Allow me to share my biggest lessons with you.
Five Things I've Learned In My Year Of Blogging
1) Develop your "voice" and show your persona. Let your personality come out in your posts! People follow you because they like YOU. I follow a large handful of bloggers, and even when they post about something I'm not interested in, I still read their post and comment because I like who they are and want to support them. So show some of your quirky personality! In blog posts, social media, comments on other blogs, etc.
2) Promote your blog by promoting others. I failed at this big time for my first six months. I had about 11 twitter followers and only used it to link my blog accounts. When I started to interact with other bloggers, show some of my personality in my tweets (see #1) and retweeted other bloggers posts, my following exploded. You get promoted by promoting others, so share the blog love! It will come back to you, I promise.
3) Edit your images. I also failed big time at this. I'd snap a pic with my iPhone and post it directly as it was to my post. FAIL. Photography and images are just as important as writing and text in blogging. Sign up for an online editing site (I use picmonkey), adjust the exposure and sharpness of your pics. Crop them if necessary. Add other effects and edits if needed. Yes, this takes time and there's a learning curve, but once I started consistently doing it, I not only got a massive increase in free product offers from companies, I started to get sponsored post (read: actual $$$) offers too! Even if you're not looking to make money blogging, edit your photos so that your best pics are floating around the interwebs.
4) Be authentic. Write posts that are true to you. I swear blog readers (myself included) can sense BS! Nothing makes me click away faster than an unauthentic post. Here's some truth: I thought I might do some beauty blogging. Before having Henry, I always wore makeup, loved playing with it, my hair was always curled or "done" in some way. But now? Aint nobody got time for that! I have an hour to myself, and that hour is going to be working out. So I can authentically talk about yoga or barre class, but any posts about lip sticks or how to get barrel waves to stay in your hair for three days would be a joke coming from me.
5) Write the post you're scared to write. Then publish it. My most popular posts were the ones I was the most scared to hit "publish" on. They were personal, or opinionated, or both, but I was always nervous about the response I would get.
I hope that helps some of you newbie bloggers and I'm sure it resonates with some of you old pros! Do you have any other advice to share? I wanna hear it in the comments!