First and foremost, thank you to the lovely Dana, one of my favorite bloggers for the inspiration on this post.
I must blog every day.
I must blog every day.
Quality over quantity, people! You will burn out if you attempt to write valuable and meaningful content every. single. day. Your writing will suffer and it will be obvious to your readers. Posting every day shortens the life span of your post to a single day which is hardly enough time to gain social media attention, traffic, or comments.
If blogging begins to feel like an obligation to get through, rather than an enjoyable hobby, it's time to re-evaluate your priorities.
My Advice: Start a weekly feature (ie. Operation Beautiful and Weekend Wanderings). This makes your life easier by not having to write completely original content for every post. Added bonus: Series like these keep your readers engaged and coming back for more each and every week. Win-win!
Scheduling posts is also very helpful. I have 85 posts in draft currently (yikes!)
Question to ask yourself: Am I proud of my top-most blog post? Is it the first impression I want to make on new readers? You should only publish content you are confident in, don't post just to post!
I only write for myself.
If this is the case, why don’t you keep your thoughts in a diary or make your blog private? It’s highly likely that if your blog is public it seems clear you are looking for random strangers to read it, let's be honest. We, as humans, crave having our voices heard and acknowledged. We want to know that what we're saying and doing matters.. You can't tell me you don't get a slight adrenaline rush when you have 10 new e-mails in your inbox, all comments on your most recent post.
My advice: Keep your authenticity while realizing you will never please everyone. Invite reader engagement by writing transparently, about your failures. Keep things open-ended by ending your post with a question.
Question to ask yourself: What's the takeaway for my reader? What will keep them coming back for more?
Blogging will come naturally.
Expect to be clueless in the beginning. There is no "blogging bible" we are given when starting off down this journey. You learn by doing, what works, what doesn't.
My advice: Be willing to make the mistakes. It will take a while to grow your blog, don't give up hope!
You see that little number on your GFC widget? Ignore it! Most of those people most likely aren't even keeping up with your blog now that GoogleReader is gone.
Now explain to me those genius posts that get slim to nil comments, then mediocre posts ones which get hundreds?
My advice: Focus on the relationships you form by interacting with other bloggers rather than the numbers associated with it.
Blog promotion is lame.
How else am I supposed to find your post if you don't tweet about it? No one will magically find your blog. Especially since the death of GoogleReader where it's difficult keep up with your favorite blogs. I didn't have a twitter until this year, and it's one of the best decisions I've made for my blog! Let's be real, if you aren’t proud of your posts, why are your posting them?
My advice: Put yourself and your links out there. In the beginning I joined as many link parties as I could in order to meet other like-minded individuals. But that only works if you are social and interact with others in the community.
Retweet others and mention them in your blog posts, it's good karma, people will notice! If someone retweets you, a simple thank you goes a long way.
Blogging is a competition.
Guys, there's enough internet for all of us! So don't be stingy. My favorite part of blogging is the community of support. Don't be afraid to feature others thinking it will diminish your worth. When you feature another's work, they are more likely to remember you and help you right back. Don't get discouraged by the success of others. Use this to propel you forward.
My advice: Be willing to help out a newbie! We all started at the same place, it's your turn to pay it forward. Connect with the community and help each other grow.
There is really no need to stir the pot. Most people are set in their ways and won't be swayed by your radical opinions. I have yet to be featured on Get Off My Internets and intend to keep it that way. Sometimes we just need to agree to disagree and move on.
I must comment to make my presence known.
Of course interacting with other bloggers is crucial, but only comment if you have something relevant to say. Say no to comment vomit! If you are offering honest feedback, sharing an experience of your own, or graciously disagreeing, that is all well and fine. But when you are using comments to self-promote, that is no good.
My advice: Participate in the conversation! By not responding to your readers, it is like hosting a party at your home, making a brief appearance, and then disappearing. Rude! Make sure you are not a "no-reply" commenter so that we can e-mail you.
Guest posting is pointless.
Let's face it, it's hard enough to come up with content for your own blog. Well in my book, it's perfectly okay to use your best posts from your archives as guest posts, saving you tons of time. Guest posting gets your name out there to hundreds of new readers, and if it's quality content they may even become a new fan of yours!
Giveaways are the best way to get followers.
False, false, false. If you've checked my twitter feed lately, you see I'm a huge fan of entering said giveaways, because honestly, I've won some pretty cool stuff. But, do you think people entering these giveaways are "real" followers that will actually be interested in your content? Probably not. Writing great, relateable content is what will get you the loyal readers who will come back for more from the real you.
My REAL blogging advice for you...
- Find your voice. I was so afraid to be real and honest when I first started. Don't be afraid to let your personality shine through.
- Find a bloggy mentor. Even if you never actually talk with that person, find a blog you like for inspiration. If you are a seasoned blogger, reach out your hand to a newbie!
- Network, network, network. The bonds and relationships you create with other bloggers is crucial to both the success of your blog and enjoying what you're doing. Maintain an open conversation with your readers by replying to comments, talking through twitter, etc to keep them coming back for more!
- Read other blogs for inspiration. You think I get all my genius ideas by myself? Naa way Jose.
- Do what feels right to you. You do not need to do what everyone else is doing. If you are not a foodie, DIY-er, or fashionista, don't pretend to be something you're not! Your readers will see right through you.
- All blogging tips are relative. (ie. this post) There is no blogging bible and not one set in stone way of doing things. We're making this up as we go people! Go with what works for you and your readers and screw the haters! You will never please everyone.
- Expect dry blogging periods. Having a case of writer's block? Go experience life. Don't sit around in front of your computer wasting precious time that could be spent on much more satisfying, quality life enhancing things. Chances are good while you are out enjoying your life, inspiration will magically appear. Still feeling stuck? Read this or this or this or this
- Readers have shorter attention spans. They are scanning content, looking for items that interest them. When you use subheads, lists of bullets or numbers, it draws readers in by making your content accessible. Don't make posts too long or use shorter paragraphs.
- Don't make blogging your life: Realize: Blogging takes time, sweat, hard work, and determination: but don't let it take up all your time, energy, and zest for life. Many of us start blogging as a hobby to enjoy in our spare time. But don't neglect the priorities in your re life. The minute you make your blog a chore, the minute blogging sucks.