I’m frequently asked to share my blogging tips, so I decided to make this post. Blogging can be intimidating sometimes. Sometimes you don’t even know where to begin. So here are my 6 tips, some of which I use, some of which I should use. I hope they help you with your blogging!
1. Make sure your blog has a clean, aesthetically pleasing layout.
If your blog doesn’t look pretty, no one’s going to want to read it, no matter how brilliant it is. I’m sorry to tell you this, but it’s true. Your layout needs to be easy to read — please avoid using small font and neon backgrounds (or a black background with a white or screaming neon colored font). If you’re not good at doing HTML, it’s worth it to just hire a friend who is, to make your layout. Think of your blog as your home on the Internet. You don’t want to leave a toilet on your lawn and have your house painted a horrendous color. Same goes for your blog. And make sure it’s easy to navigate. Have a search bar, too.
2. Update frequently.
This is the advice I should take. I’m terrible at this one. Ideally, you want to update your blog 3-5 times a week (not month, Almie). You want to keep your blog alive, and the only way to do that is to keep updating it. You want to give your readers something to come back to. With the Internet, I’ve found that the more you give out, the more you get back. Updating every day is a bit much, because you want people to be able to digest what you’re putting out there, but you want to update as often as you can. Make a chart and choose which days during the week you’re going to update, and at which times. (You could go even further and designate which days are going to be about which topics. Example: Mondays are fashion posts, Wednesdays are dating posts, Fridays are anything posts, etc.) And about timing…
3. Figure out that magic time to post your posts.
As for times when you should update: honestly, it’s like closing your eyes and throwing a dart at a dartboard without knowing if the board is even there. Some people will advise you to post in the morning; others say afternoon is best. I say, experiment with your blog. Try posting on a Friday night and compare to how it does vs. posting on a Monday afternoon. I always like to schedule my posts a few hours early than I normally would, so that my East Coast readers can read it at a good time, too. This is one where you’ll have to do a little research and work. Generally, weekday mornings and early-mid afternoons are best, because that’s usually when people are killing time at work. But you need to figure out what works best for YOUR blog and YOUR readers.
4. Offer your readers something they can’t get anywhere else.
Maybe it’s your awesome giveaways. Maybe it’s your irreverent Mad Men recaps. Maybe it’s your cool daily outfit photos. Maybe it’s just your writing voice. Whatever it is, it’s got to be uniquely YOU. Don’t try to do what other blogs do. Do what you WANT to do, and stick to it. I feel I offer my readers a quirky view of dating and pop culture. I feel like my unique voice is something they can only get here (and on the other sites I write for). So that’s what I try to deliver. Find what your thing is, and deliver like Dominos.
5. Engage your readers.
Don’t just blog into an empty space; think about your readers when you write, and have a call to action at the end of your post. For example, if you’re writing about the best date you’ve ever been on, try asking your readers, “What’s the best date you’ve ever been on? And why? Don’t be shy!” Let them know that you want them to chime in and contribute. Remember: your blog is your home, and you’re inviting your readers into your home.
About comments: Don’t have too many comment policies, and make it easy for people to comment. I know some bloggers have comment policies — I really don’t, you can comment anon, you can comment negative stuff about my writing as long as it has a point (as opposed to posting just, “you’re a miserable wench and I hate you”), you can comment basically whatever unless I feel threatened (like this one time someone pretended to be my dad, it was weird) — but if you want to have some comment policies like “no attacking posters” that’s fine, go for it. Just don’t have a really long list of rules, or it will keep people from commenting, and you want comments or why would you write a blog? If you’re not prepared for comments, you should write a diary instead.
And if someone comments, respond to them. I try to reply to every comment I get, because I appreciate that someone took time out of their day to talk to me.
6. Make the most of social media.
I have a Facebook page just for my blog that I use to promote things I write, as well as my Instagram feed, Twitter feed, and whatever silly/fun/funny pics I happen to find. I also sometimes promote certain posts on Twitter. Social media is such a gift to this generation; I say, use it to your heart’s content — but don’t go bananas. Don’t spam your Facebook wall or friends’ Facebook walls with your posts every day. Share it, put it out there on Pinterest, Twitter, FB, whatever — and then let it be. And a few days later, share it again, for those who may have missed it the first time. But share other things too, things that aren’t solely your content. Again, you don’t want to oversaturate with your own content; it turns people off.
7. Write what you love.
You’ve all heard that old saying, “Write what you know”? I say, write what you love. I love Billy Joel. Do I know him, or his life story? Nope, but I wanted to write about him. If you have a passion for what you’re writing, your readers will have a passion for what they’re reading. Your excitement will carry through. So only write about ideas that excite you. If something makes you go “meh”, it’s not worth writing about, because it won’t be worth reading.
So what am I missing? What blogging tips would YOU offer? Let’s make this a place to discuss the hows of blogging!
Photo by vintage19_something via Flickr.