Top 10 Tips That Will Make You a Better Blogger

By Janelle @ Run With No Regrets | blogging

Jul 13

Yesterday was a big day.

On July 12, 2013, I wrote my very first blog post at Run With No Regrets!  It’s unbelievable that 2 years have passed since that first post, and so much has happened since that day!

First off, I have to say THANK YOU so much to everyone who has ever dropped by these past 2 years, left a comment, shared a post, or discovered some valuable information by reading my posts.  It really means a lot to me to know that there are people out there who are interested in following my perspective as a runner and person dedicated to living a healthy life.  I want to help and inspire others to fall in love with this running thing!  It’s been quite a ride and I’m thankful that you are using some of your very limited time to be here at Run With No Regrets!

If you’re new to Run With No Regrets, Hi!  Thanks so much for dropping by.  In honor of my blogiversary, here’s a short list of some of my favorite posts these past 2 years:

In honor of 2 years of blogging, I’d like to share my top 10 tips on how to successfully navigate the ever-churning waters of the blogging world!  It’s a friendly, extremely positive environment, but there is always so much to do and learn!  And it never ends.  So here are 10 things I’ve learned that I’d like to pass on to all of my readers who blog, or anyone who is interested in becoming a blogger for any of their passions!

It's my blogiversary! Check out my top 10 tips for bloggers! #blogging #sweatpink Click To Tweet

As a blogger, there is always so much to do and learn! If you want to get off to a great start and keep your momentum with your blog, check out these tips!

#1 – Blogging Isn’t Always Going to Be Fun

Ouch…I know.  But to my fellow bloggers out there, you know I’m not lying!

Blogging is a lot of work.  Let me repeat that – blogging is a LOT of work!

If you want to be “successful” or work your way towards becoming a popular/wealthy/influential blogger, there is no secret recipe to getting there.  And there are so many ways to skin a cat in the blogging game.  There is no book that has all the secrets to becoming a successful blogger – and even if it existed, I doubt many of us could actually afford it!

Here is a short list of tasks that have to get done as blogger, but stop being fun after a while:

  • Coming up with a snazzy headline for every single post
  • Taking photos
  • Creating “pin-worthy” images
  • Sharing your post on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
  • Pursuing and writing guest posts
  • Reading everything there is to know about blogging

For 99% of bloggers, this isn’t a glamorous life!  Readers see the end-product, but don’t realize that a single blog post could have taken hours of time to complete.  Fortunately, I’m not a food blogger or a beauty/fashion blogger.  I think I’d lose my mind taking and re-taking the perfect photo of my dessert or latest outfit…it’s amazing all the hard work that bloggers do!

And after putting in hours of work and going through varying levels of stress, when you receive a comment from a new reader that appreciates what you wrote, that’s what it’s all about.  It’s not always fun getting there, but it’s always worth it when you’re writing about your passion and helping people in the process!    

#2 – Realize It’s NOT About You

This is definitely a hard pill to swallow.

Now, If you are blogging as a hobby or to keep track of your race training/weight loss/whatever, then of course you are the primary focus of your blog.  But when you start to take blogging seriously, you have to realize that it’s all about your audience!

Blogging is an incredible way to directly help people.  As you create user guides, recipe roundups, and product reviews, you’re becoming a resource that your audience can grow to trust and rely on for valuable information that can improve their lives! Awesome, right?

Of course, you can use your personal experiences and share things about yourself, but the end goal should always be to provide content that is beneficial to your audience!  Otherwise, why would they keep reading?

#3 – You Can Only Get So Far With Free Stuff

You know they say that “you get what you pay for”…and it’s true.

Blogging is fantastic because there are so many people out there who are providing blogging advice completely for free –  I mean hey, that’s what I’m doing right now!

There are also a ton of free services out there which are so beneficial to your blog.  I definitely recommend you check out these FREE services:

  • SumoMe – Image Sharing, Social Sharing, Smart Bar, Scroll Box, Heat Map…and those are only a few of their many offerings!
  • MailChimp – Free for first 2,000 email subscribers (referral code)
  • Buffer – Share on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

You can go to Pinterest and have a field day reading articles that provide tips on how to get more traffic, how to make passive income through your blog, how to learn coding.  But eventually, you’ll have to make an investment with your blog to get the most out of it…not to mention preserve your sanity!

There are so many great eBooks and blogging courses on the market that focus on very specific aspects of blogging.  While a lot of them are on the pricey side, they do have all the things you really want to know.  The best information comes at a price!

Pro tip:  You can often get DEEP discounts on these resources if you attend a free webinar hosted by the author.  So make sure you know who’s who when it comes to blogging experts, and subscribe to their newsletters to get the latest scoop!

Another example of making the investment is with your blog itself.  I started Run With No Regrets on Blogger.  It’s free and it’s very easy to use.  But Blogger is owned by Google, meaning that they can shut down your blog at any time…and it has happened to bloggers in the past!

That’s why I took the plunge and switched over to WordPress.org.  Now I’m self-hosted and everything that I create is most definitely MINE!  It does come with expenses, but it’s worth it, though there was a bit of a learning curve getting used to all of the plugins.  Not to mention, Blogger blogs usually aren’t permitted to participate in many affiliate programs.

Here is how my process went after blogging over a year and a half.

Now I feel that my blog looks a lot more professional!  If I had kept my original Blogger design, I really don’t think I’d be where I am today with my blogging.  Spending money means you’re taking yourself seriously.  

#4 – Don’t Wait to Start Monetizing Your Blog

Since you should have a few expenses for your blog, it really makes sense to monetize as soon as possible.  I know that there are so many people out there like me who want to wait until everything is in its perfect place…but do not hesitate!

How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul (affiliate link) is an amazing book that I read very early on in my blogging career to learn the ways that I could make money through blogging.  This is a great book!  I remember reading a chapter on affiliate networks and thinking to myself “Oh, I don’t need that”.  Now I’m on a variety of networks that I hope will provide great resources for you, while supporting the blog at the same time:

  • Sverve (referral link) – Social Networking for Influencers and sponsored opportunities
  • Linqia (referral link) – create and share stories to promote popular brands
  • Social Fabric – shopping-focused influencers to promote popular brands
  • One2One Network – brand ambassador programs and campaigns
  • IZEA (referral link) – paid blog posts and tweets
  • Shareasale – sign up for campaigns to promote products for a commission
  • Amazon Associates – promote products on Amazon.com and get commission

I recently became an affiliate for the Badass Babes Blog Club and e-Course.  Remember a few months ago when I won a free entry to this 8-week course?  It was such a blessing and an amazing experience!  It really forced me to focus on my vision for the blog, define my audience and get organized.  While I’m still working on some things to improve the user experience here, The Badass Babes are an awesome community that keeps me motivated and has definitely helped to improve the look and feel of my blog.

Registration is now open for the latest session – I hope that you can check it out!  Let me know if you have any questions about the program!

#5 – Always Post Your BEST Work

I don’t mean to sound condescending when I say this…but let’s be real.

How many times have you been in a rush to just “write something” that you throw up a blog post with 50 words and a bunch of pictures just to fill the page?  Once a month?  Once a week?

Early on in my blogging, I definitely struggled with the desire to be considered an “active” blogger.  There were weeks when I was writing 4 times a week and it was impossible for me to sustain.  So I’d write a bunch of okay posts and then go without writing for a couple of weeks just to gain my sanity back.  Needless to say, this is an easy way to lose momentum and potential long-time readers.

Over the past 2 years, I have learned that I know when I can write well and when I cannot.  Sometimes I set out to have 3 posts in a week and I only end up with one because I either had too much going on, or I was just not in the mindset to write my best work.

It’s important to know what time of the day you do your best writing and stick to that!  Believe it or not, readers CAN tell when you’ve written a lazy post.

Believe it or not, readers CAN tell when you've written a lazy post. Click To Tweet

Every post you write has to be amazing.  Not just average, or even good.  It’s as simple as that.  It’s cliché, but I truly believe in quality over quantity.  If you can write 7 amazing posts in a week, every week, then by all means!  But I have learned that the most successful bloggers often post as little as once or twice a month.  So why not take all those amazing posts and spread them out over a few weeks?

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And needless to say (or maybe not), you must proofread your work before posting.  Previewing your post before it goes live works wonders!  I’m a pretty big stickler when it comes to grammar, spelling, and punctuation..but I have definitely had some crazy typos over the years!  It’s only human to have a minor mistake once in a while, but don’t make it a habit.

  • Grammarly is an AMAZING Chrome browser extension that goes beyond the simple spellcheck on your blog platform.  I use the free option and it has been extremely helpful in correcting even the most minor of grammar mistakes.  Grammarly has definitely helped improve my writing.
  • Hemingway Editor is another program that is popular.  It shows you how you can simplify your writing by removing unnecessary text and encourages the use of active, rather than passive voice.  In other words, it helps you get to the point in your writing!

Don’t be that blog that people stop by to visit only to never return because of poor spelling and grammar.

#6 – Social Media is Maddening…But a Necessity

Focus your time on the social media outlet that provides the most dividends and neglect the ones… Click To Tweet

This is an area that I have definitely struggled with over the years but have finally reached a point where I’m pretty happy with the way I’m handling social media.

In my social media share post, I tell you where you can find Run With No Regrets online.  I learned in a webinar that it’s important to focus your time on the social media outlet that provides the most dividends and neglect the ones that don’t…I definitely agree!

Facebook

I’ve been really happy with my engagement on my Facebook page.  I don’t know what triggered it, but I’m finally getting more eyes on my posts!  Here are some of the things I’m doing with my Facebook page:

  • I share images/links that other bloggers in my niche post on Facebook
  • I use Facebook scheduler to schedule posts in addition to Coschedule
  • I use Instagram to share images on my Facebook page
  • I ask questions and interact with my comments

I’ve learned that Facebook really doesn’t like when I share posts through Buffer, so I only use Buffer for Twitter.  Do you have any tips or best practices for handling Facebook?

Pinterest

I’m really enjoying using Tailwind (affiliate link) – it’s like a Buffer for Pinterest only and is chock-full of useful analytics.  I’m still on the trial version but will upgrade to the inexpensive blogger plan once my 100 pins are used up!   I think that once I start paying for the service, I’ll be doing a whole lot more pinning!  I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that many people actually pin 20-30 times a day, every day!  Update: I’ve moved over to Tailwind and I’m loving it!  Check out my review!

But Pinterest is great because you can easily use it to get more traffic to your blog.  In fact, Pinterest has become one of my top referrers to my site!  So definitely believe it when people say that “pinnable images matter”!  Long and skinny images (like the one I use above) are great for Pinterest. I hop between using PicMonkey (free version) and Canva to create my images.

Twitter

I’ve already mentioned Buffer, which is great, but using Coschedule (referral link) has been a godsend for social media sharing on Twitter!  I have been making sure to have one or two Twitter posts a day sharing my old content.  I don’t like to tweet very often, so this gives me more visibility on Twitter.  Thanks to CoSchedule my post on How to Run in the Heat Without Dying has had over 150 shares…almost 4 times as many as my other posts since signing up!

So in short, social media can be manageable, as long as you focus on the networks that matter the most to you and your audience and use tools to schedule your posts efficiently!  The better your “social influence”, the easier it will be for you to get into those monetization programs…so do not neglect!

#7 – Time Management: You Need a System and You Have to Stick to It

Work-life balance is just as important in blogging as it is in more traditional careers. Click To Tweet

As I mentioned before, blogging is a lot of work. That means that it can take up a whole lot of your time. And that can be a big problem.

It is very easy to get caught up in blogging.  You’re reading, you’re writing, you’re networking, attending webinars and Twitter parties, and the hours fly by.  And you still have to manage chores, dinner, work, kids, sleep…

Work-life balance is just as important in blogging as it is in more traditional careers.

I’m not a full-time blogger.  I work full-time as an engineering project manager, and I intend to keep it that way!  And as you can tell from my blog, I’m a runner and I’m very active.  That doesn’t give me a lot of time for blogging!

So I’ve learned that I need to take things more seriously and really get organized.  I have one day every 2 weeks where I really focus on the nitty-gritty of blogging:  Brainstorming ideas, scheduling posts, writing, and sharing content.  During the week I’m writing, creating images in Canva or Picmonkey, commenting on other blogs, and reading tips on blogging.

I’ve also realized that I can’t blog in the living room anymore.  It was fun for a while, but it was not good for my home life.  I was too distracted and couldn’t really relax because I was “working”.  Now I’m using my previous study space for the PE exam as my dedicated blogging office.  And now that the wireless is finally working properly in here, this is going to be my safe haven!

Here’s a short list of items that make blogging time management a lot easier:

  • Blogging Planners – search Pinterest for a freebie!
  • Evernote – though it’s a little too complicated for me!
  • WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin
  • Google Calendar

Find out what works best for you and make a serious commitment to stick to your plan.  Let your friends and loved ones know when NOT to disturb you!  Because again, you’re not just “playing around” – blogging is real work, and it’s time-consuming!   What ways do you separate your blogging time and “regular life” time?  

#8 – Join Blogging Facebook Groups – They’re Amazing!

Are you a part of any blogging groups or tribes?  They are somewhat like a best-kept secret…at least that’s what I thought!  This is one way that the blogging community, especially when it comes to your niche, all get to know one another and help each other.  And this is also where the guest posting opportunities come from!  

There are tons of different types of Facebook Groups for bloggers out there that can suit your needs with these offerings:

  • Share Your Posts
  • Get Comments, Likes, Pins, etc.
  • Gain Followers or Fans
  • Discuss blogging issues/support
  • Ask questions
  • Share useful articles
  • Promote giveaways
  • Crowdsourcing for roundup posts

Here is a list of some of the Facebook Groups that I currently belong to:

Sign up for a few groups and see if they’re right for you!  I used to be a member of more, but left a few since they either required too much work or weren’t very useful.  If you’re brand new to blogging, hopefully this list will give you a head start!

#9 – Don’t Get Overwhelmed By All the “Expert” Advice

There are so many incredible blogging experts out there.  I’m sure you’ve heard of John Morrow of Boost Blog Traffic, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income, and the list goes on and on.

But I’ve realized these past few months that I have probably been following too many experts.  I’ve made my head spin on multiple occasions trying to remember who said what and how to get things done the “right” way.

While it’s great to have a wealth of resources available to you, there is such thing as an information overload.  I’d recommend finding no more than 2 experts to serve as a guide/mentor, and only stick with them.  The last thing you need is conflicting blogging advice, like “Content is King….No, it’s not!”

#10 – Remember Why You Started Blogging

It’s so important to remember why you started blogging in the first place.  I doubt you started blogging because you wanted to be stressed out and miserable.  You probably wanted to express yourself creatively, promote your business, connect with people, or learn more about yourself.

It’s impossible to stay constantly motivated as a blogger, especially if you don’t get the most page views.  But I honestly believe that everyone has a story to tell and a unique voice that can inspire and encourage others.  

That’s why I can’t quit blogging.  I want to see where this goes!  I have so many goals and dreams when it comes to Run With No Regrets, and it’s something I never believed possible.  Even though blogging can be a drag at times, I have to remember my purpose and my audience.  That’s what keeps me going.

So find that inner drive inside of you and keep doing what you do best – being you!  Blogging should feel like a worthy endeavor, never a chore.  If it gets to that point, then it is most likely time to reassess where you are, and take a short break if needed.  I wish you the greatest success on your blogging journey!  Two years in and this is just the beginning for me!

Again, thank you so much for your readership and support!  If you haven’t subscribed to my email list yet, you totally should!  (wink) I’m working on creating more updates and content about running, fitness and nutrition, so I’d love if you’d sign up to get all the latest updates!  (wink, wink)

I’d really appreciate if you shared this post with bloggers and aspiring bloggers you know that would benefit from these tips!  Hopefully, this will be a resource that you can return to as you embark on your blogging journey!

What blogging tips did I leave out?  What do yo wish you knew 2 years into blogging?   Share in the comments!

Let’s stay connected! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Bloglovin‘!

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