Monday, September 26, 2011

Tips for new Bloggers

Tips for New Bloggers

Editor’s Note: Rebecca is one of the bloggers we’ve featured on Blogs of Note. After she was Noted, Rebecca received many new followers and emails asking her about her tips for blogging, so she’s graciously written up this blog post for anyone looking for tips on how to get started.

Hi everyone! I'm Rebecca Brown, a blogger and personal stylist in the Seattle area. When I started my blog nearly 2 years ago, it was to document my attempt to wear a different dress for every day of December (sounds super interesting, right? It proves you can write a blog about anything).

I had no idea that a blog about my clothing choices would grow and become such a fun hobby! And even though I’ve been blogging for a little while, I still feel like I have so much to learn, which is what keeps blogging interesting! So, while I'm definitely far from being an expert, here are a few things that have worked for me:

1) Find a community of bloggers with similar interests. Do you like to write about video games, fashion, cooking? There are lots of great blogs on those topics already. A quick Google search for “fashion blogs” helped me round out my reading list. I always check out the blog rolls of people whose blogs I enjoy, and I also visit the blogs of folks who comment on my blog. Bottom line: interact with bloggers whose blogs you enjoy. You'll learn so much, I promise. This leads me to my next point...

2) Leave insightful comments on blogs that you enjoy - especially blogs that are in the same niche as you. Instead of just saying, "hey, nice blog, follow me please”, call out something specific that you liked about the post. Pure "followback" requests don’t really make people want to follow you.

3) Don't underestimate the importance of good pictures on your posts. The basics: Use a tripod or get a friend to photograph you if the pictures are of you. Take pictures outdoors if possible because natural light always makes pictures look better. Use post-processing (I use Picnik) to adjust the exposure, add effects, and crop to keep the focus on what you want. You don’t need a fancy camera - I use my cell phone most of the time! I wrote about this in more depth here.

4) Think about quality, rather than quantity of posts. Readers would rather see an insightful (and spell-checked!) post with original content and good pictures 2-4 times a week than hastily-written thoughts on a daily basis. Most avid blog readers follow so many blogs that if you post too often, and especially if your posts aren't high quality, you'll get passed over in favor of the other blogs on their blogroll. Plus, a great, high-quality post can continue to get you traffic for a few days - don't truncate its effectiveness by posting again the very next day.

5) Schedule your posts. I typically have a chunk of time on the weekend where I can plan out and write my 2-4 posts for the week, or at least get a rough draft in place. Blogger allows you to schedule your posts and they will automatically publish at the date/time you specify. I typically set my posts to publish around 2am to capture folks in other time zones.

6) Lastly, don't apologize for not posting more often. A blog is a fun hobby - but once you start feeling beholden to it, it stops being fun! Plus, your readers will likely not notice if you don't post for a week unless you write a post about how sorry you are for not posting!

There are so many great resources out there for bloggers looking to hone their craft. Here are a few of my favorites: - 10 Things About Your Blog That Drive Me Crazy (via B at Beautifully Invisible) - Don't Be A Savage Blogger (Jamillah via Beautifully Invisible): - Build a Better Blog (via Vahni at Grit and Glamour).

I hope these tips are helpful! Blogging has been such a great part of my life - allowing me to express myself, build a community and make lifelong friends. And the great thing about it is that nearly anyone can do it. So have fun with it, don’t take yourself too seriously, and you’ll be a great blogger in no time!

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