My Top 10 Tips for Beginner Bloggers

Blogging for Beginners Bootcamp panel from ProBlogger 2015: The Sista Code, Sonia Styling & Checks and Spots | SONIASTYLING.COM

{image: @isla_elizabeth}

It’s hard to believe that the ProBlogger training event has come and gone for another year.

It’s even harder to believe that the panel session I was part of – Blogging for Beginners Bootcamp – has also come and gone.

And. It. Was. Great!

I felt so incredibly nervous beforehand, but I had two brilliant bloggers alongside me {Clare from Checks and Spots and Melissa from The Sista Code} and together we did our very best to share good, solid, tangible advice that would help the newbie bloggers in the room.

For those who weren’t able to make it to the Gold Coast last week, I thought I would share with you (in no particular order)…

My top 10 tips for beginner bloggers.

Top 10 Tips for Beginner Bloggers | SONIASTYLING.COM

1. Be an active member of the blogging community

Before I started my blog, I was already an active member of the blogging community.

This meant I regularly read my favourite blogs and left meaningful, thoughtful comments. I also followed my favourite bloggers on the various social media channels and interacted with them – liking and commenting on their posts.

So when the time came for me to start Sonia Styling, I already had an audience who came to read my blog and returned the love with comments, likes, shares and promotion.

My audience then organically grew from there.

2. Value yourself, your blog and your audience

If you want to monetise your blog: own it!

I realised pretty early on that I had discovered my passion and my calling with Sonia Styling. I wanted to build it into a business, make it my career and I’ve been totally upfront and honest with my readers about my intentions from the get go – and they’ve been totally accepting of that.

In my opinion, it’s never too early to monetise your blog. So what if your stats aren’t huge? Everyone starts at zero and you still have something to offer.

Approach the brands you want to work with in a full and complete way – introduce yourself and your blog, attach your media kit and come up with a few different and exciting ways to promote their brand or product.

If a brand approaches you, the best way to decide if you do indeed want to work with them is to ask yourself three questions:

  1. do they align with your values?
  2. do they align with your brand?
  3. are they a good fit for you and your audience?

As Clare said in our session, if you are clear on your blog’s brand and values, every decision you make in relation to it will be a no-brainer.

3. Inspire, entertain or educate

I have three criteria when it comes to writing my blog posts.

They need to either inspire, entertain or educate my readers… or all of the above.

This helps me craft the best possible work I can, making sure it’s all killer and no filler content. If people are going to take time out of their day to visit my blog and read what I’ve written, I want to make sure I’m giving them something in return for their time.

The ultimate self-audit is to ask yourself this question: would you read your blog?

4. Be 100% transparent 100% of the time

When it comes to working with brands – be it sponsored posts or gifted items – I always, always, always disclose.

You cannot go wrong if you’re 100% transparent 100% of the time. No one can question your authenticity or honesty. And if someone has a problem with the fact you’ve been paid by a brand or have been gifted an item? That’s exactly it – their problem, not yours.

It’s up to you how you disclose {as in the terminology you use} but just make sure you’re consistent with it.

You can see examples of how I disclose in my most recent What Sonia Wore post and also on my Disclosure page on the blog.

5. Learn about what you love

Dr Seuss had it right with this quote: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Immerse yourself in the stuff that really interests you and learn as much about it as possible. Far less eloquent than Dr Seuss, but hey…

For me, I love writing, so any opportunity to hone my craft is welcomed with open arms. I’ve really gotten into photography, so I practice as much as possible and attend workshops to learn new skills. I’m also interested in design, so I’m working on that too.

Discover what you love best about blogging and be the best you can be at it.

Which leads me to my next tip…

6. Outsource what you don’t love

Another quote for you (this time from Ryan Khan): “Master your strengths. Outsource your weaknesses.”

We can’t be amazing at all things, so why waste time and energy on the stuff that doesn’t come naturally and you find difficult to do?

I’m not the most artistic person in the world, so I hired a graphic designer to give my blog a makeover and I asked another designer whose work I loved to create a logo for me. I’m also not techy and I don’t have the time nor do I trust myself tinkering around in my back end {tee hee!} so I’ve found a great web support dude who is on the other end of an email and can help me with anything, no matter how big or small.

Yes these things might cost money, but the reality is they make my blog look and function professionally and present the best possible version of what I have to offer. I consider that an investment worth making.

7. Build your own tribe

Blogging can be a lonely existence – a lot of the time it’s just you and your blog.

The best way to counter this is to build your own tribe.

Find other bloggers you enjoy reading who are on a similar level and/or stage of blogging to you. Start a private Facebook group and use that as a safe place to hang out, bounce ideas off one another, ask for advice, share contacts and chat about your blogging journey.

Promote one another – share each other’s blog posts on social media, link to each other’s blog posts if they’re relevant to your topic and guest post on one another’s blogs.

It’s a great way to feel included and involved in the blogging community.

Above all, remember: your vibe attracts your tribe.

8. Diversify your income stream

When it comes to making money from your blog, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

A few examples of ways to diversify your income stream include:

  • sponsored content (blog posts and social media posts)
  • advertising (I use Passionfruit for my sidebar ads)
  • affiliate links (I mostly use Commission Factory)
  • e-products (e-books, online courses)

To set your rates, the best advice I can offer is to research.

Check out other blogs who openly advertise their stats and rates (some do this on Passionfruit) or politely – and privately – ask other bloggers if they would mind sharing their info with you.

Review your stats and your rates on a regular basis and don’t be afraid to increase them if you feel it is warranted.

9. Be a slow-burn, not a firework

I said this at ProBlogger because this has been true of my journey.

I’ve grown slowly and steadily and I truly believe that’s why I have such an engaged and supportive audience.

I mentioned previously I would love for this blogging caper to eventually become my full time gig and I am totally realistic this will take time.

I’d rather be a slow-burn who gets bigger and better over the weeks, months and years than a firework who explodes quickly and disappears just as fast.

10. Be you

I hope that when people met me or heard me speak at ProBlogger, I was exactly as they expected me to be.

I say this because I write the way I speak. I can hear the conversation in my head and the words flow out of my fingers, through the keyboard and onto the screen.

Be 100% your fabulous and authentic self. Everyone has something unique to offer and the internet is big enough for everyone. Stay true to your own voice and path.

Do it your way.

Did you attend ProBlogger this year?

What was the best piece of advice you took on board?

Comments

  1. Alex says

    I’m not an aspiring blogger but still found this article very interesting and would imagine the advice to be invaluable and very practical if you are just starting out. It’s a good insight to the world of blogging. Well done Sonia!

  2. says

    Thank you for sharing lovely Sonia. I have learnt from you (especially to be my authentic self) throughout the years and you continue to inspire me. You have taught me so much that you do not know and believe it or not you have taught me to be more confident in myself. Thank you so very much for inspiring me everyday. V x

  3. says

    Be you. Let people hear your authenticity through your voice – this is my biggest ‘thing’.
    So so happy to report that you are exactly as I expected you to be. Genuine, funny, very squeezable and DDG!
    I loved meeting you (at long last) xx

  4. Melissa says

    This is such a great, helpful post – thank you! I’m currently in the planning stages of starting a blog in the lead up to a career change. Very exciting!
    I love that you write the way you speak – authenticity is definitely the way to go!

  5. says

    LOVED your session with Clare & Mel. You all spoke so well and made me spin (in a good way) with ideas and inspiration and ah-ha moments.
    I need to start outsourcing the things that I don’t have time or passion or patience for. AND….I need to accept that I can’t do everything on my own, all the time – it’s burning me out. Thank you for making me see this.
    Love all your tips here in this post Son.
    You rock girl x

  6. says

    Love these tips! Thank you for being so generous with your advice. This blogging is a tricky business in the beginning, but love your ‘slow burn’ thing – so true!

  7. says

    ahhhh this is so needed right this moment of my life – TAHNK YOU! Im going to leave this open on a tab for weeks now and keep referrring to as I try to make my little blog as authentic and informative as I can :)

  8. says

    Such great tips Sonia, thanks! The pro blogger event sounds awesome and go you for getting on stage and the panel. I’d be so nervous!
    As for following my favourite bloggers, let’s just say I get a bit excited when I see your new insta and blog posts 😉 x

  9. says

    Hi Sonia, Thank you for sharing your advice. I’ve recently started a blog documenting my journey to live life as ‘all that she can be’. So for me, what you’ve shared not only helps me focus on how to write content for that, but is also a great reminder of how I want to live my whole life. I also love your style advice, so keep up the great work!! Thankyou. Lx

  10. says

    As someone who didn’t attend ProBlogger, thank you so much for sharing! This advice is very helpful to me as I am a newbie blogger. I’m still trying to learn the ropes and it helps to have all of this advice up front. I love reading your blog and seeing what you’re writing about. :)

  11. says

    Thanks so much, I am only weeks away from taking my blog live and I found your tips so apt at this time in my journey. It is very generous of you to share your ProBlogger session in this way. Best wishes for moving to full time blogging when you are ready.

  12. says

    DANG! Would have loved to see that Sonia. Actually was totally bummed I missed all of PB this year but am relocating to the GC in a few weeks so couldn’t swing it! Great tips, even for seasoned bloggers. Love your work x

  13. says

    Hi Sonia, this is fantastic advice – especially as a new blogger! I’ve tipped my red-polished toe into the waters of blogging this year – it’s as fabulous as it is daunting! Thanks for sharing what worked for you. xx Bec (www.mrsmloves.com)

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