can also use it to see which posts are the most popular and then tailor your content to your readers’ interests.
Monetizing your blog
Once you’ve built up a readership, you can monetize your blog through affiliate links and brand sponsorships. Affiliate marketing is the easiest and most common way of earning an income from your blog. You basically earn a commission by promoting and selling other brand’s products. Two of the most common affiliate networks for fashion, beauty and home bloggers are rewardStyle (LikeToKnow.it) and ShopStyle. I love using rewardStyle and LikeToKnow.it because they make it easy for others to shop your outfits. Monetizing your blog through sponsorships is an advanced way of earning an income, which I’ll touch more on later.
Connecting with brands
The best way to connect with brands is tagging them in your social posts. Always start with tagging a brand’s handle in your caption and image – and use their hashtags so they can easily find you. Doing this will put you on their radar and potentially turn into a working relationship.
Attending blogger conferences and events also gives you greater exposure to the people you should connect with in the industry. I find that introducing yourself first – and complimenting the brand is a genuine way to get started.
The other option you have is reaching out directly. Once you have enough statistics to share with a brand, it gets easier to ask for paid work. I highly recommend creating a media kit with your most recent stats, like website traffic, social following, audience demographics, conversion rate, and info on past collaborations.
Of course I could go on and on about these topics, but there’s so much information to cover in just one post. Over the next few weeks, I will be touching on each one in greater detail! Feel free to leave any questions or topic suggestions below.