I hope you aren’t too burned out by all this blogging talk this week. I have been wanting to address this for a while since I get so many emails asking me to help and I would love to answer everyone individually, I pinky swear I would, but it’s not always possible and I am awful with my email organization (I am open to any suggestions on this). Shall we embark on part iii of our discussion? Are you feeling like this is possible? I do believe it is!
You don’t go to a foreign country and expect to speak the native language on your first day there, than why are you flogging yourself for starting a blog and not knowing how to make it a success in as equally short of time span? If you were realistic you would have taken some classes prior to your trip and maybe immersed yourself in the language before hand.
Before you launch your blog take some classes, if you already have your blog launched you can still take classes to make it better. A class I recommend because it has good basic info in it and even better networking is Blogging your way. It’s on the more expensive spectrum of blogging classes and sells out very quickly, but it is a great course. A Beautiful Mess offers very affordable blogging classes on-line, self paced. I haven’t taken one but they run a very successful blog so I am thinking it would be a good investment and worth your time. Pro Blogger, it’s more masculine (read maybe not as visually ‘pretty’ as some of the other blogs you visit) but Darren Rowse the creator is a blogging powerhouse, not only is Pro Blogger a huge success so are all his other ventures such as his Digital Photography School which started out as a blog and blew up into a mega site with millions of daily visits. If you want to go pro than I think reading Darren’s posts and book offer access to a mega blogging entity, he’s very transparent with his sharing and you can easily see why he is such a success.
Blogging is a visual medium, if your intention is to use photographs which I am pretty sure it is then choose wisely. 99% of the photographs on this here blog are original and shot by yours truly. When I started blogging I used a tiny point & shoot camera which now most camera phones would probably trump in quality. It is not the equipment that will make you a better photographer, but knowing how to use the camera you have access to. There are millions (I don’t even think I am exaggerating) photography resources, but a great Photo 101 class is offered at Nicole’s Classes, it will teach you the fundamentals of getting a great capture. I also have many photography resources in The Directory. If you are working a full-time job and can’t take photographs until after dark I wrote this post for you. Ideally? If you are blogging for business then find a day you can shoot multiple posts so you will have them at the ready. It takes so long to set-up a shoot and edit that you might as well carve some dedicated time so your posts will look as pro as possible.
Let’s discuss briefly using photographs that are not yours. For many, many years I did a post every Monday that featured cute animals (preferably of the baby variety). I stopped doing that post when I found it increasingly more difficult to source photo credit. I recommend you read this cautionary tale of a hobby blogger that got sued for using a photo without permission. I wouldn’t suggest using a photograph from another blogger if it can be avoided (remember that whole being original speech I gave?), but if you are aching to, then follow their guidelines (which are usually clearly outlined) or send them an email asking permission before you do. Personally I don’t care if my photographs are used as long as I am given credit + a link, but I do know a lot of bloggers will not be happy and you don’t want to go around alienating potential allies.
I am going to throw this one out there as a suggestion since I rarely see it being done with smaller blogs but I think it’s a great idea to consider if you are wanting to build a blog as a business. If you are a great writer + researcher but are a horrible photographer or graphic artist why not find someone that will partner with you so you can share the blog and build the most beautiful + interesting blog around? The partnership doesn’t have to be so yin & yang either maybe you want to start a blog have a great concept but fear you won’t be able to dedicate the time necessary to build it into the success you know it could be, why not reach out to a couple other like minded individuals and build the blog together? This could be a disaster of course but it could also be brilliant, each of you contributing a focused post on a category that you have a passion for. As long as it was cohesive I don’t know why this wouldn’t work. Blogging can be lonely behind the scenes I think it would be great to have a partner to collaborate with, especially with something like DIY posts where you could use (usually literally) an extra set of hands. Pooling funds together could also be a pro for this concept so you can hire a great designer + coder to build a beautiful brand from launch.
Being a contributing editor or doing a guest post on a larger blog/site is an excellent way to get your name out there and get you/your blog noticed. Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day already had a successful blog up & running when she started contributing to Project Wedding. If there is a larger blog/site that you admire that you feel you could create beautiful and original content for and they are already working with contributors send them an email with a link to your work. You really only have the one chance to impress them so make sure you re-read your email and show them your best work. Same goes for a contributing post submit something that will knock their socks off. I recently got asked to do a d.i.y. for a large wedding blog I admire, after I shot + laid out the entire post I emailed the editor and told her I didn’t think it was good enough, I wanted it to be WOW and it wasn’t. I wouldn’t have done that if they were on deadline, but I wanted to be honest. I also know that I only have that one chance to make a good impression (as do you) so if you are going to be a contributor make sure it is something that you would stop and read, pass on to a friend, pin, etc.
Don’t apologize for disappearing and don’t disappear. If you want this to succeed than you are going to need to be prepared for all worse case scenarios. Have posts done in advanced, that’s right load those posts up. If you are only blogging once or twice a week than those posts will be done in no time flat. You can always go back in and update or edit.
I’ve already reminded myself to zip it on the complaints that includes the ‘I am so busy’ excuse. See above about having a full queue of posts. As a small business owner I can’t just not show up for weeks on end and then open shop and say I was too busy to get to work. Yes, there’s legitimate excuses for everything, but in the blogosphere you can lose your readership faster than you can press publish on your posts, so be prepared my soon-to-be successful blogger, be prepared!
Tomorrow we can discuss editing yourself, SEO and sponsors!
P.S. Some sound advice from Andrea of For the Love of on blog envy & dealing with it positively.
Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups and will be re-locating back to the city in the very near future.