In other words, a beginner’s guide to blogging from my 6-year writing journey. You see, blogging is often overcomplicated and I hate that. Let’s collectively ditch the idea that creating a page, or generating income from your website requires hundreds of steps. It’s time to get back to basics with simple tips for starting, and maintaining, a somewhat consistent blog.
Treat Your Blog As A Job, Rather Than A Hobby.
No, I’m not saying you need to monetise every aspect of your hobbies. Far from it, as I truly believe society should reject the idea a hobby is only ‘worthwhile’ if it immediately gains traction. However, what I am saying is that you need the same discipline you would put into your job. You wouldn’t produce half-hearted work for your colleagues so why would you produce half-hearted content for your blog audience? To really emphasise this point, let me tell you a story…
During the pandemic, and with the newfound freedom of finishing a Masters degree, I jumped into uploading a handful of posts each week. I stuck at this consistently for around 6 months, finding myself at my bedroom desk from 9 until 6. The productivity was there, but I slowly felt swallowed by the number of posts getting published when I went into full-time employment. This made me scale things down, where I went back and deleted blog posts which were published for the sake of it. I could do better, I thought. Once pre-pandemic life began to resume, I was ready to invest additional hours outside my day job to ensure this travel blog didn’t collect dust.
Whilst there are undeniable external factors for my ability to work full-time and travel part-time, I’ve developed a routine for 2 hours a day with blog-related projects. Maximum. That’s not important though, what’s important is how to manage this commitment. I’ve got a few suggestions. The game-changer for me was always having a notebook, so I could doodle any ideas as they come. The notebook also serves as a daily checklist for tasks relating to the publication of a blog or promotion on social media. I’d also suggest getting a nice set-up in your home for a mini ‘office’. You’ll feel motivated just by looking at it. That way, the transition from work to blog is smoother. It’s easy to write a few posts, and then dip for the year, but adding an element of maintenance to your daily/weekly routine avoids crashing at the first hurdle. Whilst some writers may dedicate a specific day to blogging, I’ve drifted away from this due to the inevitable burnout from focusing on one task all day. It all depends on how you best function.
An Additional Tip For Finding Time To Create Digital Content.
If you don’t feel like putting words to paper, get ideas flowing on other fronts like taking photos for your blog, researching technical sides to writing or sketching out future posts. That way, progress is still being made even if it doesn’t really feel like it. These small steps, which might take a few minutes, could be the reason your post is published today rather than next week.
Instagram makes us think we all need to quit our jobs to travel. I completely disagree, purely because it’s possible to do both. Curious how? I’ll link you to my post on how to travel the world with a full-time job.
Rotate All Your Content In Various Forms.
The concept of re-using your work is nothing new, but it works a treat if you can turn one blog post into 5 other formats on various social media platforms. Squeezing a blog post dry will ensure your drafts never go empty. For example, turning a written piece into a video, static IG publication, or a Pinterest diary.
I put up a video of Fuerteventura on Instagram, which was inspired by my blog. From this, I’ll use some clips from it as a memories reel, a destination guide reel by adding some text, or a potential throw-back video by changing the order of the clips. I might promote the video on Tik Tok or add a link on Twitter. The loop goes on and on. That way, you’ve always got quality content to publish at the click of a button when feeling unmotivated. It happens.
This is probably the fundamental reason why I’m able to remain consistent with uploads. If you’re looking for your ‘golden’ tip, here it is.
Need some ideas? I’ve got a post on 10 content creation ideas bloggers can do from home. Just apply to your niche and you’re good to go!
Predict Popular Blogging Trends, But Don’t Plan Too Far In Advance.
Trending topics or sounds are pretty crucial for exposure. However, these switch up all the time so don’t go overboard with bulk-creating. You might be thinking, Ummm but Yaz. You just told us to bulk-create content. Yes. Preparing your resources in advance works a treat for consistency, but you don’t want to add any ‘fashionable’ touches until the day or week that you post. Fashionable touches are things like popular audio or keywords prone to change. You could plan an epic post for a month’s time, but within weeks the topic could be outdated. For a video on Instagram, I’d suggest adding the sound on the very day you post. You can find what’s gaining attention by a little arrow near the title of a song. For articles, I usually tailor my original post with buzz words every now and then, by scoping out what’s popular and what’s oversaturated. Please do remember to be specific when writing about a topic that’s heavily available though! This will help search engines pick up your work from all the ‘What to do in Milan’ articles out there.
Check Out Technical Elements When Uploading Content.
Poor quality images or incompatibility with the device are turn-offs in the content creation world. No doubt about it. There’s a handful of things to watch out for, such as glitchy or pixelated videos, slow-loading blog posts or irrelevantly-placed adverts. With these small tips for non-blurry uploads to social media, you’ll get some sanity back. My current apartment doesn’t have the best Wi-Fi connection so boy oh boy, do I know about this topic lol.
How to get mobile-compatible blog posts on WordPress or better video quality on Instagram/Tik Tok.
Don’t panic. I’m not going to tell you to buy a new high-tech camera. That would defeat the purpose of this post – starting a blog without specific equipment. However, let’s work with what we already have. If you’re using an iPhone, click into settings to confirm your video functions are set to 4K definition. Tempted to get a professional camera? Take a look at potentially upgrading your phone. You’d probably use it a lot more! If an upgrade isn’t on the cards right now, try these suggestions for quality uploads. For mobile-friendly blog posts, select the ‘preview’ button on WordPress when in editor mode. This 5-second step will show you how your audience will see the post, on whichever device they’ll use. For Instagram uploads, don’t add text all over your videos. This translates poorly on the already-terrible server Instagram use. Also, go into settings and select the high-quality upload toggle. This feature isn’t activated by default, annoyingly, but makes all the difference.
Link Your Blog On Every Possible Platform, Even If You Aren’t Fully Active On Them.
In the past, I found the concept of promoting my brand online incredibly awkward. These days, I don’t. Identify more with the first part of the sentence? Repeat after me. Never-feel-embarrassed-to-announce-you-have-a-new-blog-post.
You worked hard and deserve recognition.
By using the very basics of digital marketing, we can promote our pages without even thinking about it. Much like the analogy of a dropped business card, if you see one sitting around you might curiously glance at it. If it relates to you, you’d probably search for the service or individual. Right? This is why I like having a link to my website on socials I’m not particularly active on. You never know who might revisit your profile one day. Humans are intrigued creatures, meaning if there is a link present then it’s most likely going to get clicked on. Don’t miss the potential opportunity for long-term traffic to your page. This doesn’t replace more complex marketing techniques to encourage visitors to your website, but it’s a starting point…
Blogging doesn’t need to be complicated. I think many complexities with starting a blog stem from following a one-size-fits-all approach to writing. This simply doesn’t work, as there isn’t such a thing. However, what we do have is the experience of others as a guide. Whilst the above points reveal fundamental elements behind my blog, I recognise not everyone will agree with the tips, strategies or insight. Although, the purpose of this post was to reiterate blogging doesn’t require flashy equipment or endless writing experience. By now, I’m hoping you’ve noticed it’s possible too.
Until then, see you in the next post.
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