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!