Sunday 24 February 2013

My Thoughts on....Blogging

Back on a quiet evening on the 18th September 2011 to be precise I decided to start a beauty blog. Having been an avid YouTube enthusiast for a long time I decided to dip my toes into the world that is beauty blogging and fast forward almost a year and a half later and its probably the best thing I have ever done. Over time I have learnt lessons, some the hard way when it comes to blogging and have come to the conclusion that there are no rules when it comes to blogging. So as the blogosphere grows I thought I’d share my thoughts on a world that has come second nature. 

1. As concluded above there are no rules when it comes to blogging. There are tips that may guide you in a positive direction but ultimately it is ‘your space’ to write as and what you feel within reason. 

2. You are always going to find blogs that you think are better than yours. They may have a layout that you can stare at for hours (recall that familiar blog envy feeling) or amazing photos. Instead of feeling jealous acknowledge that the blogger has probably spent a lot of time and effort, you could even go as far to compliment them on their blog. Use blog envy in a positive way just do not copy but recognize what you like about the layout and try to gather some ideas which you could implement into your own blog in your own unique way. I think I have gone through several layouts and headers and probably change my layout more than required. But it takes time to find something you are happy with. I usually find if I am happy with my layout then I am more motivated to blog. 

3. Don’t stress on followers. When I first started blogging I would stare for hours at the little GFC widget wondering why no one would follow. This was only a week after I started blogging and  now I realise it takes time.  Everyone started at zero followers, some gain followers quickly some take longer. This is not a representation of how good your blog is. If you are still getting comments and page views then don’t stress about the follower number. You can be safe in the knowledge that people ARE reading your blog. The number of followers you have does not define how good a blog is. I have read blogs with thousands of followers yet their content is mediocre and then read a blog with a handful of followers and their content is amazing! 

4. Social media is a godsend when it comes to blogging so ensure you have a Twitter account set up for your blog and that you have an easy to find ‘follow on Twitter’ widget available on your blog. You don’t necessarily need a separate Facebook account but its an added extra. 

5. Use Twitter wisely. There will always be people that want to disclose every aspect of their personal life and cause drama but just don’t get involved. Remember your tweets are available for everyone to see. I always use the rule that I do not tweet anything that I would not be happy with my boss or a future employer seeing. Its good to remember that every time you tweet. Also remember that a majority of your twitter following will be readers of your blog. If you have a shitty attitude then this could potentially lose you readers. 

6. Have an opinion but respect others opinions too! There are always going to be times when you will rave about a product and someone will comment that they hated it. Thats fine. Its what blogging is all about. Do not get on the defensive just because someone didn’t agree with your post. Be grateful that they read the post and had the balls to leave an honest comment. I fully understand that not everyone will agree with my thoughts on a product. I am only a small voice in a big community.

7. PR Samples. Sometimes bloggers are contacted by companies asking them for a review in exchange for a product sample. This seems to cause controversy in the blogging community but I honestly do not see the issue. Yes some of the products I feature are PR samples but I would only feature something I would genuinely use and am nothing but honest in my feelings. You don’t have to slate a product i.e. the product was shit, do not buy. You can write a negative review highlighting why you did not like it and be constructive. Some people seem to think that if you do not write the former then you are only endorsing the product because it was free, thats not the case at all (in my experience anyway). I always make a point of declaring any products to my readers. I think this is only fair. As long as a blogger is honest/relatable and has a good rep in the blogging community then whether or not a product was paid for or sent for free is absolutely irrelevant!

8. Don't stress yourself out about posting every single day. You are not a superwoman (or man). Readers understand that blogging is not a day job for most and there are going to be times when you can't post consistently. You do not have to apologise for it. Unless its months at a time a few days means nothing just pick up where you left off. Its fine. On the same hand do not over post. Often posting 2-3 times a day means that the earlier posts might get lost in the blogosphere and then all your hard work gets missed. Spread them out and leave your readers anticipating more. I read a multitude of blogs and sometimes do not have the time to spend hours on one blog even though it might be a fave. 
9. Inspire yourself by reading more blogs. I always feel inspired to blog after perusing through my reading list. Gain ideas, but again do not copy and always credit sources. I always over credit. If I heard a tip from so and so’s blog then I mention and link their blog. Its good etiquette and means people are more than likely to do the same for you in the future. 

10. Interaction with other blogs and the bloggers is my favorite thing to do and I like to leave a comment on almost every post which I read and have enjoyed. I know the joy of receiving comments therefore its nice to give a little back. 

11. A notebook is a bloggers best friend and I like to keep one handy at all times to jot down inspiration that I have found in magazines, shopping and generally keep a track of post ideas. I am probably the worst at remembering ideas that might spring to mind at work or whilst in the shower so its good to be able to scribble them down when I am feeling less motivated. 

12. The comment section of my blog is a link friendly place and I am more than happy for you to leave your link. But please do not spam me with your giveaway or ask me to follow. Its rude. If someone has gone to the effort of leaving a nice comment I will always check out their blog out of curiosity. 

13. Join in with the #bbloggers chat on a Sunday and Wednesday. Its a great way to meet other bloggers and I have found some cracking blogs through this hashtag! Bear in mind though some of the topics can get heated. If this is the case I tend to take a step back. Remember as stated above we all have an opinion but sometimes when you put a group of opinionated girls in one space there are going to be clashes of opinions, its only natural.

14. You don't need a snazzy all that jazz camera to make your photos beautiful. Makeup Savvy has a great post on tips and tricks for taking photos in winter here! Photo's are probably my biggest stress as I am always looking for perfection (it's the Virgo in me) and sometimes I spend too much time stressing over it. I need to learn to relax on this part :-)

15. Don't be afraid to blog outside of your niche. Its ok to post that recipe you have been loving when you usually blog about beauty. Remember its your online journal. This is something I have to remind myself constantly.

16. Finally remember that blogging is a hobby, it should be fun. There is always going to be a negative minority that will see the negatives in blogging but ultimately it has so far been a fun and positive experience for me and something I hope to continue for a long time to come.

These are just little things that I do to make blogging as enjoyable as possible and to get the best out of it. I am by no means a pro and am a true believer that you learn blogging as you go. The more you blog the better you get, come on some of my earliest posts I can't even look at :-)