One Year Blogging: Blog tips I wish I knew when I started


I cannot believe Dear Passerby is over 12 months old. What started out as a pet project, took off and I am so excited to share my blog tips with you.

While I’ve enjoyed the experience there were times I felt like throwing the laptop out the window. Other times I felt like forgetting about the whole thing. There have also been great moments where I have had amazing experiences and met so many great people. Here are some of the blog tips and advice I wish I knew when I started out

Deciding on a niche

When I started my blog I wanted to discuss issues that were Tech, TV/Movie and Travel related. These were my interests and I wanted to create something different, a blog that was not there before. I didn’t know how these three categories would mesh together. Often times I wondered should I give up TV or Tech altogether and purely focus on Travel. But as I started getting into writing, the different categories worked well together. 
Some of the questions I wish I had asked myself before starting were: What was my target market? Who was I writing this for? This is a catch 22. As I write more I figure out more who my audience is. If I had thought about this a bit more at the beginning I might have gotten there faster.

Blog logo/colour scheme

I spent a great deal of time on my blog logo, name and colour scheme. Pink is my favourite colour but I knew if I chose this colour it would put off men reading my blog (who make up 50% of my readership). I chose a colour that was somewhat gender neutral and spent time researching different logos. When coming up with a blog name I chose “Dear Passerby” as I felt it had a sense of adventure. I also came up with a logo which looks somewhat like a compass with the arrows pointing in different directions. It fit in with the name and the idea of adventure and travel. I spent about a month coming up with a blog name and logo. I don’t know if this was procrastination or if I think I needed to spend this amount of time on it but I felt it was beneficial.

My Blog Theme

The thing that tortured me the most over the last 12 months has been my blog theme and the layout of the blog. Since Dear Passerby was launched last year I have completely transformed the layout of the blog. I have tried to make it more user-friendly and incorporate all of the different categories. It is difficult to get a website to look the way you want it to when you have to learn code from scratch. My advice to anyone starting out with a blog is get a theme you are happy enough with that doesn’t involve too much tweaking. When I started I picked a free theme from colorlib that also has a free customer support forum. I was able to ask questions and get tweaks for the blog theme. There are always going to be things with your blog theme or layout that you are not going to be happy with. Don’t get consumed by having a perfect looking blog theme. Your main concern starting out should be to have a blog with a nice layout and is easy to search for your blog posts. If you have a website with good content people will come back again and again no matter what it looks like

Entering the Littlewoods Ireland Blogger Awards.

Even though my blog was only launched a few months, I decided to enter the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards. I thought if I at least got on the longlist it would give my new blog some exposure. Little did I know I would actually become a finalist in the blog awards. Don’t ever think you blog isn’t good enough. Always put your blog out there you never know what might happen.

Some people that have helped along the way.

I knew nothing when I started out. There are some blogs and groups that where really helpful for advice and support.
These guys are great for blog tips. They have a really good website that gives advice to bloggers about everything. They have ideas on how to write good content to getting people to subscribe to your blog.
This is another great website for helping bloggers. The owner has a great podcast and holds a weekly Facebook live videos taking about the latest social media updates.

Facebook Groups

There are so many good Facebook blogger groups that are out there to support fellow bloggers and are willing to offer advice and blog tips. Some of my favourite are:

I have learned so much from these groups and have gotten great blogging tips from them. Find a group on Facebook where the members interact and help each other. You will be surprised how many people have had the same blogging difficulties as you.

Contacting PR/Media Companies

Like submitting your blog for awards, don’t be afraid to put your blog out there. There are so many blogs these days. Many companies will not know about your blog unless you contact them yourself. Don’t wait until they contact you. If you think you have a good idea pitch it to them. It may not work out but if something comes up in the future they may think of you for the job.

Don’t try to do everything all at once.

I tried to be on every social media platform all at once. This meant I was not able to engage in a meaningful way on any social media platform. My advice is to pick only one or two social media platforms and concentrate on those. When you feel like you have mastered that platform, you can move onto another. I concentrated on Instagram and now I have over 13,000 followers on the platform. Here are some tips on how to boost your following and engagement 

Don’t put yourself under pressure to hit that publish button!

If you are your own boss why are you pressurising yourself to publish a blog post? When I started out I was determined to write at least two blog posts a week. It got me into a good routine of writing blog posts and into the rhythm of writing a blog. But I often published something for the sake of it in order to meet my own deadline. It is good to have a routine and generate new content on a regular basis but give yourself some time. If you’re not happy with a blog post give yourself an extra day or two. Read everything over before you publish. You will be happier with the outcome and I’m sure your readers will be too. 

Have the confidence in yourself to achieve. 

As I mentioned at the start, there were times where I felt like giving up. I thought I had written the best blog post ever and it got hardly any views. There were other times when I had written something, put it out to the universe and got a great reaction. When you are starting out everything is not going to go according to plan. It takes time and effort to make something work. Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers. They are on their own journey. Believe in yourself and follow your passions and you will achieve. 
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