Having started my book blog almost a year ago to this day, I can’t quite believe that I’m about to hit 30,000 followers. At the beginning blogging about books was a mechanism to express myself (but also to fulfil the ~nerdy~ desire of mine to write and share my opinions on books that I’d read). Starting off I maintained a grand total of 10 followers for almost two months and I was completely happy and content with my lovely little group of followers because although i had a small audience, I had the ability to reach out to people and tell them my views as well as being able to receive and compare their thoughts on the same novels or poems. It was really my review of John Green’s ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ that upped the level of my blog in terms of audience. Literally overnight I went from 10 to 100 followers, after that slowly progressing at an average rate of 150-200 new followers every 24 hours – and it just kept going. After 5 weeks I had secured 5,000 followers and here I am, one year from where it all began with 30,000 followers on my original blog, having branched out also onto the platforms of WordPress and Youtube in order to help grow and build my virtual community.
The most common question I get asked through direct message, Q&A on my blog and just generally every day is ‘what is your advice to bloggers that are just starting out?’. I have heard so many stories and personal accounts of people who are trying to ‘make it’ as a blogger using for my help or asking for advice and guidance. Blogging doesn’t work if you’re trying to achieve an ideal in your head of ‘fame’ or ‘online popularity’. I started my blog with the singular vision of doing something that I loved for the feelings of excitement, fulfilment and joy that it brought me. I didn’t and have never aimed for a certain number of followers on my blog because to me blogging isn’t about how ‘popular’ or ‘how many followers’ it has, it’s about connecting with like minded people and discussing literature and being able to fully emerge myself in my passion of reading. Nothing more. Nothing less. I do this for joy and I do this because I love it.
Thus this brings me on to point one of my advice to new bloggers.
- Try to be yourself and have a bit of fun! If you have a genuine passion for what you’re blogging about then your readers will be able to see that through the energy in your writing, if you’re not passionate about something then don’t try to force enthusiasm because it won’t work – find your thing and roll with it. Write what you want, do what you want and let your blog be a representation of who you are. Don’t use long/complex words if you wouldn’t use them in real life, putting a bit of slang or smiley faces in your writing will have so much more of an appeal than words like ‘discombobulated’ or ‘ergo’ because it’s very clear when a person is using complex words for the sake of it and not for practical application! At the end of the day, your followers are following you for who you are and how they connect with YOU as a blogger, so don’t follow other people’s style, create your own!
- Make sure your writing has a clear and composed structure. You want your work to be easy to read and flow rather than jumbled and messy because if it’s like that people will instantly be deterred from reading it. before you begin writing, make a plan either on your phone, paper, in your head or whatever way works for you. just make sure that you know what you’re going to write so that you don’t get muddled or lost when you’re mid way through awn article. prepare so that your writing will be easy to read and make sense!
- Voice your own opinions but make sure that you project a balanced argument. You want people to be able to read your work and get both the good and the bad from it rather than one sided bias. Yes, weight the arguments of your opinion more than those that counter it, but make sure those counter opinions are in there to add different perspective. For example, if you’re writing a book review on a novel that you didn’t like, make sure that you include elements that you did like about it so that audiences aren’t just confronted with a rant but have a weighted
- Post regularly. I have been an absolute sucker for this recently due to having my A-Level exam, so didn’t post reviews for about 3/4 months and my blog has suffered as a result – not a lot, but in terms of my average daily increase. Before exam season I had a solid average of 150-200 new followers every 24 hours, after exam season I was only hitting 20 every 24 ours. Obviously since returning and being more active, my averages have increased and levelled out, but being involved, interacting and posting frequently is absolutely essential to running and maintaining the popularity of your blog.
Hopefully these pointers will help you to grow your blog and progress in the different areas that you may be targeting – books, photography, writing, fashion etc. Blogging is all about creativity and creating your own community of support and interest – the more you put into blogging, the more you’ll get out. if you start off with the intention of sharing what you love then I’m sure success will find its way to you because passion always overshadows everything else! Good luck an happy blogging!