While 3,000+ bloggers descend on San Diego for BlogHer ’11 this week, the rest of us are staying put in our pajamas, our buttocks safely ensconced in the seat of our choice, feeling extreme jealousy at those attending the biggest blogging event of the year.
Oh, just me?
Liz of A Belle, A Bean & A Chicago Dog and Jessica of Four Plus An Angel are hosting the #SummerBlogSocial from August 1 – 5, for those of us who don’t make it to BlogHer. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about blogging and social networking from other bloggers, and I’m not one to pass up an opportunity to
share my wisdom offer some tips.
When I started blogging, I had a vague idea about what it involved, having
stalked read many blogs before actually having my own space. So I like to think I wasn’t completely clueless. However, it was still very overwhelming in the beginning, and I wish someone had been there to hold my hand (and feed me chocolate).
Four months later, I like to think I learnt a few things. So here are my top 10 tips for someone who’s thinking about starting a blog (consider this me holding your hand and feeding you chocolate).
1. Think about the reasons you want to start a blog. Is it a way to chronicle life events, such as your upcoming wedding? Is it your pregnancy diary? Or it could be a life book for your children, where you mark down memories. Do you love food and want to share recipes? Or it could just be a blog where you want to flex your writing skills.
Whatever your reason, that is a good starting place. You will find that over time, your interests may change, and that is okay. But having focus in the beginning will help anchor you as you navigate this big world of blogging.
2. Think carefully about your blog name. It should be something that represents you accurately, is memorable, catchy and not too long. You can change it further down the line of course (and many bloggers have), but frankly, it can be a little tedious.
3. Create a header. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something to represent you and your blog, and help you stand out a little. You can always go back and change it later.
4. Write an About Me page and include some contact information (such as an email address). Or at least a little about you in the profile widget of your blog. When I come across a new blog, I always want to know more about the blogger. If you don’t want to include your personal email address, create a blog specific one. It’s easy, so just do it.
5. Where possible, include a photograph or two in your posts. At the very least, it breaks up the wall of text, makes your blog more visually appealing and in some cases, photos tell the story better than words (I am not taking my advice in this post as I couldn’t find an appropriate photo to distract you from this drivel – sorry).
6. Join blogging communities. This is a good way to find some good blogs to read, comment and if you click, hopefully start a great bloggy friendship! A good place to start would be SITS Girls. It’s a great community offering support and plenty of blogging tips.
7. When you find blogs that are interesting, go on and read them. If the post resonates with you, comment meaningfully. At all costs, refrain from writing, “Please follow me, I followed you.” That is the most dreaded and hated phrase amongst bloggers. If someone wants to follow you, they will. If you ask them to, they will most likely not. Make sure you read the post and refer to it in your comment. Be sincere, be real.
8. Join Twitter. And get active. Follow blogs you read. Follow people who are similar to you. Interact. Tweet. Respond to tweets. Tweet your posts, retweet posts of blogs you like. Twitter is one place where jumping into conversations is acceptable, so go ahead, talk! I mean, tweet!
9. Be yourself. Always write with your voice, your style. Be genuine, write about what you know, what you love. If you try too hard to be something you’re not? People see through that easily.
10. Above all, remember this: BALANCE. It’s very easy to get sucked in and addicted to blogging, tweeting, Facebooking and so on. But take time for yourself and your family. Unplug occasionally. Take a breather. Live life outside of your computer.