First I would like to say that all the tips in this post are my own personal opinion and that they do not reflect how things should be done just how I personally do things and what I would say if someone asked me for help… The best thing about the blogging world is that everyone is unique and I am trying to help maintain your uniqueness not create carbon copies of other peoples blogs.
I have broken the blogging tips down into the following:
Why do you blog? Layout Content Venturing into the blog world Building an audience Answers to your questions Other resources
However, before you can even start thinking about venturing into the blog world and gaining an audience you have to be happy with your blog.
I can honestly say that I spend more time looking at my blog than my readers do, checking over posts, organising my sidebars, making sure links work, that kind of thing… and I love how it looks, I love that it reflects me and it makes me even more proud of it to know that other people now like it too…
~ ~ Why do you blog? ~ ~
I always think that it’s important to blog for the right reasons – to blog because it is beneficial to you. In ten years time, I want to look back at my blog and be happy with what I achieved and learnt about myself.
I personally started my blog because I was bored (and slightly lonely). I had just finished an intense 4 years at university and all of a sudden I didn’t have any interesting projects, any consistency and most of my friends had moved back home… I needed something to keep me occupied – something that challenged me and kept my interests alive.
Luckily for me blogging became the perfect outlet for my creativity and the perfect place to meet some amazing people and create new friendships with people around the world.
~ ~ Layout ~ ~
First impressions are important in blogging and if your blog takes ages to load, is unorganised and unreadable then readers will immediately be put off...
~ Keep your layout simple – decide how many columns that you want and then organise organise organise ~
~ Simplify your blog colours to a theme that is consistent and attractive ~
~ Create a unique header, something that is a statement about you… the header is normally the first thing that readers notice and if it appealing then surely the rest of your blog is as well… ~
~ However, make sure your header does not overwhelm your blog – at first glance readers want to see a great header and an indication of your posts ~
~ Do a bit of research – check out what your favourite blogs have in their sidebars and choose the things that you want to have in yours wisely, if you don’t like your own photos then why link to a flickr account for example ~
~ Make sure that your text colour and background colour contrast – you may have a lovely background but if that takes a while to load and your posts are not visible straight away, people may not stick around to see it~
~ Do not copy other peoples layout – your blog should reflect you and you are unique – find a blog template that you like and tweak it (and then tweak it a bit more) until it says something about you and reflects your personality this may take a while but it will be worth it in the end! ~ ~ Maintain your layout regularly, look at your own blog are you happy with how it looks right now? ~
~ ~ Content ~ ~
~ Be yourself! Blog about what you love and what interests you – it is your blog after all and you want readers who share your interests. ~
~ Be consistent in your views and opinions – if you are confident in what you post your blog will reflect that ~
~ Do not post things just because you think your readers want it – if your blog is completely audience orientated then it is no longer ‘your’ blog or beneficial to you ~
~Do not feel pressured into posting things because other people are – if you don’t have a love for vintage items, cupcakes or lomography then don’t blog about it ~
~ Always give credit where credit is due, if it is not your photo/quote/words then say so and link to where you can find it and explain who’s work that it is ~ (This is personal annoyance of mine, if you can not respect other peoples work then people will not respect yours!)
~ Be consistent with your arrangement of posts so that they compliment what you write and your layout ~
~ Do not be afraid of posting what you want to post - it is your blog, enjoy it ~
~ ~ Venturing into the Blogging World ~ ~
~ Once you are happy with your blog, get yourself out there! If people do not know about your blog then they can not read it ~
~ Making connections and relationships with other bloggers is hard work on top of maintaining your blog – make sure you have the time and you want to do this ~
~ Comment on other blogs – take time to read the blogs that interest you and ones that relate to your blog – other bloggers are just as curious as you are and if they have the time they will pop over to your blog and have a look ~
~ Be polite and nice to people – if you do not have anything worthwhile to comment – then leave it at that and move on ~
~ Do not overwhelm blogs with comments with your blog link on it – other bloggers can find your blog through your profile and they will look if they want to ~
Oh actually – make sure that your blog link is on your profile and your google connect profile – I haven’t been able to look at a lot of my followers blogs because I haven’t been able to find a link to it! ~ Take advantage of Twitter - blogging is about making connections between people and Twitter is a great way to instantly connect with people ~
~ Do not get offended if bloggers do not comment back or reply to you – a lot of bloggers have full time jobs and like yourself blog for fun – I always read all my comments (I love them) and I always try to look at each blogger who comments here and comment back when I have something to say but sometimes life gets in the way ~
~ Do not feel guilty about having a life outside of your blog ~ (That one may be just aimed at me…)
~ ~ Building an audience ~ ~
As I mentioned earlier – your blog should be for you and beneficial to you – however if you are happy with your blog and people are starting to find their way to it then there are ways to build your audience further.
~ Post something unique – a lot of amazing things are reblogged in the blogging world but blogging about something only you can blog about draws people in and keeps them there ~
~ Remember that your things may seem boring to you but it can be incredibly interesting to people who do not experience the same life you do, so if you love it then blog about it without fear ~
~ Start a project or blog series – something that interests you – something unique. If other people are interested then they will join in and then blog about it as well ~
~ Start a swap – again something unique and something that interests you – the blogging community is generous as well as creative ~
~ Have a giveaway – this not only helps to promote your blog but it promotes the giveaway provider. ~
However with all of these points above be aware that they take a considerable amount of time and effort – you have to be organised and committed to each task with enthusiasm and dedication. There are more rewards to each of these than just gaining new followers – enjoy everything about your blog – making connections with followers is just an added bonus.
....A little more about giveaways...
~ Do a giveaway for the right reasons, I do mine to thank my readers, to help promote shops that I love and to celebrate blog milestones that I am proud of ~
~ With giveaways be considerate of what you choose – find something that you love and something you are passionate about promoting – if you don’t like it then your readers will be able to tell. ~
~ Be generous to your provider, you never know when a great relationship with someone will benefit you further down the line ~
~ Do not be afraid to contact people – if they do not want to be involved then they will say (or not get back to you…) but if you don’t ask then you will never know ~
~ Be aware that people will just follow your blog for the giveaway and may unfollow again afterwards – it is a risk with giveaways and to be expected if you ask people to follow your blog to take part ~
~ ~ Answers to your questions ~ ~
Stephanie mentioned that I could do a post about up and coming bloggers... Instead I shall refer you to the Diamond in the Rough blog which I am involved in - it is a perfect platform for new, smaller bloggers and a great resource for the researching blogs that fill a specific criteria ( see here for details)
The Novelist asked: Did you join any blogging groups? If you did, was it beneficial?
I did originally join 20 something bloggers – however I did not find it beneficial to me or the way that I blog, I didn’t have the time to browse it or comment on it as well as working and blogging every day – it is a great way to connect with people though and I know that a lot of other bloggers have found it extremely helpful for developing their blogs – my best advice is to try it and see if you like it.
I would definitely recommend that your blog is accessible through blog lovin’ though (hi blog lovin’ users) as a lot of blogs have a large following through there – it is definitely best to make your blog as accessible as possible if you want people to read it.
~ ~ Resources ~ ~
Amazing tips from other bloggers:
Marta Writes: Blog like a pro ~ Including lots of tips from other bloggers ~
Rock n Roll Bride: How to… ~ Kat is an amazing blogger and her advice is perfect, I have recommended her to people before and I especially recommend this post - How to blog: quickfire round! Rock n Roll Bride also has an amazing new Green Room on her blog covering blog inspirations, blog etiquette and many other subjects. Check it out! ~
Mocking Bird: Blogging for the New Year ~ Great simple tips for making your blog your own ~
The Curious Pug: Advice for Bloggers ~ Great general tips for bloggers ~
Carrotspeak: Ten Quick Tips for a Better Blog ~ I've been reading Carrie's blog for as long as I've been blogging, fantastic quick tips from an equally fantastic blogger ~
I really do think that each blogger benefits from being happy with their own blog and making connections with other bloggers for the right reasons – the blogging world is an amazing community and if you ignore the pressures of having lots of followers, getting the most comments on posts possible and having the most amazing giveaways, it can be incredibly rewarding and completely worth the efforts that it takes to create a great blog that you are proud of.