I’ve been thinking about doing a “blog tips” post for a while, but put it off because I didn’t want anybody to accuse me of putting the cart before the horse ….. or horse before the cart. Whatever. Basically, I don’t want y’all to think I’m a know-it-all. I hardly know anything at all. But I do know one thing: blogging is a great way to share life experiences and connect with others. Below are my Top 10 Blogging Tips (ahem, Suggestions) for Newbies:
If you have other suggestions, please add them in a comment!
Suggestion #1 ~ FREEdom is yours
Unless you understand HTML jargon or must have a dot.com, consider Blogger.com or WordPress.com to be your blog host. I’ve had success with both and they offer a variety of designs and layout options. Plus, both provide simple, easy-to-follow instructions to create and publish posts.
Learn from my 73-dollar mistake: a “premium theme” is not that special.
Suggestion #2 ~ Simplicity Is Key
When choosing your blog design and layout, keep it simple. Remember who your audience is and their ability to navigate a webpage. Having navigation tabs on your page (i.e. Home, About Me, Blogroll, etc.) are helpful too.
My Mom, bless her heart, is not technically gifted. Luckily, she navigates my blog using the search option, tabs located at the top of the page, and, in times of desperation, she calls me on the tell-eee-fone. I love that woman!
Suggestion #3 ~ Post regularly
I know several people who’ve started a blog only to neglect it after a day or two. This is annoying and frustrating. I realize blogging is time-consuming and requires the effort to keep it updated on a regular basis. If you are going to blog, commit to it. Even publishing once or twice a week is better than once a year!
Suggestion #4 ~ Includes photos/images in your posts
This is one of those tried-and-true suggestions that’s applicable to blogs, scrapbooks, and presentations. Nobody wants to stare at a bunch of words on a page. Add pictures and/or images into your posts, they’ll make your content more interesting and easier to read.
Suggestion #5 ~ Be willing to learn
I’ve said it a gabillion times: I don’t know everything!
There are lots of people in the blog-osphere and they know MUCH more than Yours Truly. But I have a willingness to learn. I’ve always thought it was crucial to be around people who are passionate about their skill and learn from them. Back in my competitive junior golf days, I competed with players who were much better than I. They challenged me and, in turn, made me a better player too. The same is true with blogging: you have to be willing to learn.
Suggestion #6 ~ Less is more
This is a skill that, after two years of blogging, I’m still honing. I look back at my early posts and gasp, “HOLY TOLEDO!” because they are too lengthy, poorly written, and lack any focus or purpose. Honestly, they’re embarrassing!
When you are preparing a blog post, type everything in a draft and come back later to revise. Read and re-read your material. Delete excessive words and phrases. Delete useless information. Keep the content concise and use language that’s easy to understand.
Perhaps the biggest blogger basic: check for grammatical and spelling errors.
Suggestion #7 ~ Have realistic expectations
No offense to The Pioneer Woman, but if you’re just starting a blog, don’t expect a bunch of visitors on the first day or The Food Network to knock on your door for a TV show. It takes time to build a network of supporters. It will take time, but don’t get discouraged: Just Keep Writing!
Suggestion #8 ~ Visit other blogs
As much as I enjoy writing and blogging, the connections I’ve made with other people is what I cherish the most. I’m grateful to the people who regularly visit my site; offer kind words of encouragement to keep going (especially through those Writer’s Block moments!); and the vast majority of them have fantastic blogs.
Visit blogs of all kinds and show support by adding comments, share posts to social media, or emailing the author(s). You’ll be surprised at the relationships that blossom from your generosity and interest in their material.
Suggestion #9 ~ Use social media to your advantage
Blogs are just a tiny piece of the whole when it comes to social connections. Fortunately, there are ways to connect your social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) accounts to a blog. You can also link your blog to Pinterest, which I think is super-duper cool since I’m a Pinterest-addict. Don’t judge me.
Suggestion #10 ~ Be smart
If you’re going to have a blog, be smart about it. Use your brain, and for goodness sakes, use common sense. Don’t be naive. Remember that blogs are posted on the Internet and an audience of 9348109324829857 people could be reading your material. (Well, maybe not that many, but a lot!) If you set your blog settings to public, which most people do, your blog can be seen by anybody, anywhere, anyhow. Please, do not post personal information that could be dangerous to you or your family. If you have children and want to protect their identity, create funny nicknames for them and refer to them as “Cupcake” or “Lil’ Britches” in your posts. I refer to my husband as “Husband” because 1) that’s what I call him in real life and 2) he’s funny like that.