Michele Martin (The Bamboo Project) has written some excellent posts on Getting Started with Blogging: Advice for New Bloggers from her readers and Maintaining your Blog: More Advice for New Bloggers from her readers. [image by Auntie P]
Unfortunately I was busy back when Michele asked Readers for their Advice for New Bloggers so was unable to provide my advice; but since I have now caught up I thought I would add my tips to bloggers in this post.
I should also add that Brian C. Smith (Streaming Thoughts) Welcome to Blogging post also inspired me to expand on the tips I gave his readers. Make the time to read the comments on his post and add your own comments to it! Worth the read to glimpse the thoughts of commenters at different stages in their blogging journey — from no experience to ones who already have their own blog.
Blogging is about conversations not writing posts
The most important aspect of blogging is the conversations. Engaging with others , sharing each others ideas and thoughts so that all gain because because each individual sees a different perspective – giving all greater “food for thought!”. The more effective you are as a blogger the greater your gain will be from these conversations.
Here are my tips for being a better blogger:
1. Subscribe to numerous, diverse blogs
The more posts you read the better you get at working out what works/doesn’t work and how to present information in a manner that will engage readers. Start out with a few blogs that interest you, and as you become more efficient at reading, increase the number you subscribe to.
Reading blog posts is part of my daily routine –note “my blogs I read list” doesn’t reflect the number of read of blogs I read which is expanding all the time. Here is my tips for locating and subscribing to blogs.
2. Actively engage in commenting on other’s blog posts and your own posts
Demonstrate that you are commented to conversations by commenting on other people’s blog posts and by responding back to comments on your own posts.
You can’t expect people to engage in conversations with you and share their thoughts if you don’t make the effort to interact with them on their own blogs. Part of my daily routine of reading blogs involves making time to comment on other people’s posts and responding back, if appropriate, to further comments on these posts. Once again it is about the conversations not just commenting.
I use co-mment to tracks comments I have written on other people’s blog posts — it notifies me automatically of any new comments by sending the comment to my Google Reader account. Here is my explanation of how I have set up co-mment to do this.
3. Have a blogging routine
The more you write the better you will become as a writer. A blogging routine helps you stay on track — new bloggers either write lots of posts initially and then drop off; or struggle to write any posts.
Some people I know prefer to blogging once a week, Kathryn Greenhill (Librarian Matters) routine is 3 times a week and I have found whenever possible I try to blog once daily — it is all about what works best for you and your lifestyle. I try not to blog more than once a day because I know it can be overwhelming for my readers; even once daily can be a struggle for them which is why Kathryn sticks to 3 times weekly.
4. Make a commitment to improve your blogging skills
I was part of 31 Days to Build A Better Blog and I can not stress enough how much this improved my ability to blog.
If you are serious about improving your skills I strongly recommend that you work through the tasks I have adapted from the 31 Day Blog Project for new bloggers and more advanced bloggers. But more importantly work out a way of forming a community to undertake this challenge — even if you need to use chocolate as an incentive. Your knowledge gain will be greater working as a team and you are more likely to complete the tasks when working in a community (you can always join us for support at Better Blog Community or ask me for support).
Understandably time is always an issue so will understand if you don’t do the tasks however I do strongly recommend that you at least Write Your About Page and Run an Audit on Other People’s Blogs (refer to Day 2 and Day 3 tasks towards the bottom of this page).
5. Remember to focus on the Bulls Eye
When you write your post focus most of your content on the MUST KNOW, include a bit of SHOULD KNOW and keep the COULD KNOW to a minimum! Full explanation of the bulls eye principle can be found in this post.
- Must Know – What is the most important information you are trying to tell your readers
- Should Know – what is the additional information that is less critical
- Could know – What is the other information which could be of further use but is not essential
6. MOAN – Focus on How You Lay Out Your Post
My number of blog subscriptions is currently 171 — this means I read a lot of posts per day!!! If you want me to read your posts you need to make your posts really easy to read.
Pay attention here are my pet hates:
Bloggers that don’t use full feeds! — PLEEEEASE switch to full feeds!!! With the number of posts I read do you honestly think I have time to click on READ MORE?
Lack of Paragraphs — Can I say here that some of the educators are the absolute worst offenders. What The? Very simple:
- Break your posts up with paragraphs
- Short paragraphs are better than long
- Make the first sentence of each paragraph make me want to read! My secret = I read the first sentence of each paragraph — if these don’t grab my attention you have lost me!
- Use headings and where suitable dot points/bullet points to break up the post into manageable bit size chunks (Michele Martin is really good at doing this)
Use Italics sparingly, if at all! — posts with italics slow down my reading speed= not happy! Posts that are entirely italics are not read!
Use standard size text font — I know of at least one blogger who looks like they are enlarging their font size. DON’T! I can’t read it – not pleasing to my eyes!
Don’t embed videos, slideshares etc into posts without an explanation on what you have embedded, why you have embedded it and pleeease add link to the original location of the embed! Feed Reader, like Google Reader, strip your embed from the post. This means I am often left with a blank looking post or worse still I don’t even realise that the Feed Reader has stolen the great video that you really thought I needed to see!
Hope my tips have been of help — here are more of my posts on blogging that may also help!
Bound to have missed some tips on blogging — What tips do you feel are essential for being a better blogger?