I totally didn’t realise that over a week ago I passed my 4 year anniversary of writing this lil ol’ blog. FOUR-FREAKIN-YEARS.
It’s changed so, so much since then and I’d like to think that I now take the blog a lot more seriously than I did at the beginning. Whilst I don’t want to be a full time blogger for a living (part time and a little freelancing empire would be nice though tbh), I like seeing my blog develop, reach new audiences and just generally look more profesh than it did in 2013.
That’s why I thought I’d put together a few of the things I’ve done to take my blog more seriously which have resulted in a smarter look, more traffic and a general sense of achievement.
Buying a domain
I’ll be honest, I can’t remember exactly when moreaboutcat.co.uk came to be, but it’s one of the smartest things I did in terms of taking the blog more seriously. A “proper” domain without .blogspot.com or .wordpress.com on the end is the easiest way to feel like you’re bossing this blogging thing, and it looks so much more professional to readers and PRs.
Buying a domain and hosting was much easier than I thought, and definitely not something worth hesitating about. I bought the domain when I was still using Blogger (more on switching to WordPress next), and it was purchased through Google which was dead easy to do. I was even able to get a snazzy email address to match!
If you can put a little money into investing in your own domain, in my opinion it’s 100% worth doing to take your blog more seriously. I recommend TSO Host!
Just FYI, if you already have your own domain but want to switch hosting providers/CMS, you can! I switched from Google to TSO Host with no issues at all…they do all the legwork.
Switching to WordPress
I made the switch to WordPress in December 2015 (and blogged about it here). I was using Blogger before and was getting fed up of how restrictive the platform was for design and customisation.
I had plenty of experience with WordPress at work and had seen all the things you could do with themes and plugins, so it was a no-brainer to move on!
WordPress has hundreds of paid and free themes, or you can buy one from a designer. Mine is from pipdig (who also offer a migration service if you’re moving from Blogger to WordPress), and I love it because I can still make small changes to make my blog layout feel fresh! On Blogger I was constantly having to try and improve how it looked whereas now I barely change it.
Finding time for growth
Let’s be honest, social media is so damn important to bring readers to your blog. Twitter is (by far) my main referral, and so it’s the platform I’ve focused most on to grow my following. There’s a few ways you can do this, but I find the best way is to chisel out some time on a regular basis to look for new people to follow. I’ve found they will quite often follow back as a fellow blogger. Plus, Twitter chats are a treasure trove for engagement!
I’ve also realised that Instagram may not be a big traffic spinner, but more and more bloggers are using it to expand their online presence and blog “brand”. So, I now post to IG daily.
People will also tell you to focus on Pinterest and I’d love to tell you they’re wrong (because I just don’t get Pinterest), but it is a great way of boosting your traffic if you share the right kinds of content. I recommend using Canva to create a Pinterest graphic, then pin it with your blog link, write a description and use relevant hashtags. I mostly do this for my posts about blogging and mental health, especially if they are listicles or tutorials.
Looking into affiliate programmes
I feel like a bit of a hypocrite for suggesting this, as I don’t do it anywhere near enough. However, I don’t feel the pressure to make an income from my blog so I use affiliate programmes very casually.
I am signed up to Amazon Associates which is handy to use for review posts (like my recent one on the Rimmel insta range). On top of this, I occasionally share my affiliate link for the hosting service I use – in fact, I’ve used it further up in this post!
It’s also worth looking up some of your favourite brands to see if they have any affiliate programmes. They will usually list this on their website or you can always drop them an email to find out!
I am a big believer that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I started contacting brands I wanted to work with quite early on when I was happy with the content I was putting out on my blog. The first brand I contacted was Sass & Belle who sent me lots of great products to review. I may not have otherwise been on their radar, so it is well worth taking the first step!
So there we have it – just a things I have done, and that you can do too in order to take your blog more seriously. Anything to add? Let me know in the comments below!