Blogging is a relatively new field/career and there’s no absolute science to it and no defined path to achieve success. Empirical knowledge, learning from your own mistakes, and trial-and-error are crucial to define your own blogging career path. There are no established formulas as different things work for different blogs.
However, today I want to share with you some wisdom I gained from my own mistakes and experience in my time blogging and the things you should avoid if you want to increase your following, income, and traffic as well as keep and attract the right kind of follower (keep in mind that I still working in correcting them and trying to improve them). Scroll down to read my insights:
1. Not being active on all social media channels you use from Day 1. Just a couple of days ago I hit 100,000 followers on Instagram, which is a milestone for me and my blog. However, I didn’t start using Instagram regularly since the very beginning, but more like during the end of my second year blogging. How many more followers would I already have had I started with Instagram from day 1? Here I posted a very detailed guide on how to grow a huge following on Instagram.
The same principle goes for Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter, aka all social media channels that will help promote your blog, make your content, i.e. new and old posts more accessible, and attract new visitors, hence more traffic and new followers. Particularly Pinterest and Tumblr are important, not only for daily inspiration and keeping up with the latest trends, but being active and having a big following there will also bring your blog more popularity, prestige, and traffic. Take advantage of a huge following on social media to spread your outfits and become a better known blogger.
2. Not caring enough about SEO. That dreaded term by most of us is that homework we all avoid and procrastinate, but that is crucial to improve our rank in Google and improve our traffic.
A catchy title, the right keywords, evergreen posts, and a striking first sentence/paragraph will often do the trick. However, SEO is a complex topic you can learn about everyday and I am indeed still learning.
3. Wear/post something only because it attracts more traffic and followers. If you have been paying attention to your Google Analytics and referrals, you probably know by now which key search terms, items and kinds of outfits and posts are the ones attracting more traffic to your blog. Many blogs and sites can’t stress enough how important it is to study your analytics to know where all the traffic comes from and why in order to improve your numbers. However, while it is important to know all these things and the fact that there are trendy items and types of posts that will generate you a lot of traffic, you shouldn’t get carried away and overuse/abuse them.
Why? Pretty simple: It will attract only one kind of follower, which can be misleading. For example: If you love sneakers but posts with ‘high heels’ and how to wear them are your most popular and therefore you mostly wear them to attract even more traffic and followers, then the high heel fans will be disappointed when you post outfits with sneakers. You don’t want to give people the wrong idea about your blog and show them only one of your sides.
To keep it short: Create a balance and a compromise between what mostly generates you traffic and what you love the most. Just follow your gut, be yourself, do and post what you love, have fun at it, enjoy it and don’t feel pressured to post only one kind of thing. In this way, the right people will follow, the wrong will leave, and you will not have a ton of followers waiting in vain only for one kind of post, but they will know what to expect.
4. Posting too little. During my first year blogging I made the huge mistake of posting an outfit only once every two weeks and posting so little will take you nowhere. Firstly, because the more posts you publish, the more people have to choose from, but the most important thing about it is that blogging is like playing guitar or riding a bike: the more you practice, the better you get at it, so you need tons of it!
That’s not to say that you should post like a crazy person overwhelming your followers and spamming their feed. Balance is the key as well as the fact that: more posts = more traffic. The secret is to keep your posts relevant and with useful and high quality content each time.
5. Not sharing your opinion on things and opening up to your followers. If there’s one thing the most successful people in the fashion industry have in common is that they all have a strong opinion on matters and they attribute that to their success. Yep, you have to have some courage to stand up for what you believe in and show yourself to people, because these are the things that make you unique and well, be you. I am struggling to get more personal and show more of myself in my blog, since I feel it’s too impersonal and that it lacks that human factor. Sure, a lot of people will not like you and what you have to say, but the right ones will listen and they are the ones who should matter to you. Opinionated people with character who stay true to who they are are the ones who make a difference.
6. Not using WordPress.org since the very start. Are you serious about blogging and aim for it to become your full time job? Then don’t waste your time with Blogspot or Wordpress.com, since neither gives you all the advantages a self-hosting service and WordPress.org will, like for instance costumizing your blog design and layout however you want it and allowing you to display commercial ads or banners, which can potentially be a blogger’s biggest source of income.
7. Not allowing users the possibility to suscribe to an email list and not placing a link to suscribe to your RSS feed. Remember that the more options people have to follow your blog, chances are the more readers and daily visits you will have. Believe it or not, there are people who only rely on their email to keep updated and there are people who prefer to follow all blogs in their RSS reader, so don’t limit your readership’s options to Bloglovin’ or GFC. The benefit of a mailing list is that unlike social media, people have opted into your list and are more interested in what you have to say, everybody has an email, therefore more people can potentially follow your blog through email, plus you have more control over it than over social media. There’s a reason why you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket.
8. Waiting for PRs, brands, and companies to contact you instead of taking the initiative of writing them first. It’s like waiting for Godot or bread to fall from the sky. If things don’t happen, make them happen! There are literally hundreds of thousands of blogs out there. So how are PRs supposed to find you amongst an ever growing sea of bloggers? You got it right: PRs are not psychics, so go ahead and contact those brands you love and from which you’d buy. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a huge following, as it is not always necessary and certain brands rely more on exclusivity and aim for the right audience rather than numbers. You only need to tell them and show them why they should work with you.
9. Not charging enough for sponsored posts and working for free items. I’ve read tons of blogging advice on how you shouldn’t charge anything to companies if they are gifting you items. Their reasoning is: If celebrities don’t charge Dior or Chanel for a gown, why should you charge a brand for a gifted item? I disagree. We are neither celebrities nor are the items we get gifted $50,000 gowns. Of course, there are exceptions, because if your blog will not generate the necessary sales said gifted item is worth, perhaps you shouldn’t charge. It all varies and depends on your numbers and the item’s worth.
How are you supposed to make a decent living out of a blogging career or earn enough money from really hard work(which might take quite a bit more energy than just walking the red carpet ;)) if there are bloggers who charge nothing for a sponsored blogpost and simply accept gifted items? Why would a company pay you if they are getting promoted for free by other bloggers? So basically, if you are one of those bloggers not charging anything to a company for a post, you are bringing the prices down!
10. Not Interacting with your Readers. The key to a loyal and committed readership is to interact with the people visiting your blog and leaving a comment, because it’s one thing that keeps them coming back and motivates them to go on doing so. This is a mistake that I keep making even though I know for a very long time that I should change it. The main reason isn’t even laziness, less arrogance, but more like always feeling overwhelmed by the countless things I need to do everyday. Anyhow, this is going to change.
Interacting with your readership is a great chance for them to know you better and to start interesting conversation that will surely attract more readers.
I hope my insights and mistakes might shed some light on at least a few of you. But do tell, how about you? Are there any other blogging mistakes you see others do and which could be added to this list?
Wishing you all an awesome Friday. x