True to the name of this blog, my two-year blogging anniversary came and went with me so busy, I didn’t even realize it happened. Two years and I am still learning the ropes…still getting comfortable saying, “I am a writer.” Surely with two years worth of posts, I can say that now, right? I love writing here. I haven’t gotten tired of this space and with the craziness that my family constantly creates, there is always new material.
With that being said, I have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that I would like to share with anyone that is just starting out blogging. I am by no means an expert and I still look to bloggers that have been doing this for a lot longer to guide me on my own journey but I would love to think that I could help out someone just starting out.
1. It’s been said before and I’ll say it again, turn off your CAPTCHA so people can easily comment. For those of you that don’t know what that is, it’s the “type the series of letters or numbers to prove you are not a robot” thingy or as I like to call it, “the quickest way to make me feel like an idiot” because I am CAPTCHA challenged. Having the CAPTCHA on your blog won’t stop me from visiting but sometimes, it might stop me from commenting. Not just because it is there but because I suck at trying to figure them out. To read a really funny post about what a pain it is, check out The Dose of Reality’s: CAPTCHA, I Want to Punch Ya. So funny.
2. A lot of the fun in blogging is the connecting to your readers so it is good practice to reply to reader comments. It definitely keep me going back to blogs when the writer responds. However, another practice that is done that I think counts is that instead of replying to comments, the blogger will visit the blogs of the people commenting. Most bloggers enjoy comments so that works as a way to build a relationship.
3. Bloggers are human and they get busy but if you are going to reply to comments, make sure you reply to all of them. I don’t mean if you get 50 comments you answer all of them. There has to be a cut-off so I get when a blogger answers the first 30. What I don’t get is when they skip around. They answer comment #5 and maybe #8 and #48. If you are the 7th person to comment, it doesn’t feel great that your comment wasn’t worthy of a reply.
4. This brings me to tip #4, make sure if you are commenting, it is meaningful and shows that you actually read the post. That being said, it’s always nice to hear, “Great post. I loved reading this and it [insert brought me to tears or made me laugh],” to which you can reply, “Thanks for stopping by!”
5. Make sure you make the most of social media. I, personally, post on both my personal page on Facebook and on the blog’s page and on Twitter. This is an area that I hope to get better at in the next year. It’s important to spend time on the sites you are posting your blog on. It can be annoying to only see links and never any conversation. People that know you will want to read what you have to say.
6. The best way to build up an audience is to visit other blogs, link up to other blogs and if you still find yourself having trouble, take a class. One of the things I have to be better at is asking people to guest post on my blog. I have guest posted on others and not only is it the ultimate compliment but it is also a way for your writing to reach others. To all of the bloggers out there that I follow, I’d love to have you guest post and this is my shameless way of asking because I am afraid of hearing, “No, I can’t” or “No, I don’t do that.” This fear of rejection thing is why I haven’t sent any of my work in either. Another thing I am working on in this next year.
7. A great place for bloggers to learn the ropes is The SITS Girls where there are great articles and message boards about every blogging topic you can think of. it is an invaluable resource for bloggers.
8. If you are new and you don’t own your name or your site, do it now before you get too far along. You can always do it but one of the things that made me sad is my pageview number didn’t transfer and I was nearing 500,000. There is nothing that says you have to own your name but since I fell in love with what I was doing and I loved my name, I wanted to make sure I owned it.
9. Don’t be afraid to change it up a bit. If you are a blogger that normally only posts recipes and crafts, write a personal post so that the readers feel like they are connecting to you. If you are someone that rants about this or that, throw in a positive post so that your blog doesn’t feel too heavy-sided one way. I once followed a blog that was very sunshine and butterflies and maybe it’s just me but after the 10th post about how great her marriage was and how great each of her kids were and how amazing her dogs were and how she was so successful in her career and how people stopped her all the time to ask if she was a model, I decided I didn’t need to feel any worse about the job I was doing and stopped reading.
10. And the advice that I have a hard time following but have learned the hard way, don’t blog angry. Don’t get me wrong, some of my best writing has come from writing angry but it’s not worth the bridges burned or the hurt feelings that would result from doing it. If you are okay with the fall out, by all means go for it but I think it is better to write it and revisit it when you have cooled off.
So there you go. Year #2 is under my belt. So many relationships made and more followers than I ever thought possible. I haven’t made a career out of it yet but haven’t ruled it out yet either. I got a trip to New York out of it and hope that was the start of more to come. I have to say thanks to Kay Brend and Terese Janik for giving me the idea to begin with two years ago.
I am by no means an expert but hope these help those of you starting out.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, tell me what your favorite blog tip is.