So I celebrated my one year blog anniversary last week with a wonderfully long snooze and a big glass of a non-alcoholic beverage. Feeling nostalgic, I decided to read my old blog posts from last year. It was a decision I regretted almost immediately. My lips pursed with contempt as I continued reading my cringe-worthy content. 

After a night of oh-so-sad lament, I thought of what I should have done instead. What I would say to Past-Me who has never blogged before on how to improve her blog. Short Answer: Many, many, many things. But these are my top five.

Here are some things I wish I knew when I began blogging.

Always Ask Away | Blogging is thought to be a one-person activity and it is...most of the time. We'll need help that Google can’t provide. Yes, Google is your friend. She helps a lot with coding, advice and always there for the random late-night philosophical question. But, it can't help you with everything. Though I’m sure our Google-y Overlords will fix that soon.

Looking through old posts, I found problems that could have been solved I asked for help. Now, my sister clicks the button behind the camera, my friend taught me basic Photoshop, and an editing app for my writing. Sometimes you need that hands-on approach and asking is the best way to get that.

Find Your Format | This is different from your niche. I’m still finding a niche, and I don’t want to limit myself yet. Niche is what your blog is about, Format is how you structure your blog. The design and layout and post should be consistent though always suspected to change.

One quick look at my blog, and I know its structure. A simple black and white design with a nice, non-crowded sidebar. A regular post has photos first, an introduction then Read More… for more content. This is how I like to posts, works for me but might not for you. Heck, I might not like it in six months and change it. 

Comment Commentary | If you have to remember something from this blog is to comment. Comment on comment on comment. It's the best way to gain traffic, and to gain blogger friends who share the same interests as you. And yet, it's woefully looked over upon. 

People took the time to comment on your blog. So you should do the same.  I visit every blog and leave a genuine comment. It brings me joy to see comment notifications when I check my emails in the morning and I hope my comment might do the same for another. Most of the time, comments let me discover an exciting blog, that I add to my list of blogs-I'm-in-love-with.

Mother Knows Best | Sometimes you’ll regret the things you post. That’s okay. It’s a representation of how you were in the past. But I hate reminding myself of things I regret. So, to sway from this, I do a little exercise. 

Imagine a figure you respect reading your blog (i.e. Mommy Dearest). Do  they like it? Would you they be alright with it? Will they cover their mouth and scream, ‘Oh my word!?’ And do you want that?

If you’re fine with your mom finding your content, then great! If not, perhaps you shouldn’t use the word ‘crap’ seven times in a paragraph. But if you don’t care, then great! This is just helpful for me. Take it or leave it, this is a self-editing tip I got and stuck with.

Personality Triumphs | Anyone can give you tips on how to improve your blog. What mistakes to avoid. How to grow traffic. Yet, I think to get the most fun out blogging for both you and your readers is to show your personality. When a blogger is sarcastic, or excited, or even a little sad, it shows you’re genuine in your post, putting in hard work and effort. 

When you go through the endless blogs of fashion, beauty, lifestyle, those that stand out are the ones that make you feel. Happiness, amusement, nostalgia. My favourite bloggers are those who bring their personality into their posts. Write what you feel, not what you feel people want to read. So be yourself. Your silly, talkative, a little dorky self. 

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In all, I hope you can apply this to yourself one way or another. This has helped me, and I wished I knew this when I started. Though in the grand scheme of things, I'm still very much a beginner. Starting a blog is a big step, even if it's just a click of a button. So congrats to the beginners, the long-runners, and the in-betweeners!

So what blogging tips do you have? Or wished you knew when starting out? I 'd love to know!

Image Source: picjumbo