First off, I’d like to say, I am by no means a professional when it comes to all the ins and outs of blogging. I have been blogging for over four years now, but until the past year have I really been following all the rules and realizing that this has become more of a career for me than just a hobby. I’m human, I make mistakes, and I also learn something new almost daily. I’m not perfect, and this post may not be either, but this is a good list for any amateur blogger or any novice blogger to read. I have been meaning to write a post like this for awhile now, and I’ve had an ongoing list that seemed to be getting longer and longer. No one wants to sit down and read something that takes hours to read, so I decided to just tell you about the most important tips of blogging for review and/or giveaway bloggers.
Now I know that this may seem like a common sense tip, but I’ve seen it happen time and time again. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to blogger friends. If you’re an active blogger, you will see this happen more often than you’d like. Always do your research when it comes to something you’re writing about or something you’re passionate about. You will want to sound educated and you don’t want to give out the wrong facts. When I’m writing a post, I even read a few other bloggers points of views on a review or giveaway, as there may be something I forgot to touch base on. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, but make sure you always use your own words and pictures. If you find someone who is copying your work, you can do a variety of things. You can message them directly, you can report them using a DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) takedown, send a cease and desist letter, or hire a lawyer. Just remember, do not copy anyone’s words or pictures, unless you have permission to do so.
I see this constantly when reading blogs or even statuses or tweets on social media, even in pictures with text. Being a blogger means you are a writer. Now while I said I’m not perfect, and I do make mistakes, you will very rarely see me make grammar or English mistakes. If I do, PLEASE correct me. I try my best to be personal when it comes to my posts, but writing with the correct grammar and English is very important if you want to be taken professionally and seriously. If your grammar and English skills aren’t the best, that’s okay, but you need to learn them. Look them up. As a blogger you use the internet, you know how to use search engines, familiarize your self with the correct tenses, how to form a sentence, spelling, etc. Spelling is an easy one, almost everywhere if you spell a word wrong, your program will underline it with red, and you can right click on it and it will give you the correct spelling. My biggest pet peeve is using the wrong word in a sentence that doesn’t make any sense.
Some examples are:
their – there – they’re
your – you’re
to – too – two
then – than
one – won
a lot – alot (doesn’t exist)
allowed – aloud
affect – effect
whether – weather
Just make sure you familiarize yourself with the correct usage of words, spelling, and English. This is imperative as a writer. You wouldn’t want a CEO of a company that heard of you to be checking out your blog and see you using the wrong spelling or tense of a word and immediately draw back from your page and not want to work with you. This could happen!
As a blogger you will find you must network and build relationships to get ahead. Whether this be with PR companies, brands, or other bloggers, it’s something you will have to do. You can only get so far on your own. Build your relationships with other bloggers, in the end we are all in this together. Don’t make blogging competitive, we must support one another. I’m not saying to share all your secrets or contacts, but let’s help one another. Use social media and email to network with PR companies, brands, and other bloggers. Be personal and be yourself. Don’t just take from them, you must give too.
Always, always, always take pictures for your review posts. When doing so make sure you have a clean background. Your readers don’t want to see a mess of toys or clothes behind the picture. Make sure it’s a well lit picture and not blurry. Showcase the product, you are wanting to sell your blog post!! I don’t mean literally, but you want readers right? The best way to get readers is to have an inviting post, and pictures are the best way to do so. Edit your pictures, add words, watermark them. There are plenty of programs out there. My favorite and the one I use every day is PicMonkey. You want your blog to be inviting and real, use your own pictures showing your item in your life, being real connects with readers. Don’t use a stock picture unless the company wants you to or there’s another reason where you must. Another great word of advice is make a pinnable image for Pinterest. Bloggers, brands, PR companies, and consumers use Pinterest daily. If you have an eye catching picture/image, you will grab readers attention.
Being a blogger means you will be using social media, whether it’s sharing your posts, giveaways, articles, or connecting with your followers, you will more than likely use social media every day. Keep yourself up to date with all social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, You Tube, Tumblr, Vine, etc. Know which ones reaches out to your followers more, and use your social media to connect. Make sure you always keep up with the terms of service as well, know what you’re allowed to promote and what you’re not. Grow your social media, and grow all of them. Don’t concentrate on just one social media platform. You can grow your social media by sharing your links in reviews/giveaways, on entry forms, and even on social media itself.
I’m not going to go too deep into taxes here because I’m not a tax professional (although I can use an estimator for my taxes like nobody’s business), but ALWAYS keep records and receipts of anything and everything pertaining to your blog. Keep receipt of your hosting fees, domain name fees, items you make or cook for a blog post, computer or tablet you buy to blog with, internet and phone bills, etc. Keep details of items you receive to review, as they have a monetary value. Keep record of PayPal fees, and sponsored post fees. All of these items can vary depending on what you are claiming. Any income you make, along with review items, you must claim for tax purposes. It’s best to get a file folder for each year and stash records away as they come in. You will thank me when it comes time for filing taxes.
When you do a giveaway on your blog it’s absolutely necessary to tell the terms and conditions of the giveaway. I see this all the time with bloggers not putting this very important information out there. What terms and conditions do you ask?
What is the prize?
What is the retail value
Who is the giveaway/prize open to?
When does the giveaway end?
How is the winner chosen?
How long does the winner have to respond?
How will the winner be contacted?
It’s very important to have this information for a giveaway to protect yourself as a blogger.
You MUST disclose in your posts if you receive an item or payment for the post, review, or giveaway. It’s also an FTC requirement to do so. I have a disclosure that I use and adjust as needed whether I’m doing a sponsored post, review, giveaway or something else. My disclosure isn’t perfect, like I said above, I’m not perfect, but here’s my disclosure (please don’t copy!):
Disclosure: Everything Mommyhood received the item mentioned above for the posting and promotion of her review. This blog didn’t receive any monetary compensation for the promotion of this giveaway All opinions are 100% our own and were not influenced in any way. Everything Mommyhood is not responsible for prize shipment. COMPANY NAME is responsible for prize shipment. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, and any other social media are not affiliated with this posting or giveaway. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. If you have any questions, please email EverythingMommyhood@gmail.com.
Say what? This is one of the most important subjects you should familiarize yourself with if you’re a blogger. No follow and Do follow.
You should always always use a no follow attribute if you received an item or money for your post. If you’re being paid or given something in any way for your blog post, make sure you give that link a no follow attribute. Whether it’s a link to the company, facebook, twitter, or another social media platform, make it no follow. How do you do that you ask? Here’s the HTML:
<a href=”http://www.website.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Link Text</a>
This basically tells Google and the like to not follow that link as this gives away your link juice. Google created a ranking system called PageRank to calculate link points. No follow and do follow also comes into play with SEO, as well as Google page rank.
When do you want to use a do follow link? This is a natural link, and these are great to have (as long as you didn’t receive anything for it) as this will help boost your SEO and page rank.
While I didn’t go into great detail on these, you can by all means google and better explanation. I’m not an expert on no follow and do follow attributes, but I do know the basics.
It’s very important to keep up to date on terms of service with Facebook, Google, FTC, Twitter, etc. As a blogger it’s a must to make sure you are following the terms of service of different platforms. Google Guidelines is very important to keep up with and follow as well as Facebook Terms of Service. As a blogger there are a lot of rules to follow. You must research and keep up with them. The last problem you want is getting a fine from the FTC or your page on Facebook getting deleted for not following the rules. Remember that these rules are ALWAYS changing and it’s up to you to keep yourself up to date on them.
Now like I said, this is just a few items to look into as a blogger. I didn’t go in too deep with them, as I’d be here all day. Remember Google is your friend and you can find a vast majority of information on the world wide web to help you. Research everything!