25 tips for building a better beauty blog

Since many members of the Beauty Brains community are bloggers themselves, we get a lot of questions about how to run a blog. So for all of you beauty bloggers out there, here are our top 25 tips for building traffic and generally improving your blogs.

(And if you found the post helpful, let us know with a link!)

1. Update often

The difference between a “regular” web page and a blog is the frequency of updating and the amount of new content. If you’re really serious about blogging you should update your blog every day. This will also help with your search engine traffic. (More on that later.)

2. Produce high quality, original content

There are hundreds of beauty blogs and everyone is reviewing products. If you are doing product reviews try to put a different spin on it. For example, since the Beauty Brains are scientists, we answer questions about how products work. Try to find someway to tie your career or hobby into the subject of beauty. If you’re into graphic design, maybe you could blog about packaging and graphics of cosmetics. If you like history, you could blog about beauty products of the past. Be creative!

3. Comment on other beauty blogs

If you’re just getting started with your beauty blog, this is a crucial tip. You need to make the beauty community aware of you. Don’t be shy about asking for link love either. (Of course, don’t expect to always get it). And if you’re a longtime blogger it never hurts to remind the other bloggers or new bloggers that you are out there.

4. Sign up for Technorati

It’s an Internet search engine and cataloging site for blogs that can help yours be more visible. It can also help you find blogs that cover similar subjects as yours.

5. Submit your stories to social networking sites like Digg and Reddit

If you’ve got a good headline and your post gets voted up, you’ll see a lot of traffic. Blog software WordPress even has a plugin that lets your readers automatically submit your stories. We don’t recommend this as a primary way of building traffic but it’s nice to give your numbers a boost for the day.

6. Be a little controversial

Don’t be afraid to take a stand on something unpopular. It could generate a lot of passion which means more comments. Sure, you might lose a few readers because you upset them, but more likely, you’ll spark participation in a debate.

7. Post comments on forums

You’ll be amazed at the number of threads on the larger beauty forums. The Long Hair Community is one of the best. So is Makeup Alley. A good mention on sites like these can boost your traffic dramatically. Plus you’ll find other people with similar outlooks as you.

8. Use interesting graphics and label them

Most of the beauty blogs have the same kinds of beauty pictures. Don’t be afraid to be a little different in your graphics choices, it will help you stand out from the pack. And, if you tag your graphics with names, people searching Google image can find your blog more easily – even if they were just looking for a picture!

9. Use a service like Hit Tail to help choose key words for your blog

You can “own” certain search terms if you blog about them frequently. Hit Tail helps you find terms that people are searching for when they find your blog.

10. Think beyond beauty

Women who read blogs about wine, or travel, or maternity clothes, or video games like beauty products too. Don’t forget that your readers have interests outside of beauty. That means you can build traffic by going to other kinds of blogs.

11. Be engaging

Use contests or quizzes to keep your readers interested. WordPress has plugins for polls and contests; you can also find fun games to post at Blogthings.com

12. Reach out and touch your readers.

Respond to as many emails and comments on your posts as possible. People take the time to contact you so you should take the time to respond. It really helps “build your blog community.”

13. Join a blogging network.

You can meet some great people, get “swag” & deals for your reading audience and even get help with creating content. All of this can be yours just by signing up for a blogging network like Coutorture.

14. Keep a running list of new post ideas by using social networks like del.icio.us

Everyone gets writer’s block once in a while, having a good list of tagged ideas on del.icio.us can be a huge help! When you find articles you like, bookmark the page and come back to it later. You can find stories using Digg, Reddit, and all sorts of beauty blogs.

15. Respond to your emails quickly.

This is most important in the beginning when you’re hungry for attention and you don’t get that many emails. You should answer EVERY one, unless it’s spam. However, if your blog is successful, at some point you’ll get too many emails and you won’t be able to respond to them all. That’s the problem we face now!

16. Link to blogs and sites that you like.

Tell them about it too. People love it when you talk about them. They may even start to talk about you. And this is great for blog traffic.

17. Learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Even though you’re not a “techy” you should do some reading on SEO so you’ll understand what Google likes and doesn’t like about your site. One of the best sites is Aaron Wall’s SEO Book blog.

18. Grab readers attention quickly with a great headline.

Here’s a link to one of our favorite posts on headline writing tips. One of the biggest problems we’ve seen at most beauty blogs is a lack of attention to the headline. There is so much to read on the internet that only good headlines are able to grab attention. Lists and “How To” posts always make great headlines.

19. Read metablogs (blogs that blog about blogging)

You can get lots of good tips from sites like Problogger.

20. Create an About page

Make it easy for people to learn who you are and why they should care. You’re unique just like everyone else. People want to know who their reading about. Also, consider including a picture on your front page. Blogs with a front page picture generally do better at keeping fans.

21. Make your posts easy to read.

This means use short paragraphs, a readable font, and bulleted lists (like this one). Short blog posts generally work better than long ones.

22. Optimize your blog design

When you first start out be sure to use one of the great, free themes or designs for your blog. But eventually, you may want to customize and monetize your blog. The layout of your columns, where you place your ads, and pieces of “hidden” code can all impact the effectiveness of your blog. Unless you’re a html expert, you’re probably going to need some professional help to fix all this. It’ll cost you, but we suggest working a company like The Blog Studio to help with your site design.

23. Create a Myspace and Facebook page for your blog

This can be another effective way to build traffic. We’ve seen beauty blogs on Myspace with 10,000 friends!

24. Track your traffic

You put so much time into your blog, don’t you want to know if anyone is reading it? Of course! There are lots of free options but the best ones are Google Analytics and Sitemeter. We’ve had the most success with these.

25. Keep at it!

We’ve been blogging about beauty for just over a year and now we’re one of the “old timers.” Thousands of beauty blogs are started but abandoned after 5 or 6 months. It seems people just run out of things to write. If you can stick around longer than 6 months, you’ll have lots of fans who’ll want to tune in and see what you have to say everyday.