Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Tips For New Bloggers

 I've been blogging since the age of eleven. Over the last eight years, I've done everything myself. Back in 2012, it wasn't too common for blogging courses to be taught, even more so for eleven year olds starting their own. Unfortunately the interest in reading blogs is going downhill compared to the peak back in years such as 2014 where we rushed to read Zoe Sugg's latest monthly favourites. Many people nowadays prefer swiping photos on social media and scanning through the short captions rather than investing time in reading lengthy content. It is sad. But things change all the time. It is easier and quicker to search up an influencer and just look at what they've been wearing recently through their latest pictures instead of reading an entire blog post. I do believe that there are other souls out there that prefer the written content and find joy in reading an article in a magazine or on a blog. I compiled a list of tips and tricks I have picked up over the years. For the handful out there that wish to start this journey themselves, this is for you.

Write For Yourself

Seems obvious, but is ever so easy to not do. Focus on what you're interested in and what you would like to read about. If you find a few people out there who share the same joy, that's brilliant. If you haven't yet, don't worry. Whether you want to be a food blogger and document your diet, share your fashion views with others or admire cars and want to dedicate a web page to them, you are free to do so. Trends are good in their own way but don't follow what is popular at the moment if it is not something you are interested in.

Research Which Platform You Want To Use

There are many. The most commonly used platforms are Blogger, WordPress, Wix and SquareSpace. Each has their own set of advantages and disadvantages, ranging from complexity to pricing and design. I use Blogger, it is the one that was the easiest for my eleven year old brain to wrap around as it is very straightforward to use. You won't need any guidance or support in uploading a post using this platform. Also, it's free to use. The only charges I ever faced where my custom domain and custom templates which were add ons I chose myself. However if there is anything I learnt from my one and only economics lesson in college, it is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Yes Blogger is quick and simple, but it is very plain. I've edited their own themes in every way I could think of, purchased a theme from Etsy and now have one from PipDig and there are still limitations to what I can do with this site. This platform has many design limitations, however readers or new bloggers probably won't pick up on this. You can migrate between different platforms in the future however it is very complex to do. The possibility to pay for the migration service is there, however it will cost you between £150 and £200. It's easier to choose a platform you like before putting yourself in that position. 

If You Want A Fancy Template, Buy One From Etsy

Etsy is flooded with creative minds who design templates for blogs. Whether you use Blogger, WordPress or any of the others, you will find something on Etsy. You don't need a super snazzy and expensive template, especially when you're just starting out. I've spent the majority of my eight years on Blogger's own templates and a very affordable one I bought from Etsy back in 2017. This summer I invested in a PipDig template as I've dreamed of one since finding out that is the software that InTheFrow and Zoella use, but I was much happier with my previous choice. Many Etsy templates are around the £10-£15 mark and are often on sale. As long as you choose a seller with high reviews, you should be pretty impressed. Many help with the installation for free if you wish, however the process is easy enough for you to do yourself when following their instructions. Also, templates are not a subscription. You pay once and use without expiration on your website. Don't pressure yourself into purchasing a more expensive template just because of the brand at the bottom that most people don't notice anyway.

Change is Natural

As with everything in life, change is bound to happen. Same with blogs. You're allowed to wake up one day and want to take your website down a different path. Those of you who have been with me since the beginning will remember the 'Teens New World' days with a silver boombox radio as a background of a page dedicated to Movie Star Planet and whatever thoughts came through my head. Your interests ae bound to shift at some point. Despite needing my loom band tutorial and phone case wish list days to get me to where I am currently, I prefer focusing on other topics now.

Make Sure Your Images Are Their Original Size

This point deserves to be shouted from the rooftops. When adding photographs to your post, click on their sizing and ensure you select 'Original Size'. This means that your photo won't be stretched or 'pixelly' when the blog post goes up. It is the easiest way for your image to achieve the best quality. Sometimes photos need a bit of polishing up regarding their brightness but you don't have to professionally edit your photos for your website. Especially when you're starting out. 

And last but not least, have fun. We are living in very stressful times and this is a wonderful way to relax whilst being productive.

K x

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