The most invaluable tips I’ve learnt over the last 5 years, that have step changed my blogging journey and blog success
I’ve been sharing blogging tips on mediamarmalade.com for over two years now, and in all honesty the reason they even started was because I was desperate to learn more, to grow my blog, optimise my approach and become a better, more successful blogger. I spent so many hours reading tutorials from professional coders, business start ups, photographers and general entrepreneurs, I spent the first 3 years of blogging learning and doing everything I wanted myself … and I loved it. I loved learning, doing and seeing results and I especially loved seeing my blog grow and get ‘better’ in turn.
Today there are probably more blogging tips out there than bloggers themselves, and that says something. And i think the reason it’s become such a popular (and if not oversaturated) topic is because there truly is such high demand. People want to learn and want to grow, and learning from other bloggers experiences is definitely one way of doing that. But what comes with everyone dipping their toes in, is a blurred line between subjectivity and objectivity (I still, to this day, stand by the fact when it comes to blogging there is no right nor wrong, the beauty of the industry is that it’s authentic, original and unique content), inaccurate technical advice (sadly) and generally a mountain of content to sift through. And those three things got me thinking … if I really had to streamline everything i’ve learnt (and taught on here) for someone starting out today (or for me, if I was starting from fresh now) what would the key things be that I would want to know … and that is what lead me to todays editorial.
The most invaluable tips and learnings I’ve got over the last 5 years.
5 INVALUABLE BLOG TIPS THAT STEP CHANGED MY BLOG SUCCESS (THAT I WISH I KNEW WHEN I STARTED BLOGGING)
Investing in & mastering photography
I fell in love with the visual side of blogging very quickly and photography became and still is one of my most favourite things about my blog and others out there. From developing creative concepts, shooting features with my sister and boyfriend to editing the images & crafting that final story. I invested in a Canon 550D after a year of blogging and upgraded to the Canon 5DIII after two to three years … i wanted to take photography seriously and I decided the investment would be worth it. MY GOD IT WAS. Now what I am not saying is that you need to spend a large sum of money to get good shots (far from it, the Olympus has proved that), no, what investing in a proper camera did, was spur me on to learn how to use it … and below are the most valuable things I learnt:
Iso, Aperture, Shutterspeed, and the relationship between these three things are the most important part of learning to shoot a good photograph. Shooting on manual and learning how to use your camera is essential, shooting in raw and learning to edit is the magic on top. I’ve shared tons of photography tips on mediamarmalade over the years, but helping you master how to use your DSLR is probably the best. You should definitely read my tutorial for an in depth guide, but in the meantime know this:
ISO; impacts your cameras sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO, the more light let in. The Lower the ISO the less light in. The challenge is that the lower the ISO the better quality the shot, the higher the iso the more grainy the image.
Shutter Speed: How quickly your camera captures the moment. The higher the shutter speed (e.g. 1/1000) the quicker the shutter & the sharper the photograph, the lower the speed (1/100) the slower the shutter & less sharp the image. Again the challenge is finding the balance, because equally a higher shutter speed limits the light you can let in, whilst a slower shutter speed increases the light you can let in (because it’s open longer).
Aperture (the F number); affects the depth of field (blur / bokeh) and the size of the hole for light to enter your camera through the lens. You see how everything is linked?
A great photograph combines a creative eye, a fabulous setting, an original composition and a camera used to the best of it’s ability. Learning how to shoot on manual, and understanding the balance between iso, aperture and your shutter speed is what will transform your photography.
Basic code & the power of the plugin
Coding caused me so many headaches and late nights, but what came with designing and building my own blog and learning basic web coding, was a unique, original and bespoke website that was authentic to me. I feel really proud of how much I taught myself in the early days and how hard I worked to create something I loved. Whilst today I get a little help with the web build (I still design myself) I did learn some seriously handy web coding tricks (not least how to read code) but also some much bigger points which I wish I knew earlier:
A debate I always had (and one I see happening a lot) was whether wordpress or blogger was the right platform to start with? I started on blogger, loved it, but moved after a few years because I found it limited my design opportunities (although that seems to have been eliminated now with so many ‘pre made’ designs for purchase which is great) and also affected my image quality. I spent 8 painful months moving to wordpress (less because of the move, more because of the process) but today feel happy I made the move, mainly because I feel I have more design freedom, but also some seriously easy ‘code’ hack opportunities through the incredible amounts of plugins available. If I want to make a change, most the time there’s a plugin that can help. I shared my top 5 plugins here, but without doubt Yoast (for SEO) is an essential plugin and one that will make more impact than you probably realise. No one tells you any of this when you are starting out, which is why a guide like this is one that I wish was around for me when I started my blog all those years ago.
If you want a business, you need to think like a business woman!
Over the last 5 years the blogging industry has evolved unrecognisably, and today we operate in a flourishing commercial industry. Go bloggers. My blog certainly grew with the boom but it was only recently that I realised it was me that forgot to grow with the industry, i was desperate for my blog to become a successful business, to get more opportunities and gain greater recognition for the serious work I was putting in, yet I was treating it like a hobby still. I didn’t realise how other bloggers were turning their blogs into businesses, I was so focussed on business at work, I forgot to think like a business with my blog outside of work … and I missed out as a result. I spent 100% of my effort blogging daily and 0% of my time doing the things that would allow me to turn my blog into a business; networking, pitching for work & distributing my content.
That leads me neatly onto the 80:20 content (and business) rule that I wrote about recently. I spent 4.5 years blogging daily and hoping for good fortune, I then realised that my approach to blogging was all emotional (i felt like I would be a failure if I didn’t maintain this), and maybe needed a little business savvy if I wanted to reach my goals … i needed to consult myself like I would my clients. And what it all came down to was this; what’s the point of creating incredible content if it ultimately brings nothing back (traffic, work, opportunities, revenue …). I needed to spend more effort on building a business by networking, attending events I was invited to, spending time seeking business and not least getting my content seen through optimising my distribution strategy (being more active and engaging on social), and not spend 100% of my time and effort on producing daily content … that most probably people weren’t reading daily. And whilst It’s certainly not 80:20 for me currently, it’s probably shifted to 20:80 which is a positive step and already bringing rewards.
Define Your Own Success
And finally, you’d have thought that a nearly 30 years old, career driven, ambitious, well rounded and educated female would have known better, but sadly my niggling self doubt has constantly reared it’s head throughout my blogging journey, and left me constantly comparing my success to that of others (something I know to be damaging and pointless), putting my own efforts down as a result, and generally being hard on myself and not celebrating my successes.
I would tell my younger self to nip this in the bud immediately, blogging was something that started as a hobby but has flourished into something more, the best blogs and bloggers (and the most successful ones in my opinion) are those who offer original, authentic and passionate content, that’s packed with integrity (there really is room for everyone and everything). And most of all there truly is no single definition of success. Success is what you personally define it to be, your goals & objectives should be based on your ambitions and your personal benchmarks, and your measure of success should be based on how you deliver on those, and not versus other bloggers out there.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, look at how far you’ve come and all that you’ve achieved already …
MY BEST & MOST POPULAR BLOGGING TIPS
Tech & Data Tips:
. 5 SEO TIPS FOR BLOGGERS. WHY YOUR BLOG IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER (DESPITE THE RISE OF SOCIAL) . 5 (FREE) PLUGINS THAT WILL HELP GROW YOUR BLOG . HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY TRACK & GROW YOUR BLOG TRAFFIC . 5 GEEKY BLOG TIPS THAT’LL MAKE A HUGE IMPACT ON YOUR BLOG SUCCESS . HOW TO USE GOOGLE ANALYTICS TO IMPROVE YOUR BLOG .
Blogging For Business Tips:
. WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A BLOG BUSINESS PITCH . DEMYSTIFYING THE LUCKY BREAK: HOW SUCCESSFUL BLOGGERS GET BLOG BUSINESS & OPPORTUNITIES . THE SKILLS ALL BLOGGERS HAVE THAT CAN EARN YOU MONEY . 6 THINGS BRANDS LOOK FOR WHEN WORKING WITH BLOGGERS . HOW TO CREATE A KILLER MEDIA PACK FOR YOUR BLOG . HOW TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO A BRAND
Blog Content Strategy Tips:
. THE 80:20 BLOGGING RULE: WHAT IT IS & HOW IT CAN HELP GROW YOUR BLOG . SIMPLE WAYS TO BOOST ORGANIC BLOG REFERRALS & GROW YOUR BLOGGING BUSINESS . HOW TO INCREASE THE LIFE OF YOUR CONTENT & DRIVE TRAFFIC TO OLD POSTS . HOW TO INCREASE ENGAGEMENT WITH YOUR BLOG CONTENT . HOW TO TAKE YOUR BLOG FULL TIME . HOW TO TURN YOUR BLOG INTO A BUSINESS: PART 3 NETWORKING .
Defining Success Tips:
. HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY TRACK & GROW YOUR BLOG TRAFFIC . WHY YOU DON’T NEED TO QUIT YOUR CAREER TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL BLOG BUSINESS . 3 MAJOR BENEFITS TO ATTENDING BLOG EVENTS AND HOW THEY CAN BOOST YOUR BLOG SUCCESS . 5 WAYS TO TRACK THE SUCCESS OF YOUR CONTENT (AND GROW YOUR BLOG AS A RESULT) . WHAT MAKES A BLOG BECOME SUCCESSFUL? .
I really hope you found this seriously bumper blog tips post helpful and insightful. It was so enjoyable to sit and think about everything i’ve learnt and put it into one mega tips posts for you. I’d love to know what tips you loved the most and what other tips you’d find helpful for me to cover on mediamarmalade?
Thank You For Making It To The End x