Over my first year of blogging, I’ve learnt a lot – everything I know, in fact! As I’m now a virtual veteran of the blogging world (nah, not really), I thought that as part of my week-long blog anniversary celebration, I would bring you a few of my top tips. Feel free to let me know your thoughts and add to my list down in the comments or on Twitter (@booksteaonesie, #TopBloggingTips if you fancy it).
Here goes then…
1. Try and reply to all the comments you get.
I used to be amazing at this, although I’m slipping a bit…I always used to end the comment reply with something like “thanks for commenting!”, but I’ve realised that this actually sounds a bit clunky. It also makes it difficult to have extended conversations/fangirling sessions, because it’s like you’re ending the conversation each time. You’ll probably have to go on a case-by-case basis on this one, but fit it in when you can. In a similar vein, sometimes it’s nice to say ‘thanks for the follow’ or whatever, but if you want to do this (and I personally don’t), I would put it on the blogger’s ‘About’ page, just because it won’t really fit in anywhere else.
2. Don’t worry too much about the statistics.
Obviously, your stats get a massive boost when you post a lot, but sometimes it just feels like absolutely no-one is hearing what you have to say – trust me, it goes in phases. Your voice will be heard soon!
3. Don’t worry if you don’t get many responses or answers to questions.
As your blog grows, the comments and likes will too. I know it’s frustrating them, but keep asking them, so that when people do come along, they can answer them!
4. Give credit for everything. Like everything.
Ask other bloggers if you can use they’re ideas (it’s unlikely they’ll disagree, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’ll give them a heads up and probably make them happy that you like their idea enough to want to use it yourself! If you got the pictures from Google, whack a link in there (although it’s always best to try and use free-for-reuse images – you can easily adjust the Google filter to show you only pictures with a certain license). If you got the pics from We Heart It, tell your readers (I don’t know about the licensing on weheartit images, but let me know if you do!).
5. Link, link, link.
I don’t know if people often click on them, but taking those extra couple of minutes to link to a YouTube video you’ve mentioned (you can use YouTube’s short links under the ‘share’ tab below each video) can save people time – I’ll certainly be more likely to listen to a song someone’s mentioned if there’s a link in it than if I have to go and dig it out.
6. Make your posts look and sound interesting.
If you can, find a relevant picture or create a funky graphic. I use either Canva or PicMonkey for graphics, and Gratisography has some amazing photos, free for use with no attribution. Canva also published a list of 74 of the best websites for free stock photos, giving a handy rundown of each sites features. If possible, try and come up with an interesting title too. If you’re writing a book review, use a quote from the book or try making a play on words from the title, like I did with my The Fault In Our Stars post: I’ve Gotten Really Hot Since You Went Blind. You could always just try and write a title that clearly states the book, without just stating the title: for example, I wrote a Harry Potter review post entitled Ladies and Gentlemen, Voldemort Has Left The Building. Titles like these just draw the reader in and make the want to read your post.
7. Try not to worry about “am I an established enough blogger to do…”.
For example, I added a contact page after a few months of blogging, and although it doesn’t generate a huge amount of responses, I have had a few…for example, I had one back in December from Elly, asking about tips for new bloggers. My reply to that email has in fact formed the basis of this post! However, make sure you do reply to any emails you get through that page. There’s no point in having it if you’re just going to ignore the responses it generates! Also, for book bloggers: Ashley posted a really informative post a while back about how to apply for an ARC and maximise your chances of receiving one. If you’re interested, it’s well worth a read!
8. Check for typos!
I’m the kind of person who tends to edit as I write, but either way, check for spelling mistakes and grammar errors before you publish the post. One or two here and there is OK, but scatter-gunned typos don’t make for an easily readable and attractive post!
9. Use tags.
I didn’t discover these for a while after I started blogging, but they are really helpful, both when publishing and reading. Reading and following tags is brilliant for connecting with bloggers with similar interests, whilst using them when writing helps your post to be seen by the right audience – read this post from the Daily Post about the benefits of tagging and how it can help you keep your posts visible for longer.
10. Link to other blogs.
As well as helping you spread the love and share posts you’ve enjoyed whilst giving credit to good bloggers and making other people happy, linking to other blogs (and shamelessly to your own posts, as I’m about to do), helps to bring traffic to your site. For example, I reckon that’s one of the reasons my February wrap up post was so popular (spot the shameless plug?).
11. Participate in challenges.
Whilst you don’t want to bore your readers or burn yourself out, participating in challenges can really help you to expand your readership, as my Poetry 201 experiences showed.
12. Make friends with other bloggers!
This happened fairly naturally with me, but comment on posts you like and make friends with other bloggers – it just makes blogging that much more enjoyable.
13. Do it for you.
Often I’ve internally battled about when to publish a post, juggling wanting to spread out posts and not overloading readers with the excitement of publishing a post I’m really proud of. The decision varies, but I try to keep in mind that I’m not personally doing my blog as a business, so I should just do what I want to do most!