I seriously had no idea what I was doing when I first began blogging. It all started when friends were asking me questions about our new and sudden “no highly processed food” lifestyle, and one friend suggested I start a blog about it. I’ve always been a fan of efficiency (hey, I could answer everyone’s questions all at one time this way), but blogging? No way. My strong subject in school was always math, not writing! So I brushed off the idea…for about a week that is. And then for some reason I just said, “What the heck” and just took the plunge, which, at the time, felt incredibly strange and out of my comfort zone! Especially when I shared my very first blog post with friends.
One thing I really want to stress though is that the main purpose of this blog was (and still very much is) to share our real food lifestyle with others to hopefully inspire them to make some positive changes as well. From day one I just felt very passionate about sharing this message. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine this passion of mine could and would one day turn into our full time family business. Yep, that’s right. In early 2012, right before my eyes, my blog grew to a point where I could no longer reasonably handle it on my own. So I went to my husband Jason desperate for help – and help he did! Within a couple months he realized that if he really put his mind to it he could turn all the blog traffic I was generating into enough income to leave his corporate job. The corporate job that he absolutely hated that is. (My apologies if any of Jason’s former Siemens co-workers are currently reading this, but – nothing against you – it was just not his thing.)
Fast-forward almost 2 years and my analytical husband is now pretty much the “How to turn your successful blog into a full time income” expert. And I am lucky to have him (for many reasons of course!). His role allows me to continue focusing on the part I really enjoy – writing good, helpful content and interacting with you guys. It’s his job to ensure that what I do pays the bills.
It’s super amazing to be rewarded financially for work that you feel so incredibly passionate about…because it suddenly no longer feels like a “job” anymore and instead just an extension of your life.
And now – without further ado – here are my Top Blogging Tips that I’ve learned along the way…
- Be passionate about your topic.
If you don’t absolutely love love love the topic of your blog then it might be hard to maintain it over time. And I am not sure if blogging about wildly different topics is a good idea (although it does work for some). Before I started writing about real food I sat down and quickly came up with 6 months worth of topic ideas. I felt like that was enough for me to move forward.
- Just do it.
I’ve witnessed a lot of people spend a lot of time simply contemplating their good idea…Should I? Shouldn’t I? My advice is stop (over) thinking it and just do it! Especially when it comes to something like blogging, the start-up costs are minimal so there really isn’t much to lose (financially speaking).
- Be authentic.
I can’t stress this enough and that’s for many reasons. First of all, being yourself is the easiest thing to maintain over a long period of time. And secondly, authentic is just the right way to be in general (in my opinion!).
- Get personal.
You don’t have to air all of your dirty laundry, but I think it’s a good idea to let your readers get to know you a bit. When bloggers sound like robots on Facebook I just don’t think it goes over as well as when you sound like a real person (that experiences ups and downs like everyone else). Just my two cents. :)
- Be original.
This is one of those golden rules of life – don’t copy other people’s blog content and also be sure to give credit when credit is due! You know how it goes, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”
- Make your site “sticky.”
There’s nothing like a big unexpected media story about your blog that makes your traffic shoot straight up to watch it just shoot straight back down. No matter what you do you will have big spikes like that, but it’s best to end up (at least) a little better off than when you started. So give people reasons to subscribe to your email list or like your Facebook page – and make these reasons obvious. There’s nothing better than having people stick around to see what you have to say. I’ll never forget when I very first felt like a respectable amount of people were actually listening – it was awesome. :)
- Be careful about committing publicly.
Anytime you say “I’ll share this recipe on Friday” or “I’ll post pictures of the event tomorrow” you are suddenly publicly committed and will feel the need to follow through. And, as we all know, sometimes life just gets in the way and Friday comes and goes – and the guilt slowly follows. So, for me, I’ve found it works best to say things like “I’ll share this recipe on the blog soon!”. Because unless it’s already typed up and scheduled to be published this allows the kind of flexibility I often need.
- Don’t just talk about yourself.
This was great advice that I got from another blogger, Carrie Vitt (see that giving credit thing in action here? LOL). It was actually unsolicited, but she was tactful about it, and I very much appreciated her telling me! Share great posts from other bloggers on your social media channels and I am not just talking about YOUR guest posts on other people’s blogs. So c’mon share the love and you’ll be glad you did…fellow bloggers can be your biggest allies in this world.
- Clean house when you need to.
I’ve had to do this myself more than I’d like to admit. But for some reason people on Facebook can be REALLY mean from behind their computer screen. Not only do their comments not usually add any value, but it is not good for the other users’ experience (because they tell me so). So I created a comment policy and I enforce it by banning commenters who violate these simple rules. It’s not that I don’t tolerate the opposing viewpoint – because I most certainly do! – but I do demand respect. This is my page after all, and I must maintain control as best I can.
- Break the rules.
Don’t put too much emphasis on all the blogging rules out there (even these!). Just do what feels right and success will (hopefully) follow!