Monday, November 24, 2014

Blogging Tips: Ten and a Half Tips for New Bloggers

Ten and a Half Tips for New Bloggers




Decide the direction of your blog and follow it

Choosing an over-all flow of your blog and content is crazy important, especially to create a solid readership. If people know what to expect as far as a subject area then they are more likely to come back to your site. Jumping all over the place with content is confusing and can make it hard for readers to find things that they are actually interested in since they will have to sift through a bunch of other stuff. This doesn't mean you have to be boring and predictable, it just means you should seriously consider not bogging down your site with stuff your particular readers aren't interested in, obviously, right?

Post Consistently

Posting consistently is an amazing way to gain readers! This doesn't mean you have to post every single day, it just means that you should not go months without posting then post like 3 things in a week! Having a consistent stream of content coming from your bog will keep a constant stream of readers coming to your site. Try to create a goal for yourself like creating a post once a week and then go from there!

Use Social Media

Social media is such an awesome tool for bloggers! I'm talking Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Facebook! All of the above! Using social media to your advantage is one of the easiest things a blogger can do, especially when they are starting out. Follow as many other bloggers as you can find and interact with them. Social networks are free and so, so easy to use so why not, right?

Join Group Boards on Pinterest

So this is in the same vein as Tip #3 but it is strong enough to stand on it's own. Following group boards on Pinterest or becoming a contributor on one is a huge advantage you can give yourself. If you don't know what group boards are or how to become a contributor here is a link that will teach you all you need to know. Posting on group boards will expose your content to a much wider audience than just your followers. This will also promote people to visit your site through your pins so you can increase traffic through wider visibility. There are TONS of group boards for every subject area and you can always create your own and invite others to join.

Attend Link Parties

Ask any blogger about link parties and they will tell you that they are an amazing gift from the internet Gods... or something like that! These parties are hosted by bloggers and allow you to link your content on their site along with other bloggers and totally bumps up visibility. Some have themes which is fun and usually they will feature whichever link is viewed the most at the next party so you have the possibility of having some serious exposure. Link parties can gain a huge following so they are a great place to find other bloggers in your niche and create relationships with new readers. To find link parties to attend seriously just Google "[type of blog] link party" and you are bound to find some! To see some of the food blog link parties I attend check out my Linkup Parties page.

Plan and Schedule Posts

Planning posts is a must-do for the scatterbrained blogger out there. You know who you are! Coming up with the framework for an idea that will later become an entire post is an excellent use of spare time. I'm always jotting down notes or outlines for posts that will become full blown thoughts later on, but sitting down and trying to come up with something from nothing is HARD. Writer's block is more likely to set in if you haven't come up with any ideas at all so having planned content can make you become your own best friend. Along with planning future posts, coming up with a schedule for yourself is a good idea. Maybe set aside one day of the week for coming up with post ideas, then next day can be a research day, the day after that can be a design day, and then you can post after that. Or, whatever will work with your schedule, but coming up with a time frame for posting will give you more consistency.


Build Relationships with Bloggers and Readers

Bloggers really do have a strong community but it's not exactly a secret-password-protected-scary-initiation-club. Most bloggers are so excited to meet and interact with other bloggers. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for advice or help with ANYTHING! And I mean anything. If you see something on someone else's site and you are interested in having it on yours, just shoot them an email and just be like, "Hi There! I saw this cool thing... I also want that cool thing. Tell me more about how I can have that cool thing! Thanks!" I mean, maybe try to be a little professional, but hey, we're all human! Building relationships with readers is equally as important as connecting with other bloggers. There are unlimited ways to interact with readers: respond to comments, invite readers to look at other posts that may interest them, invite them to follow you on social media or conversely, follow them, create email lists (don't spam their inbox) to tell them about new or updated content, etc. Readers are the reason for the season... wait, no, readers are the reason we do what we do as bloggers! Keep this in mind and things will go well!

Blog Every Day

This tip appears to be a little daunting but fear not, it's harmless. This does not mean you need to create a new blog post each day *yikes*, it just means you need to do something related to your blog everyday! By this I mean post to social media, respond to comments, reply to emails, read some blogs, update a post on your blog that needs updating, or any other little thing you can think of. Doing small things everyday will show your readers that you are around even if there isn't a new post!


Read Other Blogs

To some people this is a seriously obvious tip but it may not be to others. As Stephen King said "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others; read a lot and write a lot." This is where the reading a lot comes in. Looking at other blogs can give you a huge insight into what other people are writing about. You can learn what works and what doesn't as well as what makes readers keep reading. Use these things to form your own blog into what you want it to be. Reading other blogs will also help with the part of Tip # 7 about building relationships with other bloggers. Some of the biggest fans of most blogs are other bloggers!

Don't Force It

DO. NOT. FORCE. IT. Trust me when I say: readers can sense when something has been forced, they're like bloodhounds but with blogging and they sniff out crappy writing! Which, if I may say, is definitely a crime. If you don't have anything to say, please don't dig for it. Let it flow out of you and if there's nothing a-flowin' don't try to make it happen! You will be much happier with your content and with yourself if you post things that you are interested in and genuinely want to write about. If you have something that you know you want to write about and nothing is coming you may be experiencing an adorable little thing we call "writer's block." Yeah, that old chestnut! Different people get over writer's block in different ways but my strategy is to leave it alone and come back to it when I have something to say. Easy peasy.

HAVE FUN

This is a half of a tip because it's not really a tip, but it's also not not a tip, you know? Honestly, I think this might be the most important non-tip you can receive as a blogger. You should be passionate about your subject and if you're not having fun then what's the point?






If you have any other tips for new bloggers let me know in the comments!

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