My Top 5 Tips for New Bloggers + My 100th Post!!!

Yes, you read that right this is my 100th post on Nina Makes!  That seemed like such a dream a little over 9 months ago, but I’m still here and still blogging away.  My goals have changed as I have learned more and more along the way.  So I thought I would take this opportunity to share a few of the important things I have learned along the way!

Top 5 Tips for new bloggers

Just quickly, I want you to know that in setting up this (Blogger) blog the only thing I paid for was my domain name, the rest I have done all for free.  It takes a lot of work to get the blog looking and functioning how you want it, but it is possible.  So don’t believe the articles that say you need to pay!  If you have the money and desire sure pay someone to do it for you, it will be easier and much faster.  But it is possible to do it yourself for the price of the domain name…and lots of time!

These next five points are I feel the most important things I have learned along the way.  There are plenty more but too much information at once is not really helpful you can’t possibly deal with it all.  If you have any other questions feel free to email me or ask in the comments.

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Photo:  Hannah & Harry Watching the Rubber Duck Race

1. Re-asses your goals regularly!

I set myself some pretty tough goals at the start, one that springs to mind is my 11 posts a month.  Now don’t get me wrong that might be perfectly reasonable for a review blog or opinion piece blog but for sewing and craft tutorials blog that is a big ask.  I kept that up for 8 months…before I realised while content is very important I needed to make time to promote what I had created too.  So for now I am trying a new more flexible approach, aiming to post twice a week.

Until you get started you really won’t know what works for you, so give it a go but prepared to move the goal posts!

2. Get Involved

There are great blogging and sewing communities online.  I have found it really helps to get involved and meet other bloggers and people in your niche.  And I mean meet in the online sense, I would love to go to a blogger meet up but in little old NZ (especially the isolated corner I live in) that isn’t going to be happening for a while yet.

So at the moment my favourite way to do this is by getting involved on social media.  Instagram in particular for me has a more community feel and there is usually some sort of photo hop, or group (The Gram Gang is great!) to join in with.  This will help with the motivation on those days you are struggling to get the creative juices flowing.

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Photo: Kowhai Tree in my back yard

3. Prioritise Social Media Accounts

I have an account on Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest and Stumbleupon.  They are linked in case you would like to follow me, hint hint!  I joined most of these and a few forums (which I haven’t got around to interacting on) very early on in my blogging life.  I tried to keep up with them all while trying to learn what they were all about…needless to say that was way too much to do at once!

Right now I am having the most fun on Instagram, meeting the most people and really getting involved.  I love the simplicity and how easy it all is once you get the hang of it.  So I have decided to make this my number one social media priority.

Second inline is Pinterest.  I enjoy Pinterest too but find there is less interaction than on Instagram.  The reason Pinterest is second is that it sends the most traffic to my blog of all the social media I’m involved with.  If it is sending good traffic then it will need some attention to maintain and improve that.

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Photo: Octopus we found on Harry’s School Rocky Shore Trip

Twitter and Facebook I do use but mainly to share new posts with followers.  I have decided to put them on the back burner for now as they are not a top priority.  Once I get Instagram and Pinterest ticking over as second nature and feel I need to do more I will start!

Stumbleupon is a great place to pass the waste time!  I shouldn’t complain with a single tutorial of mine (Upcycled washandjes…way cooler than face cloths) I received over 3500 page views but these views were not a high percentage of engaged readers just people flicking through.  So as great as the numbers looked it didn’t make a lot of sense to sink too much time into this one.  There is no point of having higher traffic numbers if they are not interested in your content.  I still have a Stumbleupon share button at the end of my posts in case readers want to share but it is not a place I’m going to be putting in too much effort for now.

Last but not least is Google+ which I have sadly neglected.  I do share my new posts but I have very little understanding of how it all works.  This one is on my learn more about list.  If you have any great Google+ tips they would be much appreciated!

4. Stay Motivated

Much easier said than done!  I read somewhere when I just started blogging that most blogs take 18 months to 2 years before they really start to take off.  But that most bloggers quit after only 9 months.  Being at the 9 month mark right now I can see where they are coming from!  But I have no intention of stopping; I think my number one lesson of reassessing your goals is what’s keeping it real.  You need your goals to be achievable, and as your knowledge grows so does your understanding of what is just dreaming or may be possible.

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Photo: Hannah & Harry palying dress up at the Tairawhiti Museum

Don’t forget to remember the little advances!  At first I was so excited to get 5 page views in a day.  It meant that 5 people (probably bots) had read my post!  That slowly but surely crept up, and I am still very small fry in the blogging world but am happy with the roughly 100 page views a day I am getting 9 months in.  For these stats I use Statcounter, I also have Google Analytics and Blogger stats.  As much I want to believe the Blogger stats (200 – 400 page views a day) I realise that they include bots and crawlers not only real people.  It pays to be honest with yourself!

To go all cliché ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ so expect it to take time!

5. Keep Learning

This really has to be something you enjoy, I love learning new things and that makes this so much easier.  When I want to change the look of my blog I research how to do that myself and do it.  When I want to change a piece of coding or where ads display on mobile, I research and do it myself.  If you have a bigger budget and can pay people to do this for you by all means go for it.  For me I find it hugely rewarding working out the answer for myself.

I am currently working on my tutorial page, I am not happy with the look as the writing in the photos is not the same size due to the word lengths being different.  I am sure I will work out a way to change it, so it looks how I want it to, and once I have managed that I’m sure I will find something else to tweak.  I don’t think I’ll ever get to ‘it’s finished’ I will always have something I want to change.

Tutorial Page Nina Makes

Just be careful that you are not changing things just for the sake of changing things.  Trying to ‘fix’ problems that don’t exist takes up a lot of time that would be better spent elsewhere.  I have fallen victim to this a few times in the last 9 months, and I now make sure I do my research on new add ons/widgets/gadgets before adding them.  This saves having to remove them later when they don’t work out like I thought they would!

Well that is my five top things learned about blogging.  I hope they are of some help to you!  If I haven’t answered your question or you just have another one for me, please ask in the comments below!  Or send me an email via the Contact Page!

Happy Blogging x