Skip to Content

15 Blogging Tips for New Bloggers (from a New Blogger)

This post is a little detour from my regularly scheduled crafty creations.  However, I made it one of my Blogging Goals for 2015 to start up a blogging tips series, so here’s the first installment!

Hopefully I can help some of those new bloggers or those who are pondering the idea of starting a blog with my little words of wisdom.  Don’t worry, there’s nothing too detailed or technical here….that stuff will come in later posts. ;)  These are just general starting points for those beginning their blogging journey.

And trust me…..if I can do this, anyone can!

15 Blogging Tips for New Bloggers (from a New Blogger) | Where The Smiles Have Been

[Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I appreciate any support!]


15 Blogging Tips for New Bloggers (from a New Blogger):

So it’s hard for me to believe, but I’ve been blogging now for nearly nine months.  Three quarters of a year of this already…crazy.  I know this is nothing compared to lots of blogs out there, but since up to 80% of blogs only last one month (yikes!), I’m celebrating this little milestone and the fact that I’m still in the game.

Since my feet are now wet in this blogging world, I thought I’d share some little words of advice for anyone out there who is new like myself, or thinking of starting a blog of their own.  Granted, I’m no expert in the field and I would never claim to be.  I’m just a stay-at-home-mom who decided to start a blog one day and have pretty much done everything–EVERYTHING–on my own since Day 1.  These are just some insights I’ve picked up along my journey that may be helpful to others, so, take from them what you will.

I plan on making a series out of this topic because, well, there’s LOTS of info I think is worthy of passing along.  So stay tuned!

Without further ado, here are my 15 Blogging Tips for New Bloggers (from a New Blogger).


Let’s Get Designed:

#1) Showcase Your Personality

Your blog is a virtual representation of you, so make sure you inject some (or a lot) of your personality into the design.  Choose what kind of style reflects you and your blog’s theme: classic, quirky, modern, country, whimsical, whatever.  The color palette, font choice(s), graphics, layout, etc. can (and should) be customized to fit the personality you want to exude.

Your customization options will vary depending on platform and framework that your blog is built on.  Personally, I use the Genesis framework and Adorable child theme on, so I can edit literally every square inch to my liking.

Also include a photo of yourself!  Some people (like myself) include it in the sidebar, while others stick it in their footer or author box at the end of each post.  Readers like to put a face to the blog….it helps connect the content to the author and makes you seem more “real” and approachable.


#2) Make Your Design EASY for Your Readers!

You got a new reader to your site!  Wahoo!  Now make sure they stay around awhile (or even better, come back again!….or even more better, subscribe!).  This is accomplished by providing great content, of course, but also by having a user-friendly design.

People online don’t like to wait or work very hard to find what they’re looking for.  Here are some things you can do with your site design to help them stay happy while reading your great content:

  • Colors: Choose a white background with a dark font color for the body (or main text area) of your blog….this is not the place to get creative with colors.
  • Font(s): Have a large(ish), easy-to-read font.  Don’t get crazy with a cute and unique script font, and don’t make a font super tiny.  If people have to squint and strain to read what you wrote, they’re going to leave in a jiffy.
  • Break it up!: People read online content differently than they do in print, specifically they scan.  You need to make things easy for your reader to find and check out:
    • White space is your friend!  Don’t clutter up every inch of your site.  S P A C E things O U T.
    • Use headings, bullets, block quotes, and bolded/italicized words to grab attention.  Also add some color in there too.
    • No long paragraphs!  This took me a while to break….I kept going back to my grad school days of research paper overload!  Once again, online writing is different than any other kind, so try and stick with just a few sentences per paragraph.
  • Mobile Responsiveness:  This means your site will show up correctly and be easy to read on mobile devices, like cell phones, iPads, and other tablets.  You’ll want traffic coming from all over (and sticking around), so don’t send away those who aren’t at a desktop.
    • My site has always been mobile responsive, but it needed a few tweaks to make it look super polished.  Once I got the kinks worked out, my bounce rate plummeted, my traffic and session length increased dramatically, and I started earning nearly twice as much in ad revenue.  Booyah!
    • To easily see how your site looks on various mobile devices, check out this handy site.


#3) Photos are Important!

Ooooh, I could write a whole post on using images in blog posts…and I will eventually!  I’ll share here the main things I’ve learned about using photos.

Thanks to Pinterest and other photo-based sites like Tumblr and Flickr, photos are super important for bloggers to help get their content shared and bring in more visitors.  Pinterest is by far the number one source of traffic for my site.

You don’t need a fancy shmancy camera, but you do need to pay attention to the photos you use on your posts.

  • Make sure you have at least one photo on every blog post so readers have something to pin if they desire (and hopefully they do!), and make sure it’s a vertical (or tall) image since those work better on Pinterest.  On the other hand, horizontal photos look better on a Google Image search, so you might want a horizontal image too.
  • When taking your own photos (which I recommend), natural light is your friend, and add a watermark to it so it can’t (or at least is less likely to) be stolen.
  • Edit your photos before uploading them (I use Photoshop Elements but there are other free services available, such as PicMonkey and Canva, which are used by a lot of bloggers).  Cropping and exposure (or levels) will be your BFFs.
  • Save photos for web use as a JPEG so they don’t bog down your site’s loading time (unless you’re using an animated GIF or need transparency, of course).
  • Utilize each image’s Alt text to rename it….this not only makes it better for showing up in search results, but it also provides a description when a reader pins it on Pinterest.
  • Don’t steal others’ photos!!!  That’s bad business and bad juju.  Just because you found the perfect picture on Google does not make it fair game to use on your site.


Let’s Get Social:

#4) Get Social–But Only Do What You Can Do Well

It’s just the way the world works today, and if you want your blog to be seen, you MUST embrace social media.  Maybe you can join every social network out there and be active on all of them every day and provide/share great content throughout the day to a huge number of engaged followers.  If so, I hate you good for you!  I, however, have a life offline so I can’t (and won’t) do it all, even with all those schedulers out there.  I like to live according to the philosophy of this proverb:

It’s better to do a few things well than many things poorly.

Pick which social networks you want to join and BE ACTIVE on (and make sure you have links to your social media accounts easily available for readers to find on your blog!), but don’t feel like you must do it all now that you’re a blogger.  It’s up to you.


#5) Be a “Good” Blogger

By “good” I guess I really mean nice, fair, or golden-rule.  Be a good member of the blogging community.

  • Blog for the “right” reasons: Everyone gets into blogging for their own individual reasons.  Maybe it’s to express themselves, share and inspire, make some money, or a combination.  Whatever your reasons are, just make sure you do what makes you fulfilled.
  • Comment!: Leave some love on on other blogs and post comments if you dig something.  You’ll come to understand just how much a comment means to a blogger….someone actually read your post AND took the time to leave you a message?!  How sweet!
    • Side bonus: it also leaves a link back to your site as well, which equals more exposure for you.
  • Share!: Share the love and spread other bloggers’ posts on social media.  It’s nice, will bring followers to your accounts because you’re sharing a wide variety of great content, and maybe (hopefully) other bloggers will return the favor with your posts.  Everyone wins!
  • Respond!: Respond to readers’ comments or emails….every single one.  Once again, they took the time to leave you a note (which I totally love!), so be gracious and take a moment to say thanks or answer their question.  It’s great interaction, and it’s the courteous thing to do.  Sometimes you’ll get some not-so-nice commenters, but that’s just par for the course.  Kill them with kindness.  At some point you might grow too large to be able to do this (helloooo Pioneer Woman!), but until then, respond to all of your readers (even the Negative Nancies).
  • Give credit where credit is due!: If you got inspiration from another blogger, that’s great!  Leave a note in your post as well as some linky love and they will be forever grateful!  And for Pete’s sake DO NOT STEAL.  Don’t take someone else’s images or words or entire post and claim them as your own (yes, that does happen).  Pay attention to a blogger’s policy information and respect it.


Let’s Get Confident:

#6) Find YOUR Voice

Write about what YOU love and stay faithful to YOUR OWN style.  Personally, I like to write very in-depth tutorials with LOTS of pictures and step-by-step instructions.  Some people would probably say my posts are too long (hey, I can’t help it that I’m wordy!).  That’s my style, love it or hate it, it’s mine.  When I visit other blogs and see their writing style and/or posts look different from mine, I try not to get into the comparison game.  Speaking of that….


#7) No Comparing!!!

I know it’s hard, but do not, I repeat DO NOT compare yourself to other bloggers.  I struggle with this too, even today.  Don’t worry about what Sally or Susie or Bobby are doing or posting or how they write.  Sometimes I look at other blogs and think “Man, they are so much cooler/better/smarter/creative/whatever than me!  I am such a joke!”  Then I have to mentally slap myself and remember why I started this whole endeavor.  Do what YOU do, and keep on keepin’ on.


#8) You Are More Than a Number

This phrase usually applies to women and our jean sizes, but don’t get caught up on your blogging numbers either.

Checking out your numbers everyday can become a sort of vortex that sucks you in and consumes you….pretty soon, all you’re focusing on is your page views, bounce rate, new subscribers, affiliate/ad income, repins….it can become very over-whelming, and sometimes depressing if they’re not what you’re hoping for.

Don’t let it.  You are new and just starting out, so the numbers will come (and if they don’t, who cares!).  It’s like that old saying:

Don’t compare your beginning with someone else’s middle.

Just focus on writing and sharing good content and doing what you enjoy.  Blogging should be fun, after all!  You started blogging for a reason, so let the love of writing and/or your topic continue to be your driving force, not taking over the world.  That will hopefully come on its own (if that’s what you want, of course)!


#9) Enjoy Your Anonymity

Take the time when you’re just starting out to make your mistakes!  Just because you sign up for a blog and publish a post does not mean that people will start flooding your site….ha, I wish!  You have time in the beginning to tweak your design or layout, practice finding your voice that I talked about above, learn your niche, experiment with ad/affiliate networks, etc…’s okay to change things around and make a few mess-ups because you won’t have a huge audience yet to witness all your blunders.

I played around with my graphics, design, and writing style A TON for the first couple months before I started promoting my site on Pinterest or my Facebook page.  Looking back now, it was so easy then to make my tweaks because I wouldn’t look like a fool to visitors.  Now that I have a decent following and daily traffic, I have to be more cautious with my tweaking.  Trust me, few visitors are a blessing when starting out!


#10) Keep The Faith

Before I could hit ‘Publish’ on my very first post, I was soooo nervous!  Was I being totally silly for starting a BLOG??  I don’t know anything about blogging or computers, for Pete’s sake!  What was I thinking….me, a BLOGGER?!?  Would anybody besides my mom even read or care about what I wrote??  Geesh, it was so intimidating starting out.  My piece of advice for you….RELAX.

You’re starting a blog because you obviously have something to say and share.  I think there’s room enough for all of us….honestly, I do.  Yes, there are a bazillion craft blogs or recipe blogs or fashion blogs or tree frog-lover blogs out there already (ok, maybe not that last one).  That doesn’t matter though, because they aren’t YOURS.

If you want more from your blog than just sharing content (and there’s no shame in wanting more, such as a little–or a lottle- income), then research how to get it and put forth the effort.  Like anything else, it will come with some education, hard work, and probably a little luck, too.


Let’s Get Technical:

#11) Learn Some Lingo & (Just a Little) Coding

Lingo: Starting out, blogging can seem like it has its own foreign language: CSS, SEO, plug-ins, widgets, trackbacks, nofollow, bounce rate, Gravatar, link parties, favicon, pingbacks….it’s enough to make your head spin!  But fear not, friend.  You will pick it up in no time….promise.  Google will be your right-hand pal, and a lot of it will come through osmosis.

Coding: Also, don’t be intimidated by coding or {simple} HTML!  Seriously.  I know it may look like an alien trying to communicate with the mothership, but it’s really not that bad….for the most part (ha!).

My blog is self-hosted (I use Dreamhost….definitely recommend them for their pricing and super easy installation!), so I have free reign over every. single. detail. of my site.  That is good since I can fully customize my site, but also bad since I’m acting as my own tech expert but I know (or at least knew) almost nothing techy.  Like zilch.  I could totally crash my site with one incorrect keystroke.  Luckily, that hasn’t happened yet…..*knock on wood*  However, I’ve been able to pick up enough of the basics to tweak my design and layout on my own.  You will too.

Here is a great HTML cheat sheet if you’re a total newb, and I also use this site frequently when tweaking my CSS.


Let’s Get Help:

#12) Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help!

You’re new to this and you don’t know anything….we’ve all been there, even the BIGGEST most successful bloggers.  You’re not going to know all the ins and outs of blogging from Day 1, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!  I still feel lost more days than not, so you’re not alone!

  • The Power of the Internet: Google will be your personal oracle (isn’t it always?) and there’s also a wealth of blogging knowledge on Pinterest and YouTube (of course).
  • Reach Out to Other Bloggers: My bloggy buddy Lauren over at The Thinking Closet has graciously answered some questions for me, and I’ve also had some great help from other bloggers by checking out their posts (usually about New Blogger tips such as this one!) and then leaving a question in the comments….most of them reply with very sincere, helpful suggestions.
  • Facebook Groups: There are also LOTS of helpful groups on Facebook that are dedicated to blogging, so join one or more and seek assistance there.
  • Hire Help: If you still can’t find the answers or if you need work done that is over your head, or maybe you just don’t have the time or desire to fix it yourself, don’t be afraid to hire someone to help you.  You can find very affordable virtual assistant work online.  Ask other bloggers who they use for tech support, inquire about help in Facebook groups, or search online.
    • One popular site with lots of freelancers is Fiverr, which is very affordable and I’ve used it to help me with my mobile responsiveness tweaks and other behind-the-scenes upgrades.

There’s nothing wrong with spending your time and energy doing what you love and are good at (BLOGGING!) and leaving the behind-the-scenes stuff to those who love and are good at it.


Let’s Get Profitable:

#13) Set Up Ads/Affiliate Links from the Start

Sorry, this section is a tad long, but I think this is a big question a lot of new bloggers have….I know I sure had it!

When I first started blogging, I knew I eventually wanted to try and earn some money by having ads and affiliate links on my site.  Having just started out, however, I thought there’s no way I could earn anything yet, and people would be put off by advertisements….right?  Wrong!

Granted, not every blogger is interested in monetizing their site, which is totally cool, but a lot (myself included) would like to earn some money back from our sites.  I mean, I spend a significant amount of time working on my site, which itself is not free to run, and not to mention the cost of all the supplies I use for my crafting addiction that is the basis for this blog.  I might as well earn a little something to help offset the cost of operating it, especially if it’s just passive income that does not come from my readers’ wallets.

Don’t Wait!  I waited until I was a few months into blogging before starting an affiliate program (Amazon), then another month before utilizing Google Adsense.  BIG mistake!  A few of my posts ended up being featured at other (much bigger) blogs, and this one started to really take off on Pinterest (it now has been pinned over 22,000 times!).  Then shortly thereafter, this one took a rocket ship north and is now my number one post.  I therefore missed out on a ton of potential revenue since my ads/affiliate links weren’t in place yet when all this new traffic started being referred my way….boo, indeed.

Also, not having ads/affiliate links on your site for a while then all of sudden having them plastered all over might be very off-putting to some faithful readers who’ve been with you from the beginning.  What a shock it would be to go to a favorite site one day, then return the following day and see it covered in ads!

I say if you’re going to go the monetization route, do it from the start.  Most readers are accustomed to ads online (and everywhere for that matter), so as long as you have a disclosures and are truthful with your recommendations (more on this below), you’ll be just fine.

My Biggest Sources of Income:  I’m a part of several affiliate and ad networks, and here are my best performing ones:


Let’s Get Legal:

#14) Stay Legal!

Disclosure: Not a lawyer.

This is s a biggy, and it makes my head hurt a little.  Yes, there are rules and regulations on the books that all bloggers need to be aware of, whether your site is monetized or not.  I am by no means an expert here, and I’m doing the best I know how on my own blog.  I’m sure it’s not perfect, but I’m still learning too.

Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the FCC’s rules on disclosures, learn about creating privacy and terms of use policies, and have a copyright notice for your blog.  Knowing this info will not only keep you legal, but also protect yourself and your content, as well as your readers.  You need some fine print!

Also, if you’re going to monetize your site, check out the IRS’ guidelines for blogging and taxes.


Let’s Have Fun!:

#15) Have Fun!

Lastly, but certainly not least, have fun with your blogging self!  Write what YOU want to write about!  Take pics YOU want to take!  Design your site and graphics the way YOU want!  Make friends with other bloggers and readers!  Use as many exclamation points as you feel like!  (Ha, I had to throw that last one in there.) ;)

Seriously though, if you’re going to put the time and effort in to make a site your own, have a good time with it….life (and blogging) is all about the journey, ya know.


MORE Tips!

Don’t miss my post about 10 Things You Need To Do First When Starting a Blog!



Phew, that was a doozy of a post!  Did I miss anything big?  I’m currently working on my next set of tips, so please let me know if there’s something else you’d like more info on, or if you have any tips that I should pass along here!


Let’s Connect on Pinterest, Too!

For even more blogging tips, follow my Pinterest board!

Follow Christine {WhereTheSmilesHaveBeen}’s board Blogging Tips on Pinterest.


Thanks so much for stopping by!

Where The Smiles Have Been




StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes: Modern Blogger Theme


Monday 15th of February 2016

I've written publications but like many other people have mentioned before, starting a blog can be overwhelming. I always thought writer's block would be my worst enemy but the technical side of trying to get paid for my time ...well need I say more. You site is wonderful in explaining what the first things someone should think about when they are just starting.


Monday 1st of February 2016

Just found this post on Pinterest while searching for new blogger tips. I just started my own blog and it is very overwhelming! This post gave me some hope that I could last a little longer than one month :) Thank you for this. It helps a lot!


Monday 18th of January 2016

Hey Christine! I just realized I commented back in June. I'm back and freshening up on your tips. I pinned this post for a reason! I finally migrated my site and have applied for Google Adsense. I'm currently working on affiliate links. My new question to you is on the techy side. I absolutely love your site design. Is the design of your blog the adorable child theme you mention? I'm trying to figure out how to make my site more customizable without being a graphics designer and having a PhD in code. Like you said...I don't want to crash my site. Any pointers you can give would be great! I currently use a free wordpress theme.


Thursday 21st of January 2016

Hey Lacie! Thanks for stopping by again, and congrats on the blog migration....I've heard those can be very un-fun! ;)

Yep, this is still the Adorable child theme. I made all the customizations myself at the very start of my blog when it was first launched back in May/June of 2014. I'm glad I did everything on my own because I have a totally customized site and learned A TON of coding and techy stuff from the onset....but boy was it time-consuming and at times headache-inducing!

I'm not sure if you're on like me or not, but if you are, I did most the edits in Appearance-->Editor with the Adorable file (which I discovered much later is actually not the ideal place to make all the should really use the Customize menu). It was all basically lots and lots of Googling for HTML and then trial and error to see if my coding tweaks worked. I also logged into my FTP (I think that's what it's called) and edited some of the files directly....and held my breath the ENTIRE time I was in there just hoping I didn't destroy my baby blog! My design wasn't and still isn't something I'm totally in love with but at least it's unique. I'm glad you like it! I'm actually planning on do a relaunch with a new design and branding sometime in the not-so-distant future....just gotta find the time! :)

Hope this helps! Let me know if you've got any other questions and I'll do my best to help! :)


Tuesday 29th of December 2015

I want to start a blog this coming year (2016) just to express myself and what I like to do (screen printing) and see where it goes from there. I love your articles on blogging because it gives me an idea of where to start and what to do, for that a big THANKS!!.

My question is (hopefully it's not too personal) but how much should we expect to invest in starting and running a blog? I see StudioPress charges for it's themes, then theres hosting, the web domain, akismet, there's the basic Yoast SEO but then there's also the premium that charges, vaultpress, etc...

Please keep the blogging tips coming, anything that keeps us from having to do a trial and error is greatly appreciated!!!


Wednesday 20th of January 2016

Hey there, Nancy! Thanks for stopping by!

To answer your question about how much you can expect to invest, the answer is really as much or as little as you want. I know that's not a very good answer though. :) I pay for my hosting (my annual domain charge is free with my hosting plan...wahoo!), purchased the Genesis framework as well as the Adorable child theme, and I also pay for additional "peace of mind" add-ons. These include Vaultpress for my backups and Dropbox as a cloud-based external storage for pics, printables, freebies, etc. I just use the basic Yoast SEO and have loved it.

I'm not sure of my exact payments since some are charged monthly and some annually (and I'm too lazy to go look up all the actual numbers right now), but my monthly investment is probably under $50, and I purchased Genesis for around $100 and Adorable for $50 outright (I think). So it's nothing too crazy. I also did all the design customization myself which saved some money. And I hope this doesn't come across as bragging, but I make much, much more than that each month in blog income so it more than offsets my expenses to keep it running. :)

You could go buck wild and pay for all kinds of additional things too if you really wanted, like custom site designs, graphics, coding tweaks, even actual content if you wanted. Or you could use a free blogging service like Blogger and not put one dime into your blog. Then you can decide if you want to monetize your site and if so, in what ways, to try and offset the costs. It really is up to you. I'm a perfectionist who also wanted this blog to be something I would have and run for the long haul, so I chose to invest some money from the get-go.

I hope this helps, but let me know if you have any other questions! Good luck with your blog! :)

Buffy Rager

Tuesday 22nd of December 2015

Wow... so you've definitely gained a new fan in me! I haven't started my blog just yet, as I'm researching furiously trying to figure it all out. Your post(s) have been UBER helpful and I look forward to reading on!! Thanks so much!


Wednesday 20th of January 2016

Thanks for the kind words, Buffy! I'm so glad you enjoy what you see here and have found it helpful! Please let me know if I can be of any help, and good luck with your blog! :)