Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Eight Things I Wish I Knew When I Started To Blog

 What do I wish I knew when I started to blog?

As part of being DIFFERENT in 2015 (my "word" for this year), I wanted to share some blogging comments and tips I have gathered through the years.

I've had this post in my drafts since January (January!).  And now it is almost October.

This year has been a different year than any year in my life. My spouse and I, as a team, have faced new challenges, and my blogging has suffered for it.

As a result, I decided, a couple of months, not to enter any more blogging challenges (something I've done almost continuously since 2011).  Yet, I feel I do need to give something back to the blogging community.  I am not a blogging expert, but I have been blogging since 2009.  I am continuously learning, and hope that, if you are new, some of these tips may be of value to you.


1.  I wish I knew there was such a thing as blogging challenges when I started.  If you want to grow your readership (and who doesn't want followers, for either personal or business reasons?), this is one of the fastest ways to increase your readership.  By reading the blogs of those in your challenge, you will quickly learn what works - and what doesn't.

2.  I wish I knew that consistent posting is key.  I highly recommend daily posting, at least for the first month or two of your blog.   Once you establish yourself, what becomes necessary is not daily posting, but, rather, consistent posting.  If you don't want to post daily - and many bloggers don't want to, or can't - then it helps your readers to know that you have a schedule. Then stick to it.

3.  I wish I knew there is no such thing as a perfect blog post.  Perfection is not necessary.  Passion IS necessary.  If you don't like what you write, your readers won't, either.

4.  But, you must know what your readers want.  A blog is not all about you.  It is about your readers. My readers seem to love pictures of snow (in the winter) and flowers (the rest of the year),

5. You must read your readers' comments.  You must!  Those comments are more valuable to a blogger than breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even good chocolate.  For example, last week I wrote a blog about fall, which turned out to be a bit self centered.  A couple of my readers gently reminded me that much of the world does not experience quite the same fall as upstate New York (where I live).  My sin?  I had taken my readers for granted.

6.  Related to #5, I wish I knew how important it was to comment on, not just read, other blogs.  Yes, don't be shy.  Comment!  And if you do disagree, which is fine, please, please, please, be respectful. There is a person, a living, breathing human being with feelings, on the other end of that blog post you like or dislike. 

7.  Realize you are an expert - on something.  Then go for it. On the other hand, don't blog about something just because an "expert" tells you to.

Experts have good advice, but only you are the expert on you. (Say that fast, three times!)

 If you love something, work that into your blog posts.  If you couldn't care less about that topic, don't bother.  Blog about something you love.  I can't emphasize this enough.  That dislike/boredom/lack of passion will show right through your writing.

Be real. Be you.  It's not as easy as you think, but it is worth the effort.

8.  Finally: appreciate your readers.  Let them know often.  I don't do that enough.

If you had advice to new bloggers, what advice would you give?

18 comments:

  1. I am amazed that some of the blogs I read have hundreds of followers, lots of comments, yet the author never responds to any comments. If I take the time to read a blog post and post a comment, the least they can do is say thank you. That is my word of advice.

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    1. It's a good suggestion. I apologized to my readers yesterday for not having responded to their comments for a while but it truly is only common courtesy.

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  2. That's good advice that both new and experienced bloggers could benefit from.

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  3. Alana,
    I love the advice on not being perfect but being passionate. The other thing I'm working on is focusing on my readers and looking for topics that will enhance their lives. Also, I do think that people need to answer their comments. I, too, have found so many who don't and wonder why my comments don't matter to them.
    I've missed reading your posts!
    Amy

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    1. Thank you, Amy - your support means a lot to me. I do need to focus more on topics that will enhance my readers' lives - some of your posts have taught me a lot.

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  4. I agree with the consistent posting thing. But as for blogging advice for new bloggers, I've got none. I have no idea what I'm doing.

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    1. Sometimes, you don't need to know what you are doing. Just do it! Whatever you are doing, you are succeeding at it. The rest will come, as you continue to blog.

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    1. That is good advice - and it is so easy to become burned out, if you don't blog about what you are passionate about. Thank you for visiting!

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  6. Interesting post. As for experts, my favorite quote about them was in a program on investing: "Experts don't know as much as you think they know."

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    1. I agree with you about "experts". On the other hand, each of us is an expert on something - if we allow ourselves to realize that. Too many times, we don't.

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  7. Hi Alana,

    My advice would be to partake in video blogging, along with regular typed content. If people love what you write, they'll love seeing your face talking about the topic too.

    For many years I didn't video blog, and while I allowed this last year to escape me without publishing a new face-to-face video, I admit that my blog hasn't been as active as it was with comments received as a result of my video.

    I shall need to get back to the basics again. Publish weekly and make sure I do video blogging as often as I can. :)

    - Bonnie

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    1. Many people have a visual learning style, and for them, video blogging allows them to absorb content in a way that is just not possible reading from a flat computer screen. Good point!

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  8. Your advice is spot on. Because of consistent daily blogging, just as many people read posts I make a couple of years ago than they do today. And, of course, the only way to develop a 'voice' is constant writing. Bless you, Alana, for all you do for others.

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    1. You aren't too shabby at "everything you do", either, Francene.

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