In a couple of days time (10th December to be exact) Kat is Travelling is officially a whole one year old and although I haven’t had as much time to put into my blog recently as I did back when I started I’m still proud that it’s managed to attract 50,000 page views and 20,000 users in that time. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers but when you put it into perspective that is a huge amount of people to have stumbled across this one little page amongst so many on the internet so to anyone reading this, whether you’re here for the first time or you’ve been following me since the start, then a huge thank you. It’s really the people that take the time to leave a comment or send me a message on social media that give me the motivation to keep going with this on the days when I just don’t feel like writing.
So in the spirit of thanks and nostalgia I wanted to do a post to pass down the 5 most important things about blogging that I’ve learnt in the past year to any newbie bloggers or people thinking of starting their own blog. Hopefully these tips will help you avoid any mistakes I made and kick start you on your way to blog success!
Set up your social accounts when you set up your blog
One of the most important things you can do is set up all of your social accounts for your blog right after you’ve set up the blog itself. Even if you think you won’t need them, just do it, because inevitably you’ll end up creating them later on anyway and starting from scratch is hard work. People will follow you as you grow and you’ll find your followers across platforms start to grow organically after the initial hard work.
With this piece of advice in mind you can use a website like Namecheckr to check that your blog name is free across all kinds of internet platforms before you set up your domain. Having the same name across all your social media accounts will make things a lot easier and make it easier for people reading your blog to find you elsewhere.
Network with other bloggers
One of the best audiences you have at your disposal are the people who blog about similar topics. After all, who is more interested in travel than your other travel bloggers looking to plan their next trip?
Plus, in my experience (at least in the travel blogging community) people love to help each other out. Share another person’s post on your social media you’ll find more often than not they’re happy to share one of yours, it’s a win-win situation as it exposes both of your blogs to new audiences. This only really works when you have a similar sized audience so be sure to network with bloggers on your level, start small and grow together.
So where do you meet these other bloggers? In short, social media, and particularly Facebook groups. There are a ton of groups out there for bloggers whatever your topic and they’re places where you’ll be exposed to opportunities such as bigger bloggers looking for collaborators on their blog posts. They’re also great places to ask questions and get advice from experienced bloggers, and remember to answer any questions and help out anyone else where you can as it’ll be remembered. Some groups have follow and comment threads which can also help boost your numbers and engagement.
Create regular content on a schedule
Uploading new posts at the same time each week increases your reader numbers. This is something I’ve learnt the hard way having sometimes had to skip my regular posting schedule whilst travelling or when I took a break for a few weeks last month (with work and 6 hours of new Gilmore Girls to watch before you see any spoilers, you’ve just got to prioritise).
When things are going to plan I write whenever I have a moment and then schedule my posts for their regular times. This means a whole lot of my blog posts are written in several different sessions… that might explain a lot to some of you.
Optimising SEO for your blog posts
This one is a struggle for me because honestly I just find SEO really boring but unfortunately it’s really important in getting people to actually see your content… and that, after all, is the point in writing it. So if like me you really don’t care just do yourself a favour and download a WordPress plugin for your site that will allow you to put in as little effort as possible into making your posts SEO-friendly. There are loads out there but a popular one (and the one I use) is Yoast. It’s very user-friendly and will allow you to optimise your posts for social sharing as well as give you tips for improving the readability and SEO of your posts.
Engage with your readers and followers
There’s no point in attracting a flurry of readers to your site and then ignoring them. When people take the time to leave a comment make sure you always respond to it, and similarly with anyone who messages you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.
Make your replies personal. The unique think about blogging is that you can build up a relationship and trust with your readers but this will only happen if they get to know you. People like to have an idea of who you are so the more personality you show in your blog and your interactions the more likely you are to build a dedicated following of people who keep coming back to read your stuff.