There’s one question I get from new bloggers more than any other: “What’s your secret?”
Sadly, there’s no one secret to blog success…but half a decade into Diamonds in the Library, I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two. My pearls of wisdom may not be what you’re expecting and some of them may even be contradictory, but here’s what I’ve found to be true.
My best advice for new bloggers
More than one person told me I was crazy for writing this post, but I’m a big fan of supporting my fellow bloggers, rather than treating newcomers as potential competition. Blogging can be awesome, but it’s a hard road and and it goes better for all of us of we have each other’s backs.
Without further ado: here’s my best advice for new bloggers!
Write about something you love.
If I didn’t genuinely enjoy thinking, learning, and writing about jewelry, I would have stopped doing this years ago. Pick a subject that makes you happy and you’ll find satisfaction in your blog, regardless of the size of your audience.
Also worth mentioning: if you don’t love your subject matter, you’re going to have a hard time connecting with readers who do. People aren’t stupid. If you’re faking your interest in their favorite thing, they’ll know.
Do a good job.
If you care about your blog and want people to respect it, spend some time on presentation. Look at it with an outsider’s eye: is the text easy to read? Is the background distracting? Do your links work? Is your website mobile-responsive?
It’s also worth taking the time to proofread. If your writing is sloppy, you’ll seem sloppy and it’ll be harder for people to take you seriously.
If you share a picture on the internet and you didn’t take the picture yourself, you need to credit the person who did.
If the picture is of an artist’s work – for example, a piece of jewelry – you need to credit the artist as well as the photographer. To do otherwise is to spit in the face of the photographer and the artist, make yourself and your blog look lazy, and possibly invite legal trouble.
Also: I will think less of you. I don’t follow, recommend, or respect blogs or Instagram accounts who don’t credit their photo sources.
Don’t give up.
The internet is a harsh place. Some days, nobody will be interested in what you have to say. People will disagree with you, insult your body parts, and proposition you. It can wear on anyone, from experienced writers to new bloggers.
Focus on the good things: the readers you connect with, the discoveries you make, and the satisfaction you can take in creating good content. I’ve had a few days ruined by mean strangers, but the genuine connections I’ve made with other wonderful like-minded people loom larger in my memory.
And like I said above, if you pick a topic that you love, your own enjoyment in the subject matter will keep you going when it feels like nobody cares what you have to say.
I had 4 readers at the beginning, and at least two of them were my immediate family. Don’t give up.
Don’t do it for the money.
I’m certainly not against bloggers making money: you know that Diamonds in the Library is my full time job and I’m very proud of the fact. But if money is a new blogger’s primary motivation, rather than genuine interest in and love for the subject, I don’t know how they’ll manage to keep doing it day after day.
If you do decide to pursue the business side of blogging, do your research. There are relevant laws and best practices you should read up on beforehand.
Embrace scheduling tools.
If you try to do all of your social media posts in real time, you’ll go insane. If you find the right scheduling tools, you can live your life and keep up a consistent social media presence.
Take your time.
A lot of new bloggers don’t take the time to establish themselves before pitching potential business partners. If you’ve only published two blog posts and you’re already seeking sponsored content, signing up for affiliate programs, and scouting sidebar advertisers, you need to slow your roll.
You’ll be a much better blogger if figure out your true voice on your own before worrying about revenue. Also worth mentioning: you won’t be valuable to advertisers until you can prove you have staying power and an established audience.
Just do it.
People always tell me that they’re “thinking about” or “planning to” start a blog. If you have an idea for a blog and you actually want to do it, just do it. You can plan forever, but at some point you just have to take a deep breath and dive in.
If you’re nervous, keep your new blog on the DL until you’ve gotten the feel for it. I didn’t tell anyone but Mr. DitL that I was blogging until I’d been doing it for a few weeks. It gave me time to find my footing without worrying about what anyone might think.
There’s a lot of pressure on the internet to present yourself as perfect: always upbeat, always clever, always unblemished. It’s even harder for new bloggers who haven’t established their voices yet. Trying to maintain that kind of facade is not only unhealthy, it’s exhausting.
You don’t need to meet a certain standard to be worthy of putting yourself on the internet. Be yourself, and you’ll have the chance to build an audience who knows you and appreciates you for who you really are.
There’s a lot of advice for new bloggers here, but blogging really comes down to sharing your unique voice and connecting with the people who appreciate that unique voice.
So what I’m really saying is…if my advice doesn’t sound right to you, don’t follow it! Do your own thing, new bloggers, and if you don’t like it, try something else.
And then come back here and leave a link to your blog in the comments so I can check you out!
PS: Have you entered my GiGi Ferranti giveaway yet?? Don’t miss your chance to win free jewelry!