Today’s post is unique from my typical post. It may not mean a lot to many of my daily readers, and I apologize for that. I’ve been blogging for some time now and have realized that there are some secrets I wish I had known early on that could have really helped me and save me much time, energy and money. There are millions of people out there who I hope will find my website and read my posts, and they’ll do so because of my passion to write good content that will help them. If you think you may want to blog at some point, be sure to save this post for future reference. I will continue to add tips.
In case you didn’t know, I’m a blogger. A blogger is someone who writes about their passion in life everyday, two times a week or whenever they have time to write. I love writing about things that I hope people can use in their everyday life to be better prepared for the unexpected. I love hearing from my readers because I learn from them as well. Read through this blog post so you will understand why I chose a vault shown below for today’s post.
I tried teaching my neighborhood to learn to be prepared for the unexpected. I made some wonderful friends teaching those classes. I got discouraged because only a few in my neighborhood were interested in learning about food storage and emergency preparedness. I am truly grateful to this day for those wonderful people who attended my weekly one hour classes and recognized the need to be prepared for anything.
I started to teach classes about food storage and emergency preparedness whenever I was asked to teach. My calendar became full and I decided I needed to write a blog to teach even more people the important preparedness message. I wanted to get the word out about being prepared for the unexpected. I felt God inspired me to teach the world to be prepared for anything that might come our way. There are two things I never talk about on my blog, religion and politics. I believe those things are private and personal, but I feel I owe you my thoughts on why I started blogging. That’s why I started my blog…to teach the world about food storage and emergency preparedness.
I started teaching and coaching other bloggers who needed some help getting their blogs going or improving the content of their blog posts. I am no expert, but if you have a passion about something….write about it. I feel it an honor to help others blog about their passions. I was blessed to have three webmasters/graphic designers help me when I started blogging. Well, they still help me. Talk about patience with someone who could hardly cut and paste something three years ago. Yep, I love them more than they know. Okay, they know I love them.
I was really frustrated when I started blogging. I didn’t know how to do this or do that….and I was older and it was hard for me to use WordPress. I sure didn’t know how to write code. I do know how to write a little code today…keyword little. I met some awesome bloggers in Southern Utah who were the best thing to get me started. Our monthly dinners were everything I needed at the time. They gave me the confidence I could blog that I could do this well. I think I can..I think I can…I CAN! Well, that was the beginning….
I paid for coaching and monthly classes, but I needed more than that. I kept wondering “what are all the secrets people are not sharing that make their blogs so successful”….they probably don’t even know they know the secrets. I went to conferences but I was only learning tidbits. Not the secrets bloggers needed to succeed, in my opinion.
There really are secrets no one tells you about blogging. It’s like the secrets are locked in an airtight vault. You sometimes feel like you would need dynamite to open the secure safe to find out what those secrets are. Yes, that might sound silly, but that’s reality. I have attended some really awesome paid conferences to learn tips about blogging and to network with blogging friends. I was invited to wonderful private Facebook groups. Some of those groups I am still involved with. Some people I will be forever be grateful that I met who are down to earth people called bloggers. I learned more from ONE person than any other Facebook group or conference. She knows who she is. I have never met her in person. Someday….I hope to hug her in person. We only talk through emails or Facebook PM’s. Love that girl! I met her in a Facebook group.
So let’s get started with some of the secrets I learned. I hope you can use some of them.
Some Blogging Secrets That Are Shared:
1. Content is KING. This is #1 in every group, conference or luncheon I have attended. People come to your blogs for information. Information they want to learn. What you write about must also be your passion .
2. Networking-is fun and it’s great to participate with people in your niche and outside your niche.
3. Blogs generally cost money to maintain, unless you are younger than me and really techy and able to do much of your own blog admin work. If this describes you, I admire your talents, keep it up. I can’t do everything.
Some Blogging Secrets That Are Not Always Shared:
1. Make your Pinterest pictures you want pinned VERTICAL. Check out the feed in your Pinterest feed, which ones look the best to you. The dark horizontal ones, yellow pictures and the ones with very small words, or too many words on them, don’t make the cut. If I can’t read the wording on the picture I won’t pin it. I look back at some of my pictures when I started blogging…well you would not have pinned them. I sure wouldn’t have pinned them. Let’s move on..it’s the truth.
3. Social Media – participate in as many as you can. Grab ALL the ones you can with your blog’s name NOW. Not next week. Here are the ones you need to do today: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ (use both your name and your blog name – so you will end up with 2 Google+ accounts) and YouTube, to name a few. Save your blog name in Google+ for later when Google gets on board with businesses. I only use my Linda Loosli Google+ account right now, but will use the Food Storage Moms account later. If you want people to find you, use the same name everywhere, be consistent. Not Linda L. or Linda or Linda S. Loosli. I use Linda Loosli everywhere.
4. If you are on blogger, buy your domain with (.com), or whatever is available ASAP. You will want that .com, .net or whatever eventually.
5. SEO keywords-tags-titles(headlines)-this one is a tough one. This one seems to be hardest for all blogger to understand and learn.
6. Design-must be user friendly
7. Pin it button (critical)-if I have to use my toolbar to PIN your pictures they won’t get pinned
8. Make sure your “buttons” work. If you ever see one of my buttons not working…please tell me. My website is being redesigned because the current theme no longer works. I love going to blogs and clicking their social media buttons like FaceBook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. If I like what I see on the blog…I want to follow them everywhere.
9. You need to write what people are interested in or solve a problem for them in your posts
10. Email-subscribers are loyal followers and readers-some people hate those pop-ups. Well, if you want readers you need one and the Hello Bar at the top. Trust me on that one.
11. If you send out emails you are required by law (I know I hate that term) to disclose your name, address, city, state and whatever else the form says. If you are worried your readers will “find you” they can find you if they want to “find you”. I sometimes read or hear bloggers say….I setup a fake P.O. Box…really? I hope you don’t get fined.
12. Photography-Images-different social media outlets like different sizes. I am lazy here. I do one size fits all.
13. Please do not take pictures off of websites or copy and paste posts. They are copyrighted and it’s against the law. You can get sued by taking that picture…..just saying.
14. Please use your full name everywhere. If you want to be a serious blogger don’t hide behind a partial name. Put YOUR picture out there, readers want to know who is writing.
15. Do not use multiple tags. Use only one tag per post.
16. Install the plugin YOAST by Team Yoast (WordPress SEO)
17. Plugins will become obsolete-recipe plugins (so our readers can print the recipe) are the #1 killers-they just stop working one day-the developers decide no longer to support them
18. Update your plugins-if you don’t you are more likely to get hacked
You can use VT to schedule your pins and other bloggers pins.
- Log into VT-keep the tab open always when doing VT
- Pull up YOUR Pinterest
- Always go back to your Pinterest name area-top right
- Type the name you want-choose the group (like Six Sisters) in the search area
- Look for boards with LOTS of pins-click on the board
- Be patient, they take some time to load
- Close the RED close button if you don’t see all the pictures
- If you see ZERO pictures-stay where you are but refresh your browser
- Sometimes I have to close the RED close button a few times. Click on the V extension again and again if you have too.
Click on the NEXT green button. Click all the pictures you like.
Choose the date, the time and how many minutes.
If Viral Tag Crashes:
1. Are you using Chrome?
Try and schedule at least 12 posts a day. Mostly your own. People are stalking you to share some of your posts. They will not usually share sponsored posts. Their readers do not care about certain products. They LOVE you and how you think. I share my favorite bloggers with content I like.
It’s FREE. You can tweet like crazy. Sponsors look for the tweets. Put all your favorite people in one place and share the gift of Tweeting with each other. You can schedule tweets as well.
Google+ and why you need to do it. Click as many + on your friends Google pages as you can. Google loves it, plus you get brownie points. Share your friends’ posts that have great topics AND great pictures. If the pictures are small, it’s likely no one will share them. Upload your pictures from your computer. Add a short statement, your blog URL with the post and three pertinent hashtags.
H1-is always your post title (in most WordPress themes)
NEVER put an H1 in a post
You NEED an H2 in every post. I never use H3, EVER.
Think of it this way….
Google is reading your post. It looks for your H1 (the title-first) then it crawls your first paragraph looking for your keyword (s). Your keyword(s) MUST be in the title and the first paragraph. Your keywords must be in one H2 subtitle and in the very last paragraph. Minimum three times in your post.
My Opinion On Linky Parties:
I am not sure anyone does them anymore. I tried doing them for about three months. For me it was a waste of time. My blog was not being read by people. Bloggers quickly link, link, link, link…..none of my hard work, research was getting out to my readers. I felt it was a competition to see who could get the highest numbers of links. I want to teach the world to be prepared. It’s just me. I have heard some people love their linky parties. They never raised my page views. You have to do what is right for you and your life of blogging.
Secrets About Pictures:
Buy a good camera. Take pictures outside, if possible, with natural lighting. Then you can watermark them. You own them. You can also buy pictures and upload FREE pictures. You will need to verify if you can watermark them or not. Turn your camera so you have vertical pictures. Easy Peasy. Get a tripod.
How to do your pictures when you upload them to WP:
Caption-never put anything in that area
The alt text and the description are the same. This way when it is pinned it has: The Best Apple Pie| www.foodstoragemoms.com or The Best Apple Pie | by FoodStorageMoms.com
I got an email from someone that they learned about my blog on Pinterest. Love her for telling me that!
Secrets: C0-Schedule is $10.00 a month.
I am fixing my posts so I can put my posts on FB & Twitter non-stop. This will save you time.
Think of this as a calendar. You see all the days in March for instance. You put LOTS of posts and it automatically shares them.
Secrets About Hashtags:
Never do more than three. Only do the ones that are real hashtags. They must be pertinent to your post.
Secrets About WordPress Themes:
You will more than likely have to replace your theme at some point. You’ll find out your website has issues when the developer decides he or she will no longer support the theme you purchased. Buying a theme is not FREE. Blogging is not FREE.
Secrets About Sponsored Posts:
I realize people need to make money to support their website. I get that. I also think sponsored posts only help the sponsor long term. I used to get emails asking me to stop the guest posts. That was two years ago. My readers only wanted to hear my voice. I will not do sponsored posts. It’s just me.
Secrets About Hosting Your Site:
I just shake my head when I see bloggers posting that their blog is DOWN again and again. If your hosting is super cheap you will have more problems, in my opinion. Ask around for the best one. You get what you pay for…..
Secrets-Your Website Can Get Hacked:
Your host tries to stop the hacking, but guess what…you may still get hacked. I have the highest security systems in place now, as far I know. It’s called Sucuri. I pay a yearly fee and $15.00 a month to have them keep the website as secure as possible, and they back up my content.
Secrets-Make Sure You Are Backing Up Your Website:
My hosting company backs it up, I pay Sucuri to back it up and I have an external hard drive that backs it up. I have over 800 posts I have written and I can’t afford to lose even one of them. Well, maybe a few in the beginning of my blogging days. LOL!
Blogging for Dummies is from 2013 but the basics are great: Blogging For Dummies I highly recommend this book. I bought several others and wasted my money. This book gives you the basics. Things are changing all the time in social media…….that’s life. But the basics are the same.
Secrets-Make Comments On Other Blogs:
Here’s the deal about comments. I have been the worst at making comments. To be honest I can hardly get dressed before 9:00…..actually NOON! Well, we need to make comments that include a word or two in the title. Not just : Great post today! These comments we make will give you credit as backlinks. I am not techy but those are important. Trust me on that one. Leave a comment with substance. For instance if the blog you are commenting on is about apple pie, leave an honest comment like: That recipe for apple pie looks easy, I can’t wait to try the recipe. Of course, use your own voice. That’s just an example.
7-31-2015 Updated: The first few years of blogging I had heard “pay for your pictures”. Okay, because I was a newbie I pictured people were really paying someone to come to their house to photograph the recipe dishes or projects the blogger was creating. Nope, I was wrong. You buy stock photos. My favorite is Dollar Photo. You heard that right, it’s a dollar a photo. Bim bam done. Best money I ever spent. NOw if you are a really HUGE blogger maybe you can pay for someone to come and photograph….that’s not in my budget.
Secrets-Take Good Photos:
7-31-2015 Updated: The best place to take pictures is outside in natural light. I spent hundreds on lighting. Here’s the deal, go outside at dawn or dusk, perfect lighting. click away with your camera. If the pictures are yellow…trust me they will not be pinned. Or repinned. Period.
7-31-2015 Updated: When you send out your email just give the truncated or teaser part or your readers will never go to your blog. Literally they will never go to your blog if they can read your whole post in the email. If you think about it, you designed your blog with all the colors and frills and lettering or whatever. You are proud of your website, right? You want people to SEE your blog not just your email. Your blog reflects YOU and they will love YOU for that blog.
Secrets-Check Your Spelling:
7-31-2015 Updated: Please check your posts after writing. I have been guilty of this just so you know. I have had my daughters call me and say check #2 blah blah blah. I am so thankful for them letting me know. I have read a few posts where words are missing, misspelled and they use waist instead of waste in the post. My advice is to slow down and have someone else read your post if you are in such a hurry to write it. Google does not favor misspelled words I learned from someone. Yikes! We need to be on Google’s good side….just saying. We need the page views.
Secrets Disclaimer Here:
First of all, I am no expert….but I know a few tricks to get the world to know about you and your blog. If you have some secrets you want to share please let me know. If I need to correct something here…please tell me. I learn something new everyday. I really do. Knowledge is one of my core values. I have no secrets…..I will share everything I know about blogging. Please do your own research…and have fun blogging!