5 Things Every New Blogger Should Know

I've been blogging for six years now and let me tell you, the industry landscape has changed hugely since I first typed my opening paragraph, not entirely sure anyone would ever read my words.

madmumof7 blogger

 During the first few years I realise now (looking back) that it was a relatively small community, particularly in what some people persist in calling the "mummy blogger" world. I bumped into pretty much the same people at the many conferences which were on offer and at events.

Now I'm delighted if I spot two or three familiar faces. Of course some people have gone because their desire/need/ability to blog or vlog has passed, but mainly because our industry has been flooded with new faces, especially in the south of the UK where I live and work.

In a way it's been good for me. I feel I have to keep up to date, tweak my website to keep it looking as fresh faced as the majority of new bloggers who turn up to events looking younger than many of my children and much of my underwear. The chintzy homespun look of a website no longer cuts the mustard with PR people with literally hundreds of thousands of professional looking websites to choose from.

It's also a bit sad as I am often the oldest "influencer" there by a country mile although luckily my own outlook and interests, boosted by valuable backup from my older children who are in their teens and twenties, means I don't feel left out in conversation.

Luckily, my age often works in my favour and I love working for brands who are aiming at my age bracket or want to use my life experiences to help advise and educate the next generation. From advice about colic to incontinence, I have something to say about pretty much everything!

madmumof7 with Dr Hilary Jonesmadmumof7 bouncing to test Tena

I decided today to use my experience of the last 6 years blogging, combined with the decades before that when I was a print journalist, to offer some advice to anyone who has either recently set up a blog or is thinking about doing so. The same advice goes for  wannabe vloggers, YouTubers and micro influencers who just want to use one platform like Instagram to share. I will use the words blog and blogger throughout though.

Here we have my 5 things every new blogger should know.

1. Be yourself, not the person you think your readers/PR's/brands want you to be. The key to a successful blog is still what it was even before I started writing - great authentic content. Use your own unique personality to dictate your blog's design and voice. If you use a third party to design your platform's theme make absolutely sure it reflects you or your aims and isn't just striking or pretty with no real meaning.

2. Check out your competition. Look at what other successful bloggers are doing. Is your site as good? No-one should ever copy another influencers style or words but if you spot that your top five fave people are all heading the same way with their look, sound or content it might be time to update your own direction.

Even if you are happy with your own work it's great to follow other bloggers, comment on their posts and chat on social media. When I first started I wondered why on earth people did this. Surely you are helping the competition? But bloggers largely support other bloggers and it's good to make friends in this community for many reasons, mainly because it's a great way of meeting new and interesting people.

3. Check, check, check. Check the deadline and the brief, check your grammar and spelling, check for typos and html errors, check your photos or the video have loaded properly. Still errors will slip through the net but a thorough check will often catch quite a few. I always read through before publishing and again afterwards as often I don't spot things until the page is live.

As for deadlines and brief, if you want to make money from your platform you have to be professional and missing deadlines without informing the PR of a good reason for that (with an apology) is bad form. I always go through the brief before and after writing a piece before hitting publish too. If the client has asked for key words, a hashtag or has set an embargo it's wise to comply if you want to continue to work with them or other clients. PR's talk to each other and move agencies so word about good and bad influencers spreads quickly.

4. Enjoy yourself. The first few days, weeks, months and even years of blogging can be exciting. You have lots of new ideas and love checking your (hopefully) rising stats. Then most people hit a bit of a wall where content ideas can dry up, the anticipated stardom has not transpired and no-one has handed you a shiny award.

If you are just blogging for fun then it's OK to walk away for a while and come back refreshed. If, like me, this is your income it's important to check you haven't lost your sparkle in among the sponsored posts. Maybe take a break - even a couple of weeks. Go outside and think about something else for a while and enjoy some new experiences which inspire you to write fresh exciting content.

5. Don't get hung up on statistics. It's OK to keep an eye on stats. They can be useful to discern what people like to read/watch or when but don't become obsessive about them.

 Even if you only have ten people reading your post instead of tens of thousands, those are still ten people in the early days who have bothered to click and read/watch. It's OK to be proud of ranking but a high rank doesn't always mean more opportunities or satisfaction. It's just a bunch of algorithms. However if after a year you are still only getting views from your mum, nan and a load of Russian 'bots, it might be time to head in a new direction.

Actually although I said I have five things you should know, I might have to add another top tip here as one last piece of advice I have to offer is DON'T FEED THE TROLLS.

Sadly you will at some point have negative, hurtful, nasty comments left on your platform or on social media and the best thing to do, difficult as it is, is shrug your shoulders and back away. No-one wins in a public online argument and you can end up looking worse than the person who started it.

Still want to start a blog? Good luck and have fun! In the past six years I have had some amazing experiences. I've swum with sharks, dined at The Ivy, cooked with celebrity chefs and given the keynote speech at a major blogging conference.

madmumof7 with Gino D'campomadmumof7 with Dom Littlewood

 I've met loads of celebs and been able to enjoy some money can't buy days out, often with my children in tow.  I've been to film premieres, eaten in restaurants I could never afford normally and been treated like a VIP on many occasions at private events at major tourist attractions. We even had a lovely all inclusive holiday in a beautiful hotel which was memorable.

 No matter how many new bloggers there are, there is room for us all, whether you want to just share your story or create a new career. Feel free to leave a link to your website  in the comments section below so I can pop along and say hello.

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