Blogger Questions: Ask me ANYTHING

The fabulous bunch over on our ELLEfluence Facebook group have been posing questions and instead of answering them in that community, they’re here right for you to see.

How do you handle the snarky comments from non-bloggers when you say you’re busy working? – Katie, Lady from a Tramp

They used to really bother me and to some extent when people say ‘oh it must be nice to just sit around the house all day’ it really riles me because I think I might stay at home all day but I work 12-16 hour days sometimes, but I bite my tongue and try and just brush it off now. There’s absolutely no point in getting into a war of words about what you choose to do for a career if somebody doesn’t understand that the way the world does business is changing. Usually, the ones who make the comments are also the ones who are the most unhappy in their own jobs but would never have the guts to do something as ballsy as setting up their own business.

At first, when I took my friends and family to say menu launches they were like oh free night out, free food, free drink but when they realised that they weren’t allowed to eat or drink until I had taken the perfect shot. The fact that I’d spend more time making notes and taking photos than sitting talking to them and then when they saw that by the very next day the write up would be posted on my site they realised actually it was serious business and that it was a lot of work.

Until somebody sees or experiences it for themselves then let them make the comments and let them get on with it, you concentrate on the positive things and be productive in what you’re passionate about, don’t allow yourself to be dragged down by their negativity and lack of understanding as it will only negatively impact your brand.

Did you ever feel like quitting? When your blog wasn’t being viewed. – Becca, The Classic Dog Blog

Blogging is like any business and if you want to be serious about blogging to create a lifestyle you want then I’m going to tell you this honestly, it’s not easy and if you want to quit because you’re not Zoella overnight then you’re not cut out for business. Tiny steps. Little little steps. One at a time. I have a mantra of test until you find the solution. If you feel like you’re not getting views look at where your traffic is coming from. Do you submit your pages to Google Webmaster Tools, do you push your newest post through social media channels and groups? A year ago when I look at my stats I was getting 30 page views a day, I realised that I needed to make myself known, build relationships, be more media facing. I realised that one post a week wasn’t going to deliver the results I personally wanted as my readers want to read new content daily.

I get 45% of my traffic solely from Facebook that’s why I have created and implemented a Facebook strategy. The easiest way to drive traffic is by engaging in Facebook groups. List them all in a spreadsheet with their URLS, every time you post a new post on your blog, post it in those groups but ALSO make sure you check 3-5 other blogs out, leave them a comment and they’ll reciprocate this back most of the time, grow your circle this way and then the more bloggers you converse with more bloggers will then get to know you and then a community builds where people are familiar and like to read your work, they share this with their networks and this builds traffic.

The internet is an infinite space and there are hundreds of thousands of blogs similar to mine. What makes you successful is doing things that are out of your comfort zone and that you do daily. One of my favourite quotes ever when you feel like giving up is ‘A river cuts through a rock not because of its power but because of its persistence’. You only get out what you put in and while you might spend 2 days writing the perfect post you need to spend your time promoting and marketing yourself too.

Do you tell your friends about your blog? Do they know you’re a blogger? And if they do how did you tell them – Alice, Zest of Alice

For years I’ve had my own business, my friends don’t even have a clue what I do any more they just know that I am entrepreneurial and whatever I’m doing is something to do with business. It’s quite comical really. I remember when I opened my first business a bricks and mortar shop I was in my second year at Uni and I never even told anybody at Uni I had opened a shop, I was embarrassed what they’d think and say but I soon learnt that people are really supportive if you’re doing something with your life that you’re passionate about.

Some of my friends really don’t understand blogging as a concept and they are a bit dumbfounded when I say I’m going here there and everywhere for events. They question how you generate revenue and why businesses send you all this stuff. They’re usually the ones to ask about it when they see photos of deliveries every day on Instagram or they see you checking into places on Facebook. It’s a great way to break the ice with them if you’re really social and pretty blasé on social media about your blog. They become interested and want to know more. My very best friend she thinks it’s absolutely wonderful and has so much admiration for bloggers. She and her fiancé read my blog together every night before they go to bed and if one of them reads it before the other then they end up bickering it’s so funny.

I think pretty much everybody understands what blogs are and that they are becoming more and more popular, if your friends are not as supportive or they don’t understand what you’re doing the easiest way to tell them is by showing them, show them your newest blog post, ask their opinion of what they thought – they’ll feel valued and important you’ve asked their opinion and they’ll feel obliged to read what you’re doing, alternatively invite them to an event you’re attending as your plus one so they get to see what you actually do behind the scenes.

How do you stay motivated to keep your blog going and combat writer’s block? Beth, Steal the Beauty

This is so difficult. Some days I sit down to write and I end up looking at a blank screen for hours thinking come on Laura and I think OH MY GOODNESS I HAVE NOTHING then some days I can write 10 posts off the belt. When I have these days I write as much content I can until I can write no more. I tend to have at least one day a week where I can’t write anything and then at least one day where I’ll write nearly two weeks worth of content so I’ve always got a pool of posts to schedule in case I have a week or two where I can’t think of anything that I really want to say.

Another great thing to do is to give yourself an hour and write a list of 100 posts that your audience might want to read. It might become infuriating and tiresome but if you can get 100 of these down, you have a place to start for 100 posts. For the niche you’re in it could be things like; how to create the perfect cut crease, the best way to apply false eyelashes, my everyday beauty regime. If you think about what people will be searching for online these are great topics to drive traffic to your site. Alternatively the website Answer the Public is great for seeing what the public are searching for which might help to give you content ideas.

I personally find that going to the gym, taking some time out, walking the dog are the best thing to recharge my batteries. The more I think about having writer’s block the worse it gets so if I completely forget about it I tend to be able to write faster the less I focus on not being able to write.

Best and worst advice you have ever received as a blogger? Jade, Jade Priscilla

The best advice I’ve ever received as a blogger is to just be yourself, don’t conform to what other bloggers want you to write, the style they want you to post, the kind of images they think you should take. Just be you. The best version of you. I’m not a wallflower. I’m anything but, you’ll know that. I could never fall into the category of being afraid of what others think. If I want to write about something, what is somebody else’s opinion to what I write? Should I hide from the real me just to please others? That’s not true to myself and I’d be living a lie so I always post what I want to post, I’ll wear what I want to wear and you know what if I want to use a lip brush for my eyes you know what I’m going to! People respect when you’re open and honest.

The worst advice I’ve ever received in my whole entire life is from some two-bit blogger who no matter what the discussion always has to have their input even if it’s not researched or backed up by facts is that accepting sponsored posts is selling yourself to the devil. I have a set rate, I know my worth and I’ve talked about knowing your own worth and how much you should charge here, however, the advice I received was if it’s not high enough paid don’t undervalue yourself. Here’s a question to ask yourself, would you rather have £3,000 growing by 20% every month for a year or would you rather take a one-time payment of £36,000 straight up now? Yes, the lump sum might be ideal right now but if you increase your revenue by 20% that grows to just under £90,000.

What’s your point, Laura? Here it is, you are approached by a large company and they offer you £100 to post content, you usually charge £250 to do this, they are stuck at the £100 budget and there’s no room for negotiation apart from they say they’ll send you 3 posts minimum a week for the whole year. That’s a guaranteed income for you. If you turn it down they won’t offer you any further income. What do you do? Do you stand firm and not budge or do you accept the rate they are offering for their budget which is more than 50% less than you charge but for guaranteed longevity? It’s a no brainer really. Why would you not want to create yourself a residual income?

How do you get genuine followers and why do people follow just to unfollow? – Gemma, Gemma’s Little World

To grow your following you need to have a clear strategy, it’s as much about you interacting with people with similar interests to you to get them to follow you as it is you just posting beautiful content. It’s a constant battle and something you need to put time and effort into if you’re looking to grow your channels.

You also have to use the perfect combination of hashtags for maximum impact. I read somewhere that 60 million is the magic number. So, for example, #plussizefashion has 1,613,722 photos with that hashtag, #fashionblogger has 31,764,298 so there’s 32 million of the allocation used. Your target is to get to 60 million hashtags using a selection of larger and smaller more niche tags, around 10-15 hashtags is usually a great start. For all the people that comment on your photos, comment on 2-3 of their photos. Genuinely interact. Spend time looking at other hashtags that interest you, like their photos comment.

If they’re bloggers or brands head to their sites and even leave a comment on their blogs to generate link backs to your site and creating a long-term link. I recommend if you blog full time spending 2-3 hours interacting on Instagram a day. If you’re part time an hour whilst watching the TV or in the bath will be extremely beneficial.

The people who follow to unfollow are probably using an automated service like Instagress. The system is set to unfollow the people they follow after a certain number of days if they don’t follow back. I wouldn’t worry about these accounts as most of the time they are very stagnant and they’re the most unsocial accounts to follow as they are all automated. Don’t get me wrong using automated services for running businesses are fantastic and I never would knock them, however these type of services allow you to turn off the follow option which I would highly recommend.

It takes time and patience to grow your following, getting to your first 1,000 is so hard and then once you hit that growing from 1,000 to 10,000 isn’t as difficult. 20,000 to 30,000 is an absolute killer but then it’s all upwards from there!

How do you deal with the criticism?  – Shanel, Babbling On

In short, I ignore it.

It’s humbling that people are taking time out of their busy lives to pay attention to what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Take it as a compliment. Sometimes their criticism is a great thing, it helps you to become even better than you are. With your nail salon providing a nail service it is inevitable you’ll experience criticism as everybody loves the internet drama and it’s how you respond to it is the only thing that matters.

Don’t show that it’s upset you. Regardless of how severe it is, sometimes people are critical simply because they’re vicious and vindictive and they want to put you down to feel better about themselves, if you don’t let them know you’re affected then it won’t continue. Thank them for their pointers politely, take them on board and if they’re applicable then allow yourself some time to implement the changes required.

In terms of on your site if people criticise what you have to say, let them. Just breathe and remember armed with a keyboard people pretend they are something they aren’t. The most vicious trolls I’ve had are people who would never say anything to my face, they tell the world they suffer from social anxiety and people are feeling sorry for them and then they get behind a computer screen and they are the vilest individuals you’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting. People are going to talk, they’ll say negative things about you because we live in a society where negativity breeds and people thrive off being negative. Just let it go. You don’t need that in your life and you know what, I think you are simply FABULOUS!

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