These days, I consider myself quite the talker. Looking back, I can see that by not being social and letting my paranoia, my nerves and my lack of confidence in myself affecting near enough every inch of my life, I was doing myself a disservice. Whether it was talking to bloggers and taking the leap of faith to start interacting, or in real-life situations that required me to be a functioning human being, I struggled, big time. Now I can firmly say that that has changed, and with that change, I've found I just can't stop handing out advice to people, albeit accidentally. Whether it's during a casual conversation, or helping out somebody in need, here's 5 pieces of advice I can't help but give to fellow bloggers.
1. Your Following Is Your Focus
I always thought that content was key, and while it's pretty darn important, your following is more. You can have the most awesome content in the world, but if you've got nobody clicking on it, then what's the point. Growing your following no matter the reasons behind your blog is where your focus is at.
If you're a hobbiest blogger, your following is what keeps you creating content, they're what inspires you to push yourself and do more. They encourage you to delve into subjects you may never have considered, and show you what content rocks, and what just isn't cutting it. They motivate you with their comments, their shows of affection and the time they take out of their day to check your blog and leave a comment. If you haven't got that, then who are you sharing your loves with?
Related: "Help, My Stats Are Stuck!" Why a Loyal Following Is Better Than a Large One..
If you're blogging as a way to sustain a business, focusing on your following is even more important as your follower are your clients. Creating a demand for your product or service and being seen as a positive business person is a huge must, and your followers are how you do that. As good as social media is, word of mouth is still the most effective way of marketing, with over 92% of people believing friends and family over advertising (source) so making sure that the gossip that's spreading is all good is something that needs attention.
Make sure that your content weeds out the people that aren't really interested in what you have to say and shine a light to those that need, and want your advice. Create bonuses and opt-ins for new followers to enjoy. Make new and exclusive content available for email subscribers, offer up giveaway that share your skills and advice rather than just a material item. There are lots of different ways to grow you following, with advice from Lauren, Jamie, Melyssa and more, you'd be a fool not to listen!
2. Don't Be Afraid To Make Big Changes
I speak from experience. I've made loads of big decisions, and in a lot of cases, I've made the same big decisions numerous times over, and I never get bored of telling others to just grab life by the balls and run with it. If you want to:
- change your blog name
- change your blogs design
- introduce new topics
- retire uninteresting content
- start charging for your skills
..then just do it. There's absolutely nothing holding you back from going big.
Of course, there are always things to consider when making changes - domain names, your brand, your following, your talent - but these should not hold you back from making decisions. You can make the decision to start charging for other people to utilise your skills, sure, you might need more practice, or more experience. You might need to learn how to use better programs or take a course, but the best way to learn anything is on the job.
I weighed up offering my design services to clients, and it flopped, big time, but that's because I didn't think about the steps I needed to take to reach my end goal. Would I consider it in the future? Maybe not my design services, but I'd definitely consider sharing my advice and experiences on a bigger level through online lessons, and while these are big decisions and changes, I'm not afraid of them.
A change is as good as a rest, and if you're feelings as though something needs changing and it's a little daunting, take a breather and sleep on it. Having had three blogs, a flopped design business and journeyed through the land of co-blogging and ventured out alone and alive, I can say for certain that while big changes at a glance are scary, taking them on and coming out the other side bigger and better than before is so worth it.
My Co-Blogging Story and Why I Went Back Solo,
5 Important Signs Your Blog Direction Has Changed,
How Creating a Cohesive Design Kickstarted My Brand,
Why You Should Design For Yourself First and Foremost
3. Don't Let Money Dictate Your Blogging Life
Let's face it here people, I'd be willing to guess that over 75% of the blogging community (and I mean all of the community, sub-communities included) started out blogging to pass the time. Somewhere down the line, a large amount of bloggers decided they needed to a more upstanding and serious member of the community and therefore splash the cash in order to go up in the world, and that's simply not the case.
- You don't need a custom domain name to be serious about blogging.
- You don't need to pay for hosting charges to be serious about blogging.
- You don't need to pay fancy cameras or computers to be serious about blogging.
- You don't need to pay for anything to be 100% committed and serious about blogging.
Besides maybe to pay for your internet bill, but that's already being paid for, right?
Don't feels as though you have to pay for something you don't really need, or want. I'm always being recommended Wordpress, but the truth of the matter is, I've tried it, and I hate it. I'm one of very few people just can't deal with it's system, but that's a preference, and I don't feel the pressure to pay money to use something I don't like, nor understand, nor have the patience for, when I have a free platform I can make do things for me already.
I see a lot bloggers spend money on things they don't reap the benefits of, and it's foolish, not to mention a waste of good money. If your wallet's looking empty and your bank account isn't your best friend, just blog however you want - people that are interest in you are interested in you, nothing else.
4. Treat Your Blog Like a Business, Even If You Aren't
It's become more and more apparent in my gigantic Blogger Love wrap-up posts that I'm thinking of Nellie and Co. more like a business than I am a blog, and I feel as though it's worked wonders not only for my blog, but for me in terms of personal health, productivity and shutting out the world when I need a break.
You are your blogs number one employee. You are single handedly keeping a website up and running (minus your host). You're providing the content, you're doing the marketing and promoting, you're working hard to grow and network your blog, and let's face it, you're a one-man-bad-headless-chicken. Taking time out to re-evaluate what you want your blog to do, what you to be doing on your blog, what your blog is and it's value to you is how you starting thinking of it as a business rather than a blog.
Related: How To Build a Successful Business by Blogging and Creating Free Content
Create goals and markers you want to achieve, and stay focused and on top of them as you go, consider what you want to achieve with your blog and the steps it'll take to get there. Think of your blog as more than a blog, and you'll create great things, while feeling super awesome too.
5. Grab a Damn KitKat and Have a Break
As much as you think your blog will fall apart without you, you are more than entitled to take a break when the need arises, better still, you're entitled to take a break whenever the heck you like.
Related: How To Switch Off From Blogging At The End of the Day
So many bloggers convince themselves they can't step back from their blog for a few days without the world ending, but when you have holidays booked away from work, do you wonder what's to happen at work, how the office is going to cope without you, whether or not the office will even be there when you back? Of course you don't, and you get paid to work, you don't to blog (usually). Take a damn break already.