A SIMPLE GUIDE

Welcome to my blogger resource page! Here I will be discussing a few of the tips and tricks I've learned from my blogging journey and will continue to update the information as I progress. I am by no means a "professional blogger", but I have done a lot of research on the topic and genuinely enjoy the hobby.

During my time blogging I have learned a few of the necessary steps you need to take in order to elevate your blog, its content and possibly even make a bit of money going forward. 

I am always interested in hearing about various blogging experiences, so if you have any tips and tricks of your own then feel free to contact me! We are all part of a big, ever-changing community. 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links I will receive a commission. If you want to learn more about this then see my disclaimer page

WHERE TO START?

PLATFORMS

So, you want to start a blog? Well, it's not easy. I'm kidding, it's actually very simple. It just takes a bit of time and some research. To start off you will need to figure out what platform you want to use. This is where your blog/website will be displayed for the internet to browse at its convenience. Which platform you choose depends on what you are looking to get out of your blogging experience. The 3 goliaths of website platforms (in my opinion) are Blogger, Wordpress and Squarespace. If you are a complete beginner to the blogging world and simply want to test out the turbulent waters I would recommend starting with Blogger or Wordpress. If you are a bit more experienced or really want to invest as much as you can into your site for monetary purposes, then I would recommend Squarespace. Everyone's preferences are different and you can always begin with one platform and change to another if you aren't satisfied. This step isn't a life-or-death decision, but it is crucial to figure out before you set up your blog. 

BLOGGER

I used blogger for many years and it was perfect for what I wanted back when I first started blogging. It gave you all the necessities and allowed a bit of control when it came to the design of your layout. The longer I blog the more I realize how important your layout actually is in attracting an audience. If your site is aesthetically pleasing and easy to read then visitors will be more inclined to hang around and take a look at more of your content. If you are HTML and CSS savvy then creating a beautiful design won't be a problem for you. I never was so I turned to Etsy for a solution to my problem. There I was able to purchase a few simple, yet pretty blog templates that I could easily apply to my site. To learn more about these you can read this post.

These are a few of my favourite Etsy templates:

 

WORDPRESS

Wordpress is very much like Blogger in that it has a set layout that you can customize with a bit of HTML and CSS tweaking or you can also purchase a customer template. I have only been using Wordpress for a year or so on my fiction blog Midnight DraftsThis platform, however, is a bit more user friendly as it offers many more tools and plug-ins for your site, such as those for monitoring SEO usage throughout your posts. It all comes down to preference between the two so maybe look up a few youtube videos about them before you make your decision. They are both free and easy to sign up for, but it'll make it a bit easier to get started blogging once you're happy with your platform. 

SQUARESPACE

I transferred my blog over to Squarespace in September of 2016 and I haven't looked back since. It has been incredibly easy to use and customize, allowing me to make my site look exactly how I envision it. Squarespace works with blocks, which you are able to move around a page and adjust accordingly. There is also the option to use CSS code to make additional changes, although I don't usually find myself doing that as the blocks are really easy to use. The only catch with this platform is that you have to pay for it. I was ready to elevate my blog after a few years of using Blogger and Squarespace has really helped me do that, so the price isn't that a big deal to me. But I can see why some people would want to avoid any of those charges if they are just starting out. 

Note:

One more thing you will need to consider eventually is if you will be purchasing your own domain. Having your own domain (ie. katsomething.com) makes a site look a bit more professional and easier for search engines and readers to find you. I've purchased my domain from GoDaddy and haven't had any issues with it thus far. They will offer discounts from time to time so I would recommend checking them out to see if they are right for you. 

MARKETING

Once you start blogging more regularly you'll quickly learn that self-promotion and marketing are oh-so-important. You need to offer yourself up to the internet for exploration. Put your best posts out there, tell people why they should visit your site, and don't be embarrassed of proving why your content is worth a second glance. Any time I get feedback on my posts it makes me that much more motivated to write more. Below are a few ways I've found success in marketing my blog. Warning: you will have to stay on top of promoting yourself, but after a while you get used to it and it becomes second nature. 

HASHTAGS

Instagram has been the most fun social media platform for me to be on. I love taking pictures and sharing them, so naturally we would be a good match. If you also enjoy taking pictures and feel like they should be showcased, then I'd recommend adding a few hashtags to the comments so that anyone else interested in those topics can find you. By putting them in the comments rather than the description you keep the picture looking clean and not overwhelmed by writing. Using hashtags has really helped increase my followers in the past few months, so I'd suggest keeping them in your phone's notes app, ready to be pasted into a newly posted picture. 

This also applies to Twitter. I have seen much more interaction on my account now that I've started using hashtags. I use the same method as with Instagram, however you can only post a few at time since there is a 140 character limit, so I decide which ones suit my tweet best before posting. 

The Instagram Hashtags I Use:

#lifestyleblogger #lifestyleblog #thatsdarling #TheEveryGirl #abmlifeiscolorful #toronto #city #photooftheday #thehappynow #theblogissue #verilymoment #acolorstory #pursuepretty #TNChustler #flashesofdelight #ontheblog #blogger #Ibloggers #potd #torontoblogger #blogto #thereadinglist #flatlay #creativewriting #mywhitetable #writing #writer #thisjoyfulmoment #livethelittlethings

The Twitter Hashtags I Use:

#bbloggers #fbloggers #makeup #beauty #lifestyleblogger #stylechat #blogtips #BloggingGals #foodie #ontheblog #thebloggershub @FemaleBloggersRT

FACEBOOK GROUPS

Another big way I've driven traffic to my blog has been through Facebook groups. They've allowed me to share my recent blog posts, Twitter handle, Instagram account, and even ask blogging related questions. They help form a community of content writers trying to navigate the blogging waters and it's really changed my perspective on blogging. 

Facebook Groups I've Joined:

  • Blogging Newbs
  • Blogging Boost
  • Rymixer Club
  • Bloggers Supporting Bloggers
  • Bloggers R Us
  • Growing Social Media For Bloggers
  • Millennial Women's Association
  • Blogging 101

PINTEREST BOARDS

Similar to Facebook Groups, Pinterest boards allow you to showcase your most recent posts via graphics. I had no idea what graphics even were or how to make them, so if you don't either, you're not alone. Essentially, you would take a picture and add your blog post title to it with intricately designed letters or, if you don't take your own pictures, you can create an image with only writing on it that indicates what you're post is about. Whichever you chose to do, you can then pin these to Pinterest boards for bloggers like yourself to view, pin, and comment on. I've only recently started using Pinterest for this purpose, but have seen a good development with my efforts so I plan on sticking to it a bit. The key is to pin as much as you can and also re-pin any old blog pins to boards. I use Canva to make my images. 

Pinterest Boards I've Joined: 

  • The Blogging B*%ches (My Board)
  • The Lady Blog Project
  • Blogging For Bloggers
  • POST YOUR BLOG! Bloggers promote here

MONETIZATION 

And finally, what I'm sure most people want to know—Can you make money from blogging? The simple answer is yes. There are many bloggers out there (big and small) who use blogging as a full-time job or a side hustle. It's not something only achievable by the "lucky few", but rather a skill that can be honed with time and a lot of research. Lucky for you, I have done a lot of research on this topic and continue to, so you won't have to sit behind a computer screen for hours like I have trying to figure this whole monetization thing out.   

ADVERTISEMENTS

The simplest way to monetize your blog is to put advertisements in the header, footer, or sidebar. It seems like everyone and their mother uses Google Adsense to do this and it's a good start, but typically Adsense requires a lot of page views before it dishes out the big bucks. However, it doesn't hurt to pop an ad or two on your site for good measure. Make sure not to make it overwhelming for your reader; the last thing they want is to be bombarded by ads everywhere they look. To start off, maybe just stick with an ad in the sidebar and go from there.

Another advertisement site I've recently found is Media.net. I've heard a few good things about it so I'm currently testing it out. I will update this page with any additional information once I've gotten better acquainted with the site. 

AFFILIATE MARKETING

One of the more successful ways to actually make money on your blog is through affiliate marketing. This involves providing links on your blog that lead to a site with items to purchase. If the item is purchased you will get a commission of the sale. You will also get a sale if the link is clicked. Affiliate marketing is a bit trickier than simply slapping an ad on your site because it involves some finesse and honesty. You can't just throw around links without genuinely liking the product you are recommending. Well, you can, but it's not a good look. I try my best to stay honest and open when using affiliate links because building a reputation with your reader is just as important, if not more, to your success online. 

A few ways to successfully use affiliate links is in recommendation posts where you write about one specific product (i.e. a review), or discuss a specific topic that involves various items (i.e. a gift guide). Some affiliate sites also provide widgets that you can embed in your sidebar or in a specific post that link to items you are writing about. 

Affiliate Programs To Join:

Note:

You can also market your blogging and photography skills on sites like Fiverr. People are always looking for someone who can write or take photographs and that's a great place to showcase your work while making some extra money. 

SPONSORED POSTS

This one is for bloggers who have a fairly large audience and can really sell themselves to specific brands. Typically brands will reach out to you if you have a lot of social media followers, but you can also approach certain brands you like and ask to work with them. I am not quite there yet, but once I am I will report back with the best methods to approach them. 

I hope you found this guide helpful. Again, if you have any other tips you think I should mention then send me a message!