Friday, 24 August 2018

Beginner Bloggers Toolkit

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Another toolkit?? Yep, here I am to tell you literally all I know about a certain subject. This time it's one of my favourite things on this earth, blogging! I am not the wisest and most experienced blogger, but I do know how to start a blog and to begin to create and promote posts! I'm going to cover four main topics in this post; creation, promotion, inspiration and monetisation.


If you want to get into blogging, I think it's safe to assume that you have an interest in content creation. These are the first steps to take when starting a blog and creating your content.

Blog templates

Whatever site you are using to start your blog (eg. Blogger, Wordpress, Wix) you will need to choose the template or design of your blog. This can be super easy or fairly difficult to set up and you need to go with a theme that suits your skillset! If you are just starting out with blogging or web design for the first time, for example, it may be a better decision to use the templates on offer on your blogging platform. I started out with a super simple Blogger template and it really helped me to just get started and get creating!

If you're not a fan of the templates on offer on your platform, there is plenty of choice out there for templates. If you're willing to invest in a template then PipDig have some gorgeous ones on offer and they're super customisable! I will definitely be investing in one of these when I have the money! I used Way2themes to get my current template for free and I loved how simple it was to switch everything about and customise my blog!

Graphics and Photos

For all of my graphics, I use Canva. This goes for all my post headers, social media graphics and printables! They have templates for just about anything you may need, and a vast many of them are free to use! It's also a lot of fun to create your own templates and the site is super easy to use! Snappa is similar to Canva, but Canva seems to have more free templates and I tend to stick with it! I have also used Piktochart in the past and it is super easy to use with some great template options; especially for infographics!

Some of us are not the best photographers, or may not have the time or ability to take the photos they want for a post. This is where stock photos come in! Since being bombarded with assignments and exams and general life, stock photos have been cropping up on my blog more often. I use Unsplash to find my free stock photos, but there are sites all over the place with loads of stock images. Other great sites for free stock photos include Pexels, Canva Photos and StockSnap.

Writing

You have probably seen the Grammarly adverts all over the internet, but if you haven't downloaded it yet I strongly advise you do. It has proved to be such a useful tool when writing and it picks up more written errors than my usual spell-checker. It makes proofreading extremely quick and simple and is perfect for any written content creators out there!

Sometimes, all you really need is the basics. I always keep a Thesaurus tab open when I'm writing, just in case I'm not loving my word choices.


While the content of your blog is the most important thing to build up, your promotion techniques will almost fully decide who reads your content and how many people do. 

The Social Media Foundations

You don't need all of these social media profiles to get started, but I have found that these are the driving force behind my pageviews. Twitter is a good place to start. The community of bloggers feels so accessible and everyone is so welcoming to beginner bloggers. It's lovely seeing all the support on Twitter and I have met some wonderful people! Using hashtags on Twitter can really drive your blog growth. #BloggersTribe is a solid favourite among the blogging community. You can tag what kind of blog you are running too, to direct people to your blog.
  • #lbloggers - lifestyle blog
  • #bbloggers - beauty blog
  • #fbloggers - fashion blog
  • #mhbloggers - mental health blog

The other foundations are arguably Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. On Instagram, you can connect with other content creators in a way that lets them immediately see a grid of content. If you have great photo skills, show it off. If you have a knack for creating art or graphics, show it off. Displaying blog-relevant content on Instagram is a great way to attract an audience. Making a Facebook page for your blog is a great way to collect your audience and easily notify them when you release new content. It's a quick and easy way to connect with your audience and drive your blog traffic. It took me a while to get into Pinterest, but it really is a great hub of fellow content creators. You can drive people to your blog with 'rich pins' and you can collect inspiration on your boards.

Google Plus can also really help to drive traffic to your posts! Setting time aside each day to share your posts on Google Plus can really boost your views!

Scheduling Tools

One thing that can really boost your use of social media to the next level is the use of scheduling tools. I tend to use these exclusively for Twitter, as this is the site I tend to focus on most. I have yet to find a scheduling tool I use more than Buffer. It's just so easy! You type your tweet up and add the hashtags you want to use to promote your post. Once you add your blog link, the link is automatically shortened and Buffer picks up the images used in the post so that you can quickly select an image to go with your post before you schedule it! It's really simple to use and I definitely need to use it more!

Other Twitter scheduling tools include:

If you use Pinterest or Instagram to promote your blog, Tailwind is the most talked about scheduler. When using a Facebook page to promote posts, you can actually schedule posts without using a separate app.

Mix (formerly StumbleUpon)

Mix is fab for post promotion! You add your post link to different folders which you create, much like boards on Pinterest. I have found that sharing  my posts on Mix (and StumbleUpon) has driven colossal amounts of traffic to my blog! Your posts are shared with people who have already expressed interest in the topics mentioned in your blog so that you will be driving an interested and relevant audience to your content, which can lead to more reader interaction and subsequent sharing!


A big part of blogging is looking for inspiration for your posts. Writing doesn't always come easy, especially when you are trying to stick with a frequent blogging schedule and you feel like you are running out of ideas! However, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding things that inspire us! There's just so much out there, especially on the internet!

Other Blogs

Reading blogs can really get you inspired about your own. You can see quality content and want to better your own, or see missing gaps in content which you want to fill with your own opinions and experiences. For example, if you're reading a blog about student life and you're a student yourself, you could find that something you believe strongly about hasn't been talked about. BAM, a blog post idea. Tell people more about what you're passionate about and what you believe has been previously overlooked. 

Places

When i'm stuck in a rut, I find somewhere new or different to plan blog ideas. Sometimes i'll be chilling in a gallery thinking 'this slow living thing is the life' and the I suddenly get the urge to write about slow living. Inspiration can come anytime and anywhere and if you're stuck in a rut, maybe it's because you're in a set routine and you're going to the same places and doing the same thing every single day.

Pinterest

Mood boards are such a lovely way to brainstorm and plan for blog posts and Pinterest is such an easy way to put one together! I'm currently planning an autumnal series for Blogtober and I have been filling a board on Pinterest with autumnal images to get me into the mindset for all these posts. There are also so many bloggers on Pinterest with boards full of blogging advice, tips and tricks! You can check out my profile HERE!

Your Audience

Try to figure out who your audience is and what they would like to see. Got a lot of students in your audience? Do a student life series! Got a lot of movie enthusiasts? Write a post on your favourite films, films that mean a lot to you, or your current Netflix picks! Once you start writing, it's easier to push away that writer's block!


I was hesitant to add this section to the post since I am only just starting to properly attempt to make a small income from my blog, but I figured I have a handful of tips to share and whatever I can give could help someone to make their passion a path to income.

AdSense

Using Google AdSense is a great start in the monetisation journey. You display ads on your blog and earn money from any clicks they get. I have AdSense enabled on my blog but I don't tend to earn much from it. Very little in fact. Once your audience begins to grow more and more, you should see an increase in income through ads, however it does take a little while!

Shopstyle (and affiliate links)

I have found that Shopstyle has been the easiest way for me to add affiliate links to my blog. You set up an account and you can transform links from certain retailers, such as ASOS and New Look, into affiliate links. You can earn a bit of money when someone clicks on a link, and you can earn even more if someone buys a product which you have recommended! This is a great way to earn a little extra money if you run a beauty or fashion blog!

PR and Sponsored Posts

I have only ever put out one sponsored post (HERE) but this has been the most efficient source of income which I have experienced in my time blogging so far! I was approached in my emails for my post but I know that if you are signed up for Bloggers Required then you can browse sponsored jobs and potentially earn some money! 

Monetisation Posts

I am perhaps not entirely the person to be dishing out advice on monetising your blog, so here are a few posts on the topic which could help you a bit more!
So, that's it! I will update this whenever I find out any more tips! I hope that you found this helpful; I would love to find out what your tips are!x

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