I have previously written an article on Blogging Tips. These ones were more for the beginner thinking of getting started, or just getting started. Today I thought I would give a few for the non-beginner who has been blogging a while. Perhaps you are feeling tired, perhaps your blog is looking tired. You may be running out of inspiration or lost interest.
I have had this blog since September 2011. I originally registered this blog just so that I could buy the domain name – I was afraid someone else would snap it up by the time I had decided to get going. At the time I was doing all the social media for my employer and had no time to do both. About six month later (early 2012) I started blogging here and have since then published about 3 posts a day, ever single day. People often ask me how I keep it up and how I find constant inspiration.
I guess part of it is my nature – I love to write and I am naturally curious about everything. And part of it is my journalism background – when you work in journalism you can’t wait for inspiration to strike – you have to go out and get it.
I blog on WordPress but most of these options are available on other platforms as well.
Find guest posters
If you find that you are searching for inspiration, ask your regular readers and commenters if they would like to do guest posts. Many people don’t have the time, energy or confidence to have their own blog but would like to write now and then. Others would like to try out blogging before committing to it. This allows them an established audience and to get their feet wet without having to register and create a blog and a blog theme first. Sometimes you can guest post for other blogs and those blog owners can guest post for you.
Change your theme
You can play around with both free and for-purchase themes without committing to anything. That way you can see which layout suits your content the best. WordPress (where I blog) has constantly updated banks of themes where you can see which layout best suits your content. There are themes specially designed for a magazine-like look, or for image-heavy blogs. And you can change them as often as you want. My present theme is a for-purchase one and I could customize the layout a great deal to personalise it.
Different themes offer different possibilities as well – some allow top tabs, others allow more extensive left and right side menus.
Use Premium Blog Options
Once you have been blogging for a while, you will know whether or not this is something you want to do long term. If it is (or even if you are not sure), there are some wonderful options available to you in the form of for-purchase upgrades. Many of them are not expensive at all. I am on WordPress and I have purchased my domain name, extra space, a ‘no ad’ service, and a premium theme. If you are really serious about it you can purchase an entire website from WordPress, including a webshop.
Know your Widgets
WordPress has a basic set of widgets which are available on all themes. And then for the premium themes there are some extra ones which you can use to further customise your blog. Not all themes have the same widgets so taking the time to experiment is really the best thing you can do here.
Learn some basic HTML
I have an advantage here in that I used to teach HTML to journalists to enable them to put newspapers online before HTML editors existed. Nowadays you very seldom need to know the back-engine which drives the look of your blog. But sometimes it helps.
Say you have a photograph or a piece of text that just will not behave – perhaps something that came from Word or from an email message that was not in plain text. Or you don’t know how to make text huge. If you go to the ‘text’ option of your editing screen, you can see if there is a piece of HTML code getting in your way, or add a piece of code -for example adding h1 and h2 codes will make your text bigger. Sometimes codes (such as div) from part of an email sent to you by a contributor could be making your content ‘unruly’. You can just remove them.
Republish some favorite posts
Once you build up a solid bank of material you can republish old posts – maybe popular ones or even ones that got lost in the flow.
Ask your readers what they want to read
Once you have a loyal core of readers, this really works well. You will find some useful suggestions and maybe some ideas for future directions for your blog.
Don’t chase readers or money
I would definitely prioritise building a solid reputation and a good relationship with your regular readers over obsessing about attracting more readers or making money. The best advertisement is a good reputation and word of mouth. You need to build that slowly, but if you do, it will be robust and long term. There is more longterm value that comes out of a blog than an immediate monetary or viewership one. Your blog is your brand and can be a platform for finding jobs, getting your name out there, having companies ask you to do their social media, being featured in magazines. They are not going to do that if your approach comes across as greedy and unprofessional and you have horribly cheap looking adverts flashing everywhere.
Choose your advertising well
I don’t read blogs where the bloggers are clearly trying to make money out of me. I don’t read blogs with annoying adverts or blatant product plugs. Bloggers who try to blag freebies or spam their blog all over communities without even trying to build up a reputation first go onto my Do Not Read list immediately.