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.