Hi everyone, it’s Jan, the face behind Jan On The Blog. I’ve taken over Growing With Spawn for a collab post today – thanks Shelly for having me over! I’m a millennial, working mom and lifestyle blogger from the land down under in Melbourne, Australia. I got into active blogging only a few months ago and it has been quite the learning curve. That’s why I teamed up with Shelly to share our top blogging lessons for 2020. In this post, I will share 3 blogging tips that work like a charm. On the flip side, Shelly will share 5 Blogging mistakes to avoid, in her post today on Jan On The Blog. Hope you find our posts useful as you gear up your blog for 2021.
3 blogging tips that work like a charm
1. Create a blogging calendar and stick to it
Imagine this. You enjoyed reading a particular magazine. It had great content that you found informative and entertaining. You subscribe to see what’s coming next. Now would you prefer if the magazine released new content regularly or at varying intervals? I bet you’d like regular posts! Same goes for blogging. Building up your blog and a reader base is only half the battle. You then need to walk the talk and deliver the high-quality content you promised. I learned this the hard way. I’m a hobby blogger (for now, anyway) – which means I do it because I get a kick out of it. As a working mom, I have my work cut-out for me even without the blogging. That’s why when I got into active blogging, I naively thought that it would be all well and good for me to blog when I could. Boy (or girl), was I wrong.
Here’s the thing. There’s nothing wrong with blogging when it suits you – it’s your blog after all! But I’ve learned by doing that a blogging calendar (which is Jan-slang for editorial or content calendar) has everything to do with the incoming reader traffic to your blog and the growth of your reader base. The chart below shows incoming visitor traffic to my blog over a certain period. Notice the period with very low traffic? That’s a period where I didn’t publish any new posts.
So, what’s the secret recipe for a blogging calendar?
You tell me. In all honesty, you need to decide what works for you. If you think posting everyday is the way to go – great, go for it. For my hobby blogger self, I’ve decided that posting 2-3 times a week is what works for me – because it doesn’t add too much time pressure on myself and take the fun out of blogging. And most importantly, it’s a posting frequency that I can stick to long term.
Oh, but how do I stick to it?
As you may know, I’m all about blogging smart. Scheduling posts (assuming you’re a WordPress blogger) is the best tool to help you stick to a blogging calendar. That means you can blog at your own pace and simply schedule them to be published according to your calendar. It also means that even if you take a blogging break for a few days, you’ve got posts suited up and ready to go – so that your readers won’t know that you spent the weekend overindulging on cocktails! The other thing I’ve learned is to get creative about the type of posts I create.
Remember that not every post needs to be a long one. A short post on the right topic can be just as effective. You could also invite other bloggers to guest post for you. What’s important is to plan in out, build a blogging calendar and stick to it as much as you can.
2. Write for the readers, not for you
When I first got into blogging I wanted write about whatever interested me – my passions, what I know or what I did this summer etc. I’m a hobby blogger after all. I naively thought that people would love to read whatever I wrote. Turns out, that’s not how things work in the real blog-life. What makes a post read-worthy is the value the reader stands to gain from reading it. That’s what I didn’t understand at the start. You need to write for readers, not for yourself. That doesn’t mean you can’t write about what interests you. On the contrary, I believe writing comes out best when you are passionate about what you’re writing.
Huh, how exactly does that work?
The trick fellow-blogger, is to put your ‘reader’ cap on. You have a Eureka moment and come up with a brilliant topic. Don’t jump straight into the writing. Stop and think about how you can write about the topic in a way that would be helpful for readers. Trust me, you can put a spin on almost every topic to make readers want to read it. For example, if you want to write about ‘what I did last summer’. OK great. Your readers wouldn’t necessarily want to read it in that form – well not unless you’re a celebrity or they are your friends. But they may be curious to read ‘secrets to the best summer in Europe’ – it draws you right in, doesn’t it?!
Is this going to be hard work?
Not at all. Make a conscious effort to put the ‘reader’ cap on before writing a few posts. It will then come to you naturally over time. I find that now when I think of post ideas, I instinctively put the reader spin on them. And you’ll be surprised at where and when inspiration can come right at you. I’ve had great ideas when I was walking on the beach or driving along – doing normal life stuff. All it takes is to ask the question ‘how is this going to help my readers?’.
2. Build a strong blogging network
Blogging is a whole world of its own. As only magical beings can get into Diagon Alley, only bloggers know and understand the true intricacies of the blogging world. That’s why a strong blogging network is a must-have if you are serious about blogging. Blog-life is tough when you’re a new blogger. It’s not easy to build a reader base. And it’s soul-crushing when no one appreciates the time and effort you put in to create a post – trust me, I know. I’ve learnt that building a support network in the blogging world is what gets you through the tough times.
Do you mean a ‘following’ game?
Oh gosh, no! The ‘I follow you, you follow me’ game is old, boring, annoying, and honestly doesn’t get you the right kind of readers. To build a blogging network, find blogs that interests you and read them. If you like what you read, interact with the bloggers by leaving comments. Making blog friends worsk much the same as in real life – it starts with having a conversation. We all love it when readers appreciate our work, ask questions or share their views on the post. I’ve had many interesting conversations within post comments. It’s how I made some really good blog friends. Written words have the power to show your personality, attitudes, and emotions. You can build relationships with other bloggers by having conversations about their posts. Don’t overthink it. Be genuine and yourself.
Can it really be done?
Jan On The Blog is still new to the blogging game so I have quite a few more blogging lessons to learn. I haven’t got a massive follower count – yet. But I have made some very good blog friends. So yes, it’s possible – very much so. Be realistic. It’s not going to happen overnight. Keep at it and you’ll be surprised at how many more like-minded souls you’ll come across. Not to mention the delightful conversations you get into! My blogging network really makes my day at times. It’s the best feeling to have them read my posts and share their thoughts and appreciation. For me, that really is the ultimate satisfaction as a blogger.
Blogging is a learning process and learning from others can fast-track it. I’m not a pro blogger but I am a passionate one. “Blogging smart” is my mantra, as I constantly look for ways to improve my blogging. In fact, that is one of the biggest blogging lessons that I learnt so far! 2020 taught me that wishful thinking isn’t going to bring a steady traffic into Jan On The Blog but creating and sticking to a blogging calendar will. I understood the obvious of what makes readers read a blog – because they see value in it. Most importantly, I learnt that even in the blogging world you need a strong support network to get you through tough times. That’s not all though. What about things you should stay clear of when blogging?
Head over to Jan On The Blog because Shelly has some more blogging lessons for you! We hope our blogging tips help you up your blogging game in 2021. Happy reading and blogging everyone!
What are the most important blogging lessons you learned in 2020?
© Jan Perera 2020. All rights reserved.
I hope you enjoyed Jan’s blogging lessons! If you want to read a little about some ‘side effects’ that you will get from the ‘blogging fever’, make sure you check it out here!