Tip #1: Be Yourself
I asked myself that as a blog reader, why do I like reading some blogs more than the others? What is it that makes my favourite bloggers well, my favourite?
XiaXue, Fourfeetnine and Cheeserland are my favourite bloggers, and they all have one thing in common- they let their personalities shine through in their blogs. As a blog reader, I want to read about my favourite blogger’s lives and get to know who they are. It doesn’t matter if they’re nice or nasty, showing their personalities on their posts breathe life into their blogs, and nobody likes to read a dull blog that says nothing about the bloggers themselves.
Translate everything that you are into your blog design, blog header, your ‘About Me’ column, and most importantly your blog entries. First impression is very important. Make it in such a way that the moment a reader visits your blog, they get a rough idea of what your blog is about and who you really are. What keeps a reader coming back for more is the desire to want to follow up on what’s new in a blogger’s life, be it new experiences that they share, new products that they’re recommending or new restaurants that they have reviewed. Give your readers something to look forward to, by first being yourself and letting them get to know the real you.
Tip #2: Quality Content
Now, this may be a little subjective. What is deemed as quality content to one may not be the same for another. To me, quality content is one with substance, one that is worth spending my time reading. One that interests me and adds value to my life, one that is crafted with thoughts and effort.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a long blog entry. It could even be just a short ranting post, and if it is written in a sincere, personal way, I would enjoy reading it anyway. Blog about what you love, blog about what you go through, blog about your life.
For me, at this juncture of my life, I’m always blogging about my marriage, vacations and food! They’re everything I’m passionate about. And when I blog about the things I love, my readers love it too, so it’s a win-win situation!
I guess the bottom line is, quality contents are written from the heart and with effort. A reader can tell a half-hearted blog post from a genuine one, so focus on your content because that’s what’s going to gain you a new loyal blog reader, or lose your existing ones.
Tip #3: Quality Images
Let’s face it. We live in a world of superficiality. As much as quality content is important, so are quality images! In the age of Instagram today, people are becoming increasingly particular about what they see and who they follow. Put up low quality, badly taken images on Instagram, and you’ll stand a chance of being unfollowed immediately. It’s very real. Sad, but it’s the truth.
People want to see high res images that are taken nicely, which includes your lighting, framing, composition and basically the story that your photos tell.
Here’s when it’s necessary to do some homework. I never used to be one who knows how to take photos. My sister who’s 2 years younger than me belongs to the young Instagrammers group who happen to take really awesome shots and have the skills to edit them beautifully. She and her friends may not be bloggers nor social media influencers, but they have thousands of followers and high engagements on their posts simply because they put up quality images on their Instagram accounts! She always recommends me to follow her favourite Instagrammers from all over the world who take great, creative shots, and I learned from there.
Here are some of the shots from my Instagram account- @careentxy.
The shots and “organised messes” were carefully arranged and planned, and the ice-cream shot was perfected after adjusting the angles and focus again, and again, and again. It’s hard work, but the results are worth it in the end.
It’s also important to invest in good cameras. I’ve been using Sony RX100 for the past two years, and I must say that it has served me super well! It is compact in size, lightweight and easy to carry around for events and casual brunch dates! Most of my photos on Instagram are taken using the Sony RX100 or Sony Alpha 5000.
Find a good camera that suits your style, and invest in it! Everyone loves to see beautiful pictures! Quality images change the look of your blog instantly and makes it so much more attractive.
Tip #4: Be Consistent
This is something that most bloggers struggle with. When we have the blogging mojo on, we feel like blogging 5 posts in a row! But when we have the writer’s block, we stare at the ‘Create Post’ page for hours and still nothing fruitful comes out of it. Bingo? I know because I’m a blogger who struggles with this too.
It’s hard to be consistently churning out quality posts every other day, especially when tiredness and busyness kicks in, and you feel totally uninspired. This is when we, as bloggers gotta inspire ourselves. When I feel uninspired and uncreative, I take a break from blogging and go blog-hopping. I’ll read my favourite blogs and somehow after a while, I will regain my motivation and inspiration to blog again. Another way to inspire yourself is to remember that you have a bunch of readers visiting your blog every single day, and you wouldn’t want to disappoint them. Thinking of their relentless support helps me to pick myself up and keep on blogging.
Tip #5: Be Honest
This point is an extension to Tip #1. Be yourself, be true to yourself, be honest about yourself. Don’t lie just to put up interesting content on your blog. This could be about your own life, or about your sponsored products.
As a blog reader, I have no problem when my favourite blogger puts up sponsored posts/advertorials. In fact, I must say I do enjoy well-written, honest advertorials, and I follow bloggers to know what is new in the market! The key here is honesty. As bloggers, we’re public figures and social media influencers. With influence, comes responsibility. Our readers trust our tastes and preferences when it comes to the products we choose to advertise/promote on our blogs and social media. And because they trust us, they are willing to spend their money on the product with hopes that they too, can achieve the same results that we claim to bring in our advertorials.
La Senza, a brand I personally love.
Here’s when our credibility is on the line. What if it’s a product that truly does not work, or worse, brings about a negative effect after you tried it? For me, I would not shout about it if it does not work. And if it actually brings about a negative result for me, I would rather refund the payment to my client than to blatantly lie to my readers.
In my case, I’m public about my love for a certain smartphone brand. I’ve been approached multiple times to promote a competitor smartphone brand in the market which I do not believe in, and because I don’t want to lie and lose my credibility, I never accepted the campaigns. I would rather lose the amount of money than to lose my credibility. And trust me, blog readers appreciate honesty more than anything. I know because I’m an avid blog reader myself.
One way to know what a reader would like is to place ourselves in the shoes of a blog reader. It’s important to know what pleases our readers, because they’re the reason why we grow as bloggers and how we’re making money out of our blogs in the first place :)
That’s all from me! Do comment if you have any blogging tips that you’d like to share too!