|Photo credit: Got Credit|
I've had My Fascination Street since early 2013 but it wasn't until the last year that I've really started turning it into something that I'm 100% happy with. Back when I started writing I had no idea what my options were in terms of templates, monetizing and the kind of content that was going to get me noticed. I picked up a few tips through trial and error and now I want to share them with the masses so here are six of the most important things that I think every blogger should focus on when they're starting out.
1. Get the Right Look
Presentation is everything! I have a really hard time taking a site seriously if the layout is off or the colors don't mix well. My Fascination Street has gone through about 5 templates in the 2.5 years that its been live and while I'm happy with how it looks, I'm always on the hunt for something that I, or my readers, might like better.
Being that my blog does center around girlie topics I found that like colors fit it best. Had I been writing about cars I'd go for something dark and if this was all about food or photography I would want to keep the colors to a super minimum so that the photos stand out.
2. Photos are Everything
Speaking of photos. these are everything. Okay, so maybe photos are a bit more important than the layout or maybe they're neck to neck. A great photo makes or breaks a post and that can determine how much time a reader wants to stay on your blog. It took a few months for me to really understand this. I was careless with the sizes of my photos, how much light they had--everything. And this is coming from someone with a minor in photography. Ouch! It's not to say that I've lost my touch, as you can see in my Flickr photostream, but when it came to my blog I was just so overwhelmed that I didn't think it was that important. I was very wrong and now I try my best to have a really nice hero photo to start off my posts.
If you can't take great photos because your camera/phone is low quality or you don't have the right items to create the image you're looking for you can always grab one from the web. Just makes sure that you're paying attention to the licensing that the photo has. Google has been really great with this. If you search for a photo on their site:
|Yes, I did a Google image search for pizza|
You can't just grab any image off Google just because you think it's relevant to your post. That's a no-no and the reason stock image companies exist. But Google, as well as Flickr, offer usage rights searches that can help you find the right photo to use legally. I normally don't find many good photos to use during my Google search because I'm super specific but I do have great luck with Flickr. When I find a image from there that I like, and can use, I just make sure to give the photographer credit, link their profile, and then let them know via a comment that I used their awesome photo for a post, like I did for my post here.
|I linked the photographers profile as a caption to give credit|
3. Find Great Hosting
Buying a domain is self explanatory. I know a lot of blogs still have .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com behind their name but having a standalone one gives a bit more street cred. Not only that but it's so cheap. If you register a domain name on it's own it's only like $10-$12 a year but you can go one step further and just get a hosting plan that includes getting your domain name registered for free. Getting hosting with Bluehost is really easy to do and can have you on your way to getting your blog off the ground ASAP.
4. Stick to a Niche
When I first started this blog I was all over the place. I wanted to cover everything under the sun and my navigation bar was endless. My friend Jennifer, who has given me amazing feedback with my blog, suggested that I tone it down and stick to things I can write about with more frequency and expertise. I took her advice and I like that I'm not stretching myself too thin and am able to focus on the topics that I love the most. It also lets me find my voice and will help when I want to write for other companies and need to showcase my amazing writing skills on certain topics.
5. Utilize Social Media
Share, share and share. But do it wisely. Timing, the platform and not over-saturating is key. I am still not at the point where I share all of my posts on my main Facebook account because I have a lot of friends that won't have any interest in it and I don't mind. What I did instead was create a Facebook page for this blog and invited the ones that would benefit from things that I write or would find the information useful. When it comes to Twitter, which I'm starting to use now a lot for my blog and my friend Jennifer wrote an awesome post about, I like to share content at least 2 times a day and make sure to mention companies that I'm writing about. This is a good way to let them know that you think their product or service is great and to get some favorites or retweets!
I like to use Instagram to post some photos that are relevant to a post and just tell my followers that the link to my blog is on my profile. This gets me a decent amount of views and I'm glad that just one sentence as part of the caption worked that way.
6. Have Pride in Your Work
This is the biggest step in the whole process. You have to love what you write and stand behind it 100%. If you don't then you won't want to share it and it will take forever to get off the ground. This really works in your favor because it means that you won't write filler posts and the passion that you put in (some of) your posts will be super obvious. I'm not the best writer in the world but I've gotten a lot better by pushing myself to have content that flows well, that shows my awesome personality and that makes people want to check out the rest of my blog.
So there you have it. Like I mentioned in my previous post about blogging, I'm finally at a good place with my blog and have a lot of great tips on what a person should and shouldn't do if they want to be on their way to success. I still have a ways to go if I want to be at the level of some amazing blogs like Pinch of Yum but I'm getting there and hopefully you can use some of my tips to get you on your way as well.