When I first started Jennypurr it was just a small side hobby to help fill my time and as a place where I hoped to connect with like minded people. Since then it's grown into one of my favourite places to be and is now a big extension of who I am as a creative and my personal brand. Somewhere along the way I started to take things a little more seriously when it comes to how I run this space, and today I thought I'd share ten steps I've taken that helped me along the way.
Get professional Super obvious one, but just buying your own custom URL and getting rid of the whole .blogspot.com thing helps your blog seem way more professional. Mine's purchased through GoDaddy but there are lots of places online to chose from. You can also get a custom email address with your domain - I use Google Apps For Work for this - and even a custom URL shortener for Twitter if you wanted, I use mine through Bitly.
Spruce up your site Thinking about the user experience when browsing your site and building a website that works for you and your content is a really good way to start taking things a little more seriously. At first I just used one of the basic blogger templates but after a while I was itching for something new so I purchased a ready made template from Etsy which did the job for a while and I was super happy with it. I then decided to move over to Squarespace as my content management system and I built this current site myself as I had in mind exactly how I wanted my blog to look and function. Sometimes it may be better to outsource a web designer or a pre-made template, but giving your website some attention and building something that works for you is a great step to take.
Treat your blog as a brand I've spoken more in the past about how Your Blog Is A Brand, and my best advice is to really explore what it is you want your blog to be. What is your voice? Your purpose? How do you want your readers to feel? Keeping things consistent with branding, your tone, and your content and how you format everything is the best place to start. You can build a manifesto or style guide to help you really hone in on your brand, though my best advice is that your brand with adapt and grow as you do, so stay open to it.
Build a content plan Content will always be the most important thing when it comes to your blog, it's your biggest asset and it's the reason people will keep coming back for more. Build a content plan that works for you - write about the things you're crazy passionate about and in a way that is helpful and interesting for your readers. It's okay if it breaks the mold a little, or if you don't fit neatly into one niche, the most important thing is that you want a way to build a content plan that fits your brand and your voice. I've found that having categories really helps with this, and building an editorial calendar that works for me - I spoke more about this here.
Use social media as an extension of your brand Social media is such a powerful platform to grow your blog and develop your brand. Keep things consistent across all platforms with your visuals and your tone, and curate accounts that share your personal brand and who you are in a really authentic way. It's taken me a while to really find my feet in social media - I've found focusing on just one or two platforms is the best way to go for me, instead of just spreading myself too thin across many.
Be consistent If you confuse your readers, you lose them (or something like that). It's a-okay to not box yourself into one niche - actually I'd really recommend not limiting yourself too much - but keeping things consistent lets your readers know what to expect every time they visit your blog. Whether it's in how you format your content, how often you post, or your tone and point of view - the good thing is that the more you find your feet in your blog, staying consistent with your content will then just come naturally to you.
Think about the readers experience A blog isn't just about you - it's also about the readers, their experience, and how your content is making them feel, they're the one's reading it after all. So think about their experience - is your content useful? Is it interesting? Is it formatted in a way that is easy and engaging to read? Are they leaving you awesome comments? If so, are you replying? Because if you're not you're really missing out - a blog isn't just a space to talk, it's also a place to listen and grow from the awesome people engaging with the words you put out there.
Build in regular maintenance tasks A blog needs nurturing every step of the way, but it doesn't have to take over your life. If you build in regular maintenance tasks to stay on top of everything it will make it much easier for you to keep things to a high standard. Know what needs attention on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to keep your blog in good condition and make a list with tick boxes to help keep you on track. Whether it's replying to comments and emails, planning content, proof reading, updating social media, scheduling posts or taking photographs - know all the many tasks your blog needs tackling so you can build a routine that works for you.
Stay authentic This one's key as being authentic and true to yourself with your space makes all the difference to both your personal fulfilment and your readers experience as well. Find your voice, use it, grow with it, but don't change just to fit the crowd. It's okay to do things a little differently (actually it's awesome to do things a little differently) though remember that it's never cool to copy or imitate others in the hopes of emulating their success. Do your thing, because you're awesome, and trust in the fact that you have something super special to bring to the blogging table. Take things seriously, but don't forget the number one rule is to always have fun.
Take blog advice with a pinch of salt I know this is ironic seeing as I'm sharing advice here, but the point I want to make is that when taking on board advice make it work for you, not the other way around. No two blogs are the same, neither are two content creators, so my best advice is to forge your own path, find your own way, embrace the words of wisdom you may discover online but know that the most important thing is to trust your instinct and build the space that you want to build. Some advice can be universal across the board, but it can also be more specific to a niche or community - so always listen to yourself first.
What about you - I'd love to know your thoughts?
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