You started off your first blog at a sprint, and then you ran head-first into a stone wall. Ouch.
Don’t give up yet! Every new blog hits some rough patches. Even though there are some challenges that you will inevitably face as a new blogger, we have a few simple tips and tricks to get you over the hurdles and through the obstacle course.
Here are 5 stone walls that every new blogger runs into and how you can move past them to become the successful blogger you were always meant to be!
- Building and Engaging Your Following
- Creating a Consistent Theme
- Knowing What to Post
- Time Management
- Narrowing Down Your Niche
Grab the FREE 12 Most Profitable Niches List below!
1. Building a Following
Starting a new blog can be a difficult venture, and any blogger knows that having an audience is the key to success.
- But how do you find your audience?
- And, more importantly, how do you keep them once you’ve grabbed their attention?
HOW TO FIND A FOLLOWING
Use Pinterest to drive people to your blog.
Unlike social media, Pinterest is a search engine. People don’t interact with one another on Pinterest; they look up specific topics.
It’s a visual Google.
Therefore, it’s crucial to have a presence on Pinterest. It not only boosts your SEO (search engine optimization), but also helps you reach people you could not have reached on your own. If your pins are getting good engagement, Pinterest awards you by boosting those posts for you!
Additionally, one good pin on Pinterest can circulate for months and continue to drive traffic to your blog.
- How To Get 100 Pinterest Followers In 7 Days
- 43 Pinterest Marketing Questions Answered Directly By Pinterest
HOW TO KEEP A FOLLOWING
Once you have people’s attention, you’re going to have to try your best to keep it.
You do so by obtaining their emails.
The very first thing you need is a way to capture emails; we suggest using Sumo.com.
Then you’re going to need an email marketing service to send emails; we recommend ConvertKit.
Engaging With Your Following
One of the most important aspects of blogging is engaging with your followers. Although a high priority, it often goes overlooked in the midst of producing and sharing content.
Your blog should have a minimum of three social media channels receiving just as much time and attention as your blog does.
Tip #1: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are three of the best social media sources to engage with your followers! Not everyone is on every platform, so combining all three can be one of the best ways to redirect attention to your blog.
- Make sure to include a link back to your blog in each of your bios.
- Share your blog post on every single platform you have immediately after you post.
- Engage with your audience and people who may be interested in the topics you write about.
With the prevalence of today’s social media, people are more likely to find your blog through a Twitter hashtag or an Instagram photo than a Google search. With every new blog post, be sure to share the link on multiple channels and utilize hashtags to draw attention to key topics.
Hashtagify.me is a great source to see what hashtags are currently popular or on an upward trend!
Tip #2: Providing additional content for your social media channels beyond what you produce on your blog is a good way to stay creative outside your normal writing. While staying within the context of your blog’s theme, social media offers you the opportunity to engage on a more intimate level with your followers.
Tip #3: Create engagement through interesting questions via Twitter Polls and Instagram Stories as a new way to increase the connection between you and your followers!
Tip #4: Follow other bloggers that you find particularly passionate, creative, or inspirational. Follow other bloggers who discuss the same topics as you do. Follow other bloggers who make you want to keep blogging.
Begin to build a community with these writers by actively liking their content and commenting on their posts. You’re more than likely to see the favor returned. The old “follow for follow” mantra hasn’t died yet.
- Get advice from experienced bloggers.
- Get added to the most popular Pinterest boards.
- Trade guest posts with other blogs.
- Link to other blogs on your posts, and give each other shout outs.
- Read their most popular posts, and write down what you think makes them successful.
You can learn from other blogger’s mistakes and successes.
Watch what others are doing, and try out what works for them. Use your network to effortlessly build your follower base. You’re not alone!
Blogging is a community, not a competition.
Tip #5: Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone in a DM (direct message). A few simple words can make all the difference in starting a new friendship. After all, bloggers just like you are also hoping to connect. Someone just has to get the conversation started!
Remember to be active in replying to comments and DMs, both on your own blog and social media channels. If someone reaches out, be sure to respond positively! Be the active and present blogger that people want to engage with regularly.
Over time, building such consistent connections with your followers breeds loyalty. That is what will increase your readership and opportunities.
Quick Story About DMs
An incredible dress designer @mariannabarska from Beverly Hills (who has worked with loads of A-List celebrities such as @beyonce, @badgalriri, @dianekruger, @jlo, @victoriabeckham, @lindsaylohan, just to name a few) reached out to me via DM and was so elated when I responded that we quickly formed a partnership, and I modeled her dress for her! See below!
- How To Become An Instagram Influencer
- How To Get Brands To Notice, Collaborate, And Pay You As An Influencer
2. Creating a Consistent Theme
Your blog is your brand. Whether you know it or not, a reader will determine whether or not they want to follow you in less than 10 seconds on your blog’s first page.
Effective communication as a blogger includes clear communication of who you are and how you want to be perceived. A clear visual theme on your blog is key to this means of presentation!
Your website design as a whole is the first indicator of your brand, beginning with your URL. Do you have a web host attaching their domain to the end of your URL (i.e. .wordpress.com, .blogspot.com, .wix.com, etc)?
As you grow as a blogger, you’ll want to expand to a more professional look. This includes self-hosting your blog, which helps you maintain a clear identity for your readers.
Find a graphic style, and stick to it. This should be evident not only on your blog’s images but also on your social media. Crafting an identity in this way will help you stand out against the hundreds of others bloggers who might be covering your exact same topic.
- What style of photo editing do you prefer?
- What fonts will you use?
No answer is wrong, so long as you maintain it throughout your posting.
Tip #2: Find a color palette that you love through Coolors, ColorFavs, or ColorPalette FX! Then you’ll have multiple color shade options for customizing your blog over time while still maintain consistency.
Remember to be adaptable. It might take you some time to find your specific style, and that’s okay! No one expects you to have everything figured out right at the beginning. If anything, acknowledging your mistakes and being open to experimentation makes you even more relatable to your reader.
“Perfection” is great, but growth over time is even better.
Tip #3: Explore other blogs and Pinterest for inspiration! There’s nothing wrong with exploring your options and learning what you do, and don’t, like to see. As long as you’re not copying another blogger directly (yes; that’s plagiarism, and it’s wrong), you might be surprised by the diverse graphic styles you’ll find.
If you’re looking for a starting place to create graphics, try Canva. It’s an easy way to find images, explore fonts, and develop a unique style that’s all your own. If you’re looking to make a statement with your blog, don’t be afraid to be bold! Incorporate edited images and quote graphics to mix up your posts. Find ways to express yourself that will draw your readers in. That’s what your brand identity is all about!
- How To Build A Credible Blog And Stand Out From The Rest (where I talk about how I got on the Huffington Post)
3. Knowing What to Post
You devote hours to designing your website and spend many sleepless nights brainstorming a top-notch title for your blog… and then it hits you, you have no idea what to actually write about.
Sure you picked topics and imagined yourself winning a Pulitzer prize for your stellar content, but when you actually sit down with your laptop, the blank page in front of you just isn’t inspiring.
So what? Well, no matter how beautiful your website is or how engaging your social media accounts become, you’re not going to gain readership without good content.
Ultimately, it’s your posts that will keep your target audience coming back for more.
“Blogger’s burnout” is a real challenge for every new blogger. It’s difficult to keep producing new content consistently! Plus, for many new newbies, it’s your first real writing experience.
Sure, you may have been forced to write a persuasive essay to get English credit in high school or college, but writing multiple times a week completely self-directed? That’s a whole new ball game. That said, there’s no reason to get discouraged just yet—every new blogger faces this challenge, and every successful blogger learns to overcome it, and so can you!
Tip #1: Write, write, and write some more. Even if you don’t have great ideas or you don’t feel that the topic you’ve chosen is going to work for your blog, just start writing. There is value in writing even if it never sees the light of day.
The only way to get better at writing is to actually do it as much as possible.
How will you know what you need help with if you never actually sit down and write anything out?
I used to spend hours and hours laboring over the perfect introduction. Now? I can crank out an entire article in under an hour if necessary. Try searching online for writing prompts, and give yourself time to sit down to answer one everyday.
Tip #2: When you are feeling inspired, get ahead. Ever wondered how super successful bloggers are able to publish posts every single day? Well, they probably started the posts for the current week about a month ago (or more).
Try to get ahead as much as humanly possible. It will give you time to brainstorm, write, and edit thoughtfully.
Tip #3: Try writing something nontraditional. You don’t always have to write a serious, paragraph-style blog post. Try writing a fun list of your top 10 movies of the year or top 5 makeup products of all time.
Think outside of the box; maybe you could even attempt an interview with an interesting person you have a connection to or ask one of your blogger friends to write a guest post.
Variety is fun for both you and your readers!
Tip #4: For the love of all things beautiful, edit your posts. You would be amazed at how much you miss by not doing a simple read-through before hitting the publish button!
How much more would a new pair of eyes catch? Try asking someone else to edit your posts. It’s really helpful to have another person tell you what makes sense and what parts of your posts are the most engaging, especially at the beginning! Plus, an extra grammar check never hurts.
103 Blog Post Ideas
Grab the free list!
4. Time Management
Wait. So you’re telling me I have to build a great website, write solid content, edit posts well, maintain social media platforms, have nice graphics, and live my life possibly with a full-time job or college classes or even a family? When do you sleep?!?
The demands of building a blog can be overwhelming, but thankfully there are platforms you can use and tips/tricks you can follow to help you manage everything.
Tip #2: Try to track everything in one place. Luckily, there are apps to help us do that, such as FreshBooks that automatically calculates your taxes, stores your receipts (just take a picture of it), creates customized invoices and expense reports, keeps track of your billed hours, maintains projects so you can collaborate with a team or client, accepts credit cards, and a ton more!
Tip #3: Schedule your social media posts. Use Tailwind for Instagram and Pinterest and SocialQueue for everything else. Sites like Facebook and Tumblr already have built-in queue options that you can utilize as well.
Benefits of scheduling your posts:
- Helps you stay on (and ahead of) schedule.
- Tracks your stats so you know when to post and which posts are performing the best.
- Increases your posts’ effectiveness, because they are well thought out.
Take a look inside my Tailwind account below. Track your followers, pins, repins, and more so you can keep improving!
5. Narrowing Down Your Niche
If you want to build a blog, you’re probably a pretty interesting and multi-faceted person. Anyone who wants to take on the pressures of writing on deadline, content marketing, design, social media, and everything else a blog requires probably has a lot to say, and that’s your problem.
You’re interested in everything, and you want to write about a variety of topics. Unfortunately, that’s not going to work well in the world of blogging.
The most successful blogs have specific niches, or specialties, and tend to write the same types of posts.
Niches are a good thing; it’s what readers want. A blog that tries to do everything is going to be confusing for the reader, and the blogger behind it will soon start to feel over-extended.
It’s just too much, and that’s ok! You don’t have to do it all. Even though you can’t really write about everything, you can be outstanding in your niche. Here are some tips to help you find your thing and rock it:
Tip #1: Write the blog you want to read. When I started blogging, I got stuck on what I thought I wanted to write, but I never stopped to consider what I wanted to read.
You’re not just blogging for yourself, but you’re blogging to get your message and your passions out there. If there’s content that you find yourself searching for, write the answer to that problem! Chances are, if you want to read something, other people do too.
Tip #2: Think about what you bring to the table. Read a ton of blogs, and figure out what you have that they’re missing. Find a gap that you, and you alone, can fill.
- What makes your content unique?
- Why does the world need you to write this blog?
I promise that there is something. There is always a perspective you have that isn’t already there, because you are the only one living your life with your personality and your experiences.
What’s your expertise?
Take some time to consider your purpose in creating a blog.
- Why are you looking to write on your specific topic?
- Are you hoping to share your passion?
- Teach a skill or share your knowledge?
- Connect with a specific community?
- Make money?
It’s easy to write whatever you want but much harder to know why you’re doing so.
Tip #3: Choose a target audience. Who are you writing to, and what do they want to read?
I would suggest writing to a group of people that you understand. If you’re a mom, you get the mom community in a way that a single male wouldn’t!
What communities are you in, and how can you reach them?
Focus your attention, especially your marketing, on that community. Having a target audience helps you spend your resources wisely.
If you haven’t already, grab the FREE 12 Most Profitable Niches List below!
Whether you’ve been blogging for months or just got started, you might hit a few roadblocks. Don’t let this discourage you! Blogging is a journey, one that’s always worth the extra time and effort. If you’re ever feeling stuck, don’t be afraid to step back and take a deep breath before diving back in.
Nothing good comes without hard work!
We hope that our few tips can help you get through your next blogging slump.
If you have any questions about blogging, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I would be glad to answer any questions you may have!
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Mercy Barrial is a senior at Wheaton College (IL) studying Communication Media Studies and Journalism and hoping to go into the marketing industry after graduation. She serves as Chair of the Media Team, Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Wheaton Record, and works as a Media Relations intern for the Marketing and Communications Department.
Bethany Peterson is a junior at Wheaton College (IL) studying Interdisciplinary Studies and Journalism with a minor in Spanish. She has worked in blogging for three years first as a staff blogger for 31Women Ministries, and now as an intern with LadyBossBlogger. She serves as Co-Editor in Chief at the Wheaton Record and hopes to go into journalism after graduation.