Wow! NINE YEARS BLOGIVERSARY
......time sure did go by fast. I started blogging this month in 2010 because I had began my divorce process as a survivor of domestic violence and had gained so much knowledge about domestic violence that someone told me to start a blog. I started off using Blogspot then I moved to Wordpress and finally last year, I landed on Wix which is my current platform.
My first blog website here was all about domestic violence and inspiration. It was called Break the Silence but the domain name was my non-profit at the time, A New Me Foundation (clearly I had a lot to learn about blogging lol). Once I was past that divorce and moving on with my life, I wanted to be known for more than only talking about the tragedies of domestic violence so I create a blog called, I Live in a Pink World. I guess you can say that this was my introduction to becoming a lifestyle blogger. I talked about my favorite books, poems I've written, recapped my life experiences, celebrity gossip or entertainment news and I talked about my love for wine of course. You can check out those blogs here and don't you dare judge me lol, I was still a newbie blogger.
As a blogger, I have learned so much over the years and constantly learning new ways to share my content with my readers. Below, I want to share with you, nine lessons that I've learned so far as a blogger:
Purchase your domain name. FREE domains are great but you don't own it and your content can be erased at any moment. Make sure your domain matches the name you want your website to be called. I called my first website "Break the Silence" but named the domain something else smh. Praise God for G-R-O-W-T-H!!! Now, my website is my name....easy to remember obviously and coincides with my brand and the goals I have for being a blogger.
Create good content. You don't have to create the best literary piece for your blog posts. I had tons of grammatical errors, blurry pictures and this list could on, but my content was good! I know that it was good because my readers kept coming back to read my posts, sharing it with their networks and my favorite, actually commenting on my posts. I see so many aspiring bloggers not publish blogs because they want everything to be perfect before they click "PUBLISH." You will never have a live blog if you're waiting on perfection. If you actually take the time and browse through my previous websites, you'll see that I got better and better as a blogger over the years. I didn't start blogging on this current platform.
Post consistently. Chile, I was horrible at posting consistently. I would blog once a month took a few months off and a blog schedule didn't exist. I highly suggest that you post on your blog at minimum once a week and you can gradually increase your blog schedule. You can't expect for blog traffic to increase on your website if you're not even being consistent with posting. Let me know if you need help with that.
Focus on growing your blog traffic and community. Speaking of blog traffic, you definitely want to focus on growing your blog traffic and community. This will help you monetize your blog if that's what your goal is and we all know that by now, social media can act crazy at any minute and you don't want your readers not to see your content because Instagram is down again, smh. Your blog subscribers or members can always see your content and you will establish a community of like-minded people from your blog traffic.
Categories on your blog makes things user friendly for your readers. OMG! OMG! OMG! Please create categories for your blogs because it makes life so much easier for your readers and anyone who's looking to partner with you. I was able to monetize from my relationship blogs because a staff member of the Toledo Journal newspaper saw my posts under that category, read through a few of them and hired me to be their weekly relationship columnist. What if she had to browse over 200 blog posts on my website just to get to the relationship posts? I can tell you, she probably would've logged off and moved on to another website because all of that browsing can be overwhelming. If your blogs talk about multiple topics consider adding categories to them. Your readers aren't always interested in every blog topic you post but they can easily find what they're looking for if you have categories.
Invest in a graphic designer, sooner than later. If you're not great with designs or layouts for your blogs or if you need to rebrand your website, invest in a graphic designer. Don't try to DIY everything on your website. Get ready to spend some coins but it's well worth with it. Once I invested in my graphic designer Kheiston Tilford, who also designed my new logo when I rebranded, I went to new levels of blogging because my website looked more professional and I consistently created content which increased my blog traffic and paid partnerships. You can check out Kheiston's services here.
Hire a professional photographer. Stock photos you find on the internet are great but if for nothing else, hire a professional photographer to take your basic headshots or lifestyle images you need on your "Home" and "About" pages. It makes your website look professional and you should have a set of professional headshots anyway as a blogger. I used to try to take my own pictures with my Canon camera and with my iPhone......talk about a struggle being real. Now, I pay my photographer Britt Smith to take my monthly pictures for my blog posts and she took those pictures that's on my Home page. We won't even mention the blurry mess that was up there before I hired her. If you're ever in NOLA and want to book her click here.
Give credit where credit is due. I always give credit to my photographer, brands whose products I'm using and contributors on the blogs. If you use a photo from the internet, give that website credit or the owner of that image credit for their content. I use "Image courtesy of xyz" under the images when I'm giving credit. This protects you from being sued for using other people images.
Collaborate with other bloggers to increase traffic to your website. I have learned the true art of collaboration over competition by having guest contributors on my website. It is so important to collaborate with other bloggers and non-bloggers to help increase your blog traffic. Whomever you decide to collaborate with, will share the post on their platforms and you can gain new readers instantly. Interviewing people who are not writers per se, are a great way to increase your blog traffic and gain new partnerships.
BONUS: Monetize from your blogs. I really enjoy making passive income in my sleep so I've found ways to monetize from my blog posts. Paid partnerships, featuring music artists and creating digital products around some of my blog topics have been just a couple ways that I've monetized my blogs.
Now matter if you are a beginner blogger or intermediate blogger I hope these lessons that I've learned will help you continuously get better as a blogger. I have enjoyed blogging and don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I'm a writer so blogging will always be apart of what I do. I look forward to growing even more with you and if there's a topic you want to see me discuss on the blog, let me know in the comments.