Blog design: over the years I taught myself HTML and coding to get through creating my tumblr themes and editing them (I'm a perfectionist that can never get anything to be within my idea of perfect). I still would love to create my own blog design one day, but until I can find the time to learn some more HTML needed, I decided a few months back it was time to get my blog professionally designed. As a newer blogger and college student, I definitely don't have the hundreds of dollars to spend on a blog design. That's why when I found Theresa from Always in Bluhm Designs I was SO excited. Having my blog designed was one of the best things I ever did for my blog and I highly recommend using Theresa if you use the Blogger platform. If you're on Wordpress, you can just as easily search Etsy for designers who cater to WP users!
Social media: I've always been a social media junkie, but being a blogger has really made me realize just how important social media outlets are for your blog and for promoting your blog and your content. I mostly utilize the typical outlets - Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook - but there's so many outlets out there that it's hard to keep up! There's also insanely helpful apps you can have right on your phone that'll organize your blogging life. Check out my post on that here!
- Pinterest: ever since creating pinnable images for each of my posts and posting them ALL over my boards and group boards, I've seen huge traffic growth. I'm talking a difference of hundreds of pageviews per day people! Seriously, Pin Groupie will be your best friend. You can narrow your search by Pinterest category and I've found some seriously awesome group boards to join that way. Being a part of group boards that have a lot of followers = more blog post views! I try and set 30 minutes aside once or twice a week searching pingroupie for new group boards to join and it's been super beneficial to me! You'll be amazed at just how many group boards there are out there!
- Instagram: nowadays, who isn't obsessed with Instagram? I know I am and I only made my blog's account two or so months ago. I highly recommend making your blog it's own Instagram ASAP! It's a great way to meet new bloggers and it's also a great sharing source as well. Be active and utilize it; like other blogger's pictures and leave comments as you would on blog posts - it's a great way to connect! You can also Google hashtags that bloggers in your niche use and tag ALL of your photos with them. For example, #blogpost #fbloggers #lbloggers. Even more of a chance to have your posts reach new people!
- Facebook: even though it seems as if Facebook isn't as popular anymore, in the blogging world it's the complete opposite! No if's, and's or but's - make your blog a Facebook page! I post on my blog's Facebook page nearly every day. Always post a link to your latest post and stay active for those who like your page. Facebook is also a great resource for growing your blog and meeting other bloggers as well - joining Facebook groups is one of the last things I ever would have thought to do, but believe it or not - they're INSANELY worth it! These groups usually have daily threads where you can interact with other bloggers and exchange comments, likes, follows, etc. My favorite group that I'm a part of is Show Your Blog Love and I highly suggest asking to become a member!
Utilize free workshops and programs: so many successful and popular bloggers offer e-courses dedicated to different blogging aspects; growing your audience, making your blog more attractive, pretty much anything you need you can find a course on! These bloggers spend a lot of time creating and maintaining these courses so you can expect to have to pay for them, however they can be really, really helpful! From time to time some of these bloggers offer either free courses or free mini courses (enticing you to purchase the full course and also giving it a chance to see if its one for you). Dana Fox recently offered a free "blogging bootcamp" course that was sent in 7 emails in 7 days and they all had little tips for you to implement on your blog. Super helpful advice and I would recommend one for sure!
Edit your pictures: when I began blogging, I took all pictures for my posts on my iPhone 6 - which is supposed to have great quality, right? I was always proud of my pictures until I got myself a REAL camera and compared my phone pictures to my camera pictures. Good quality cameras are pretty expensive so if you aren't in the market for one of these yet, there IS ways to successfully use your phone! Even with using my camera I still edit my pictures and try to use the same brightness and contrast levels for all of my post pictures. I use Photoshop CS5 to edit my pictures, but there are tons of websites that will work perfectly if you don't have Photoshop - PicMonkey and Photobucket are two editing websites that both will do the trick! Moral of the story - always edit your post pictures and try to stick with a theme for all of them. This is something I learned recently and it makes sense; either make all of your pictures bright or make them all dark - it looks better than trying to mix both! I also have found that "pinnable" pictures are usually ones that have light or white backgrounds to them. For example, this is my best performing pin to date and I have a feeling it's because of the bright background!
Guest posting & creating quality content: these two aspects of blogging go hand in hand because you should always only post quality content and always look for opportunities to guest post - and create quality content for those guest posts also! I've both reached out to and have been contacted by bloggers with guest post opportunities (that you can read here!) and it's a great way to expand your reach. I was lucky enough to do a whole series of guest posts for Tracy at Nest Full of New while she was on vacation. Creating quality content on your blog is important - and creating quality content for your guest posts is as well since this is readers first glimpse at your work and what they can expect to see if they decide to visit your blog. Take your time creating your content - make a draft, edit, take breaks (if you can) and take time working on images for your post. Going back on my posts from March and comparing them to my posts from June shows a HUGE difference and is something I'm super proud about!