It’s A Blog Eat Blog World Out There: Best Practices for Blogging Success

its a blog eat blog world out there

Someone tweeted me last week that I should write a post titled “It’s a blog eat blog world out there”. It made me chuckle so that’s exactly what I’ve done. I hope it’s helpful as well as just slightly amusing though!

Here are my thoughts on what makes a successful blog:

Be yourself

The famous Oscar Wilde quote “Be yourself, everyone else is taken” is a cliché but it’s so true. You’ll never make your site a success if you’re following in someone else’s shadow. Don’t try to be the next (insert blogger name here), strive to be the first YOU!

You might think you have nothing new to offer, but that’s total crap! Remember, no one else has lived your life or had your exact experiences. What you might think is the mundane everyday, will be wildly exciting and different to someone living on the other side of the world.

Stop putting yourself down. You are amazing and you have something of value to offer.

Practice your writing

The more you do something, the better you get at it. So, if writing isn’t your strongest skill, practice, practice and practice some more!

Read a lot. Get your writing inspiration from a variety of sources, not just other blogs in your niche. Read books, read magazines, read journals… keep reading, keep writing, keep learning.

If you go back and look at my very first blog post you’ll see just how far I’ve come. Oh cringe!

Present things differently

But blogging doesn’t just have to be about long form writing. Look at places like The Oatmeal, Buzzfeed and all those YouTube beauty bloggers. They use comics, listicles and videos to connect with their audience and get their points across. Mix things up a little!

be yourself everyone else is already taken

Include great images

If you look at your favourite blogs, I’d imagine that most of them also include amazing imagery. Whether you’re taking your own, using stock photos or asking photographers if you can use their work, always accompany your posts with at least one gorgeous shot to draw people in and pretty up the page.

Push yourself

It can be very easy to get stuck in a blogging rut. The old, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra. But if you’re bored, or not pushing yourself, your readers will be bored too. Diane Vreeland once said “Give them what they never knew they wanted” and never is this more true than in blogging. Don’t always go with what’s expected.

Push yourself to post something different and a little bit scary once in a while. It will keep you on your toes and keep things interesting for everybody.

Have an opinion

Don’t always take the easy path. If you believe in something, stand up for it. Occasionally say things that you know might ruffle some feathers. While I don’t believe you should be controversial for the sake of it, if there is something you really want to get across, DO IT!

Yes, you might piss some people off, but great blogs are polarising. They attract and repel people in equal measure.

Teach people something

The golden rule of successful blogging is to post things that help other people. While you might look at a lot of fashion or lifestyle bloggers and want to emulate what they do, it’s the hardest niche to really get any traction with.

Bloggers that get famous by simply posting their outfit photos or sharing things about their everyday life are few and far between. They are definitely the exception not the rule.

If you can teach people something and help them in some way, then they are more likely to find you in the first place and keep coming back.

What is it that you know that other people don’t? It doesn’t have to be complicated, and actually it is often the simplest things that prove the most popular. Did you do a great DIY project recently? Discover a new way to style your hair? Learn a new trick with your camera? Share it!

give them what they never knew they wanted

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On Feeling Guilty

Rainbow Rock n Roll Bride

The rumours are true, I’m obsessed with my work. But I have a dirty little secret… I sometimes feel really guilty about just how very obsessive I am.

Confession time (deep breath). On an almost daily basis I have that overwhelming feeling of guilt that I’m devoting too much time to this blog and not enough to everything – and everyone – else. As painful as it is to admit, I often feel like I’m letting everything else play second fiddle to work. That, by the way, is an awful feeling to have.

I am so incredibly lucky that I have an understanding husband. He supports me and my choices so much and our relationship has never been stronger. But every time I only half listen to what he’s saying because I’m concentrating on something else, every time I have to get back on a plane, every time I have to head up to my computer as soon as dinner is finished… I feel bad.

So how to we banish it? Can we ever let things slide a little but still strive to be the very best at what we do?

Danielle LaPorte once said, “The guilt of following your heart is a weight you can bear if your dream is strong enough. It’s the price of admission to fulfilment. You’re going to feel guilty. Breathe. Keep going.”

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Wanna Be A Superblogger? I’ll Tell You How!

Alexa Loy

My least favourite part of school was any kind of public speaking. I’d do anything I could possibly think of to avoid it. So no one is more surprised than me that talking to a room of people full of people is now my idea of a damn good time. It makes it a whole lot easier when I’m taking about the subject I love the most though: blogging!

At The Blogcademy we teach our attendees everything (and I mean everything!) we know about social media, branding, creating amazing content, writing a killer about page, networking and so much more! If you run a blog or a business, as a side project, a hobby or as your full time gig, then this workshop is for you.

The Workshop

In the next few months The Blogcademy will be jetting off to the following locations – and I want to see YOU there! I’m particularly excited about our first mainland Europe classes. I can’t wait to explore Berlin and Amsterdam!

LONDON July 19-20 & 22-23
Less than five tickets remaining

BERLIN July 26-27

 AMSTERDAM August 2-3

NEW YORK CITY September 27-28
Less than five tickets remaining

 WASHINGTON DC October 4-5

SYDNEY November 29-30
Less than five tickets remaining 

MELBOURNE December 3-4

 AUCKLAND December 6-7

Tickets cost $750US. For more information and to book your spot, simply head on over to our website.

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The Mixer

If the investment of the two-day workshop is a little too much right now but you still want to get your questions answered then you have to check out our mixer events! The first of which is hitting The Roost in London on July 24th.

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Taking Risks Vs Being Reckless

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I speak a lot about jumping in feet first, launching and learning and making mistakes to grow your business, but the truth of the matter is you can’t always lead with your heart. You have to weigh up the pros and cons of each major decision that you make so that you don’t end up losing it all.

While I am a firm believer in trusting your gut, I would never encourage anybody to do things with wild abandon. Don’t quit your day job until your baby business can cover your bills, have a plan and a back up plan, and make those big choices based on fact, not whimsy.

But the reality is that if you do nothing, you’ll gain nothing. There is always an element of risk when it comes to striking out on your own. It is essential if you want to move forward, do something different and stand out against your competitors. Risk is actually one of the very best, if not scariest, ways to expand our knowledge, offerings and confidence.

So how can you make sure you’re making good risky choices, not one that will destroy your business?

The difference is forward-planning. Having goals to work towards, projecting your income and having quantifiable ideas will all help keep you on track. I started this blog in 2007 but I didn’t quit my day job until 2011. As someone who struggles with patience this was immensely difficult for me! I wanted to strike out on my own as soon as I’d made my first £100! If it was up to me I’d have jumped in right away and figured it all out as I went along.

Luckily Gareth is the yin to my yang. He’s a lot more risk averse than me. He wants to make sure all the possibilities are planned out before making any decisions. It takes him forever to do anything (which, yes, does drive me crazy!) but he always seems to make the right choices in the end.

For example it took him about six months to choose our new television because he had to get the very best one for the very best price. If it was me I would have walked into one shop and picked out the first one I saw. It would probably have ended up being too big, tinny sounding and with a crappy picture display… but because of Gareth’s research and forward-planning the one we now have is awesome.

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On Mistakes, Friendships and Not Going it Alone

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Being your own boss is the most wonderful thing. Since launching Rock n Roll Bride in 2007 I’ve discovered a LOT about myself, the wedding industry and running a business. But if there’s one lesson I learnt faster than anything else, it was that I couldn’t do everything myself. For example, I could have spent hours wrestling with Photoshop to come up with a design for my site, or I could work a little harder on the things I am better at so I can pay my designer to do it for me.

However, to me, even more vital than learning to outsource, was finding those people I could trust to help or advise me on a more personal level. These are the people that you know will always have your back and your best interests at heart. Without them in your corner, running your own business will be a million times harder.

I kept Rock n Roll Bride a secret from ‘the real world’ until the end of 2008. Gareth and I got married that April and I was completely embarrassed to be still obsessed with weddings after our own big day was over. At this point, the blog was nothing more than a hobby anyway, I didn’t feel the need to make a big deal about it offline. Then, about a year in, I made my first big mistake. I was trying to install Google Analytics on the site (I am NOT technical AT ALL by the way!) and somehow managed to delete the whole thing!

ARGH!

So I went to Gareth and shamefully admitted that I had this secret blog… about weddings… that I’d somehow managed to delete. Despite his techy prowess, there was no way for him to magically bring the obliterated site back, but he offered to help me start over. We signed up with WordPress.org, bought rocknrollbride.com and I began again.

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The Blogcademy: Live from Vancouver!

made u look blogcademy

This morning I hosted an hour long Q&A livestream with my Blogcademy babes from our Vancouver apartment. We recorded the whole thing, so if you want to re-watch it in your own time, or you weren’t able to tune in live, you can right now!

If you’ve ever wondered how to grow your blog readership, what our favourite Photoshop tools are, or what the best ways to keep your social media active are, then press play on the video below. We answered all these questions – and way more!

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