Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Celebration 500 - Post 4 - Pimp Your Blog part 1

Hi Goddesses

Today’s post is all about How To Pimp Your Blog.  Put simply, this is your A to Z Guide to how to start and grow a blog and gain a loyal readership.  Well actually, it’s A to M, because otherwise it would be the world’s longest ever blog post.  These are the things you need to consider before you get started.

First – the disclaimer.  I have not done all the things I’m going to recommend to you.  Some of them are things I see other bloggers doing, and which look smart as hell, but also exhausting :)   Secondly, I don’t have all the answers, and this isn’t an instant recipe for success.  A lot of people would consider my blog a failure to be at 800 ish followers after a year, especially when so many who started alongside me have 2, 3 and 4 times that number.  However, we live to learn, and we can always improve.

Ready?  Let’s go …..

Who are you, and why are you blogging ?
This, is the most important step of the journey, and ironically, I think it’s taken me til now to figure out the answers lol.   Initally, I thought blogging would bring me fame and fortune (sad but true).  I thought editors of magazines would see my incredible little artlets and bombard me with emails begging me to write for them .. oh, and undoubtedly showering me with free product at the same time.

Lesson – no, that’s not how it works.  If you’re doing your blog for anyone but you, it won’t work.  It’s not about numbers, or being the best (owch, being competitive I almost gagged typing that) but about what blogging fulfils in YOU.  If your blog is not for you, it will always be a barrier.

Secondly, what sort of blogger are you?  
Nail polish bloggers (I think) come in the following shapes and sizes – 
The Swatcher – people with perfect nails who tend to only do “plain” nails.  Best examples – The Polishaholic, Scrangie, TraceFace Files
The Nail Artist – someone who is really creative in coming up with new designs.   Best examples – Chalkboard Nails, Nailside, Caitlin’s Creative Corner
The Stamper – people who are awesome with stamping plates.  Best examples (and apologies to all my friends I am not mentioning here) Spellbinding Nails, Colores de Carole, Canadian Nail Fanatic
The All-Rounder – to be fair, there’s not many of these.  These are ladies who can mix it up and do it all expertly.  Best examples – Let Them Have Polish, Chalkboard Nails, The Nailasaurus
The I’m The First Kid In School To Have This / Do This – these are the ladies who rely on being at the start of a trend.  They often have good networks so that they get the cool new polishes before everyone else and make the rest of us go drooooool.  Best examples – TraceFace Files (polish) and Neverland Nail Blog (nail art / styles)

So what, Crumpet, are you ?  Welllll, that’s a very good question, and one I’ve agonised over a little.  Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am a Splodger.   I can do most of the above, just not as well, but hopefully my humour makes up for it :)

Next – find your voice
Blogging, although a written medium, is a social medium, and that means it’s chatty.  Do not write your blog like you work for the BBC in 1930.  Some of the cutest blogs are the ones that have their own sayings / sign offs.  Put YOU into YOUR blog – you are your unique selling point.  People will read your blog because they like you.  If they don’t like you, they’ll just look at the photos.  Talking of which –

Make sure your photos look good.  That means cleaning up your nails, having the best lighting you can, and ideally a plain background (a rule I am breaking at the moment because we actually have sunshine in the UK).  
You don’t need a flashy camera, and lots of bloggers use their phone camera – just make sure it’s of a good enough quality.
Photo Angels include Chalkboard Nails, Gnarly Nails and Manicurity.

Sample Your Product
It’s important to experience your blog as your readers do.  Make sure you preview each post, and then read it once it’s posted.  Also, read it from your phone – the experience can be quite different.

This will really educate you about your blog – is the font too small, are the photos too dark, does it look they way you want it to look ?

Take Your Captchas Off!
Blogging should be an interactive experience.  It’s crucial that your readers can comment easily on your posts – so please take your captchas off.  When you’re new to blogging, you don’t even know they’re there (another reason for experiencing your own blog as if you were a reader), but they put people off, big time.  Taking them off will increase the number of people who start to interact with you.

Ok, so they are your basic steps – tomorrow we’ll look at how you build an audience for your blog  :)

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