I feel like I bared my soul in this video, plus I told all my blogging secrets. But why should they be secrets? And why should I feel self-conscious of my dreams? When I was new to blogging I trawled through Google looking for tips to starting blogging, and while there were some helpful posts I found that certain issues were avoided. Like money. Like reviews. Like actively growing your blog. Like careers. I'm not the biggest nail blogger out there by a long shot, but I feel I have an exciting career ahead of me and thought I would share my story. I recommend watching the video first, then reading the rest of this article. They're kind of a combo deal ;).
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My Blogging Tips & How To Gain Followers
Update regularly, with good content
It doesn't matter what you're blogging about; if you only blog once a month you will find it hard to be "noticed." I try for 2-4 times a week. Proof-read your work; even if the main attractions are photos, you need to make sure there are words to go along with them - and words that relate. Google search the term "SEO" - you need to use key words in your posts in order for search engines to know what you're showing people. Write full sentences in a font that's easy to read - that means no Wingdings, I'm afraid ;).
I was hesitant about showing my face on my Youtube channel for a while, because of privacy issues and trolls. So far so good, but I know it's just a matter of time, and I'm prepared for it. It's worth it, because now people can see me, follow me because they like me. It's the same with blogging; you need to show people a bit of yourself; your personality. You're not a nail-art-creating-machine, you're a real person with a life and that's what people like! I love having followers call me "Jessie" now, instead of just "the girl from Nailed it NZ." In saying that, don't go telling the whole world personal information. When saying something about yourself, make sure you'd be okay with it being on the front page of the newspaper, too.
Take good photos, and watermark them
Make a light box. Find good lighting - preferably outside or near a window. If you're using indoor lighting replace normal light bulbs with white ones, so the colour is more accurate. Learn the basics of how to use your camera. Experiment. Take lots of photos. Edit them (lighting, colour) on Picasa or a similar program, and remember to watermark! You can also use Picasa for this. You may think no one will steal your photos, but they might. And it will really annoy you - I talk about this in my video.
This has been a bit controversial in the nail community, but I do highly recommend cleaning up around your cuticles. Messy hands distract from the design. You can use a cotton bud or small brush dipped in acetone/polish remover, it's easy and really does look so much more professional! Learn to make less mess when painting your nails here.
Don't get lazy; try new things. Stuck for inspiration? Look for ideas on the internet - but remember to credit the original! Copy a pattern off your top, your phone cover, a book, whatever. Try tutorials - mine or Robin Moses ones; whichever is more suited to your level.
Spread yourself far and wide
You want this to work, you want lots of followers? Well you can't just have your blog. Most people don't have blogs, but most people do have Facebook. That's where you'll find your followers! Instagram is also a good place to spread your work. There are heaps of other social media sites as well; I'm on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, We Heart It, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube regularly.
Get involved in the community
Think bigger; there are thousands of other bloggers like you out there. Go find them! You'll probably make some great new friends in the process. As I say in my video, find a blog and leave meaningful, geniune comments. The blog owner is quite likely to click through to your blog and return the favour. This does work best with blogs with under 200 followers, though.
Appreciate your followers
I don't mean by doing giveaways (although it's an option) but by acknowledging them. Get to know the people that follow you. Reply to them, become friends with them. Obviously as you get bigger you can't do this with everyone, but just let them know that you appreciate their support. They are amazing.
Know what your goals are
This is part of my career, so I set goals and have something of a business mindset. You don't need to, but keeping note of your achievements is confidence-boosting and you can reflect on how things have changed. Write a list of things you'd like to achieve with your blog. It might be to make new friends, become a better writer, better at your art, get X amount of followers, make a career out of it - personalise it to YOU.
Don't over-extend yourself.
Blogger burnout is common. I know I couldn't handle posting every single day - it'd become too much of a chore. Know yourself, know what you can handle. The Crumpet has a great post on this.
Don't blog for money, or for free stuff
Never! Blog because you love it! Money, things for review are just bonuses, and these bonuses won't happen overnight either. See my video for details about where I get my money from.
Never pretend you're someone you're not. It won't work out well. Gain respect by being who you are. Sure, I totally believe in self-improvement, but be honest with who you are now. Don't try be perky, sexy or bubbly if that's not how you normally are. Accept you.
People often think if they just do the first point the followers will come eventually. There's a chance they will, but it's low. You need to be visible. People don't know you exist, and I'm sure they'd love to see what you have to show them. However, don't worry about doing everything perfectly; enjoy the experience. Blogging is meant to be fun, and not everyone cares about having followers. However, if you do, this is what I did.
I hope you found this post and video interesting and have some ideas for your blog!