blogging / personal

Top 10 Blogging Tips for Beginners

01.07.15

10 Tips I Learned My First Year of Blogging

With my one year blogging anniversary approaching this week, I thought it would be fitting to reflect on all that I’ve learned.  I  truly knew nothing before I published my first post, and while I am certainly no where near being an expert now, I have learned a lot over the past year.  I’ve put together what I feel are the top 10 blogging tips for beginners.

10 Things I Learned My First Year of Blogging

10.  Create a Space. I blogged from my couch until about two weeks ago after we got a desktop computer.  I’ve found that I am much more productive when I sit at a desk to blog.  We don’t have an office, but I positioned the bed in our guest room so that a desk fits comfortably in the room.  It’s nothing fancy, but it feels like a work space, and I therefore get to business as soon as I sit down.

9.  Attend a Blog Conference.  This is the best thing I did for myself as a blogger.  I attended Haven Conference after 6 months of blogging because my blog friend told me it would be a good experience.  My only intention before the conference was to meet new blog friends.  I had NO idea about most of the things discussed at the conference, but I took great notes and came home with a new perspective on blogging.  I learned that blogging is what you make of it, and it can be anything you want it to be with a lot of hard work.

*UPDATE* Since writing this post I have read Just a Girl and Her Blog’s eBook, “Building a Framework: This Ultimate Guide for Blogging“, and it was a total game changer.  When readers email and ask “how to start a blog” I always recommend Abby’s ebook because my blog (and own well-being) gained so much after it.  It’s perfect for someone who wants to start a blog but has absolutely no clue where to begin, yet it’s also great for someone who has started but isn’t sure what to do next (me when I read it).  I literally walks you through how to start a blog (TONS of technical advice that I had no clue about) and then goes in full detail on how to grow readers.  I’ve wasted so much money on books and guides on “how to grow a successful blog” but hands-down this is the best one I’ve read.

Building a Framework: The Ultimate Guild for Blogging*

8.  Choose Your Name Wisely. I can speak from experience on this one.  I’ve had 3 different blog names/urls in under a year.  Not exactly ideal.  When I decided I wanted to start blogging I felt rushed to pick a name because I wanted to get started!  I failed to vision what I wanted my blog to be in five years, and what I picked for my first blog name unfortunately didn’t reflect that.  Funny story… my sister in law is also Claire C. Brody.  It’s comical at times.  My second blog name was “Claire Brody” because I wanted to get as far away as I could from my first blog name, Honey Haven.  My sister in law is in the entertainment industry and will eventually need the domain clairebrody to pursue her career.  I knew this when creating my second blog name, but again I just wanted a fresh start.  After deciding on a business name, Claire Brody Designs, I changed my blog name for the third time to that.  Fingers crossed that the third time is a charm. 😉

7.  Content is King.  Content, content, content.  This is something I recently learned and am working to achieve.  Your blog content is your portfolio.  If you’re not proud of your work, don’t post it.  (I could go back and delete so many posts that are cringe-worthy.)  Your blog content is what keeps readers coming back, and if you’re not putting out great, original content, they simply won’t return to your site.  This should be the first priority when starting a blog.

6.  Photography.  I’ll be honest, I might have shed some tears over photography.  It’s SO hard to master!  You can create great blog content, but if you can’t photograph it, no one sees how great it is.  Invest in a DSLR camera, take a photography class, learn to shoot in manual and practice like crazy!

5. Network. It will feel weird at first, but create a Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google + and Twitter account specifically for your blog and network like crazy!!  Comment, share and like all of your favorite bloggers posts and they will eventually notice you!  (Still working on that.)  Brands also pay attention to your social media, so keep that in mind if you hope to work with brands one day.  Treat your social media accounts like a mini portfolio.  Also don’t be afraid to email the bloggers that you look up to and introduce yourself or ask for advice!  What can you lose?

4.  Prepare.  You will most likely not have the time you’d like to commit to blogging.  (Isn’t that the case with everything in life?)  As you get more and more into your blog, you’ll learn that it becomes quite time consuming.  Set aside time each day to commit to blogging.  I’m a night person, so I prefer to stay up late writing posts, keeping up with social media, and everything else that goes into blogging.  You might have to sacrifice sleep to grow a blog, but if it’s something you’re really passionate about, I think it’s worth it.

3.  Don’t Compare.  This is easier said than done.  I’ve been told by some great bloggers to never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.  I definitely get discouraged when I compare my work to bloggers who have been doing this for years.  When this happens, use their work as inspiration for where you hope to be one day.

2.  Be Authentic. There are certainly “ways” to build a successful blog, however, if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.  I’ve learned that it is so crucial to have an authentic voice through blogging, and if you don’t then your readers will see right through it.  I’ve gone back to some of my posts and thought, “that doesn’t sound like me.”  It happens.  Just be you in all that you do.

1.  Just Do It.  Starting a blog is scary.  Thoughts like “what will people think of me?” and “what if my blog isn’t good?” might run though your head.  I’m pretty sure that every single “big time” blogger had those same thoughts before they pressed publish for the first time (unless they’re just really awesome).  If you have any inkling of wanting to start a blog, do it!  It probably won’t be what you expect, but you won’t be sorry.

Now the good stuff!  I asked a few of my absolute favorite bloggers what they wished they knew when they started blogging.  Here’s how they responded:

“It may feel scary, but just start. There’s no one else in the world that has your perspective, your take on things– only you can offer that! You’ll learn the technical stuff and best practices as you go, so start putting posts out there and have fun with it!” -Abby, Just a Girl and Her Blog

“This is a hard question because so much of the joy that I have experienced along the way came from finally learning or overcoming my trouble spots along the way.  There were times early on blogging that I was so frustrated that I almost quit blogging because I had so much to learn about the technical (platform, photography, social media, etc..) side of blogging. Sometimes I felt that there was just too much to learn and almost gave up.  But because I just kept at it and tried to learn as much as I could, I was finally able to overcome my frustrations and improve over time. While I would have loved to have known all of this technical stuff ahead of time, the greatest joy for me was the realization that I improved and overcame these things because I worked hard to learn and I never gave up.  For me, the best part of my blogging journey has been the journey within myself (personally, technically and creatively), which pours over to the readers and the blog itself.” – Cyndy, The Creativity Exchange

“BECOME A PHOTO NINJA. Invest in a good camera, tripod, and lenses and become A PHOTO NINJA. Also, style the heck out of it. I look at some of my first posts and cringe at the photography! I had no idea that I was going to stick with blogging or that it would become what it has, so I did not think about those things. I wish I would have because even those early projects are archived. Being a photo ninja is key.” – Kristin, Bliss at Home

“When I first started out, I was painfully ignorant as to how much work goes into blogging. You need to have writing, photography and marketing skills on top of your creativity, and it can often feel overwhelming. But happily, the amazing community of bloggers has helped to make it all manageable—not to mention the time of my life!! So, what do I wish I had known way back when? That it’s more than okay to ask for help, and to start building those relationships from the get-go. Creativity is a team sport after all!!” – Carrie, Dream Green DIY

“There is so much I would have done differently, had I known my blog would become so much more to me than just a casual hobby. Mainly I would have immediately bought my blog domain name, and started it on a platform I owned.” – Cassie, Hi Sugarplum!

“Can I cheat and name a few things?! I wish someone told me to just drop the digital point and shoot camera and invest in a good DSLR camera right away. Along those lines, I wish I would have made my pictures larger when I first started blogging. I look back at old posts and cringe! I also wish I knew to post consistently, as this would have helped me grow my blog faster in the beginning. Third, something I still need to be reminded of: blogging and instagram is not real life. Remember to nurture real life friendships and don’t fall prey to the comparison game! It’s the thief of joy. Finally, cliche and cheesy but oh-so-true, I wish I would have known what an amazing community of women I’d meet through this crazy thing called blogging. I never knew how dramatically my life would change because of the friendships and opportunities pressing “publish” on my first blog post would bring.” – Michaela, Michaela Noelle Designs

“I wish I would’ve started on WordPress.  There’s a lot more options on that platform and now it feels like such a big job to switch over.” – Megan, Honey We’re Home

“Do what you love and be confident in what you’re doing.  There are so many amazing blogs out there you can definitely feel pressured to try and do it all, but if you focus on YOUR strengths and write about what YOU know and love, that will come through to your readers and it will help you find your voice.  If you blog for yourself, you will love what you do.”  – Tammy, Pink Peppermint Design

 

I’d love to hear if you’ve had thoughts of starting a blog.  I have learned so much in the first year not only about blogging, but about myself as well.  The best thing I ever did was press publish.

xo,

Claire

*affiliate link used

 

 

 

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62 comments on “Top 10 Blogging Tips for Beginners”

  1. Thanks so much for including me in your post, Claire!! This was hugely insightful for me to read start to finish, and I’m SO excited for you and your second year of blogging. CHEERS!!!!!! xo

  2. Such a great post Claire! I agree with Carrie, such an insightful post. Congratulations on your first year! Of course you know how very proud I am of you and I am so excited for your second year. Big hugs, high fives and of course, Cheers! xoxo

  3. I’ve been blogging for years, officially a decade this year, and gone through countless names. But this is the year I’m buckling down and getting serious again. I just posted about being authentic, cause my sister pointed out I had lost my voice. Congrats on your first year. Happy to have discovered your blog.

  4. Great advice!! I’ve thought about it, figured I’d give the decor/diy/home IG a try first. Found some new lovely IG ladies with this, thanks!!

  5. Such great advice Claire. I couldnt agree more about choosing your name carefully. I just transitioned mine over and im uber scared bc its night and day to my old one, but im happy about it and im feeling like I took myself out of a box. Im hoping it allows me a bit more freedom to expand my content!

  6. Claire ~ This is so great! I actually started a blog this week, mainly to do a better job at document my kiddos. I have no expectations what so ever about what the future holds, but I love this list, and I will definitely take it to heart!

  7. Claire- What amazing advice! I started blogging 3 months ago, and while it’s been so much fun, it’s also been frustrating and discouraging at times. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in this, and I appreciate you sharing what you’ve learned over the past year. I haven’t found many “new” bloggers, so I’m glad to have connected with you!

  8. Thank you for sharing your blogging tips for beginners. I have been blogging for over a year now and honey, I hear you loud and clear. I have made a few mistakes from your tips and I’m still learning. Best of all, I am obsessed with my blog. I have all these ideas bouncing around in my head that I want to share with my followers. My technical skills are weak as water and I get frustrated at times but I’m learning something new every day. I subscribed to your email but I haven’t received my confirmation. Hopefully it’s the airwaves and not the user. I will continue to look for the confirmation because I want to follow your journey. I have a question, I see so many bloggers creating a theme board with clothes, room design etc. how the heck is that achieved? Your help would be greatly appreciated. Warm Regards, MJ

  9. Great tips and ideas! I hope to start a blog this year. I’ve been “researching” to try to develop exactly what I want my blog to be. What other blog conferences would u suggest?
    Thanks for your post to help us newbies out,

    1. Hi Amanda, That is so smart. I so wish I would have done some research before I started!!! Other than Haven, there is Alt Summit. I’ve never been, but I have heard great things. I highly recommend Haven! It takes place every summer in Atlanta. I think registration opens in February. Let me know if you end up going – I’d love to meet you! xo, Claire

  10. This is fabulous advice! Thanks for sharing. I started my blog last year and have learned so much over the year. I’m going to the Haven Conference this year; glad to see it on your advice list. Hope to meet you in July!!!

  11. Thank you for sharing! I’m stuck! I started on WordPress.com. Now I want to buy my domain name but I’m not real sure what all I’ll have to do. I’ve got my Pinterest and everything attached to WordPress.com. If anyone out there has gone through this situation I would love some advice and help. It’s scary to take the leap. If I could accomplish the change over it will defiantly be worth writing about!

    1. Hey Lacie – I started blogging on Blogger, then switched to Squarespace THEN switched to wordpress.org. I basically lost any followers I had through the 3 switches, so although I started blogging in January of 2014 I really didn’t “start” until January 2015. WordPress.org is the best place to be and I had to learn the hard way. Have you heard about Abby’s from Just a Girl and Her Blog’s e-book? I read it and it was life changing. She tells you exactly how to do it all. It really helped me when I made the switch to wordpress.org. Here is the link —

      http://justagirlandherblog.com/book/

      Good luck!!! xo

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve been blogging about 9 months and really love it. It’s a great creativity outlet for me. Now I am ready to network more and put my blog out there more for a larger audience. Your suggestions are helpful as this can be discouraging at times. I would appreciate any additional feedback you might have for me!! Again, thanks for sharing!
    Amy

    1. Amy, I’m so glad you found this helpful! I think you’ve got the right idea with finding your groove in blogging first and then networking to get your name out there. My best advice for this is to follow all of your favorite bloggers on social media and like and comment like crazy! Also do this on their blogs. It will feel like you are talking to no one at first, but they will eventually see you and start interacting back. My biggest traffic source (currently) is from other bloggers mentioning me on their blogs. One of my favorite parts of blogging is the supportive blog community. Everyone wants to help everyone!! Best of luck! xo

  13. Claire – I realize this post is from January so I’m a little late to the party, but congrats on hitting the one year mark (though now you’re past the year and a half mark), and thank you so much for writing this post! I found it on Pinterest and it was exactly what I needed to read right now! I just recently began a blog a few weeks ago and I’m still trying to plan everything out and see exactly where I want to take it, and your blog has given me great ideas and inspiration! I love that your tips can be applied to virtually any type of blog out there. I’m currently working on carving out my own workspace for blogging, I think it will definitely make a big difference 🙂

    Browsing through your site, you’re definitely one of the “professionals” I look up to! I hope my blog looks half as good as yours in a year!!

    -Jess

  14. Hi Claire! Happy belated 1st Anniversary! You should be so proud of yourself! Your content is definitely KING and enjoyed reading through it and very helpful! Before I pushed that Publish Button I had so many ideas floating in mind etc etc etc but when I published my first post (earlier this month) I find myself stuck and don’t know what to do know! I went from know what I want to do to not knowing what to write about or how to write etc etc etc.. oh the list goes on! After reading your blog I am ever so grateful I pushed that Published Button and it had given me a new excitement to pick up and keep pushing! So thank you so much for y our post! So happy I came across this post and have subscribed to your page so that I won’t miss out on your posts! Have a wonderful day x Pesi

  15. Thank you so much for the guidelines. I am a student and I have started blogging very recently. My cousin pinged me this and so worth it. I did not know about bloggers conferences. Would like to attend sometime.

  16. Thanks For Sharing…. I really like the point “Not To Compare”.

    It’s 01:02 am in india, right now i am writing this. I have started for my blog 2 months back. Quit my job. I don’t no how much money i’ll to make but for sure i am doing this for freedom.

    Anyways thanks for nice share.

    Love PG

  17. Just get started is the best piece of advice I have heard so far! Oh, that and use wordpress…so many people I know are trying to switch over…glad I heard that advice beforehand!

  18. Claire, I love your blog interface and your content is wonderful! When I started my blog after graduating college I was looking for a creative outlet, and my hubby encouraged me just enough to take the plunge. I’ve always had a full-time career outside of the home since before the conception of my blog, so my biggest struggle has always been consistency. It’s diffucult to post more often, but I’m optimistic for 2016. I’m also in the process of learning how to use my dslr camera, which is pretty daunting, but like you said absolutely necessary! I’m also hoping to do Haven this year because I live in the surrounding area. Fingers crossed that I get the time and opportunity. Your blog is so inspirational. Thanks for all the great advice!

  19. I appreciate you writing about your first year blogging and sharing all you have learned. I’m one of those people who procrastinates. I feel I have to have everything before starting. For example: the perfect PC, the perfect camera etc. which I don’t have either one I have an old laptop, iPad, and a IPhone camera, so therefore, I haven’t started my blog.
    Although I want to and have so much to share I can’t seem to step out of the boat. I think I have more fear of failing than I do courage. I applaud you and all those who just do it. That is my goal this year to just do it! Thanks for sharing.

  20. Great read! I am a retailer and am just starting to research blogging because my web design team tells me blogging is a must! Blogging is scary, I say! I have no idea what to say usually, so this has been difficult. Your post was step one in my research because you showed up in my Pinterest feed today! Thanks for the advice 🙂

  21. I love the advice you give in this post! its very inspiring:) I just starting blogging at the end of Oct. and went live in November.. so I am very new to the blogging world and appreciate post like this one! Thank you!

  22. I like number 5. Networking did feel awkward at first, but I have found the more that you do it, the better it feels. I especially like it when I see the results and productivity of networking. These were awesome points that you pointed out.

  23. Fantastic Post and very inspiring one for me. Thank you for such valuable post. You have put 10 simple and important point that i will remember always. Thanks again

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