Tuesday, September 6, 2011

10 tips for newbie bloggers

Almost daily on etsy's forum you'll find requests for tips on blogging success. I've also been asked by several friends. Here's what I've learned in my first year of blogging:
  • Keep most of your posts between 400-800 words. If you find yourself getting long-winded, consider breaking it up into a series of several posts. This is how I did my posts on being a fool.
  • Use at least one photo per post. I've had triple the page views on my posts which are more of a photo essay. Readers flit. Attention span on the web is shorter even than your average TV viewer, but a WOW photo holds them for a few seconds longer and draws them in. Get familiar with picnik.com for free photo enhancement.
  • Name your photos on your blog with SEO (search engine optimization) in mind. I've had people find my blog just from googling "kissing fish therapy," "hen fighter" and "crinkled shirt"—all of which, believe it or not, led them to photos I've used to accompany posts on kissing styles, feeling oddly ducky in a chicken world, and textile therapy trumping aromatherapy. So, yeah. Whatever works. I named the photo above "fairy butt." 
  • When you write your titles, hint at what's in it for the reader. For instance, rather than "Unfolding" for my last post, I titled it "You are a masterpiece unfolding." Which is not to say you can't talk about yourself, but you need to tie it in with your readers' experience and opinions.
  • Ask for comments at the end of every post—by posing a question. Comments are the currency of the blog world.
  • Visit loads of other blogs and leave comments/follow. Scratch their back, they'll scratch yours, and that's really the only way to begin to build a virtual community without celebrity status. The challenge is to find quality blogs in the niche similar to yours so that like attracts like. 
  • Syndicate your blog on NetworkedBlogs so it distributes on Facebook automatically. You can then send invites from NetworkedBlogs to all your FB friends to follow your blog.
  • Track your readership stats regularly. On blogspot's upper right corner, click "Design" then "Stats" on the next screen. See where your readers are coming from, what search terms they entered that made them stumble upon your blog, and which posts are your most popular. Let this inform your decisions about future posts.
  • The professional blogger sites I follow are problogger.com and Cat's Eye Writer blog. I also follow (via Google Reader) scads of personal blogs that inspire, entertain, sharpen my writing/powers of observation, or provide an escape hatch.
I'm sure there will be more tips that will come to me after I hit Publish, but I will follow my own advice and keep this brief. Let me turn the floor over to you. Got something to share? If you're on Wordpress and would like to leave a tip for Wordpress users, be my guest!


  1. Excellent advice! Good things to think about and makes me feel I'm on the right track with the things I'm already doing.

  2. You definitely are on the right track, Michael Ann! Thanks for visiting!

  3. Thank you Scrollwork for the excellent blogging advice. I also have been blogging for a little more than a year - 14 months next week. I started my blog to have a place to put my essays and also to explore what I wanted to focus on, so I don't always do all of the things you suggest. For example, most of my posts are like 1000 - 1400 words.

    But then, I don't have a huge following either - I am happy right now earning one reader at a time. But for my NEXT blog, I'm going to follow all your tips and all the advice of the experts ( like problogger.com too) and do all the things I've learned over thee 14 months and see if I can attract tons of visitors interested in my niche (illustration art):)

  4. Some very good tips. I never thought about comments as being the currency of the blog but you are so right!

    Great post and excellent advice.

  5. Hi, Sher and Carol! I just got back from visiting your blogs. So enjoyable to see what you're passionate about. You ladies don't need any advice from me, but you could sure give some from your own store of expertise! I'm honored you visited, thank you.

  6. Thanks for the awesome comment you sent me! I did seem to collect a lot of visitors in a short time. I'm not sure how I did that but these things may have helped:

    I joined a couple of the blogging teams at etsy and I always post my latest blog post to the team.

    I visit other blogs and comment. I really love that. So I'm sure a lot of my followers and commenters are blogs that I enjoy and follow as well.

    I've actually blogged for a few years. I had another blog but decided to start this one when I opened my etsy shop so it would go in a more creative direction than my other one.

    I pretty much just blog from my heart. I write about things that I really enjoy and I think my readers can pick up on that. And they say that when you do something you really enjoy, you usually do it well. So I hope that's the case here.

    Sorry my comment is so long but I couldn't find an email link so I answered your question here.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for your wonderful comments. I love them and take them all to heart!

  7. Thanks for your reply! And hey, I am back again to let you now I have given you an award! Come to http://thinkinginmyheadma.blogspot.com to read all about it. Congratulations!

  8. Why thank you, Michael Ann! What an honor to be picked for the Liebster award, particularly because I'm in such fine company.

  9. Thank you so much for stopping by!

    Funnily enough, my boyfriend that made me cry (who is actually still my current bf) is always talking about the "sh*t sandwich" method. He still needs to practice it :P. He's gotten better, as long as I remind him, "Good praise first."

  10. Nice site. Enjoyed your post on blogging. I've been blogging for a couple of years and, for the most part, have learned to incorporate most of your ideas. But the one I haven't been using is the one about checking my stats on blogger. I will have to start doing that. Hope you'll check out my site (A Memorable Time of My Life) and make suggestions for how I can increase my following. I'm about ready to submit my memoir to an agent and need a good strong platform. Any tips you may have would be appreciated. Thanks

  11. Great blogging tips,thanks. I'm not sure about that facebook blog network. I think I might be on it, barely. Haven't cultivated it. Not sure of the benefits.

    Sometimes I get lost in cyber-world.

    Will add you to my google reader.

  12. Great advice. Visiting from Catharsis Hope you have a great weekend