Sunday, July 31, 2011

10 Blogging Tips for the hypothetical newbie

Liz over at A Belle, a Bean, and a Chicago Dog is running possibly the most brilliant plan for those of us who are too cheap too busy to go to all these blog conferences.  She (along with Jessica from Four Plus an Angel) is hosting a stay-at-home conference called the #SummerBlogSocial!  From what I gather, because this is my first blog conference of ANY type, it's an exceptionally awesome way to write about blogging, and then get together and discuss through link ups!

So without any further ado, 

If there was a person who was thinking about starting a blog, I'd try as hard as I could to offer them these 10 incredibly useful tips:

1.  Outline your goals, short, intermediate, and long term.  If you're just writing a blog as a type of diary, and you don't necessarily care about stats or readership, than this is something to keep in mind when you're designing your layout, or piecing together your content.  Likewise, if you're looking to get a large army of readers as fast as humanly possible, your approach would be completely different.

2.  If your goal IS to get a large army of readers as fast as humanly possible, please - take a breath.  Now take a chill pill, and finally, take a reality check.  Things don't happen as fast as you'd like.  For some people, yes - they can gather a huge amount of people quickly, but you'd be surprised at how much work  it is.

3.  Comment!  No, seriously, comment a lot.  Bloggers love to hear feedback from their readers, no matter how positive or negative.  It's really how everyone learns to get better, or even how they connect with people.  But don't leave crappy comments.  A little thought put into them goes a long, long way.

4.  Once you get started (assuming you want more readers, of course) you should absolutely get a blog assessment or even a personalized strategy from Eli Rose Social Media.  This helped me incredibly, and I think it allows you to be more focused in not only your content, but in your entire blog "brand".  Just one suggestion about it, give yourself some time before you go get their help.  You need to understand a little bit about how the blog community works in order to reap the most benefit from their suggestions.

5.  Try to control your audience.  Dependent upon whether you want your blog to be entirely anonymous, or to give your name and address, and invite your whole family to read your blog, this should really be part of your strategy to balance your blog-life and your real-life.  This is something I'm still struggling with, and will likely end up being an entire post all on its own.

6.  Don't be too hard on yourself.  If you write a post that people hate, or have to take some time off so you can get your life back on track, or you're just too busy - it's not the end of the world.  Look, in all reality, it's just a blog.  The people you're writing to will likely never know who you are, and you'll likely never see them in real life (unless you go to a blog conference).  To be honest, what you write is MOSTLY just for you.

7.  That said, if it's something you have the time and desire for, put effort into it.  You can absolutely tell the difference between those who have nothing to say and are just spinning their wheels, vs. those who are really trying to create a blog that really encompasses who they are, and is really cohesive.

8.  In regards to content - don't pigeon-hole yourself.  Keeping yourself broad will allow you to be whatever kind of blogger you want to be.  I admit that I'm a "daddy blogger", but I try to distance myself from that term so that I don't get stuck writing solely about being a dad.  I enjoy blogging about other things too, like anything from the clashing russian/american cultures, to literature, to linguistics.

9.  Write ahead of time.  I can't stress how important this is.  Some times you just don't feel like writing.  You're tired, hungover, and missing a couple teeth.  The last thing you want to do is sit down and churn out something for the blog.  Other times, you're manic and need to get out the four or five posts on gigantic topics.  That natural instability (everyone's got it) should be balanced out by blogging ahead.  Added bonus: you can re-read stuff you've already written so you don't make a mistake by hitting the publish button.

10.  Have fun with it.  No, seriously - have a crap-load of fun.  I've met so many amazing people already, and shared great experiences with them even though we've never actually seen each other in real life.  I've read some great blogs, and written some of my favorite posts ever.  These couple of months that I've been blogging have been extraordinary and even if blogger were to seize up and die, and my account were to be lost, I'd never regret a moment.

So there you go, young padowan.  Run free, and grow into the amazing blogger I know you were destined to be.

Also - because it's monday, and this is a list, I'm linking up with Stasha as well at the Good Life for Monday Listicles.  She has asked me to come up with a topic for next week, so if you want to join us for that next monday, create a list about food.  That's right - any food.  Food you like, don't like, wish you liked, etc.  See you next monday!


  1. FOOD! Now that I can talk about...Thanks Bill!
    And for the record, I write best when I am missing a tooth.

  2. Great info for newbies and oldies! It is always refreshing to read about ideas for blogging. After three years I see my blog now as a continual work in progress, constantly changing and evolving.

  3. AHA! I've found the mystery blogger with the mystery prompt for Monday Listicles next week. FOOD - great prompt! I'll enjoy doing this and will probably (for the 1st time) follow the prompt.
    Love you blogging tips here and agree with all of them . Although I haven't ventured into getting my blog assessed - something I need to look into soon.

  4. All fabulous tips, Bill. I still need to practice doing #9 a bit more. I tend to write by the seat of my pants. *Ahem*

    And you're doing great Bill. I can always count on you for a good laugh :)

    Great listicle prompt next week!

  5. HA-HAAAAAAA!! The secret giver of topics! I've found you! As a portly gentleman, I will be happy to write about 10 foodish things, maybe as relates to children and parenting, ala your suggestion to bear my subject matter in mind.

  6. Yes!! Food!!!

    And seriously - write ahead of time can't be taken seriously enough.

  7. Love #5 and wish I had thought about that one from the beginning, instead I got way ahead of myself and often have to think too much about how is reading when I write.
    And #8 is great advice too, it is hard to fall in a small category and then reduce your amount of readers.
    So glad you joined us!

  8. I love #2 and #7. Completely true to take a reality check about fast growth and how it really happens. Though I would love to know how some people really do get super fast growth. Still trying to figure that one out.

    And that is a great, great point about it being noticeable when people are just putting stuff in to put stuff in, vs the ones who really mean it. Visiting from #summerblogsocial and am a new follower of yours. Glad to have found you!

  9. These are really helpful tips, Bill. Thanks! I like your advice about balancing blog-life and real-life. I don't want my husband to become what he calls an "internet widow"! Glad I found your blog through Monday Listicles.

  10. Starting to schedule my posts has brought a whole new dimension to my blogging. (of course, previously, the only dimension was a state of manic scrambling to get things done)

    Great tips :)

  11. Ya know, even though I'm very aware that you are a married dad, I don't think of you when I think of Dad Bloggers I know. Why? Probably because you don't have "dad" in your name,

    So, kudos to you for choosing a distinctive name!

  12. I'm taking #10 to heart. :) I'm a firm believer than blogging should be enjoyable!

  13. Oh, awesome tips. I wish I could get my act together and write ahead of time... I find if I write something I need to post it immediately, even if I already had a post that day.

  14. I'm back! Just wanted to say I wrote my post for next week's listicles based on the topic you chose and I am so excited!!! Great idea and can't wait to see what you come up with :)

  15. I love the "take a breath, now take a chill pill, and finally, a reality check." So funny. Because it's true. And I wish I could write ahead of time more than I do - it's such a weight off my shoulders. When I 1st started reading more public blogs, I was like, "She sits down and comes up with a new topic every night???" Color me naive.

    I'm a mom who's a blogger, and yes, my kids come up, but the term "mommy blogger" makes me squirm. Great list!

  16. Scary fact: I wasn't following you up til today. I know. What's up with that?

    Anyway, great list. Especially the point about leaving comments. Sometimes the huge difference between pageviews and comments makes me binge on chocolate and cry myself to sleep.

  17. Love, love, love the last one! Above all, blogging should be fun!

  18. Love this list! Especially being easy on yourself and put effort into your blog- it so shows, doesn't it?

  19. Great tips. It is hard when starting a new blog, the identity is a big part of it and it only evolves with time and constructive criticism.

  20. Also I have problems with blog conferences. I prefer to read a review about them or insights. Because I am really busy with some project that I have right now.


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