“It’s really difficult to get noticed as a new blogger these days, the blogging world is so over-saturated and I feel like there’s no room for me.”
I saw someone say this on Twitter and I understand their concerns. I’ve talked already how starting up a blog can be intimidating and I’ve shared tips both here and here on the type of things you can do to build your confidence, but when it comes to getting noticed that can be one of the toughest things. You can have top-quality content but if nobody reads it then you’re basically writing for yourself – which is fine if that’s what you want to do, but if you’re hoping to make your mark as a writer then you need to do more than hit ‘Publish’ and sit back and wait. It takes preparation, dedication, time and energy if you want to really get your work noticed – but for me, since I love working on my blog, it doesn’t feel tedious, it feels like a lot of fun.
There’s one thing I want to tackle first before getting into anything else and it’s this:
Why are you interested in being noticed as a blogger? Why not write for yourself and forget about the rest of it?
Here’s why I’m interested in making a mark on the blogosphere: I feel like I have something to say. I feel like I’m a half-decent writer, and most writers will be honest and say that they want their work read by other people because it makes them feel validated. This applies to both my fiction and my articles. I want to feel validated and appreciated for what I spend time doing, and although it’s essentially all for me and I enjoy doing it, I want a couple of other people out there to read my posts too. And if that makes me a narcissistic git well, at least I’m in a large club, right? I fully believe that a lot of content creators out there with small followings are incredibly amazing and highly talented, and there’s nothing like a bit of self-promotion to give yourself that boost to get to the next level. There’s nothing to feel ashamed about if you do want to get noticed and gain a following. These days creating content can lead to a serious career beyond just being seen as ‘a blogger’ (even though that’s a job in its own right, in my humble opinion), and if that’s your goal then grab it by the horns and let’s go for it.
I’ve decided to put a few pieces together into a Blogging For New Bloggers series because even though I’m still relatively new to this little corner of the world, I feel like I’m learning a thing or two fairly fast and it’s only fair to share those tips with others. And this is going to be a brutally honest little series with me highlighting the mistakes I’ve made, the things I still feel utterly clueless about, and how it feels when it all starts to come together. Plus we can learn and grow together, and nothing helps ignite creativity and motivation than joining in with others.
This is my third blog over the course of three years, and I dread to think how many I’ve started and just let fall by the wayside. In the not-too-distant past, I’ve been chronically guilty of just writing posts, publishing them, then letting them sit and stew in their own juices without bothering to do anything with them – then I’d wonder why nobody was reading them! Madness, right? Thankfully, I’ve learned a thing or two since then.
I’ll talk briefly about six main things you need to focus on to get yourself noticed, and below is a handy infographic that you can save or Pin or do whatever you like with.
Choose your name carefully.
Whatever name you choose for your blog, be it a play on your own name, something that interests you, or a short phrase, make it snappy and memorable. Wordplay is always good, and I personally love it when bloggers use their own name (obviously) because I know who you are from the start and I’m likely to remember your name very easily. Rebranding and renaming is not only a chore but it can easily confuse and alienate your readers, so try and choose something you know you will want to stick with long-term – and make sure it’s something you can use across all social media platforms with very little variation.
Create your brand.
You want your site to be uniquely you, to reflect your personality as a blogger and to have that translate across any other accounts you use online. Choose a colour scheme, select a font, ensure your wording and name are professional and clean, and build upon that.
Interact with others.
Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest have fairly quickly eclipsed my love for Facebook. I barely use that platform anymore aside from posting on groups and tagging people in memes – and to run my Facebook page, of course. And I know more than one blogger who feels the same, who has backed off Facebook and found other platforms easier to interact with like-minded people on. I’m going to write a more detailed post about how to use your social media accounts to build your following, but essentially the golden rule is that you should interact with people as much as possible. Reply to posts, comment on photos, retweet other bloggers and their posts, share articles – but make it genuine. Connect with people who post the kind of content you enjoy and ensure your responses are genuine and heartfelt otherwise you’ll come across as spammy, and nobody likes that.
Choose your niche.
You may want to write about a wide range of things, and that’s absolutely fine – it’s your blog, so do it your way. But settling on a primary niche is vital because it tells your readers at a glance the type of content they can expect from you. Niches like lifestyle are fairly all-encompassing and can include day-to-day activities, how-tos, reviews, experiences, and lists. But even a niche such as travel can have a wide reach and a corner for everyone. You might be a hotel reviewer, a staycation blogger on a budget, a pro-packer, a whizz kid at travelling with the kids. Whatever you want to write about, find your niche and build on it.
Write clearly and concisely.
If youre v first paragraph is fulll of typosand spelling misteaks youre going to lose readers p fast. See what I did there? See how irritating and unreadable it was? If you’re constantly misspelling words, if your formatting is off, and if your work is basically unreadable then you aren’t going to gani or retain followers. You don’t need to be a world-class grammaticist to be a blogger, but all of us need a little help now and then and if your spelling or punctuation isn’t great then don’t worry and don’t be disheartened. You can still be a writer, it just may take a little extra work. There are easy ways to improve and to clean up your posts ready to be published. Check out the online tools that can help you with your spelling and grammar – I personally favour Grammarly and have the extension on my browser so it picks up errors for me. Don’t make the mistake of choosing difficult to read fonts and colour schemes, either. If someone has to turn up the brightness on their phone or tilt their screen to read your work, they are more likely to click on to something easier on the eyes.
The most important thing of all: have fun with your blog. The day it starts to feel like a chore is the day you should stop, take stock, and reevaluate what you’re doing and why. I fully believe that a side hustle is something you should do for the love of it, because it makes you happy and fulfils you, not because you feel like you ‘should’ be doing it.
The only thing you should be doing (and I still use that phrase very loosely since I’m not keen on the instant pressure it creates) is focusing on what makes you happy, and how to get to that point. Whether it’s writing a blog and growing your social media presence, writing creative content, or something entirely different and unrelated to blogging. You choose! But make happiness the end goal.
This is only a rough guide and in the future I’ll delve deeper into each sect