Posts Categorized: blogging

Blogging 101: Building Community

building community

Building community is so hugely important for blogging, it’s why most of us get started in the first place. To connect with other people, people we’ve never met. To reach them with our words, our ideas and hear what theirs are in return! Connecting with y’all have been some of my absolute moments over these last two years. Whether it’s been over email, comments and social media or in person at meet-ups and events, I absolutely love getting to know you! There are a few different ways of building community through your blog or small business!

Comments

I cannot stress enough the importance of responding to comments. If someone takes the time to read one of your posts and reach out to share their thoughts and reactions the least you can do is take a minute or two to thank them and respond! We’re not perfect and we all miss a comment or two every now and then, but make sure you do your best to respond to as many comments as you can!

Social Media

Social media is your most powerful tool when it comes to building community! Use it, reach out to people, communicate, connect, engage. Do not just get on social media and drop your links to your blog posts or business non stop, engage with your followers and engage with people you want to be your followers!

Networking

Networking online with comments and social media is super important but so is networking in person! Find other bloggers and small business owners in your area and start emailing them all. Set up coffees, drinks, dinner, brunch, pick their brains, get to know them and work with them!

Not only will you make amazing friends who are working hard to achieve goals so similar to your own, but you’ll also be building an entirely different community. Your community of blogger and business owners will become your biggest support system when something goes wrong and your biggest group of cheerleaders when something goes right!

Building community can be hard when you’re sitting behind a computer screen watching numbers go up and down by a few every week, it’s easy to get discouraged and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There’s no easy trick that’s going to build you a massive community overnight, it takes hard work and authentic engagement with your audience. But with these three tips you’ll be on your way!

Thanks for sticking with me and helping me build this amazing community, I don’t thank y’all enough for the support you’ve given me over the last couple of years!

Blogging 101: Social Media

social media

One of my favorite parts of blogging is social media, I love being able to connect with y’all on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook! As much as I love interacting here on this space I think social media is just so much more personal, especially Instagram, we’re going to spend some more time later on in the month delving into each platform, but for now, let’s talk social media basics!

Getting Started

 Yesterday we talked about making sure to check to see if your domain is available, you should do the same thing with your social media channels when you start your blog! Even if you don’t plan to launch all of the social media channels right away (totally okay!), scoop up those names so that you don’t have a ton of different handles that are variations of your blog name! If you can’t get your blog’s name on your social media channels I’d use your real name, but remember things change quickly in the world of social media so check back frequently and see if you can scoop up that handle later on. I’m still waiting on a few of mine…

Feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the different social media platforms, hashtags and lingo that we bloggers use? Don’t worry, once you get the hang of it, it will seem like a no brainer!

As of now there are 5 most popular social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat

Here are some of the others out there: Google+, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Vine, YouTube, Tumblr, Periscope

 Strategy

When thinking about social media strategy it’s all about the 3 v’s: voice, visual, vision!

First you want to make sure your voice is uniform across all of your platforms, if you have a certain tone in your blog but speak to your other audiences in a completely different one. Keep it consistent! With that said, your audiences might vary from platform to platform so you should find a way to keep your brands voice the same, you may need to present the information a little differently to keep your audiences engaged.

Your visual, much like your voice needs to maintain consistency across all of your platforms. Make sure your logo and branding is the same so your audiences know it’s you no matter where they go. Beyond branding, you need to be sure that your visuals are appealing!

When you’re starting out, figure out your vision for your platforms and stick to it. This should be a combination of your voice and visuals, write it all down and refer back to it when it starts to look like you’re losing sight of your vision!

Management and Analytics

Social media can be a full time job in itself, I know, it’s now my day job, and with content development for your blog or business on top of your full time job it can be a lot! Thankfully there are some great tools out there to help save you some time! In addition to scheduling your posts ahead of time, analytics are important, it helps us as bloggers to understand what is working and what isn’t so we can continue to grow our audiences!

Hootsuite is probably the most common scheduler used by bloggers, it’s great. You can schedule all of your posts for Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram on it either manually or using their auto schedule feature!

One of my favorite tools to use right now is Sprout Social, it has all the capabilities of Hootsuite plus an absolutely killer analytics and reports section to better understand Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Facebook itself also has a scheduler feature as well as it’s own insights tool to look at the analytics from the month. I tend to use Sprout Social for scheduling on Twitter and just schedule Facebook directly on my page! I also like to compare the data from Facebook Insights to Sprout Social!

A Few Don’ts

don’t only post links to your blog
don’t be mean or offensive
don’t complain non stop, or at all, unless it’s funny and with a light relatable tone
don’t 
ask for people to follow you, instead provide great content that will make them want to follow you!
don’t bring your drama to social media

Okay, take a deep breath. I just threw a lot of info out at you so if you’re overwhelmed that’s okay! I’m going to be talking a little bit more about each of the big platforms this month so stay tuned and let me know what your questions are!

I’ve also just opened up a limited number of spots to work 1 on 1 with bloggers and small businesses to help you build your social media and blog audience! Let’s chat if you’re interested!

Blogging 101: Design and Domain

design & domain

Picking your design and domain is so important when starting out. I think we can all agree that first impressions are super important and you should keep that in mind when you’re picking out your design and domain!

Picking your name and domain

Word of advice here, when you’re choosing the name of your blog check out the availability of the domain before you fall in love with the name. You want to pick a name for your blog that is easy to remember, easy to spell and easily identifiable!

I spent a couple of weeks before starting bree west brainstorming names, I came up with a ridiculously long list and it turns out I was way overthinking it. I had it narrowed down to three super cutesy, super niche names that looking back on I would have probably ended up hating now, 2 years later. When I shared the list with a good friend the names I had picked she suggested I just use my own name. And so bree west was born, it was simple, it was me and it allowed me to cover the wide range of topics I so desperately wanted to talk about!

The next step was grabbing my domain, I figured out relatively early that I needed to be self hosted and bought my domain through Bluehost and couldn’t be happier! Some people suggest picking up more than one variation of your domain, maybe .net, .org or a different spelling and setting up redirects. This is something I didn’t feel I needed to do right at the beginning but I’m starting to investigate now. It helps your followers get to you even if they can’t remember exactly what your website is!

Designing your page

 The fun part about picking your design and domain is definitely designing your page! The first impression someone has of your site is so important, I will leave a blog almost immediately if the page is cluttered or dark, granted that’s just my taste, but if I go to a website that is distracting or clunky, chances are I’m not staying!

For me when I was designing bree west it was so important to stick to the 3 c’s: clean, crisp, and classic! When you’re first getting started, you don’t need to have the logo, fonts and colors all figured out right away but try and choose something that’s easy to read and that will stick with your readers.

Make a mood board on Pinterest, pick colors you love, fonts, logos, draw inspiration from other places around the web and then put your own twist on it! It doesn’t have to be perfect, like I was saying yesterday, it’s okay for your blog to evolve and your logo and design shouldn’t be an exception to that evolution!

What are your tips for choosing a design and domain when you’re getting started?