I have decided to put together my top 10 blogging tips to try and pass on some ideas or help to other bloggers who read my blog whether they're just starting out, or whether they've been blogging for years.
To me, photos are extremely important. You do not need a £500 top of the range camera to take decent photos, a lot of it is about the positioning of the items you are photographing, the amount of light and the background. I know some bloggers who only use an iPhone for their blogger photos and they can make them look amazing!
- Make sure you have a clean work space, preferably with a neutral background; you can always use white card or paper for this.
- Ensure there is plenty of natural light from a window. Don't stand the products in front of the window and take with the window behind them, as this usually floods my camera with light, but causes the actual product to be darker. I stand mine on a table next to a large window and take so the window is either on the left or right hand side and not directly facing my camera.
- I have a variety of different fabrics which I use for backgrounds and you can also collect wallpaper samples from shops and use those.
- Props are great too, little trinkets, candles and trays can all be included in photos so they don't look as bland.
- Use the largest possible photos. I use the x-large option in Blogger. Here is an example:
Small photo - difficult to see, not very clear for the reader, readers like to visually be able to see photo and the item you're writing about. (This photo is by no means perfect, but just an example of size).
Xtra large photo - It's clear, the reader can see the product and understand what you're talking about, it makes your post look more interesting, it visually attracts the reader.
Stock Image taken from http://technave.com/
Personally, I use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ47 which is a bridge camera. I originally picked it up shortly after I broke my point and shoot camera on my 25th birthday in Australia and had it shipped in from Hong Kong as the prices were a lot cheaper. Around two years ago, I paid approx. £200 for the camera and it looks like it's selling for pretty much the same price now, or a second hand one can be picked up from eBay for around £100-£150.
I've recently bought a tripod too which I thoroughly recommend as it helps to stabilise your images, especially when taking close ups on the macro setting. I use the Hama Star 61 Tripod from Amazon which is £19.50.
Another good tip is to ensure you use your own photos - don't just use stock images as these are quite boring and the reader could find an image like this from anywhere. Try and take your own photos to make your blog individual and unique, unless you have to use a stock image.
This is one of the first photos I posted on my blog which is very hazy, unclear and dark. In comparison to now, I feel that I have come a long way with photography, although it's all been trial and error and I still have such a long way to go!
2. Ensure you use ALT text for image
In Blogger, if you click on an image and then go to 'Properties' it will bring up the Title Text and the ALT text. It is recommended that you write in here a short description of the item. For example, on the above, write No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter, as this can then link your blog back to more searches, especially if someone uses Google Images for example to look at No7 Highlighters, increasing the number of visitors to your site.
3. Keep titles short and sweet and ensure they represent the product you are writing about
For example, if you are writing about a new whitening toothpaste, ensure you include the full product name as the title of your post. Don't use something like 'Wow, my teeth are now whiter' as this is too vague and doesn't tell Google anything about the actual product you're writing about. By using the product name as a blog post title, again, it will ensure your blog shows up in more search engine searches and over time, can gradually increase the number of people accessing your blog.
4. Have options on your blog so people can share your posts
Personally, I use something called Share This which enables your readers to share your reviews and posts with their friends via twitter, facebook, email and more. Often, if I have really liked a post I've read, I will share it via Google+ or Twitter so that my friends can have a read.
5. Social Media
I would recommend signing up to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and any other social media platforms with the same name as your blog if possible so that your readers can interact with you in different ways and see snippets from your life that they wouldn't necessarily see if they just read your blog. When I love a blog, I really like to follow the blogger on Instagram and Twitter too so that I can see photos from their everyday life and learn more about them; it makes me feel more involved in their blog and their life.
I also like to use these cute social media buttons at the bottom of each post so my readers can easily follow me on Instagram or Bloglovin' etc. You can pick them up from a variety of websites for free.
It is vital to regularly post to keep your readers coming back. On a normal week, I post on a Saturday and Sunday as a majority of people have the weekend off and catch up with blogs - this is usually when I receive the most page views. And during the week, I post on a Tuesday and Thursday. I also like to alternate what I post and when, so try to stick to skin care on a Tuesday, makeup on a Thursday and then a hair care post at the weekend, alongside a post that is more detailed.
Some weeks however, if I've had a lot to talk about, have been on a shopping trip or if I have something exciting to tell my readers, I post everyday. If I had the time, personally, I would choose to post everyday, but as a full time student that works most weekends, it's hard to fit it all in.
7. Interacting with other Bloggers
Blogging is a real community and you'll find that whether you blog about beauty, fashion, food or lifestyle, they'll be a whole world of other bloggers to interact with. Read their blogs, start following them on Twitter and other social media accounts and interact with them by leaving comments, but do not spam them or start asking them to look at your blog and follow you!
#Bblogger Twitter chats also take place twice a week on a Wednesday and Sunday at 8pm GMT. You can find out more here. These are a great way to interact with other bloggers using the #Bblogger hashtag, make new friends and find more blogs to follow and interact with.
8. Easy to read posts, paragraphs, grammar, spelling
Break up your posts into easily readable paragraphs, no one wants to sit and read a huge chunk of writing, plus it's really hard to follow when it's one huge paragraph.
Make sure your posts are easy to read. Don't include lots of technical jargon that the reader won't understand but if you must include this, put it into your own words so that the reader can understand. Remember, not everyone that's reading your blog with be an avid beauty blogger, baker or fashionista!
Ensure your grammar and spelling are spot on. (Although I'm actually terrible for this and very lazy when it comes to proof-reading!!) There is nothing worse than reading a blog where the blogger miss-spells simple words. It's understandable that we don't all hold the knowledge of the English dictionary, but that's where built in spell checkers come into practice.
Image taken from www.scriptmag.com
Your blog will not make you famous over night! It takes a lot of time and effort to gain 50 readers, never mind 500. A lot of people give up too easily when it comes to blogging and decide that after a few weeks, because they're not as big as Sprinkle of Glitter, for example, that it is not worth their time and effort. You should be blogging because it is something you enjoy doing, not because you want to become famous or to try and receive free products! If this is the case, your enthusiasm and excitement for your blog will not rub off onto your readers because really, your heart is not in it.
Please be patient and enjoy your blog for what it is.
To run a blog, you must be organised! Know in advance what you're going to post and when as this is the key to regular posting. Keep a notebook with you to jot down ideas or keep a virtual notepad on your mobile phone - there are so many apps that you can download to stay organised. Personally, I use 'Evernote' or a simple app called 'Note Pad'.
I've downloaded a calendar template on Word and use that as my blogging calendar. Here is a snippet:
I hope that some of these tips or ideas managed to help even one person!
Please do not forget to enter my Origins GinZing Moisturiser Giveaway!