Isn’t the world of wedding blogs wonderful? While there are some clear giants in the industry, there are also many other amazing blogs out there – we’re all making our mark and finding our niche in this fantastic new industry. So I figured, as most of you are brides, I’d encourage you to express yourselves and start your own!
Whether it’s a small blog to document your own wedding planning or you’d like to explore blogging as a way into journalism, I’d love to share some of my tips, learned through experience, with you. Just to make sure I’m not stepping on any toes, Kat from Rock’n’Roll Bride has written about this subject extensively and also runs blogging workshops if you’re really serious about getting into the industry (and rumour has it she’s announcing more dates soon), this is just a small, light-hearted guide from my perspective.
Before I start – this blog isn’t about the financial side of wedding blogging. I’m not a business development expert and I’m still trying and testing different strategies. So come back in a year when I’ve worked it all out! But, before you can even think about charging, you have to have a good blog!
So you wanna be a wedding blogger?
Step One – finding your niche
There are loads of wedding blogs out there – so how is yours going to be different? We all have our niche. I guess mine is the vintage-inspired bride, but I also have a reputation for writing personal post about the emotions and trials behind getting married. I’d advise against choosing something you know very little about because it seems popular. Be who you are and your brand will follow. That way you don’t have the pesky job of trying to be someone you’re not every day.
Step Two – aesthetics and cosmetics
Make your blog pretty. I’m not saying spend thousands on web design, do what ever is realistic for you. For example, I paid for a fantastic header banner from I am Nat (best money I’ve spent on my business so far) and the rest of the site was built by us, at home, around the feeling of that logo.
If you have a close friend or family member who knows anything about coding, sit with them and go over how you’d like the site to look. For example, John and I sat down and I quite literally pointed at things and told him “lighter”, “darker”, “a different shade of pink”, “stretched rather than tiled”, “more transparent” etc. etc. This works particularly well with WordPress and if you’re creative and have good attention to detail.
If you have the money and you want to make the blog a serious venture, I’d pay for some fantastic site design. Although be aware, some companies will rip you off. Use a reputable web designer and make sure you get at least four or five quotes from companies you like before choosing.
Integrate your social media channels into your site, using buttons or a plugin that allows users to like your pages directly and make sure you have an RSS feed so people can follow you.
Step Three – SEO
When your site is written you should be thinking about SEO (search engine optimisation). This is a pretty big subject, so I’d genuinely outsource it unless you’ve had SEO training – and even then, if it isn’t recent you might need a bit of help. Google is constantly changing its algorithms and building it into your site can be hard if you don’t know what you’re doing.
With regards to writing actual blog posts, steer clear of obviously listing keywords. Keyword proximity is important but you don’t want your posts to look spammy. Google generally designs its formulae so that well-written and informative content naturally comes up top in search results, so don’t go overboard!
Step Four – writing for the web
When writing articles, the general rule (and one, I’m ashamed to say, I break a lot) is don’t ramble on too much. What can I say? I’m a rambler. But generally between 400 – 800 words is a good benchmark. With web writing, people have short attention spans, so different headings, visual content like pictures and video and bullet points to break up long paragraphs help.
Also, short paragraphs generally read better on a screen.
Sometimes even a sentence will do.
See what I did there?
Writing for the web is also unique in that you’re writing in your own tone of voice. That means don’t try to sound clever, use complicated language or change the way you address people. Write as you’d speak and your personality will come through. Just be casual about it – formal language doesn’t connect with people, and blogging is largely about connecting.
Blogging is personal, and reveal as much as you feel comfortable with, but make sure you’re doing it legitimately and for the right reasons. For example, I’ve talked about depression in a professional context, but because it was something I felt was part of my personality and that I was hiding from my readers.
Don’t be tempted to copy and paste content from other sites. Not only is it illegal but it’s unoriginal and people like to get to know the blogger for who they are.
Step Four – posting images
Rule number one: never, ever, ever take a photo without asking the photographer (unless the copyright pre-dates 1923 in the USA). And make sure you credit properly – with a link.
Rule number two – don’t feature things that aren’t right for the blog because you’re afraid of saying no. If you find a constructive way to say it, people will understand.
Rule number three – try to fit all images to the width of your blog. That tends to look best. Ask for images the size of your blog width – or larger. A programme like Blogstomp is revolutionary in helping you to size images correctly without altering the quality or cropping the pictures.
Coming soon – using social media to grow your blog and getting submissions.