22 February 2016

5 Ways To Improve Your Blog Without Spending A Penny

I often get asked about how people might be able to improve their blog. How do I increase page views? How do I get more readers? How do I gain more comments on my posts? Many times peoples feel disheartened because they are just starting out and don't have much money to put towards things like photo equipment, props or advertising. I think one of the biggest misconceptions out there in relation to blogging is that you need to have a lot of money to be a great blogger. I'm here to tell you that you don't need the latest technical equipment, hottest new product releases or invites to VIP brand showcases to be a good blogger. The only things you need are: a passion for the topic you're talking about, a clear voice to communicate with your audience and a creative eye to draw some interest to your posts and express your content! For today's post, I thought I would outline some really simple but effective strategies to improve your blog that don't require any money, fancy equipment or special programs.

1. Focus on Quality, Not Quantity

Whether you're going to post once a fortnight, or daily, one of the most important things to remember in the blogging world is to be consistent. Your readers might become frustrated if you go from daily posting, to weekly or suddenly start to post sporadicly. It's nice to let them know when to expect new content so they can check back on those days. I would rather see a new post once a week for someone and that post to be high quality with great photos and content, then three rushed posts a week. Keep this in mind as you develop your own schedule.

2. Take Lots of Photos and Pick The Best Ones

You don't need an amazing camera to take a good photo. I know lots of bloggers who use their phones for their blog photos and they look amazing. The key is using natural light, in front of a window works well, or outside. Take lots of different angles/shots until you're happy with what you have. There isn't really any reason you should be including grainy, poor quality photos in your blog. You will find a way to make it work if you really are determined. I work full-time so I take all my photos on the weekends. It is a sacrifice, but on weekends where I have a lot of social commitments, I will bulk photograph for my posts beforehand which is a lifesaver. Also if you schedule your posts you should generally be a few posts ahead anyway for when life gets busy. Your photos are 50% of your content on your blog and many new visitors will judge your post on your first few photos and if they aren't good quality, they probably won't bother reading the rest of your post. Think about your favourite blog posts you've seen recently, I bet they all had photos that drew you in and made you interested in the content.

3. Provide Informative Content & Proofread

Just as photos are 50% of your content, your writing is the other half. You need to find a good balance, so your posts are informative but not too long. You also don't want them to be too short, because readers generally have come to you to find out some information. Your post should be meeting your reader's needs in some way. How are you helping them? What will draw them in to read your post? They might have questions they want answered, so you want to be sure to provide that information in your post based on what you know about your target demographic. Don't be afraid to add some of your personality to your content as well, it's always good to keep things fresh and to let your own unique voice shine through in your blog. Finally, be sure to proofread your work. My friend Kate from The Minted Blog has recently written an excellent post about this topic you should read here! Typos and grammatical errors aren't cute, and can be a huge deterrent for new readers. Again, you shouldn't be making lots of mistakes if you take the time to create quality posts over ones that are put together the night before.

4. Interact With Your Readers

This one seems obvious, but so many people forget the importance of interacting with their readers. Often, your readers may be fellow bloggers as well. I try to read through other blogs at least a few times a week. I will often sit down for a few hours on the weekend and just go through other people's blog posts and leave lots of comments to maximise engagement and show support. If I see that another blogger has left me a comment and linked their blog as well, I make an effort to visit their site and comment on one of their posts too. Potential readers may come across your blog through seeing your comments on someone else's post. This is one of the best ways you will get repeat visitors to your blog. It's also important to try to reply to comments, and answer questions so your readers can rely on you. They will keep coming back to you with more questions if they know you will write them back.

5. Do Your Research

One of the biggest turn-offs for me when I am reading another blog, is when the person clearly is just giving their opinion about a product or topic, without including any specific information about the product, including vital details such as shade ranges, stockists, formula, longevity, etc. What skin types do you think this product would suit? What may be some potential downfalls your readers might experience? If you're doing product reviews especially, it isn't enough to just say you like a product, but to really explain what it is that you liked about the product and why. If you're discussing a topic, provide links to background information to help give the post some context. Remember that not everyone reading is an expert in the topic, so the more information you provide, the more helpful it will be to your audience.

Well, that's all my tips for today's post! I have more strategies to share, so if you enjoyed this post please let me know and I can do a second instalment of this topic. I'd like to highlight that I am in no way an expert, and there are lots of other bloggers out there who I look up to and write down their tips and advice as well. For me, the key is that I am always looking for ways to improve my blog and content because I am passionate about creating interesting posts that keep you all engaged! Blogging isn't easy, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication but I love interacting with my readers and the blogging community which makes it all worth it for me.

Let me know if you have any tips that have helped you improve your blog!

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