I first got the inspiration for this post at the blog and beyond event, as I thought it would be useful for me to share ways of taking your blog to the next level that I was taught at the workshop. However, despite a lot of these tips being from the roadshow, a lot of these are also ones that I have picked up along the way since I started blogging back in 2016.
Taking your blog to the next level is a big step, as you need to start considering it to be a business rather than being a hobby (even if you are making no money from it!). These steps are quite time-consuming if you are used to just writing and uploading, but all of them are definitely worth doing. Its hard to manage your blog full time if you are doing other things (such as full time work or university), so don’t worry if you don’t feel on top of your game all of the time. Every little helps and remember that some people do their blog full time, so of course they are going to have more time to commit to it.
A disclaimer before we start- I am by no means perfect. My blog certainly isn’t the biggest or the most professional out there but these tips helped me when I was in the process of taking my blog to the next level… so hopefully they will help you too.
Go through your broken links-
This is something I only learnt at the beginning of the year but my DA score went up by 2 once I had finished going through them all. Broken links are links that are no longer a thing, and when you click on them they just go to a page that is no longer there (often when the website shuts down or they change their domains). This is bad because it connects your site to broken sites, and this can make your DA score seem poorer than what it should be, through no fault of your own. When taking your blog to the next level, its best to start as you mean to go on, so spend an evening going through and clearing out all of your broken links. It takes HOURS and is pretty boring but it really helps, so if you are having an evening just watching TV you could utilise your time and do that instead. Once you have done them the first time the hard work is done, and then I just do mine once a month now to check and keep it updated.
Click here to be redirected to the site I use to check for broken links.
Learn how to utilise your SEO-
Honestly I am so bad at this and I have only just got to grips with it two years on, but would definitely recommend taking the time out to learn as it really helps in taking your blog to the next level. It turns out blogging isn’t all about just writing and posting (like I thought it was!), and instead there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to ensure that your posts actually get views. If you just want to make it a hobby then you can do that, but when taking your blog to the next level you need to start considering SEO. Its worth researching, but the basics are that SEO (search engine optimisation) improves your search rankings, so more people are likely to view your post from google. It can also help to increase your DA score (which is the main thing that brands look at when wanting to work with influencers).
Here are some little ways that you can increase SEO:
- Download the Yoast SEO plugin and use it. It makes it so much simpler to understand SEO. That is how I first started to learn how to do it, and I still use that plugin now.
- Use keysearch. I learnt about this website at blog and beyond, and I have been using it ever since. An amazing tool to find out the best keywords to use with the least competition.
- Make sure to edit your alt text and title of photos. Not only does this help for your readers with visual impairment, but it also teaches search engines where to place your photos in searches. The more specific the better!
- Change your meta descriptions on posts so that people can see what they are reading before they click on it. Looks a lot more professional than an exert of the post.
Upgrade your domain and blog theme-
This is not free and actually costs quite a lot of money (specifically the renewal fee) but if you have some spare cash that you want to invest, this is definitely something to consider when taking your blog to the next level. There are so many businesses that can change your blog theme to look so much more professional than the free versions that come with you wordpress/blogger site, and it will definitely set your blog apart from others. Also being able to take “wordpress.com” out of your domain makes it look so much cleaner and more professional. I upgraded all of mine last summer because I had time after my A levels and I have never looked back. Its so easy, and it was such an upgrade compared to what it was before. Was anyone following me when I had my old theme with the squares?
Up your photography game-
When I started actually thinking about my blog photography when when I could see my blog taking off. I genuinely think it helps! Your photos don’t have to be the best quality (you can blog with an iPhone and be absolutely fine) but now I take a lot of pride in my photos and shoot most of them with my Olympus EPL7. I have had it nearly 4 years now and it has never broke. When taking your blog to the next level, you need to consider all of the components that come together to make your blog what it is. Personally I think that professional photos really help my blog look more professional, and now I try to take my photography a lot more seriously.
Ways that you can up your photography game:
- Buy little props and backgrounds for flatlays. I have A1 paper in different colours that I use for my flatlays and it really makes them look more professional.
- Obviously don’t just go somewhere because it is instagrammable, but do research around and see if there is an opportunity for photos. For example, if I am planning a coffee or breakfast date I will always have a look to see if there is a photo opportunity, and remember to take my camera.
- If you have the money, invest in a professional photoshoot. Ami Ford does all of my professional photos and I love her so much. I have told myself that I am going to start shooting with Ami 3 times a year, so it means I have a lot more professional/editorial content. Since shooting with her, my photography game has definitely improved. She’s featuring on ‘a chat with’ soon too!
Network, Network, Network-
This is my final tip but maybe my most important. Blogging can be lonely, so when you are taking your blog to the next level make sure you aren’t doing it alone. Attend events (even if you are nervous), comment on people’s posts and network. I can’t imagine what blogging would be like without the lovely group of girls that I have met, and they genuinely keep me sane in what is often a really tough industry to establish yourself in. I know that if ever I go to an event now, we all support each other. Blogging has a lot of ‘cliques’ and I’m lucky to have found a group where we are never jealous of each other’s successes. But that only comes with networking! Talk to everyone, be kind to everyone and you never know who will help you in the future. My launch party just summed it up for me, I wouldn’t have known any of them girls if I didn’t start blogging and that alone makes everything 100% worth it.
I hope that these tips have been helpful if you are considering taking your blog to the next level soon, and thinking of it more like a business than a hobby. You have to get the foundations in, in order to secure brand deals and opportunities later on. Let me know if you have tried any of these pieces of advice though, I would love some feedback! I would love to do more business and blog orientated posts over the next few months as I think its quite a niche topic that I can talk a lot about after nearly 3 years in the industry. What do you think?