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Blogging Advice: In Your Words

January 4, 2013

By:

Erin Schrader

 

A week or two ago I was all hopped up on Alka Seltzer laying in bed bored. And when I am bored, all my mind can think about is “what could I possibly tweet right now?!?!” You too? Cool.
Anyhow, I tweeted out a request for all of you smart cookies to share one piece of blogging advice. And then because I got real bored I posed the question on Facebook as well. Thankfully over 100 of you had something to share. Today, we are going to look at what you all had to say about this grand ole thing we like to call blogging…
Paige “A good first impression is everything in blogging. Have a clean, uncluttered blog design.”
Carly “Layout is important..it’s the way that you present yourself to your readers!”

Magan “Keep it clean…your blog design that is! Have a clean blog design and a readable font! That doesn’t mean they all have to look the same or you can’t have a fun, colorful design, but nothing screams amateur like a huge obnoxious font and messy sidebars.”

Christa “Good pictures. It doesn’t have to be with a DSLR, it can be with your phone. 
But practice fun angles, different lighting, exotic filters. Yes, I said exotic.  It’s an important word. Say exotic a lot on your blog too.  That’s important too. And give hugs & kisses. xoxoxo.”

Lesley “Make graphics for your giveaway prize info on pixlr.com! It makes everything more attractive and entices more entries!”
Ashley “Give people something to look at. Great images do so much more than words sometimes!”

JessicaInvest in a legit design! It matters!”


Kate “Get a nice, professional design. It’s totally worth it! People are more likely to visit more of your site if it looks beautiful.”

ErikaBig, pretty photos! I take a bunch during the day over the weekend and use ’em as stock during the week. Also, make your blog easy to read VISUALLY! no light fonts, break your paragraphs up and no funky fonts 🙂 And go easy on yourself. Everyone started out with just one follower.” 

SalenaUse big enough fonts which are clear to read and make sure it’s dark enough. I have stumbled upon many blogs that switched to wordpress and can no longer see the fonts on their posts which is very disappointing.”

MariaDon’t use funky fonts that are hard to read! Make sure you use photos (large photos) that fit your blog space! And a nice looking blog goes a long way! I am more likely to follow someone who has a neat, pretty blog design (even if they are just starting out and only have like 10 followers) than I am to follow someone who is “popular” with like 2000 followers but has a sloppy messy blog design!”

Lindsey “Be  authentic on your blog. If you end up meeting a reader or another blogger in person then you want them to be able to say “yes they are the way they come off in their blog”. I always make sure to stay true to who I am!”

Amber “Don’t get too caught up in trying to be a blogger that you forget why you started blogging in the first place.”

Whitney“It’s easy to get jealous and feel down about yourself. Don’t compare, there is only one you.”

BaileyBe real and outrageously yourself, especially when writing a lifestyle blog. Perfection isn’t real and clearly is not something people can relate to. If you want to attract great readers, be real and honest and open. There is nothing I love more than reading a blog and going “yep, i totally do that ridiculous thing too.. i love this freak..she eats just as much mac and cheese as I do. HOLLA!”


ErinBe smart, be yourself, be confident and write how you speak. It’s important not to lose yourself in the pressure of “being like everyone else.” There is only one you, and you are amazing; embrace that and others will embrace you!!!”


Chelsea “Find your voice and use it. Write like you would speak to someone. It’s the best way to convey whatever is YOU, whether that be sweet, sarcastic, funny or just plain ol crazy.”


Annie “Be authentic! You don’t have to share about everything in your life, but be real about what you do share.”
Whitney “There are no rules! Blog what you want and stay true to it!”

SalenaYou may find it hard once you start blogging but stay true to yourself and the reasons and goals behind why you started blogging to begin with. Those who are interested in your content will find you and will be true to you. When you stick to what you believe, you can change lives with your blog no matter what your niche.”
Kristene “Blog what you love, love what you blog. Keep it real and make friends along the way.”

Sam “Be honest! My most popular posts have been the ones where I was raw, emotional and completely open about things in my life. I just wish I had more of that stuff to write about!”


Kait “Don’t always post the pretty pictures..be real”
Amy “Don’t be afraid to share the ups and downs. No need to be a debby downer, but sharing struggles makes you relatable.”

Ashley “Find your voice and run with it! Don’t try to be like anybody/everybody else!”

Sami “Don’t be afraid to bring out the snarkiness a bit, turns out most people love the snark.”


Lindsey “Don’t be afraid to take risks and put yourself out there. Someone needs to hear what you have to say.”
Sando “Leap and the net will appear”… don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Just go for it!”

JessicaBe honest. Readers want to hear from the real you. And if they don’t like your honesty, that’s ok too. Learn that you can’t please everyone.”


BrooklynWrite in a way that scares you a little. My most viewed and responded to posts came from posts that I bore my heart and soul.”


ShannonFeel free to take the plunge and post, even if your thought isn’t fully formed, or you have more to write but not the time. Sometimes it is better to get things out there and open the opportunity to receive feedback. Not every post or thought will be a success when blogging, and that is okay. (and if you ever wish you hadn’t posted something, you can pull it back to draft as you continue to work through your material).”

RickiDon’t feel compelled to post every day. Quality over quantity. Just be yourself and enjoy it. If it feels like a chore, you aren’t doing it right.”

Emy “Blog about your life but don’t let be blogging be your whole life.”

McCallStop getting bogged down by comparing your blog to someone else’s! So she thought of it first, said it better, or made it look prettier. Stop letting it get you down! In real life, it’s our differences that make us stand out. Why should blogging be any different? Instead of focusing on what someone else is doing, spend your time focusing on what you are doing (or want to be doing).”

KeraDon’t get caught up in linking to tons of blog hops. And it’s okay to say no to a sponsor spotlight/guest post/giveaway if you are already feeling overwhelmed. Other bloggers will understand if they’re your friends. And yes, never stop saying thank you to your readers! It’s partly because if them that your blog is growing :)”

AmandaDon’t stress yourself out trying to write a post. If you need a break, take a day off!”

LauraMake sure you manage your time between family and blogging. At one time I let the blog consume me, but now I’ve refocused on family first.”

DanielleDon’t get too involved in the daily statistics. It’s great to follow them, they are important, but they shouldn’t be the only element to consider when choosing the direction of your blog!”

Jessica “Don’t copy! No one wants to read or see exactly what they just saw somewhere else. It’s ok to be inspired by other people but put your own twist on it. Make it yours.”

Kate “Respect others bloggers intellectual property!”

SamNetwork — and be nice! You never know who you might need help from down the line. I can’t even count how many times friends have told me NOT to work with someone because of a past experience they had with them. Just be nice, ladies!

Ashlee “Build a community, not walls. Blogging is similar to life in many ways in that, it shouldn’t be a competition. We can’t succeed without forming relationships and building one another up. It’s in community that you grow and succeed.”

AngieShare your little heart no matter how big or small your blog may be. Be honest and real and never bash other blogs/comments. Always shine for others and focus in building each other up rather than building your followers. I am a small blog but I believe in sharing my heart to reach others.”

Kym “My Advice: SPONSOR LIVING IN YELLOW! For real. I’ve gained at least 200 GFC followers in the past month and a half and my page views have skyrocketed.”

Michele“Don’t be afraid to ask other bloggers for tips/help. After all, we are often referred to as the blogging community.” 

Emily “Connect yourself with other bloggers! The friendships are amazing and can/will change your life.”

JanaWhen you are commenting on other blogs, pretend that you are having girl talk and comment with something that you would say if you were talking over coffee {or wine}. It will be easier to come up with heartfelt comments and SINCERE. That is how you build relationships.”

JessicaBuild relationships. You’re never “too big” or “too little” to reach out to other bloggers or businesses that you want to work with.”

 
ShaneNetwork, 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. Reach out and help those just starting out, remember you were there once too. And don’t be afraid to reach out for advice from seasoned bloggers, they’ll usually be delighted to help. Maintain an open conversation with your readers by replying to comments, talking through twitter, etc to keep them coming back for more!”


Nadine “Comment on anything that you appreciate with genuine words because that’s how you’ll build community.”


Katie “Respond to those who comment to you, let them now that you actually care that they are reading your blog! Show blogger love!”


Paige “Leave personal comments and not just Hey, I followed! Come follow me back!”


Eve Patience! You probably won’t be an overnight success story…people that are, are exceptions. Learn from other bloggers you admire, but don’t copy them! Return the favor: someone comments on your blog, comment back. Someone tweets you, tweet back. Help each other out!”

SarahSometimes blogging in your underwear gives you a different perspective.”

Kristine “I think offering a search (bar) feature is great for your readers and you should have an email address that’s easily accessible, meaning written out so its easy to contact the blog owner.” 

BrookeHave set posting days. It keeps you on schedule, gives you a “deadline” for your posts, and gives your readers a sense of consistency. If I miss a Monday post I try and acknowledge it on my Thursday post. It feeds my delusion that people care when they click on  my blog and don’t see a new post.”

HeatherCarry around a notebook or have a place in your planner or phone where you list blog ideas you see throughout the day. I just started doing this and am so thankful I did! There is so much fun and interesting stuff to write about but I so easily miss them or forget about them if I don’t write them down. Like how men here in China have way too girly man bags, or how old ladies here where ten different patterns in one outfit, or things my students say. There’s so much in the day to blog about! Write it down!”

TinaFind a blogging schedule that works for you. Write often. But don’t let it consume you. I write about 80% of my blogs over the weekend in a span of time when I’m not only “in the mood” but free of other obligations. I used to write each post the night before and it became a monster. I had lost my life. And if you’ve lost your life to blogging, you won’t really have anything good to blog about. And then where are you? Stuck with no life and a mediocre blog.”

Nicole “When possible schedule posts and twitter/facebook announcements at all once in advance. Hootsuite helps—it saves so much time!”

Rachel “Keep a list of post ideas and maybe even a few back up post saved in your drafts just in case you can’t find time to write one day. Also always try to reply to and visit everyone that comments, they took the time to reach out to you, so return the favor – you never know when you will discover the next big blog!”

ShastaCommunication is key. Make sure that people can contact you….by email (is your email address EASILY found?) or by social media (are your social media icons EASILY found and do they WORK?)”

Jana “Save any blogging idea in your draft folder to access on the days when you need that extra inspiration.

Hayley “Don’t worry about numbers.  You could have lots of followers that never read or have lots who read that never follow!”

Rachel “Write the kind of post that you can imagine a stranger might actually enjoy reading. Don’t be boring.”

Casey “Go private at the beginning and see who you are as a writer. Edit, delete, and change it until you are happy! Blog about what you love.” 

MariaSOCIAL MEDIA helps SO much. People always say “i will get a fb page when I reach so many blog followers. NO, get a fb page or twitter account and that will HELP you reach so many followers FASTER. I promise! Dont wait, do it NOW!”

Whitney “Make sure you aren’t a no-reply commenter. Also make sure to put yourself out there by networking on social media, commenting on other blogs, etc.”

Kristina “Remember that you never know who you is reading your blog and who your story is reaching/touching”. 

CaseyTurn off word verification already!! And never stop saying THANK YOU to your readers!”

Katie “Write how you would talk in real life! Another plus is being able to laugh at yourself!”

Steph “Post early and often! And always use pictures!”

Nicole “If you truly blog, they will truly come. Blog for you and not for popularity. Remember it takes time to organically grow.”

KatieDon’t make your posts so long that your readers can’t get through it in a short amount of time.”

MarciDon’t ever give up. There are many days I can’t think of what to write or feel like I’m not good enough but then I remind myself why I’m doing this in the first place; my love of writing.”

TiffanyFind your blog’s purpose. You have a purpose in life, and so should your blog! Want to just document your life? Ok do that in a way to just cherish the memories. Good at encouraging others? Being crafty? Baking? Cooking? Or a movie/music lover? Discover what you want to write about and commit to it. Because the moment you try to follow other blogs with their ideas of outfits, blog hops, and ect, you lose a part of yourself. :-)”

 
–Have your name on your blog. I never realized how important/annoying this is if you don’t until doing this post 😉 On your sidebar, as your signature, under your “about” section, just somewhere…anywhere. Please!

–Collaborate with bloggers you admire. There is greater power in numbers. Along these lines, have somebody that you can regularly bounce ideas off of. It will help both of you tremendously. 

–Have a good balance on how much time you invest in reading other peoples blogs. I think reading blogs is one of (if not the best) forms of inspiration, however it can easily be a great source of negative, “she is such a better writer than I am..”, type of thoughts. The minute you find yourself comparing/second guessing your own abilities, step away from blog reading for awhile. 

–Learn how to deal with negativity in blog world. Unfortunately it does/will happen. One thing I have really become more aware of is that sometimes (whether you want to believe it or not) there is truth behind the criticism. This is not always particularly true, however–pay attention to what people are saying. Know the difference between rude/ignorant comments and criticism that could be used for the better. It will only make you and your blog better in the long run. 

–Write in a way that scares you sometimes. 

–Just like everything else in life, blogging will have its ebbs and flows. One week you can publish posts that receive a terrific response, other weeks you may feel lost in what to talk about. It’s okay. Your “high” times will come back. Don’t think that just because one week you don’t have that special blogging touch, you will never have it again. You will. Just give your brain time to think new thoughts. 

–Pin your personal posts to Pinterest whenever you can. It’s a great (free) platform to get content from your blog out there! 

–Listen to some great Pandora stations while writing. My personal favorites are Jason Mraz, Nelly, Hunter Hayes, and Jeremy Camp. Depending on what writing mood I am in will depend on what station I choose. 
A little jams go a long way 😉 

–Look for small ways to improve the overall quality of your blog. I recently purchased photo backdrops (found them on GroopDealz, originally from Ink and Elm) that I could use when highlighting products for sponsors.  Below I used my backdrops to showcase these adorable cards from Bow and Arrow Art


–Feed your life. It will feed your blog. 

***Thank you so much to all of YOU who contributed to this post. If you have additional pieces of wisdom/tips/tricks that weren’t mentioned, please do so in the comments below. Also, if you have any questions you’d like to ask–ASK! Either myself (or others throughout the comments) will answer them for you…Let’s keep the conversation going.***

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