What I Know About Blogging aka Blogging 101.


I wrote recently about reaching the five year milestone in blogging.
I'm often asked about how & why I blog....
the why is fairly easy to answer, the how not so much since I am not great on the technology side of it.

I am by no means whatsoever an expert but thought I would share what I've learned thus far about blogs & blogging.

1. It's YOUR Blog
Readers, PRs & brands often like to label you as one category or another for convenience or other reasons but my view has always been that your blog can & should be about whatever you want it to be about....
write what you like & when you want.

Don't feel that you have to limit yourself & labelling/categorising your blog can tend to do that.

I receive a lot of emails relating to "mummy blogger" stuff (a label, by the way, which I really detest!)....
I'm a mother & I blog but I'm do not consider myself a mummy or parent blogger.
If pressed, I would say my blog is a "life & style" blog because that is how I see it & that's mostly what I write about.

2. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
There is so much information relating to blogs & blogging out there & it can be, quite frankly, overwhelming.
I think it's important to keep a clear view of what you want your blog to be....
have your own vision.
Know what your field of expertise is & know when to ask for help.

I have changed my blog template several times over the years & have always had the work done for me....
my technology knowledge is pitiful.
Ana at Blog Milk designed my current blog template (and is always super-helpful)....
there are many many blogs & websites out there that will help you to do all kinds of amazing things with your own blog design.
I know my strengths, know how much time I want to spend....
and believe in delegating & admitting defeat when necessary! 

I tend to take the view that if you ask nicely, then people will be happy to help....
if I see something cool or that I'd like to be doing (design-wise) on my own blog, then I ask the blogger in question....
Pay it forward, why not?! I've done the same when other bloggers have asked me.


3. Go At Your Own Pace
If you want to be small, be small....if you want to go global, then shoot for the stars.
Blogging has been hugely popular over the past few years & many blogs have really taken off.

It took me ages to place advertising/get a media kit/sort out my stats, page counters etc....but I did it in my own time.
If you want to earn money from your blog, then you do really need to do these....again, don't be afraid to ask for assistance or support.
Some of my favourite blogs have no advertising whatsoever - you don't have to monetise, don't feel pressured to do so.

4. Find Your Voice
I personally think it takes a while to hit your blogging stride, it certainly was that way for me.
I started off very cautiously & timidly, like many bloggers I'm sure....and gradually I found my way & my style....it probably took me a good two years, at least, though.
My blog is evolving continually. 

Blogging is a funny thing, when I write, I read it back & all I can hear is my own voice....
and then I realise, that that is exactly the point of blogging!
Readers like a voice, a continuity, a story & a life that they can follow along & identify with.

Honesty is a great quality to have as a blogger....
I've never written about anything that wasn't true or didn't actually happen to me.
I publish & write about beautiful homes & gorgeous images but when I write about myself or my life, I write with total honesty....better for me & better for the reader.
I'm not interested in exaggerating or making stuff up - be authentic. Always. 

That doesn't mean sharing absolutely every aspect of your life....
I would most definitely say that you should only share what you feel comfortable sharing.
On the one hand, writing it down & hitting publish can often be a great relief & a way of gaining clarity - but once it's out there, it's out there, so make sure you are happy with that.

Write as often as YOU want....be it twice a day or twice a week - it's entirely up to you.
Your blog, your rules.


5. BE NICE!!!!
I've said before that I have never received a negative comment but I know many many bloggers who have, I've read them myself.

Blogging should be positive, constructive & supportive.

There is much to be said for if-you-can't-be-nice-then-keep-it-to-yourself & a lot to be said for simply being kind.

Writing on a particular topic may have taken courage & a great deal of thought...having that trampled on or disrespected by a complete stranger is hurtful & damaging. 
It's completely unnecessary....
I'm always amazed to see grown-ups engaging with each other like that.

There are pros & cons with the blogging community - and it is entirely up to you how much you want to get involved.
I will be honest & say that for ages I shied away from blogging conventions & the like because I  felt it could be clique-y & b*tchy.....
then I attended one (at Google headquarters in London), and it was exactly that!!
I left at lunchtime & didn't go back....it just wasn't something that I wanted to be part of.

But I've since been to a couple of other events, both bigger & smaller & they've been great...
informative, useful & full of very nice people.  

6. Be Courteous
Give credit where it's due & link back wherever possible....
Pinterest is wonderful but it often makes it a challenge to link to the original creator of the image,
I have been guilty myself of publishing images & not giving credit, simply because I couldn't find it....
on the couple of occasions where the photographer has contacted me, I have put it right immediately.

If I write a post that has been inspired by a writer or a book or another blog, I will always credit them for the idea....it's a challenge to always be original but most bloggers manage to be.
Acknowledging other people's work is right, responsible & fair.

I think it's fine to link to other blogs by way of referencing a feature/blogpost/image that you have liked or enjoyed....
I see it as part of supporting other bloggers, sharing the goodness....
as long as it's done nicely & with respect.


7. Paid Work
Possibly this is a whole post in itself but I'll try to keep it short & just cover what works for me.

I should say that I've never offered myself up for anything, I tend to be offered work & I pick & choose what suits me.....

* whilst it's nice to get offered free stuff, I will only review items/events/products that I really genuinely like/need/want or that are relevant to me or to my family.
the product you accept because it sounds too good to refuse will be the one with a terrier-like PR who will chase you down for days/weeks/months demanding to know why you haven't reviewed it yet & when exactly you are going to do so. you will wish you had never got involved.
trust me on this!

* I only write reviews of items that i like - if I don't like something, I simply don't review it & I make this clear beforehand.

* it is worth cultivating good relationships with PRs - PRs who should only really have contacted you in the first place because they work with brands already relevant to your blog - they need to have done their homework too.

* go with your instinct. always.

* if you don't want to do it, don't.
remember that it's your blog & your integrity on the line - you know your readers & you also know if it's simply not your style, be clear about that to yourself & anyone who contacts you.
also remember, that there are many blogs out there....a PR will woo you & may make you all sorts of offers....
but if it's not for you, say no.
there are a lot of blogs out there & PRs will they'll quickly move on to someone else.
and that's the honest truth.

* decide for yourself what you feel your value is & stick to that, don't feel you have to compromise....do not undervalue yourself.

*Sponsored Posts....I usually feature several of these per month & generally I write the content myself, I prefer to do this as the control remains with me & style remains my own.
These posts tend to be an area where you can again make your rules & criteria - PRs can be very persuasive....but charge your own fees & be clear & open about what you can offer.

I say no to far more sponsored posts than I say yes to.

Advertisers/paid links - there are lots of websites out there offering guidelines & very good advice about what you should charge.
I've always had some level of conversation with the PR/advertiser, asked what their budget is & what they need/want - if it's someone I really want to work with, them I'm prepared to be flexible, to some extent.
Over time I have developed mutually beneficial relationships with some fantastic PRs & media agencies in London & have found it's far better to be honest about what I want, what they want & what I can offer - that way you are not wasting anyone's time.

And finally - if I haven't already been clear about this....
BE YOURSELF & KEEP IT REAL!!

It's just blogging, it's not rocket science & we are not saving lives.
If you are not enjoying it, why put the effort - or not - into it.

You are writing a blog, they're not yet giving out Nobel Prizes or even Pulitzer Prizes for that....
keep some perspective....
many inhabitants of this world do not even know what a blog is ;)

 ....for "instagram" substitute "blogging" ;)

I'm going to share some websites that I've found helpful for blogging later this week but please feel free to ask me any questions that you may have....and do remember, I am only writing about my personal experience of blogging, I am not claming to be an expert :)

2 comments:

  1. This is amazing Simone - Thank you.
    I feel like I'm still a new girl in the world of blogging, and just manage, by trial and error, to get my posts on line.
    I am always interested in how and why other bloggers do it.
    Hope you have a lovely evening,
    Liz x
    Ps love the last quote!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are a brilliant blogger, Simone...great, informative post..I so agree with you about being honest, kind and courteous and love the quotes you have here.
    Have a good day xx

    ReplyDelete

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