11 Top Blogging Tips From The Experts | The Next Blogger Network Workshop

11 Great Blogging Tips From The Experts
A week ago today I was lucky enough to attend the Next Blogger Network workshop at the fabulous Hoxton Hotel in London.

I say lucky because St. Jude’s Storm only made me a couple of hours late rather than missing it altogether which happened to some unfortunately due to the cancelled trains! The clothing line Next held a workshop day for their network members, with top bloggers and industry experts hosting blogger masterclasses for things like SEO, photography and brand advertising.

They laid on a brilliant day with amazing food in a great location, and the most important bit was the content: although there was a lot I’m pleased to say I knew and am doing already, I still picked up loads of great tips and thought I’d share some of them with you.

So here are my 11 top tips I picked up on the day – see the end of the post for Next’s links to the full workshop presentation notes πŸ™‚


#NBNworkshop 11 Top Blogging Tips

1. Think BIG

I’m starting with my favourite tip of the day… THINK BIG! Think ahead about how your blog can expand and grow. The only person limiting you is you – be extraordinary and believe the sky’s the limit.


2. Don’t procrastinate

If you have an idea, act upon it now – or someone else will come along and do it first. You don’t want to be the person thinking “Oh I had that idea ages ago”.


3. Create something you’d want to read yourself

Be proud of what you write and publish – think “Would I want to read this?” Only post content, photos and videos you are happy with.


4. Be consistent

Whether you’re publishing on your blog, uploading videos to YouTube or uploading to Facebook – be consistent so your readers know when to check back and expect something new from you.


5. Repeat your keywords everywhere

Retailers often ignore long-tail keywords so this is something to target within your posts. In other words, repeat your keywords several times in the page titles, page headings and content to increase traffic to your blog. For example, if you’re writing about the most coveted item of the season, instead of calling your post “Pink” or “What I’m Coveting Right Now”, be specific and call it “M&S Oversized Pink Duster Coat” – and repeat, repeat, repeat those long-tail terms (within reason – you don’t want to put off your readers).


6. Bye bye, GFC

Get rid of the GFC followers widget on your sidebar: Google Friend Connect is on its way out and looks untidy. Replace it with Google+ if you haven’t already or you’ll be left behind.


7. Give follow options

Ensure you have a “Follow by email” option – everyone likes to follow blogs in different ways and this is one that bloggers often forget to offer.


8. Improve page load time

If your blog is slow to load, people won’t have the patience to wait. Find out your page speed time (and how to improve it) using website speed tool GTmetrix. I’ve used it and have made loads of improvements already – you’ll be amazed at what’s slowing down your pages.


9. Be social – work the networks

Social, social, social! Work the networks – they are the biggest tool we have as bloggers. Support and interact with your fellow bloggers.


10. Be professional when working with brands

It’s a great idea to approach a brand to work together, but make sure you’ve written about them first. Remember it’s a business relationship so be professional in your dealings with them, and remember to thank them afterwards. Hand-written thank you notes may be a dying art but you’ll certainly be remembered and it will be greatly appreciated by a brand – this is a sure fire way of building a long lasting relationship with them.


11. Work hard and be nice to people

You never know how or when your next opportunity will present itself, so be prepared to put the hours in and go the extra mile. Go out of your way to help people – in person and online – and build relationships. A small gesture or random act of kindness could lead to the most amazing new connection or stroke of luck.

Next Blogger Network bloggers
Tomorrow I’ll post the outfit I wore to the event – in the meantime here’s some photos (courtesy of Next) of the day! The centre photo is me with two gorgeous girls I met: (left) Mollie from Mollie Bylett and (right) Janine of What Renee Made (it’s so nice to meet bloggers in person!). Also a big shout out to the lovely Carissa of Little Likely Lads (with me, top left) for agreeing to meet me at the tube and turning up late together… We’d never met before and found out on the way to the hotel that we grew up in the same place – small world or what?!

Thanks to Gemma and the Next girls Ellie and Vicki for all their organising, plus the guest speakers for their input and amazing advice:

Abi from Abimarvel
Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup
Diego Puglisi – Senior Search Manager at Greenlight
Emily from Fashion Foie Gras
Faye from Fashion Beauty Etc
Kit from Style Slicker
Lily from What I Heart Today

And if you want to read the presentation notes in full here they are:

SEO & Web Design Presentation Notes

Brand & Advertising, Photography & Film Presentation Notes

Have you learnt anything new? Let me know in the comments what you’re going to implement!

See you tomorrow for the full outfit post πŸ™‚

Catherine x



  1. 10 November 2013 / 6:21 am

    Hello Catherine, I tried opening the 2 links from your event and for some reason I haven't been able to access them..I have a gmail account. Please advise and thanks again for sharing. This has really helped guide me, being a new blogger πŸ™‚

    • 10 November 2013 / 12:10 pm

      I think that you need to have a Google+ account, Cessily… I didn't realise this until someone told me, as I guess that if you have G+ (like I do) and you click on it, it just opens. So if you do sign up for G+ (assuming you don't at the moment) and try it, tell me if that's what definitely makes it open!

      C x

  2. 6 November 2013 / 10:13 am

    Thanks for the tips. I think I do everything you advice. But not repeat keywords. I don't like writing like this. My loss perhaps, but I bet Google is already thinking of changing their ranking way as this "method" of lifting the organic search results is getting widely spread.

    • 6 November 2013 / 11:07 am

      But you're mostly doing this, Greetje…! For example the post titled "Animal print jacket": you've used the keywords in the title, repeated it in the tags, the end of the URL is "animal-print-jacket" – the only thing you didn't do was write the actual phrase "Animal print jacket" in the content. So you did repeat it three times out of a possible four, and I'm sure if you'd written the actual phrase in the content it would have sounded quite natural.

      So in a lot of cases you're already repeating your keywords my lovely – without realising :))

    • 11 November 2013 / 9:01 pm

      Yeah… I am a natural hahahahahahaha. NOT.
      But you made me think (again) so I have finally registered myself at Google+. Have to learn this now too. I have uploaded a link to a blog post and the photo that came with that link, cut off my head. Then I uploaded a photo and had to paste the link in the text. I am sure I will find out how to do this properly. In time.

  3. 6 November 2013 / 3:36 am

    Thanks for the link for GTmetrix. It's enlightening!

  4. 5 November 2013 / 8:42 pm

    Thanks for the tips, find them helpful and inspirational when struggling to get the motivation to blog although when I do it, I really enjoy it! Wasn't able to open the notes at the bottom for some reason but will try again later!

    • 5 November 2013 / 11:16 pm

      Madeleine I think you can only open them (I've since found out) if you're on Google+… I guess they just opened automatically for me because I'd already signed up to it so didn't realise when writing the post. So it's a good reason to get yourself on G+, hehe!!

  5. 5 November 2013 / 5:44 pm

    You look so pretty, Catherine. Pink is obviously your color. I've met Abi once when I popped upstairs to the Apartment. She's lovely and so is Kit who's also an awesome photographer.

    • 5 November 2013 / 11:14 pm

      Ah – you've met them, Marlene! They were great guest speakers. And thank you hun as always x

  6. 5 November 2013 / 5:36 pm

    Some great tips Catherine, I have implemented a few already! Keep em coming!! X

  7. 5 November 2013 / 3:56 am

    Thanks for the tips! I recently started my blog and find this very helpful. I have registered with Google+, but also have GFC. Being a newbie, I'm not sure what's what at this point, but I'm learning.

    Thanks again! Signing Steph

    • 5 November 2013 / 11:13 pm

      It's all so confusing, I know Steph! But shout if you have any questions, or email me (I share what knowledge I do have)! C x

  8. 5 November 2013 / 1:08 am

    Great tips! I deleted a while ago GFC but didn't even think of adding Google+, I'm off to do that now! πŸ™‚

    • 5 November 2013 / 11:12 pm

      Good for you, Emily… and if you find it confusing at first – do stick with it, I promise you it's worth it! x

  9. 4 November 2013 / 8:46 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I went ahead and deleted GFC and went Google+ although .. I do like GFC better πŸ™‚ I like blog lovin', but I don't like how I can't see who is following .. I just get a number of followers.

    Monica, http://www.pear-shaped-gal.com

    • 4 November 2013 / 11:05 pm

      All you have to do to see who's following is to click on the number of followers, Monica (assuming you're on your blog's Bloglovin page) – it then gives you the list of who's following! I had a look at yours – I could see straight away who your followers are πŸ™‚

  10. 4 November 2013 / 8:24 pm

    Catherine, Thanks so much for sharing this great information to help others. You're spirit and willing to help other bloggers truly make you and your site my favorite! I love that your started with THINK BIG, I soooo needed to hear this!! πŸ™‚
    Cessily http://www.vintage-nut.com

    • 4 November 2013 / 11:03 pm

      Cessily you are so welcome – and thank you!! So glad to have inspired you πŸ™‚

  11. 4 November 2013 / 8:11 pm

    Catherine, you honestly have been my inspirational blogging hero since I started my blog. Whether it's photography (followed your advice of looking towards the sun even it doesn't shine today!!), your hints and tips and your recommendations on networks (just signed up for next) or affiliate programmes (rS).
    Again, this is such a useful list! Unfortunately the full presentation notes can only be read via Google+ (still reluctant).

    Annette | Lady of Style

    • 4 November 2013 / 11:01 pm

      Wow Annette – what a lovely, lovely comment – you're such a sweetheart! Thank you so much :))

      To be honest G+ is really no different to Facebook. I know you post on that – it works the same way, you post on it the same way… it even kinda looks the same (but I actually think it looks smarter and is far easier to use)! So it's definitely worth it. Go on – don't procrastinate, as tip no. 2 tells you!!


    • 4 November 2013 / 7:48 pm

      I can only assume you're serious about growing your blog and readership as you've asked…? As opposed to blogging for a hobby, which of course is absolutely fine. These tips were from the point of view of growing your blog in a serious way (which is why Next hosted the event).

      I think the guest speaker suggested this (about getting rid of GFC) because less and less people are following blogs this way – and Google will get rid of it very soon. To be honest I can't see the point of GFC any more either, except to say "look how many numbers I've got that I can't let go of". You may like it yourself, but if very few people are using it as a tool any more then it's time to let it go! If you haven't made the switch over to G+ then you are missing valuable opportunities to increase your search engine rankings and gain followers in ways that people will continue to follow you and you'll be left behind. As bloggers we have to move with the times! I didn't "like" G+ at first but understood why I needed to get to grips with it, nor did I "like" Facebook or Twitter when I started blogging, but now I understand how important they are for the success of my blog! Only when I embraced them did my blog grow in popularity.

      It depends how serious you are about your blog I guess… for me it's now my livelihood so I have to keep up with all the changes, whether I like them or not. And Bloglovin is really the no.1 way to get people to follow your blog in my opinion – if your blog isn't registered with it and you're not encouraging people to follow you that way you're seriously going to miss out πŸ™

  12. 4 November 2013 / 3:38 pm

    I love, love, love Google Friend C and the thought of deleting it gives me the chills.
    I will keep it all.LOL
    You are so fantastic Catherine.

    • 4 November 2013 / 7:29 pm

      True, but you are also using Google+, Sacramento – so you've already made the change!

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