My unsolicited advice to beginning bloggers
Hi there, and thanks for stopping by to scan my unsolicited advice for beginning bloggers post! Now, I am well aware that this post is a bit of a risk. I am not a professional blogger, and I absolutely do not claim to have a plethora of knowledge on the subject. I definitely don’t want to come across as saying ‘blog like me’. The reason I felt compelled to write this post (and am a bit nervous as to how this will be perceived) is that, well, honestly, I’m big on etiquette. As in – saying ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’, ‘May I’ and telling someone when they have something in their teeth. I’ve spent a lot of time cringing at posts with something in their teeth. Although I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who cringe at some of my posts with the same vigor.
As a blogger – that seems to have been around for awhile (comparatively speaking, as this article from 29 August, 2016 states that the current average lifespan of a blog is only 100 days…That is dismal.) This article has a few theories on why blogs don’t seem to last so long anymore. Anywho, I digress….
A bit about me: When I began blogging, I didn’t really know if anyone would even be interested in what I have to say. After all, it’s a mishmash of all things ‘my life’. Travel, thoughts, home reno, shopping, spa days, book & product reviews, and just life in general. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for me to make some golden friendships here and honestly, without their help, support & guidance, I think I would have easily foundered by now. I don’t usually write posts about blogging, because well, I am no expert. Just like most everyone else, I have had to learn by trial and error, ask for tons of help, read better blogging posts until my head hurt, and just see what happens over time. Aside from my own mistakes, I have seen several ‘goods’ and ‘bads’ that seem to be a recurrent issue in many of the blogs that I peruse. So, as your sister in the blogosphere, I feel obligated to share my thoughts on things that might help you out a bit. Agree or don’t, its completely up to you. I’m not telling you what you should do with your blog. It’s yours, keep it yours. I know that I scoured thousands of articles on this topic when I was starting out – and continue to today. So here’s a few lessons I’ve learned and would just like to pass on:
Please DO, I think it will help:
- Be yourself! Everyone is different and every blogger has their style & preferences. If you do what everyone else does because you think that’s the way things should go, then all blogs would be the same and … that’s no fun.
- Write what you are passionate about! People can see your passion and expertise in your posts.
- Proofread your posts! If you can’t spend the time to review your writing before hitting the publish button, why should people spend the time out of their lives reading it?
- Publish regularly. It doesn’t have to be daily, or even weekly. But you should maintain some sort of schedule. Personally, I now post at least three times weekly. More often if I have more to say. When I began blogging, I posted once weekly. That was enough to slowly build my blog and have the time to learn about what I was doing. Your followers will appreciate your consistency. (It is one of my blogging pet peeves when a blog I follow posts daily, or multiple times per day, and then drops off the planet without any reason given for two months, returns with an apology & 5 posts on the same day. It IS however completely understandable & acceptable if life gets in the way. We all have things to do. Just let people know and it seems to go over better if your posting schedule isn’t totally erratic.). Slow and Steady wins the race.
- Set reasonable, yet challenging goals for yourself. For example, my goal was to reach 1,000 WP subscribers in my first year. Not easy, but I knew if I could do it, it was sign that I could continue blogging. It took almost a year to achieve that goal, but once I did – it felt like nothing could stop me. Thanks everybody for THAT! 🙂 🙂
- Make sure your Gravitar profile is on-key! Many people will find you through this, so make sure its updated and well kept!
- Sync all your social media accounts. I can’t tell you what a time-saver it is to have my posts updated on all accounts the moment they are published.
- Make your posts worthy of a life/time investment! There is spending time (wasting time) and there is investing time. The point being, that people are spending time in their lives that is gone – never to return- once it’s spent, reading our blogs. Do we want this to be a waste of their time in life? OF COURSE NOT! This is where the term time investment comes into play. The difference? An investment implies ROI – or return on investment. If someone invests their time reading your article, and comes out of it enriched with something – be it motivation, knowledge, awareness, a smile, an idea or increase in blog traffic – then they have received a solid return on their investment. Well done!
- Enroll in everything! Learning is the best way. WordPress Blogging University offers free online courses on a regular basis: Blogging 101, blogging 201, commenting bootcamp, branding & marketing strategies, photography, et al. Follow the link above for the sign-up page. Personally, I never stop learning. I’ve found that the more I learn about blogging, the more I realize I don’t have a clue and need to learn more.
- NETWORK! There are constantly sites hosting meet and greets, networking parties, drop your link posts, et al. Do it! This is a great time investment for you! Get to know other bloggers, leave your link, repost the parties and socialize, socialize, socialize! This is hands-down the best way to get your site out there. Personally, I have followed hundreds of new sites I found on these parties that I never would have known existed otherwise.
- Be considerate of your fellow bloggers. New, old and indifferent – we are ALL here to accomplish something. A large percentage of your subscribers are fellow bloggers. They are investing in you, you should invest in them. Take the time to check out their sites. Like or comment if you find a post you like.
- Sharing is caring. If you stumble across a blog post that is wonderful and you think your followers would love to read it, share! However, please always ask in the comments section before you reblog or wp it. Some bloggers love to be shared, some don’t. So make sure first. Personally, I love it when someone deems my work worthy of a good share 😉 Also, when you share the post, make sure to thank the original blogger in the additional area for an introductory comment. Respect for others is key!
- Sweat SEO. The search engines will pick up your articles at some point. I’m still pleasantly surprised when I see search engine views on my stats page.
- Post more than twice daily (Unless you are an incredibly popular site (in excess of several thousand followers) news site or a massive site which has multiple bloggers publishing articles – then it’s a whole new ballgame and post away!) The reason for this is that it appears (to me) as though you are only inundating the web with links, photos or little snippets in order to attract more traffic to your site. Trust me, its obvious. Quantity does not mean Quality. Not to mention it gunks up people’s email inboxes. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. There are at least 5 blogs that I follow which post good quality posts, multiple times a day. But I can tell you as someone who spends a lot of time reading blogs, that this is the exception more than the rule.
- Post the link to your site in the comment section of other blogs, unless it has been specifically requested. (My other major blogging pet peeve) It’s spammy, and many bloggers, including myself, will just delete it. Other people’s blogs are not your free marketing arena. People can find their way to your site via your profile name and gravitar profile which is displayed with your comments. Plus, there is always a networking party to be found where you are encouraged to drop your link. But as for comment spamming: Seriously, please, don’t do it. Send an email if you truly want to thank people for following. Comments are great! Please just don’t use them to direct traffic to your own site.
- Put all your stock in numbers. True, stats are important. And the difference between 200 followers and 2,000 is huge. However, its the quality of traffic that really matters. Go with the 10% rule (personally, I think more like %6 is more realistic). Meaning: Only an average of 10% of your subscribers will actually see or like your post. Interaction is huge! If you have a higher ratio of views, likes and comments – then you have high quality traffic. A person with 200 followers can get 70 likes on a great article and a person will 2,000 followers can get 30. This is what I mean.
- Let your ambition turn you into a naive nut. This is the internet. There are predators out there and we are prime prey. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If a company you’ve never heard of contacts you, do some research before replying. And NEVER-EVER pay to be an ambassador or freely hand out your personal information for anything! Companies will contact you in time, don’t you worry. Looking for fresh talent is what people do for a full-time job.
- Play the follow/unfollow game. This is not instagram. You can’t expect likes & follows in return, although many people respect others enough to do so. But also because professional and business bloggers, as well as those who have popular blogs are paying a small fortune for self hosting domains with all the bells and whistles – which include google analytics. Many watch the numbers very closely, as it tells what we are doing wrong: navigation and the like. So, WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Nobody likes a cheater, so please stop doing it. Be legit, or be gone. (Another pet-peeve: on all platforms, the people who do this are kind of A-holes, in my personal opinion. I always make sure that I do NOT follow or like any of those who play this follow/unfollow game…I don’t care how great your content is.)
- Invest too much money until you know where you’re going with this. I realize that this is difficult at times. We all need hosting, new programs, cameras, products and the like. Fake it, till you make it…right? BUT what happens if you spend yourself into oblivion and then decide 4 months later that blogging isn’t for you? Remember your ROI. You are left with a pile of investment and no return.
- Drink and blog. Seriously. Yes, you will regret that rant in the morning. We all know you were wasted because it looks like you were typing with your face. Sleep it off and rant in the morning.
- Quantity is not Quality. Quality is better.
- Remember who your friends are, they are golden.
- Gain a thirst for knowledge
- Sharing is caring!
- ROI on your followers time investment.
- It’s not all about numbers
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be legit, or be gone
- Respect for others is key!
- Enjoy yourself!
Thanks for reading, everyone! If you have any more advice you would like to add, please leave it in the comments section so we can all see!
Feel free to share this post if you would like 🙂