Monday, 11 November 2013

Blogging Tips and Advice



*WARNING*
 I would suggest getting a cup of tea or beverage of your choice, this post is a long one.

I occasionally receive emails from people asking for advice on starting a blog, how to design your blog, how to get your blog "out there" and noticed. I wish I had been given advice when I started blogging as I made mistakes that I regret doing and look back like "what was I thinking?!" I thought it may be a good idea to share my thoughts. Obviously these are my thoughts and you may disagree which is absolutely fine, this is just how I feel and what I've learnt along the way!

Photography
Photography is my favourite part of blogging, it's what I love doing and probably what I'm most passionate about. You definitely don't "need" a fancy camera for blogging, one of my favourite bloggers uses her Iphone for photos and they are absolutely beautiful! If you are just starting out then maybe see how blogging goes before you shell out for an expensive camera, I use mine for other things outside of blogging so I knew it would be worth it and I would get my moneys worth but if you're new to blogging then I would give it a few months and see if it is something you really want to continue doing. The main pieces of advice I would give for blog photography is composition, lighting and editing. The way you compose your photos is so important in the way they look, play around with products, look at how the image looks in the viewfinder of the camera and move things around! Lighting is so so important, you can use an cheap camera with perfect lighting and you can get a great photo or you can use a top of the range camera, but with awful lighting you will get an awful photo! Natural lighting is your friend, take a photo by a window in the middle of the day/early afternoon. Editing your photos is also important, something I have learnt is to not over edit your photos, seeing the true colour of the product is very important so edit to improve brightness but don't go crazy with ten different filters! I am planning a more in depth post on blog photography so if you have any specific questions, leave them in the comments!

Name
The name of a blog is very important, it's the difference between a blog being memorable and just being "another blog." My first blog was called Gina Plus Makeup, personally I don't think this name was great as it was quite boring and not very creative! I was originally going to name my blog "fashion binge" because that's the name of my tumblr, however I wasn't creating a fashion blog so the name didn't really make sense! It's important for the name to reflect what the blog is about. Take a few days to think of a creative name, a pun, alliteration, anything that will make it memorable and stick in people's heads. 

Design
If I'm being completely honest, the way a blog looks does make a difference to whether I follow. I know that shouldn't be the case but it is. I designed my blog myself for quite a while however if you're not into design then you can buy blog designs, mine cost £50 however you can get them for as little as £10. I think an uncluttered blog design is the way to go, on my first blog I had so many images in the sidebar, I was obsessed with all the widgets you could have..so I had them all! I think it's nice to include a photo of yourself in the sidebar/somewhere on your blog as it's been proven that people prefer to see who writes the blog and it adds a more personal feel. I think it's important to have a blog design that suits your personality and what you blog about. If you decide to design your blog yourself, Google is your friend. I learnt everything about blogger from Google and there are so many websites and tutorials to help you. 

Content
The most important thing about content is to write about what you love, I would much rather read a blog where the blogger loves what they write about. If you're writing about something you aren't passionate about and don't enjoy then it won't be fun and blogging will become a chore, your readers will also be able to tell if you don't enjoy what you write about. It's important to make sure you're making sense and your spelling is correct as it's difficult to read a blog with lots of spelling mistake and grammar issues, I'm not saying you need an English degree but checking your post for mistakes before publishing is vital as you want your post to be easy to read. Consistent posting is also a good idea, if I have time (and am prepared) I try to put posts up on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If I'm busy I try and post two posts, one on Monday and one on Thursday, being consistent is important, don't post everyday one week and then leave ages before posting again! I think it's important to prepare posts in advance, know what you're going to be blogging about and what post is going up on which day. Sometimes I suffer from "bloggers block" which is why I try and blog as much as I can when I'm feeling inspired, sometimes I will write five or six blog posts in a row as sometimes I don't feel like blogging or don't have time, that way I always have a post ready to publish. If you do suffer from "bloggers block" it's good to take a break, think about new ideas and find new inspiration. It's better to blog when you want to than to force it! Never feel like you have to write about the new Nars Palette, just because other people are. Write about whatever you feel passionate about and it will come across as  sincere, that's why I love blogging, because it's your place on the internet to write whatever the hell you want and get feedback from others. 

Social Networking
This is something I would highly recommend doing! Make a twitter/instagram/facebook account for your blog, talk to as many bloggers as you can, I've met so many amazing people through blogging and it makes you feel like you're part of a community. Join in on the #bbloggers/#fbloggers/other chats that happen, these are really nice as you can chat about beauty products, find some nice blogs and other bloggers, as well as getting your own blog noticed. One thing I beg you not to do is leave comments on other blogs saying "follow for a follow?" or "I've followed, follow me back?" All bloggers I've talked to, hate this! I would much rather someone not follow my blog because it isn't their style than for them to follow purely for a "follow for follow." These comments frustrate me as I believe you should only follow a blog because you genuinely want to, it's also quite saddening when you spend time on a post and all someone writes in the comments is "follow back?!" 

Blog for the right reasons
Whenever people find out that I occasionally get sent products to review they always say the same thing "oooh I want to start a blog now if you get free stuff!" I would always say to start your blog because you want to, because you enjoy it and love it. Don't start because you only want free products, when I started I had no idea about any of that, I spend a lot of time on my blog because it's something I genuinely adore doing. However if you blog purely for "freebies" it will be obvious and it will feel like a chore, believe me if I was blogging purely for free products I would have given up a long time ago as I put a lot of effort in and the only reason I carry on is because even though it's hard work, it's a lovely hobby for me and I love doing it.

PR
When your blog is up and running you may be contacted by companies asking if you want to review products, want to come to events, want to write sponsored posts and so on. One thing I thought when I started blogging was that I had to say yes to things, I used to let people guest post on my blog because I felt like I couldn't say no. Remember that it's YOUR blog and you can choose what you post, I see my blog as my baby so now I am very choosy about what I feature on it. I don't tend to accept guest posts apart from ones from other bloggers, at the moment I don't write sponsored blog posts/guest posts but of course if you want to that's absolutely fine but don't feel like you are obliged to do anything on your blog. It's nice to be offered products to try out but the rule I tend to go by is "would I spend my own money on this?" If it doesn't fit with my blog and isn't something I would buy when out shopping then I don't accept it.

Again, these are only my opinions! If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments or tweet me @georginalucyy


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13 comments

  1. I always love reading these posts and yours was really great. I agree with everything you've said xxx
    Life of Verity

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  2. Love a bit of blogging advice.. Thanks so much for sharing!

    pierrelecat

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  3. Great post - very helpful. Thank you :)
    x

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  4. This is so helpful! Inconsistency is definitely my biggest down fall, but I'm trying!! Your blog was one of the first I started regularly checking for posts, love it :) Rachel xx

    Www.pillarbox-post.blogspot.com

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  5. Thanks for the tips! Such a great read :)
    Beautiful blog btw, cant wait to keep seeing what else you keep producing
    Keep it up!

    Alicia
    (AnOrdinaryVida)

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  6. Great tips Georgina, thanks!
    xx
    http://dulceazucarsugarsweet.blogspot.co.uk/

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  7. Great and very helpful post! I only started my blog a few month ago and I'm still trying to get the hang of everything so I'm really appreciating posts like these, so thank you :)

    Lauren | laurenthedaydreamer.blogspot.co.uk

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  8. thank you so much, this really helped

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  9. http://classychicxo.blogspot.com/#

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  10. Love the advice, these are actually good tips, I agree! Sometimes you feel like you have to say yes to reviewing products but it's a lot more respectable to say no and only allow products you would actually use and buy!

    Layla x

    Sprinkles of Style

    www.sprinklesofstyle.co.uk

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  11. accidentally landed here. But I must say...I am hooked. I am glad I found this page. :)

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  12. Hi Georgina, those were some great tips! I found this extreamly helpful and insightful. Thank you for sharing :-)

    http://blondeteaparty.blogspot.co.uk

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