10 things I learned from 8 months of blogging

It was last August that I decided to start this blog after a year of no blogging. In 2013, I had a fashion blog and created posts from Polyvore, but I found that fashion wasn’t completely my thing and since I had already blogged twenty-something outfits, I eventually gave up on it and deleted that blog. Then in August 2014, when I had a couple of week left for summer vacation, I got back into blogging after frequently reading a friend’s blog and joining the community on Bloglovin’. This time, I didn’t make the same mistake of only posting on one topic and instead made my blog focus more on poetry and music. Even though I’m still not completely satisfied about my niche in the online world of blogging yet, I’m slowly starting to discover the person I am on the inside and what my deepest passions are.

In the past two months, I haven’t been able to blog much since gr.11 is starting to get busier, but also because I’m trying to slowly reform my blog bit by bit and make it something that represents me well. Yes, it can be pretty daunting to see that your stats have decreased to nearly zero over a month, but on the other side, you also have to remind yourself that you’re coming up with something greater in the meantime.

  1. Identify/create your niche and work at it.

Do research and brainstorm what you can actually blog on. You might like one thing, but if you find that you can only do a few posts on it, or you can’t come up with original ideas, try finding something else. You might like collecting pictures of nail art, but if you struggle with perfecting a manicure, then maybe it’s not your niche. I enjoy reading poetry and dissecting the meaning of songs, but writing songs is supposed to come naturally. After a month or so, I realized that I keep tripping into writer’s block; therefore, this isn’t really my thing. Separate hobbies that you like what you’re knowledgeable and skilled at.

  1. Time management/schedules.

I know that at the beginning of the year, I told my followers, I would stick to schedule and not procrastinate. However, school got insanely busy. Thank goodness I dropped French in the first week, or now I’d be drowning in a pool of homework. Although chemistry has turned out to be an okay subject, English and math are not. Two of them in one semester take up a hell of a time. If there are any students out there reading this, my advice is to just keep blogging a hobby. School is more important. You can blog during your spare time, but homework completion comes first. I made a mistake for a few months when I focused more on blogging than school. My grades were okay, but not at their potential high. As a student, school must come first, even though some of us don’t like it.

  1. SEO

You know the “tags” part of your blog post? It’s only for a few words that conclude the general idea of your post. Try to resist the urge of tagging anything and everything that relates to your post or every other word in your post. Google will filter that as spam and it won’t appear when searched. One of the mistakes I made with SEO was that in the beginning, I would tag any word that somehow related to my post. Now I think I have developed a list of “accidental followers.”

  1. Feature graphic.

I’d rate this on the same level of importance as the eye-catchiness of your title. It’s better to have a good feature graphic, so that people are more likely to click on your blog post. In other words, I do recommend that you invest a bit of time into editing your feature graphic. When people are scrolling through their social media feed trying to find that one article they’re looking for (you know what I mean), they are most likely to click on that feature graphic that has a high quality picture in the background and bold, clear text on top. It gives the reader a sense of trustworthiness. It immediately proves that the writer has ensured not only that their article is clear, comprehendible and concise, but also that they know how to use photo editing to their benefit. It proves the fact that they have gone through hours of writing, editing and polishing to make sure you get quality content.

     5. Pictures

Try to include some sort of media as often as possible. Most of us are visual people. We like looking at pictures because they’re visually appealing and help us understand the content more. Looking back at my old posts, I had no pictures on some of my posts. Not even a feature picture. Even I, myself, would not finish reading some of my older posts. Pictures help convey the idea of whatever you’re trying to communicate to your audience. They are there to enhance the meaning; use them.

      6. Design

This is what unites your entire blog as one. Your blog design is the front line of attraction to your visitors, so make it represent you in the best way possible. Ever wondered why MacBook and iPhones make famous Tumblr posts? They’re minimalistic, modern and sleek in design. Apple products look new and polished. If you’re trying to make your blog look minimalistic and modern, make sure there’s lots of white space in the background. It’s a modern shade. It makes the internal design of houses look neat and organized. Make sure to design your blog well and make it represent you.

   7. Content

Your content is crucial to bringing back first time visitors and keeping your followers list steady. When you get a good idea, write it down. Try writing an article on it. Edit that article. Leave it for an hour, work on another task, and edit it again. Ask a friend to proofread it and see that it sounds “write.” Can others relate to what you wrote? A lot of people follow blogs based on their ability to relate. I mean, if you’ve gone through bad experiences, you’d appreciate knowing you’re not alone, right? It’s the same with blogging.

  1. “shareability” of your posts.

Take a look at your blog from the visitor’s perspective. Are there enough social media links to share your post, or do you just see a reblog and a like button? A key factor for gaining followers is that your readers are able to share your post on their social media, so that they can help with promoting your post. If you don’t have your social media connected, go the “sharing” section on WordPress/blogger and customize your settings.  You can increase your referrals this way

  1. Follow and connect with other bloggers!

Don’t forget to connect with other bloggers that have similar blogs. Comment on their posts, like their posts, gets involved in the blogging community because you’ll be making friends as well as expanding your audience. By commenting on their blog, you can leave your URL in the comments section, which is like free advertising for your blog. Chances are someone will click on your URL and you’ll have earned another visitor! If you comment frequently on other people’s blogs, you’ll also have a change to make another blogger friend. Then you’ve earned another advantage because this could be an opportunity to write guest posts on each other’s blogs and expand both of your audiences by linking up and promotion. It’s a win-win situation!

  1. Go on Pinterest and other social media sites.

Even though I’ve had Pinterest for a year or so, I’ve never really been that involved. Now I’m totally hooked because I’ve realized the full potential of this site. Pinterest is like the sophisticated version of google images/search that more people are starting to use. The difference is that you can advertise guiltlessly. You know that sheepish feeling you get when you comment on someone’s video or Instagram to check out your page and feel like you’re being annoying or spam? Pinterest takes that feeling away from you because it takes the advertising out of the advertisement. Advertisements/pins on Pinterest don’t actually look like those annoying ads you see everywhere on your favorite shopping sites. On Pinterest, they become a clickable graphic that people are willing to visit the website.

Last, but not least, it actually takes a while to write a decent post. After all the writing and editing, I learned that it takes a while to get a good picture. Unless you’re living in a house that is always picture-perfect – which I’m not (inventive brothers can be a tad bit messy), you have to wait until the golden hour, then set up the scene, take a picture at a good angle, and finally spend the next half to full hour editing it, so that it looks post-worthy. When I first started blogging, my thought was “I can take good pictures and just write text on them!” However, that wasn’t the case as I had to learn to experiment with different photo effects and software to get the desired look at the end. I learned that one-size doesn’t fit all, even when it comes to photo editing.

This is so far what I have learned from my blogging experience. Is there more I should know when it comes to perfecting posts? Would you like to make a suggestion as to how you have improved your posts and/or blog? Let me know in the comments below!

Jinjin

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  1. Hi Jinjin, long time no see! It’s so wonderful to hear that you’re still in the blogosphere (even though we’ve unfortunately lost touch) – and that you’ve learned so much in the 8 months you’ve been here. How’s life been for you? x

    1. Topaz! It’s so nice to here from you again! I’m doing fine, just trying to improve my schedule and productivity each week, since school is really busy, but I’m finding more ways to be able to get everything done!
      How have you been?

      1. That’s so good to hear – productivity can never be a bad thing 😀 I haven’t been too bad – lots of traveling for writerly + school things, but it’s nice to be home and relaxing a bit again 🙂

        1. that’s nice! i wish i could travel too, but high school is way too fast-paced to do any travelling. in gr.11, if you miss one day, you miss a ton of info.

          1. Oh, I would daresay the same about my school – fortunately, though, my teachers have been wonderful about giving us the syllabi for each class, so it’s not too difficult to catch up on homework + make-up tests + ask friends to record lectures.

            It’s a nice arrangement – a bit overwhelming at times, but one does get used to it. 🙂

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