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Blogging Lessons Learned: Round Two

February 4, 2012

By:

Erin Schrader

So you may recall when I wrote my first round of blogging tips.
That was a mere six months ago…
And in the past six months, I would like to think that I have become much more wise.
Or mature if you will.
Really what I’m getting at is,
I’ve been around the block a few times.
{Never thought I would be proud to admit that fact}
Anyhow.
I felt it was time to bust out a new set of blogging lessons learned.
Because let’s face it, we never stop learning in this whole blogging biz do we?
Hopefully a few of these will teach you something new.
And if they don’t–my hats off to you for being a little miss smarty pants already.
You smart people get me every time.
1. So you wanna grow your readership base?
GET YOUR BLOG OUT THERE.
Unless you are the Momastery,
your blog is not going to go viral by staying confined to your own blog walls.
So what am I saying to do?
Sponsor other blogs.
Don’t have the funds to pay for sponsorship currently?
Do button swaps with blogs similar in size to yours.
You give them your button, they give you their button.
Free of charge.
Just get your blog out there.
I started paying to sponsor other blogs six months into blogging.
My monthly page views grew by more than 40% immediately.
I now am a firm believer in sponsoring 1-3 other blogs on a monthly basis.
For more information on what you should look for when you are choosing what blogs to sponsor,
2. Give your readers more than one way to follow you.
Let’s face it peeps.
Not everybody and their mom has a gmail account.
Meaning, not everybody and their mom can click on that handy dandy “Follow” button on your sidebar.
With that being said–you must give them other options.
Living In Yellow allows others to “follow” through these avenues:
and
Email Subscription
If I could tell you to do one thing immediately it would be this:
Create a Facebook page & Twitter account for your blog.
You may feel foolish because you only have 5 followers.
Trust me, I felt those thoughts.
Do it anyway.
People want to know YOU.
The person behind the blog.
And Facebook & Twitter are a great way to allow your readers to do this.
Wanna know if I am eating Twizzlers 24/7 or see what shoes I am wearing to work?
Your right.
Probably not.
Buuuut, if you do–Facebook & Twitter would be how you would learn this.
Second part to this–
These social media outlets are a great way to communicate with your readers.
Some of my favorite evenings are spent on my Ipad conversing back & forth with blogging friends.
You can’t do that through your blog.
3.    Reach out to bloggers you admire
This is something that I did in the beginning.
I spent time researching my favorite blogs and shops.
And then I emailed each and every one to see if we could “collaborate” in some way.
I will be forever grateful to people like Heather at {Just.Lovely.Things} for giving me a chance to host a giveaway for her back in the beginning.
Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.
Some people may so no.
But some may say yes.
Be thankful either way.
 
4.    If you want to make your blog posts funnier,
don’t allow your husband to proof read your posts.
 If you want to remain married, allow your husband to proof read them.
If you want your blog posts to be funny and you want to remain married,
“accidently” publish your post and tell your husband it can’t be re-done.
It will work.
 One time.
But after that, you must decide between options 1 and 2.
 Take your pick.
Oh, and only use the most flattering pictures of your man that you can find.
He’ll appreciate it.
5.    Let’s talk about comments for a minute.
Leave em’.
And like I mentioned in part one of these blogging tips, if are you going to say something-make it nice.
There is enough negativity in this world, don’t bring it into blogging yo.
Oh.
And if you do leave a comment, I beg you for the life of me…enough of this
“I’m your newest follower…come follow me back” crap.
Chances are real high that if you say that, I will not click on your blog.
This may sound harsh, but it is true.
People hear me out.
It is not about the quantity of followers, it is the quality of followers.
If you want to attract a blogger to your blog—leave a comment that means something.
Something that will intrigue the blogger reading it and will make them WANT to come to your page and follow.
Say for example a comment like this:
“I love, love, LOVE your blog! I’m not even sure how I stumbled upon it, but I’m so glad I did! I can be having THE MOST craptastic day at work, but as soon as I read your latest post, I can get out of fetal position, resist the urge to smack the crap out of my co-workers and get my work done 🙂
You have a fantastic sense of humor and a great outlook on life. Heck, you can even talk about poop, which in and of itself is pretty awesome!!! Keep up the great work!!”
Thank you The2Dees for brightening my day with that one.
Moving on now.

6. Pictures.
Again, like part one said–always use em’.
Two things to add to this.
Make them big, bold, and beautiful.
I don’t want to have to squint to see that picture you just posted.
As far as making them look beautiful–take time to edit your pictures.
It makes a huge difference.
I use Google’s Picasa/Picnik and sometimes Pixlr.
Others may use Photoshop.
And those others are a heck of a lot smarter than I.
7. Word verification.
Take it off.
Like now. 
 I get excited when I about to leave somebody a comment, and the minute I see that stupid box with words that I can’t read staring me in the face, my head gets full of cuss words.
And I don’t even cuss people.
Make it easy for us commenting folk and remove it would ya?
To do so-follow these instructions:
8. Don’t let others fool you.
Blogging takes time.
This is something I didn’t really plan for when I started blogging.
Sure, I knew it would take me a solid ten minutes to whip a post.
But what I didn’t realize is that it takes an additional 10 minutes to upload pictures,
20 more minutes to edit, 5 minutes to arrange the post,
5 more minutes to bold certain words or make em’ big,
5 more minutes to blog and tweet about your new post,
and then 30 more minutes to respond to the nice people who comment on that post.
Oh, and then another 2 hours to read all of your favorite blogs.
Here is where things get difficult for me.
Remember that blogging takes time—
but don’t let it take up all your time.
99% of us, started blogging as a “hobby”.
Something extra to do in our “spare time”.
Don’t neglect the things you love the most because of your blog.
The minute you make your blog a chore, the minute blogging sucks.
Because let’s face it–Chores Suck.
So yes, if you find the perfect balance-
Please, do tell.
I am all ears on that one.
 9. Content
Yes, numbers 1-8 are important, but it all comes down to this.
People will read your blog if they like what you have to say.
That’s all there is to it.
So my word of advice on this one:
Write.
Write from your heart, from your head, from your hyper bones.
Just write.
And don’t overthink it.
Write what you want to write about when you want to write it.
Find your writing voice and use it to the best of your ability.
God gave us all our unique special “voice”.
Don’t try to imitate somebody elses.
Oh and another thing as far as content goes–
Remember variety is important in blogging.
People will get bored if you talk about the same thing.
Over. And over. And over again.
Mix it up.
This will keep your readers engaged and interested in coming back.
10. Last but not least-
 Support one another
Blogging is a community.
We are here for one another-to encourageto help each other out
to show love-and to become homies.
Give shout outs just for the heck of it.
Don’t be afraid to help grow one another’s reading base.
One other thing–
Be humble.
Remember, we all started in the same place.

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