I've been at this blogging malarkey for nearly four years and I have learned a thing or two. Blogging is a lot of fun but a ton of hard work, especially if you are trying to reach a niche audience. If you are thinking of following a similar path or are just looking for a little motivation, then hopefully these tips will help you.
1. Write what you love
I blog about African fashion because I love it. I get excited when I discover new brands and I love sharing this with my audience. Without this passion, I wouldn't have been able to sustain the blog while juggling my other work/life commitments. It's important to write about what you know and are truly passionate about.
2. Get up close and personal with your audience
One of the best things about writing for a niche audience is that while your audience may not be large, they are very enthusiastic. Respond to their comments and engage with them on social media. Your audience will get to know you better and you may even come away with a couple of new friends.
3. Don't worry about page views
Obsessing about page views/clicks/subscribers will not make you a better blogger, good content will. Use analytics to help you understand your audience but don't let it dictate your content. Write for yourself and everything else will follow.
4. Join like minded groups
One of the best things I ever did was join groups on Facebook and Google+. These are great spaces to share your content with like minded individuals. However don't litter these groups with your content without actually engaging. To get the most out of these groups, you have to be an active participant.
5. Stay motivated
It's easy to lose heart when your blog goes through a slump (trust me there will be slumps). Take a step back and remind yourself why you started blogging in the first place and push through it.
6. Avoid blogger envy
Don't keep yourself up at night wondering why your blog isn't as successful as Susie Bubble's. Constantly comparing yourself to other more successful bloggers will only undermine what you have achieved. Instead support your fellow bloggers, include your favourites in your blogroll and share your favourite posts on social media.
7. Become a social media maven
The best way to market your blog and get your content seen is through social media. Facebook and Twitter are popular choices but don't underestimate the influence of Pinterest and Instagram. Use hashtags wisely.
8. Be consistent
The best blogs are updated consistently with quality content. While it can be a struggle to find time to create content, it will pay off in the end. Readers will always return to blogs that have regular updates.
9. Be realistic in your expectations
I had to accept very early on in the game that writing about African fashion wasn't going to be bring in the same size audience as mainstream fashion. By managing my expectations, I can set myself reasonable targets.
10. Give it time and enjoy the little successes
Building audiences takes time and it can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. To make up for the hard slog, focus on your successes. Take a moment to embrace all the opportunities and fun moments that are bound to come your way.