It’s a bit crazy to think 10 years ago blogging as a career didn’t even exist and now it feels as though it’s one of the most desired jobs. When I first started blogging I had a lot of negative feedback, not particularly nasty comments (that came later) but people that I knew were very condescending towards me.
There’s always been a stigma around bloggers that all we do is take photos and write some words but it is so much more than that. The workload is overwhelming and you’re not automatically guaranteed praise for something you pour your blood, sweat & tears into.
That being said, blogging is also one of the most REWARDING jobs and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. At times it doesn’t even feel like a job and the opportunities are limitless.
Since I get asked quite often for full time blogging tips, I’m here to share some of the best tips to up your blogging game.
And before getting into it, I just want to note this post is aimed at bloggers who are trying to turn their blog into a brand and/or business. If you enjoy blogging as a hobby, then these tips are absolutely not necessary.
1. The right equipment
Gone are the days where makeup photos were taken on phones & outfits simply against a wall in your room. The first stepping stone in taking your blog to the next level is, of course, improving the quality of your photos. This will not only help you be taken more seriously for opportunities by PRs and brands, but it can build your exposure on social media.
I use a Canon 70D for my photos with a few different lenses, depending on what I’m shooting. Although if travel blogging is more your thing, you might want to invest in a more travel friendly camera, as an SLR is a real pain to carry around. I really love the Olympus PEN E-PL7 with the 42mm 1.8 lens.
If you don’t have a friend who knows their way around a camera or a suffering instagram boyfriend (HA – you guys know it’s true though), why not hire a photographer? If you’re having trouble finding one, search for bloggers around your area on instagram and see who their photo is being taken by. If that doesn’t work, email around – you’re bound to find one eventually.
Another option is reaching out to students studying photography. It’s sort of a win-win because they’re usually trying to build their portfolio and gain experience so they could offer you free or much more affordable photography sessions.
2. Buy your own domain
Although blogger is a great platform to begin with, most bloggers end up moving over to self-hosted WordPress. It’s not as user-friendly as blogger but it is a much more professional platform and all the content is your own, rather than being owned by Blogspot.
I can’t stress how important it is to at least have your own domain name when you’re turning your blog into more than just a hobby!
3. Identify your brand
I feel as though so many bloggers overlook one of the most important aspects of building a blog, and that is, branding. I personally love branding. I probably love it just as much as I love blogging. By having a clear brand, readers will know what to expect from you in the future. If they like that then they will come back for more.
Don’t forget your brand must be fluid throughout all your social media channels. If your blog is light & feminine, then don’t make your twitter feed black & dark.
Simply put, branding is all about how you want people to perceive your blog, and how you want them to feel when they log onto your website.
4. Invest in your blog
I think it’s pretty unrealistic to create a business without spending a cent. Of course you’ll notice bloggers these days being sent around the world and the latest chloe bag (Yes, REALLY) but that definitely didn’t happen overnight. They’ve poured thousands of dollars and years into their blog. Remember, gradually chip away at your goal every single day.
If you’re a fashion blogger, put your money towards clothes. If you’re a travel blogger, invest in plane tickets. You get the drift.
You only get out what you put in. Don’t expect more until you do more!
5. Schedule & Organise
When you start to get serious about something, you should become more organised about it too. I’m a planner so I like to schedule content, as well as all my days, in advance. Usually I plan out a month in advance but leave time for new product trends, outfits, etc that might happen. It also helps ensure you don’t run out of ideas or have content scheduled, even though you might have fallen ill or need time away.
Your content should be regular and consistent. Brands want to know they can rely on you.
A little bit of a touchy subject for some but a question I still get asked quite often is “how do you make money from your blog?”
This question has been answered numerous times across many blogs, and it is going to be an inevitable factor you have to consider when turning your blog into a business.
Here’s a few ways popular to monetize your blog.
Advertising: Signing up to an ad network such as Google Adsense will put ads throughout your blog in areas that you choose, and work on a PPC (pay per click) program. Although this is becoming less popular as it can sometimes ruin the aesthetic of a blog.
Affiliate links: Signing up or being invited to an affiliate platform will help you monetize your links. There are many platforms out there now that usually work on a pay-per-click or pay-per-sale program. The most popular include ShopStyle and Reward Style (invite only).
Sponsorships: Sponsorships seem to be the most popular way for bloggers to earn a living. Usually a brand will reach out and pay you a certain amount of money to publish a post and share it across social media. There are also times when they will only want you to post something on social media – sort of like an Instagram ad.
Product: When you have a substantial following, many bloggers turn to selling their own product – whether it be makeup, cosmetics, clothing, travel guides, cookbooks, etc. Again, this usually only works when you have a loyal following and are in it for the long run.
7. Build your social media presence
It is imperative that you grow your influence and brand through social media as it’s a primary source of traffic for most blogs. It is a reflection of your blog and brand. It’s how you can connect with readers, brands and PRs. Some brands look at an Instagram following over blog traffic nowadays, and in my opinion, instagram should be one of the tools to utilize to grow your overall brand. It’s also important for getting feedback from readers and engaging (eg reading, sharing, commenting) them on your social media posts.
8. Own your niche
A great blogger is when readers rely on you to be the expert in your particular field. For example, if you’re a beauty blogger, never stop learning AS MUCH as you can about beauty products, releases, trends, etc. Always be ahead of the crowd. The more you understand what you’re talking about, the more readers will trust and rely on you as a valuable source of beauty tips and information.
9. Assess your analytics
First step, make sure you’re signed up with Google Analytics as it’s the most trusted and valued source of analytics. Now, I totally understand that numbers ARE important. Obviously brands only want to work with bloggers who have over a certain reach. That being said, I don’t think you should get too caught up with numbers because it can really do more bad than good.
Instead, use your analytics to learn about your audience. It’s one of the keys to increasing your traffic. I look at if there’s specific topics people are coming for, the traffic sources I should develop, what people are searching on my blog, etc. In doing so, I can learn about what my readers are interested in and create more of it.
10. Look at your blog like a business
From day one, I knew that blogging is what I wanted to do. Sure, at the time, it was just a hobby BUT with a 5-year plan. I knew that I wanted it to turn into my job so I treated it like a business.
In a business, it’s important to spend time on it’s different departments, not just creating posts. There’s sales, marketing, social media, deisgn, tech, taxes, rates, business development, etc.
You have to put effort into all these areas and if there’s something you’re not particularly knowledgeable at, then delegate. If it’s tech, hire a tech designer. It’s more efficient to delegate the work to someone who is an expert in the field, rather than waste hours trying to figure it out yourself.
Focus on your strengths, delegate your weaknesses.
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I hope this helped answer some of your questions! What are your thoughts on full time blogging? Is it something you’d like to do? Do you already do it? Any tips? Love to hear your thoughts!
Seriously though, your comments make my day.