This post marks a momentous occasion in my blogging history – it’s my ‘centiblog’ or hundredth post! Have I really managed to pull together circa 100,000 words on my little life over the last six plus years?!
Blogging has a longer history than many people might be aware of, with the first blog being attributed to a student, Justin Hall in 1994. It wasn’t referred to as a blog then though and it was another three years, before the term ‘weblog’ was coined and further two years, before it became shortened to ‘blog’. Since then it has evolved significantly, gaining peak popularity around 2004. In February 2011 there were over 156 million public blogs in existence. You could say then, that I was somewhat of a late comer, launching my blog in April 2011.
Having always had a passion for writing, as well as keeping a diary since childhood, it was a friend who suggested I write a blog, around the time I moved in with my now husband. Being I was also an avid follower of Sex and the City, I obviously had desires to live like its lead character, Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker who wrote a newspaper column about her life in order to earn a living.
I would define my blog as a ‘lifestyle’ blog with a focus on fashion and shoes. What’s a ‘lifestyle’ blog I hear you say? Some people see it as a catch-all subject that means the blog lacks a focus, whilst I see it more as a description of what life is like for a person of a certain age in a certain location; a little like a diary. I think blogs will be used in the future to inform history, in much the same way as diaries, such as that of Anne Frank, have informed our knowledge today, of years gone by. If nothing else it may be something my future children will enjoy reading.
Other than writing, I have long been a dedicated follower of fashion with a particular devotion to shoes and therefore love to entwine my outfits of the day with experiences abroad or in London, from afternoon tea to exhibitions. Of course my blog may have a change of direction if and when my husband and I cease to be D.I.N.Ks (double income, no kids) which is the beauty of a lifestyle blog – it evolves as your life does.
So what makes a successful blog? I don’t have a secret formula – being I am still waiting for mine to take off but what I can do is share some of the tips I have learnt along the way.
My number one rule has to be draft, re-draft and draft again! If you can get someone else to read it before you publish even better, as often you become blind to your own errors.
I write more as a hobby – fitting in time as and when, but if you truly want your blog to become a commercial enterprise you need to post at regular intervals so it is probably worth setting aside time each day to write. What day and time you choose to post your blog can have an effect on subscribers so I would advise trial and error using analytic tools to see what works. I found I get greatest readership if I post on a Sunday evening, so I try to stick to this time now.
Inspiration often comes unannounced so it is handy to carry a notebook with you that you can jot ideas down in as they come to you. You may find it helpful to create a space in which to write that you feel enhances the creative juices and somewhere you can remain uninterrupted. I have a beautiful desk area under the stairs which I am continually kitting out with my latest stationery purchases. I particularly love Kikki K products. I do also enjoy writing in my summer-house when weather permits.
Social media is a fantastic tool for any blogger. I had always used Facebook and so share a link to each new post there, but I have found that Twitter is even better for getting you noticed. Twitter has the added bonus of you being able to link posts to companies, whom you have featured.
Brand is important for your blog but often difficult to achieve, especially if you are blogging through a platform such as WordPress or Blogspot. It seems unless you can master CCS coding, something that continues to be beyond my capabilities, you are stuck using the templates available in terms of background for your blog. I did however create a logo for myself which is at least a start at branding.
This brings me neatly on to hosting platforms, which is how I do my blog and therefore what I have the greatest knowledge of. WordPress also allow you to add tags which work in a similar way to hashtags on twitter and make it easier for people to find you on the site. The best way to increase followers is to interact with other bloggers on the platform. Read as many blogs as possible and not only follow them but comment on them too. If someone comments on your blog, don’t let the conversation dry up – interact with that person.
I hope you have found some useful tips and you are inspired to follow my blog. I look forward to entertaining you with my next 100 blogs!