Then I started several blogs, over time, that came and went, until this one.
I'm so proud of what I've achieved over the years. I remember when I first featured on Fleur De Force's blog as a guest blogger, while she was on holiday, and I found my first followers outside of my mum. And when I became a member of More's (RIP) Blogger Boudoir. And now I've been able to work with some brilliant brands, earn some pennies here and there, and benefit from some amazing opportunities. But most of all I've made some brilliant friends and met some amazing people.
But I've made some mistakes too. And I wish I'd prepared a bit better in the long run. So here are my tips, or at least what I'd do if I had the chance to start over:
- Test out all of the blogging platforms properly. I went with Blogger, which just seemed easier at the time, but I wish, in hindsight, I'd gone with Wordpress. I could port over now, but I just don't want the hassle! Wordpress seems to have more customisable options and I know it's a favourite with the developers where I work too.
- Be clever with your blog name. I'm always complimented on my blog name but I hate it. It's too long and it doesn't exactly link to my blog's topic very well and it's so long! Think hard about your blog name, because changing it is a nightmare.
- Buy your blog domain straight away. If you are going to work really hard on your blog and hope to get some steady traffic, make sure you do it with your actual blog name and a domain that will last a lifetime. You are just starting a blog, you're creating a website that people will read and enjoy for years to come hopefully!
- Set up Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools as soon as you can. This ensures that you track what works and what doesn't on your blog and makes sure you have a correct site map too.
- Make your social media accounts consistent. I'm pretty much found by @CharlTaylor or my blog name and I'm quite grateful I didn't go with a silly nickname instead.
- Invest in a good design. I swear by Gillian, who blogs at Elevator Musik. She designed my blog and The Motherhood too and her work is brilliant and good value too. It speaks volumes to brands and makes you feel a little bit more professional too.
- Network and give back. Try and say yes to opportunities - BritMums Live was possibly the best thing I ever did blog-wise. I always try and give back too - I comment on other people's blogs that I love and I offer guest posts from time-to-time too, as well as sharing links I love on social media. Support other people and they will support you.
- Think about photography. I always make sure my images are large and bright. I do have a DSLR, but I also use my iPhone too. I edit using PicMonkey and I'm also enjoying trialling Canva as well. I can't stand small photographs because I want to see those lovely pictures properly! I'd definitely suggest adding I Heart Snapping to your Favourites for inspiration.
- Be professional. Little things like business cards, a nice email signature and good grammar make you stand out a little bit more.
- Remember why you blog. You shouldn't be blogging for anyone other than yourself. I love to write, which is why I do what I do. Any reviews, or sponsored posts, are ones I have been approached for. I'd never ask for them and I will enjoy these opportunities while they last. A lot of PRs and SEOs that I work with express their frustration with the 'blagger' community, and I always try and remember that, yes, my time is worth money, but I'm also very lucky to have what I do, especially in a world where some people have nothing.
Have you any tips for anyone starting from scratch?