Lots of people still don’t understand blogging. Some see it as a sort of online diary, which it can be. Others see it as living your life online, which it can also be. Personally, I see blogging as a way of sharing what I’m doing, learning new skills & being part of a community. And that’s why I do it, because I enjoy those kind of things. If you’re thinking of starting a blog or just want to know more about it, here are a few tips.
- Blog because you want to and write about what you like. When you’re in a bit of a blogging funk or you just aren’t feeling it, don’t push it. It’ll come across in your writing. If I’m finding it difficult to write a blog post and it’s just not flowing, then I don’t even bother saving it as a draft. If it’s difficult to write, it’s not going to be enjoyable for my readers.
- Blogging is harder & more time consuming than it looks. When I first started, I read a few blogs regularly, but I’d never even thought about how much time it actually takes. Not only do you have to come up with something to write about, you have to put the words down, take pictures, edit them, think about SEO, add all the tags, description & keywords etc. Then you need to share it via social media without it being boring to the people who follow you there. There’s also proof reading & previewing it to make sure it looks okay. It can take an absolute age, though some posts take less time than others. Plus, I’m not a perfectionist. My OH, who blogs over on Coffeisseur, is a real wordsmith and will often point out any typos I might have on my posts. But that kind of thing doesn’t worry me. I know it probably should, but I’ve noticed typos on the BBC website so I know I’m in good company!
- I use WordPress as my blogging platform and am self-hosted with 1&1, though I will be moving to Krystal because their support is amazing! WordPress is a great free blogging platform that can do a lot and you can change & improve your site as your blogging skills grow. There are also lots of great online communities that can help you out if you have a problem, need people to bounce ideas off or just to connect with. Blognix is a great blogging community. They’re on Twitter, Facebook & G+, where they hold regular hangouts. There are also quite a few G+ communities that are worth checking out, including Blogging UK and Craft Blog UK for craft bloggers. The number of Twitter chats for blogging seems to grow weekly. I don’t take part in these very often, as I find Twitter chats quite overwhelming and I try not to spend too much time online during the evening, as I spend all day online! (Am starting to wonder if my eye checks & glasses can be considered an expense!)
Okay, here are a couple of pet hates I have about some blogs & websites in general:
- Pop up boxes. Whether it’s to sign up to a conference, a newsletter, the blog in general or worse, a bloomin’ advert, I HATE pop up boxes & it’s a surefire way for me to close that tab & never return. Why? Because if I’ve visited that site, it’s because I want to see what’s on it. If I have to click about 5 times before I can get to that content, I’m out. I’m busy! Life is short! Don’t make me click unnecessarily, just give me the good stuff!
- Continue reading links. Lots of people use a reader to manage the blogs that they read. I use Bloglovin’ because it’s easy to use & I like it. However, if you’ve got the ‘Click to continue reading’ setting on, and I have to go to the actual site, I’m not going to read that post. Why? Because I read a lot of blogs & I want the post right there in front of me. If I have to click again to continue reading it, I’m not gonna! I understand why some people have it, so people have to go directly to that post to read it and it helps you see what posts are more popular than others, etc etc, but for me, it’s a big turn off.
- A crowded blog. Whether it’s adverts that automatically play music, a site that’s cluttered and cramped or it’s got a really busy background, then I’m probably not going to be a regular reader. Why? It hurts my eyes/ears! I look at a computer screen all day. If I’m reading your blog, it’s because I like what you’re writing. Don’t spoil it with a website that looks like it was made in the 90’s!
Obviously, how your blog looks & feels is down to you. But while you might write for yourself, it’s always good to think about the reader perspective so it’s well worth considering that & looking at it from their perspective.
Okay, I’ve been blogging for a few years now and I have some questions that I need some help with! I’d love to know your thoughts:
- How often do you tweet about a blog post? I only tweet about a blog post once (I also post it on my Facebook page & add it to my Google+ page when I remember). I’ve seen other bloggers tweet about it 3 – 4 times on the day that it’s published, but I’ve also seen other bloggers tweet about one post 12 – 13 times over the course of a few days. Can you tweet about your blog too much?
- Is there such a thing as blogging too much? Depending on time & inspiration, I’ll blog about 5 times a week, but is that too much? There are lots of blogs out there, so will people have the time to read all those posts?
- How much attention should I be paying to my stats & analytics? I’ve got Google Analytics, but to be honest, I don’t really look at it. I look more closely at my Jetpack stats on my blog, but they don’t affect what I write about. Should I?
I’d love to know your thoughts on blogging. If you’ve written about yours today or would like to share your views, just post in the comment section below!