Ashley from Precious Moments recently nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award with the question, "Why did you start blogging?" I thought this would be a fun opportunity to answer her question and offer a few tips, which I hope will prove useful to new bloggers.
My blog began as a place where I could voice my opinionated political views. I quickly branched out to include devotionals, book reviews, photography, and posts about interesting experiences and places. My advice in an early post on my first time welding in 2012 is advice I still give myself and others today: "Don't be afraid to try new things; you may make many mistakes, but never give up!"
Here are a few pointers I've learned. I'd appreciate any other useful blogging tips and advice in the comments.
Your content is most important. Post often or you'll be forgotten. Apologies and excuses for not posting do not interest people. Be persistent and original. Many people start great blogs but quit. Never give up if you want to succeed.
1. Don't complicate your layout with too many colors, designs, or fonts. Simplicity counts!
2. Leave my mouse cursor alone! I like it how it is...not as a puppy or snowflake.
3. Normally, avoid automatic music. Let the reader decide whether he/she wants to listen (click play) or not.
4. Incorporate a read-more break if you write long posts. Allowing new readers to see many subjects without scrolling too far will multiply their chances of finding something of interest.
Comments + Followers
1. Turn off word verification for comments. It is annoying to have to decipher illegible letters and numbers. People come to read your content, not train as spies. Alternatives: turn on moderation or disable anonymous comments.
2. Use Blogger, not Google+, as your comment platform. It is more popular and accommodating.
3. Make sure you're not a no-reply blogger. Gail recently persuaded me to stop being a no-reply blogger, and I found that many of my comments weren't intentionally ignored after all!
4. Offer many following options to accommodate readers: Google Friend Connect, email, Bloglovin, Google+, and Networked Blogs. At the very least, make sure you have GFC.
5. If someone comments or follows your blog, return the favor! It takes effort from both sides to create a friendship.
Your blog is a reflection of your life. Use it as an excuse to explore and enjoy life to the fullest. Keep in touch with the people you meet. One idea I adopted from Debbie at It's All About Purple is blog business cards. I can easily give them to the interesting people I write about, so they can read about themselves.
Link-ups are a great way to meet bloggers. Best of all, there's a link-up for everyone. The only two I've participated in are Good Fences, where you can find photos of fences from around the world, and Wild Bird Wednesday. A list of other link-ups is at my Resources page. Blogging awards and giveaways can also be fun ways to get acquainted.
Find Your Own Blogging Family
If you comment and show interest in the blogs of others, they'll return the favor, right? Not always. You need to find your own niche/family of like-minded bloggers.
When I first started, I visited fashion, craft, Christian devotional, Catholic, political, international travel, homeschool, newlywed, family, and student blogs. I found a few great blogging friends including Paige (fashion), Gabriela (Catholic newlywed), and Cryslyn (devotional/photography), but for the most part I didn't fit in. Each niche has awesome people, but if you're not one of them, you may be ignored.
Finally I found gold when I ran across the blogs of adventurers, photographers, humorists, and nature lovers who like to see the beauty in everything, however small, just like I do. They hold a firm but maturely beautiful perspective on life, and have become my "blogging family," always offering encouragement and kind words for which I'm grateful.
Thanks for the award, Ashley! Check out Precious Moments to read her cheery Attitude of Gratitude posts!
All of my dear readers are nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award; feel free to answer here or at your own blog:
What inspired you to start blogging?
What pointers and tips would you add (or subtract)?