ADVICE // blogging tips for beginners

Hello! Today it is time for another ADVICE post on... you guessed it, blogging tips for beginners.
So many girls are starting new blogs these days... quite a lot of them not knowing where to start! Well, I am here to help, because I was once a very clueless beginner who had absolutely no idea how to do anything. Here we go...

Where to start? You want to have your own blog and you want other people to read it and be inspired.  But how do you make your blog pretty and the design look nice? How do you get people to read it and like it enough to come back for more?

Tip 1 // What blogging platform? You can choose from MANY platforms to host your blog but the main 4 are:
- blogger
- wordpress
- typepad
- tumblr
If you are a beginner, personally I would go for blogger because it is free and very simple. You can fully customise it. The other three can get tricky, firstly because they cost if you want to customise your blog, and as for tumblr it is not as customisable as others.
In my examples, I will be using blogger because it is what I use.

Tip 2 // Start to collect inspiration for your design. This is the first thing a reader will see when they arrive on your blog, so you want it to be eye-catching, yet not overwhelming, and you want it to express you.
Pinterest is the best way to collect inspiration. If you haven't already, create an account.
Create a secret board (or public, you choose) and find images that you could see that could be incorporated in your design. Make notes on each image in the description box on what you like about each image and what you could add to your blog.

Tip 3 // Browse free font sites to find maybe 2-3 complimenting fonts for your design - If you have more than 3 fonts on your blog, it will get confusing. Think about one main font for your header and subtitles, and one for your post text (this one should be simple because it is in mass and has to be easy to read). The three above: font squirrel, dafont and 1001 free fonts are my favourite for good, reliable fonts. Download them and also try font combinations - swap around and try typing out your blog name in the font - it might not suit the font!

Tip 4 // Make your design. Start with a header, and that can give you the base to design everything else around. If you are a beginner, you can use online photo editing utilities to make a header like pic monkey. If you want to own a more customisable program but you are still a beginner, purchase pixelmator from the app store. It is only a one off fee of something like $30 and is basically a beginners version of photoshop. If you are looking to dive straight in because you know that you want to take your design seriously, purchase photoshop. But, if you already have it, great!

First you will need to go to your blogger account, then... template > customise > Adjust widths > and find out the width of your whole blog. This is in 'pixels', and it is the width your header will need to be. Create an image this width in your editing program, and start putting in your colours, fonts and ideas. A basic header needs: your blog title. That is all but you can/should add: a tagline, images to emphasise your name and colour! Of course these are optional but when you are first starting a blog, it is great to tell readers 'this is the theme of my blog and what it is about' because you don't have many posts yet to tell them that.

Save it as either a 'jpeg' or a 'png' file. Upload it to your blog by going to layout > edit header then upload your photo and set it to something like 'instead of blog title' so that you just have an image, then save it.

{EXTRA TIP: when you first upload a photo (e.g. your header) to your blog, there may be a sudden yellowy brown tint to it when there wasn't before. Don't fret, you haven't done anything wrong, it is the 'auto enhance' that google plus puts on every image. To turn it off, simply go to your google plus settings and turn off 'auto enhance images'.}

After that you can add simple gadgets to your sidebar by clicking on 'add a gadget' in the layout section of blogger. It is good to ad a text gadget and write a short sentence or two saying something like "Hello! Welcome to (name of blog)! My name is (name) and I love (hobby, hobby and hobby). I hope you enjoy reading my posts!" For example. You of course can change it up but just a short, sweet sentence to invite a reader can help them stay longer.

Add a followers gadget so that you can start gaining followers and readers as you post more.

Tip 5 // What to post about?
There are so many different things you can post about, people just sometimes get stuck and think ahhhh what do I do? Well, not every post has to be perfect and pretty, simple, regular posts are what people will come back for!
Here are some ideas:
- weekly loves
- tutorials
- 50 facts about me tag (a good first post idea!)
- outfits of the day
- interview other bloggers
- write about what YOU love!

Tip 6 //  How often do I post?
If you have lots of time - everyday but DO NOT feel pressured and make sure they are of reasonable quality
If you have time - every three days or twice a week
If you have hardly any time - once a week or once every two weeks.
It really depends how busy you are. My favourite is once or twice a week when I a free.

Tip 7 // How do I get readers?
Contact other blogs and ask if you can do an ad swap (check if they do them first) or a guest post swap. Make sure you have either prepared buttons or know how to make them. Check out my 'how to understand, make and use image links' post here.
BUT - do not be pushy. If you email a blogger everyday and nag and nag and force things upon them, they will not reply. Just be normal, some bloggers are busy!

Mini Tips:
- your blog will NOT become popular overnight. If you really want to blog, keep posting and people will find you are follow over time. Not instantly.
- Don't make your design busy. Simple designs are the most eye catching
- Also, a recent survey suggested readers were more likely to stay on a blog if it had a white background.
- Use the simple template!
- Be nice and respectful to your readers and other bloggers!

Did this help you? I hope so!!
Want a part 2 to this beginners blogging advice? Comment below saying somethings you would like to know for the next steps!

Chloe x