Happy Monday! How we feeling this week??
So one thing I feel like I don’t talk about on the blog very often is actual blogging. I feel that there are so many blogs out there that do such a great job of teaching blogging tips and techniques. I am still such a small blogger that I don’t really feel like I belong in that realm of the blogosphere, but today I will share what has worked for me.
I have been blogging since October of 2014 technically. lol. Honestly some of those posts had good content, but weren’t very pretty to look at. It’s one of my goals one day when I have free time to go back and re-vamp some old posts. Anyways, I wasn’t consistent..I blogged willy-nilly and not on a schedule. Over the years I’ve done every trial and error in the book but didn’t see any kind of growth in engagement.
That is until last March. March of 2017 is kind of what I consider the “rebirth” of the Hel On Heels brand. I took serious strides to grow my blog, my brand, my social media, and everything in between. It made a difference! When I get discouraged, I look at where I was a year ago to where I am now and I cut myself some slack. It’s a journey for sure.
By implementing these strategies, I have been able to monetize my blog, grow my social media engagement, partner with some awesome brands and businesses, travel, and (most importantly) stay excited about this little business that I have built. So here is my list of the best things I have done for my blog. Take it with a grain of salt!
Set Yourself Up for Success
One thing I wish I had done differently from the beginning, was to set myself up on a self-hosted website with my own domain. I originally started out with WordPress.com–quickly learned that you had NO freedom with that and switched to Blogger. Eventually I purchased a domain, but still had everything hosted through Blogger (a free site). FINALLY at the beginning of last year, I hired Lisette of High Note Designs (who I highly recommend. She was beyond easy to work with!) to have my entire blog converted into a self-hosted WordPress site and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I now have the creative freedom I need to make this space what I want. I own all of my content. The plugins help with ease and access to my site. I have changed up my design several times over the past year, but I am finally very pleased with the aesthetic. It took a LONG time for me to get here, but I am finally happy. I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time going back and forth between platforms and set my self up originally on a self-hosted WordPress site. If you are looking to make your blog a business, go ahead and save yourself the headaches and invest in a domain and self-host your site!
I did not wake up one day knowing everything about blogging. I still haven’t even scratched the surface! You know what I do know though?? To learn and take the advice of people smarter than me. I started taking blogging courses. I’ve taken Instagram courses, Pinterest Courses, how to monetize courses, how to grow courses. I’ve read e-books, watched webinars, and looked up every infographic on the internet. Taking courses was finally the key for me to get my head out of my butt and GROW! My favorite course I’ve taken is Erica’s Bosspitch. This is the course that taught me the most about pitching and partnering with brands AND how to finally make an income from blogging. I’m not a full-time blogger, but it’s nice to have blogging funds in the bank. You can check out my testimonial for the course here!
Create Original and Interesting Photography
Let’s face it. People like to read, but they love to look at pictures. A year ago, I invested in good lenses for my DSLR camera (I like the 50 mm), watched photo editing courses on YouTube, and asked Hubbs to start helping me take pictures. Rather than an Instagram full of flatlays and grainy iPhone photos, I started taking engaging and interesting pictures.
Build a Brand
Ok, so I’m fairly new to the branding of Hel On Heels…but not overall. My day job is in marketing. I’ve worked with several organizations and companies that branding was part of my job. Why it took me so long to start creating the Hel On Heels brand is beyond me. I took a picture at Charleston Fashion Week (the one above) and it hit me..Those were the colors for my brand. So I’ve worked it into my blog design, my Instagram theme, and I’m working on building it into the rest of my platforms. I want you to see the colors and fonts and think, oh duh, that’s Hel On Heels. It’s a process, but even over the past few weeks it’s made a difference. I have a whole branding plan that will fully take form by Q3…
I have a kick-ass group of blogging pals in Atlanta. I’ve met and really bonded with them this year and that has made such a HUGE difference. We share tips, invite each other to events, meet-up for drinks, and have actually become friends. I am so inspired by every single thing they do and have love love loved having them as a resource and a sounding board. It has been so nice to have blogging pals that are humble, collaborative and want to help me grow. Making blogging friends has been the ultimate game changer for me. So I recommend going to conferences, going to blogging meet-ups, and getting your name out there in your city to create connections with other bloggers. It’s awesome!
If you’re a blogger, what are the best things that you have done for you blog?
So much great advice in here! I particularly liked the first one about setting up for success – I jumped right in, as though I knew what I was doing and then started to think… am I too new for this? Reading your comments made me realise I’d probably done the right thing to just go for it and act like I knew what I was doing haha!
Courses are definitely one of the keys to blogging. I’ve only done a few, but they’ve taught me more than I’ve managed to find doing HOURS of research! The insider information is priceless.
Thanks for sharing this, loved reading it.
Ruth | http://www.ruthinrevolt.com
Nicole Green says
Totally agree with the tip about self hosting! My current blog is my second “attempt” at blogging and while I previously had been Blogger, I decided to invest a little money upfront and go for the self-hosted WordPress. 3 years later and I’m so glad I did because I’ve heard how tough switching can be once you’ve already started creating.
Cayli Johnson says
Yes photography is huge, and building a brand is huge and soooo difficult to accomplish but I agree with this whole list!
Jordyn Upchurch says
I’m so glad you did this post! Working on my photography in the past year has really elevated my branding & I’m so glad I chose to do it when I did!
Southern and Style
Cara Owens-Kindly Unspoken says
Such great tips! Of course I LOVE boss pitch and it’s been so helpful in working with brands. I love that you touched base on building a cohesive brand- that’s so important!
I recently looked for other people to run the blog with, and as a blogger this is one of the best things that I have done for my blog so far ! Now it’s a blogazine (a sort of). x
Jasmine Maria says
networking has been amazing for my blog.
Keating | Mainely Keating says
So many great tips!! These are all so important. Building my brand and creating a community around it has been huge for me.
love all of these! bosspitch is the one course i really want to take, and when i have the funds for it, i’m totally taking the plunge! heard so many good things honestly <3
Patricia @ Grab a Plate says
Great tips! I really need to do more about taking some courses. Excellent suggestion. Glad to read through your suggestions!
Jennifer Maune says
Love all of your pictures! It’s amazing how staying consistent can really help grow your blog. You’re doing great!
the photography part is the one i struggle with the most. I love photography and I love writing blog posts/making youtube videos but ive ive blogged or vlogged, i feel like my creative juices are drained. add the pressure to have something new and interesting on IG every single day and it makes photography seem like a chore
Rachel @ STCL says
These are all great strategies! Moving to WordPress is such a huge step + YES to blogging courses!
Monica Delmonico says
I’ve been contemplating purchasing a new camera! I’m just nervous I’ll pick one that is too advance for me!
Chelsie Carr says
BossPitch has changed EVERYTHING for me! ANd yesss to Networking. I’ve made the best friends here in Utah – we meet up every week to discuss strategies and support one another and it’s been life changing for me!
Sadie Banks says
i loved this post! one thing that’s really helped me was consistency & realizing that i was writing good content that people wanted to read! i am so excited to for you to keep up with your blog! i love the way your branding is going!!
Yes to all of these! So essential as a blogger.
I truly believe that photography can make or break a blog. At least in my case as a visitor.
I haven’t taken any course because there are a lot of free resources out there and I also enjoy reading books.
Rachel@The Confused Millennial says
ahh love these! I do all of these. I think they all are so important. for me the best thing has always been following my intuition and doing what feels right. i grow whenever i’m focused on that