Thursday, 5 September 2013

10 not-so-obvious blogging tips

Hello my friends and lovely readers! I know it's Blogtember around here and everything, but besides all that awesomeness, I also have a really special treat for you in the form of a guest post from my sweet friend Bonnie. I don't allow guest posts on here much, so when I do, you know they're gonna be good. I promise you'll enjoy Bonnie's post on 10 Not So Obvious Blogging Tips. They'll really make you think. ENJOY!

* * * * *

My name is Bonnie and I have a blog where I write whatever I feel like.  We good on the intro now? Sometimes people read my blog and sometimes people don't but basically I just love writing and sharing my two cents with the universe.  Some of the posts I have most enjoyed writing are about (in no particular order) losing my dad, starting a new job, driving home in a snowstorm, satirical how to articles, what to expect when grieving, and lessons I learned at the gyno.  I blog primarily because I need to release emotions and thoughts and writing allows that for me.  I teach English for a living so basically I read and write all day long and that's the way I like it, dang it!

This is a picture of me and some dude.  Just kidding.  It's my husband.  I was going to just post a picture of just me but I figured if I showed you all a pic of a ginger with his shirt off you would be hooked for life, am I right or am I right?!?

Today I want to share a view things I've learned in this blogging world, not because I know anything about blogging, but because I've done a lot of trial and error/crash and burn on my two year blogging adventure and I figured maybe I could save you all the trouble?  I know there's a lot of blog advice out there so I hope to offer you something fresh in this crazy blogging world and maybe even have you come visit my blog.  It's always a freaking party over there, I'll tell you that much.



Most bloggers want the same thing - for other people to read their blogs.  So if you help another blogger out in her journey to more pageviews, chances are she will likely do the same.  At least once a week I try to tweet the link to a blog post of another blogger that I genuinely loved reading.  I don't ask anything back, but I always mention them so I make sure they know I was sending good karma their way. This doesn't mean I expect anything in return, it just means that I'm promoting someone else completely free of charge and a lot of time the blogger will take notice and return the favor.  My advice would be to stick to bloggers who are pretty close in size to your blog.  For instance, I am madly in love with the outfit posts that Sydney does from the Daybook.  But if I mentioned that in a twitter shout out, the chances are 99% that she would not hit me back.  Her blog's too big, she's got too much other blog stuff to worry about. Stick with blogs that reach similar sized audiences and your chances for success will be higher.


I guess old John Steinbeck knew a thing or two about writing.  I completely agree with this quote, and in fact, I kind of live by it.  In every post I write, I ask myself if I am connecting with my audience.  Do women relate to what I'm saying?  Am I making people laugh?  Or cry? Do they connect with me?  The fact is I believe we are all narcissists to some extent.  We don't want to hear about other people - we want to hear about us.  Something WE can relate to.  My sister, who isn't a blogger at all, told me she absolutely loves Nat the Fat Rat's blog because of how beautiful her birth story was.  My sister could connect to all of it.  "She hit it dead on!" my sister said, "I understood completely what she was describing."  Some blogs are aloof.  There is a disconnect from the blog and the audience.  There is no interaction.  No authenticity.  No caring. If I had one wish for the blogging world, it would be that all bloggers come down a notch and be more real.  At the end of the day, those are the blogs that I come back to every day.

3.  PICTURES MATTER.  I feel like it takes most bloggers a little while to figure this one out.  A couple of things about pictures that I notice all the successful bloggers do:

-Make pictures as big as possible.  None of this small or medium crap.  Hit the x large button every time.
- Don't post every picture you take on your blog.  Especially if they are very similar.  Choose the very best pictures.  People gotta stay interested.
- Edit photos?   I have rarely taken the time to edit my pictures.  I would like to if I had more time, but it's all I can do to get the words on the page most nights.  Besides that, I want the focus of my blog to be my writing, not my pictures.  While people might enjoy the pictures, that will never be what brings me joy from blogging.  That being said, it is definitely on my to do list to find a good photo editing program and be a bit more serious with the pictures I take.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this one...

4.  BE CONSISTENT.  Now, some people might disagree with me, but when it comes to blogging, I say that quantity over quality.  That doesn't mean I think you should be writing garbage, but some nights you just don't have a stroke of brilliance.  But you can still write something entertaining to your readers.  When I started blogging I set the goal to blog 5 times a week and I have stuck to that religiously.  People need to know that when they check your blog in the morning there will be something new.  If there isn't, they will check less often.  Less traffic.  Less followers.  You get my drift.  There have been lots of times when I've thought, "But I have nothing to say!" and then I sit down at my computer, and what do you know?   My fingers go buck crazy with their talking.  Get in the habit of writing consistently.

5.  HAVE SOMETHING THAT KEEPS PEOPLE COMING BACK.  Every blogger fills a niche.  You've gotta have something that makes you stick out a little bit.  Something that sets you apart from the (literally) millions of other bloggers.   I think a blog should have energy to it, almost like a vibe.  I think a blog should have personality and reflect the person that is writing it.  Be comfortable with yourself when you're writing and write stuff that other people want to read.  When writing a post, think to yourself "Would I be interested in this if it weren't about me?"  If not, you got yourself a bad sign, missy.

6.  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT BLOGGERS ARE WRITING AROUND YOU. To be a blogger you have to read blogs.  I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is.  You have to know what's out there, you have to know what other people are reading, writing, saying.  I've had several posts that have been triggered by reading a post on someone else's blog.  

7.  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT'S GOING ON THE WORLD.  Taylor from The Daily Tay is one of the best at this... her "Best Week Ever" feature is all about news and gossip from the week.  She is totally up to date with current events and celebrity gossip so she writes these hilarious, timely posts about it.  There is so much going on around us that can trigger post ideas... BE INFORMED.

8.  MAKE YOURSELF UNCOMFORTABLE EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE.  I talk about this at length in my "Risky Writing" post, but you gotta go outside your comfort zone every once in a while.  Mix things up.  Make it interesting.  Dan from Single Dad Laughing says he tries every couple weeks to write something that "scares him" because that is where the really good writing is.  It has never been easy to me to write about the difficulty of losing my dad or how tough marriage can be but I do and those are the posts that get the most traffic.  

9.  BE VULNERABLE.  There is a fine line from turning your blog into a sob fest to showing a bit of weakness, but it is one I think merits playing with.  I like to hear about people's struggles.  Because I struggle too.  And when I hear that the blogger who seems to have every single thing in her life put together struggles with anxiety/ feels inadequate/ sometimes argues with her husband/ can't get pregnant/ sometimes wants to kill her kids/ burns dinner/ lost a loved one/ has regrets... it makes me like that blogger more.  Every once in a while you have to be willing to expose your vulnerable side to your readers.  My mom used to tell me when I would mess up at my piano recitals, "She made a mistake and we loved her all the more."  People want to read about real people with real problems so it's okay to open up on your blog.  Let your readers see the real you.

10.  ASK PEOPLE TO SHARE YOUR POSTS.  Once in a while I feel like I absolutely nailed a post.  Wrote something that others can relate to or that I know a lot of people would enjoy reading.  When this happens, I ask people to share it.  No shame in that!  I wrote this post last week on 5 lessons MTV is teaching America's teens after the Miley Cyrus debacle.  I knew the post would spark interest so I asked people to share.  Tons of friends, family, and blog readers shared the articles and I had twice as much traffic on my blog that day than I normally do.  HOLLER!  I don't abuse this privilege- I think we all know how annoying it is when someone is constantly asking you to share their stuff.  I ask only occasionally and am always surprised by how many people share for me.

These are tricks that certainly have worked for me and I hope you find success with them as well.  There is no right way or wrong way to do your blog just things that work well and things that work... less well?  Make sure to come say hi at Life of Bon, I always love new faces!

No comments:

Post a Comment