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.
The exception to this is photos with a CC0 Creative Commons license – there are various places online you can find such photos that are free to use. The photos in this post are all CC0.
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.
My favorites are Tailwind for Pinterest and Instagram and Buffer for Facebook and Twitter. (If you sign up for Tailwind with this link, we’ll both get a $15 credit!)
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!
Metier Paris says
Thank you so much for mentioning STEALING (and yes, full caps is on purpose!). A few jewelry bloggers out there regularly steal my photos and it irks me no end. I work hard on photos and exposure, and the lack of credit given, not just to me but all photographers on one person’s blog in particular, is really unprofessional. And you’re right: it’s copyright infringement – aka theft – because someone is using your content to promote themselves.
Best to you,
Totally worth the full caps!! Bloggers who steal photos make all of us look bad…and I know from experience how frustrating it is when you work hard to get the perfect photo and then someone just TAKES IT and doesn’t even say where they found it. I’m so sorry that it’s happened to you, too.
Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
Spencer Wong says
I am so glad that you share your valuable experience with us here. I remember last time the email you replied me when I try to reach you out,. You said bloggers should keep creating high quality contents before they want their blog make money. I was thinking that there’s no second blogger would be so willing to give us newbees such truthful advise like you do! Thanks so much, Becky, you are really an awesome blogger!
Also, would you mind to share more about how did you became a jewelry blogger rather than the other kinds? Because I want to do a jewelry blog as you do and share lovely designs, but more than one friends told me that I have no knowledge about jewelry- I’ve never work in this industry, I’ve never learnt this at school… But my passion about jewelry made me keep doing research day after day. I read your ” about me” page, you said you used to work for the government,. So how did you become so professional about jewelry industry? I would like to hear from you!
I don’t have any jewelry industry background or education either! I just wanted to write about jewelry, so I did. This blog has been part of my learning process: to see jewelry and think about what I’m seeing and making connections is the best way of learning. When I don’t know something, I research it and include that in my writing.
You don’t have to be an expert on something to write about it as long as you don’t share false information. As long as you’re honest and what you do and don’t know and do research instead of just guessing, there’s no harm in it!
I hope that helps, and thank you so much for your kind words!!
Robyn Granger says
This gives me so much hope – I’m just starting out and figuring my way around – thanks for looking out for us newbies! You are seriously an inspiration!
Aw thank YOU, Robyn, for this lovely comment! And good luck with your blogging dreams – I know you can do it.
Your posts feel like chatting with a girlfriend over coffee, with a great big “o my gosh look @ what I found! Let me share it with you!”
Thank you for your generous spirit – a breath of fresh air on the stinky ol internets.
Aww I’m so glad to hear that!! And thank you, Andrea, I appreciate it.