Sunday, October 20, 2013

Seven mistakes I made in the first seven years of blogging...

The other week on the Blogtacular Twitter chat we were discussing thngs we had learned about blogging. I have been blogging for 7 years, but I have spent the majority of that not having no idea what I was doing. In fact only about three months ago did I actually really start to "get" it. Here's seven things I learned the hard way...

(1) Buy your own domain
It doesn't cost a lot but it makes you look so much more professional, it's easier to tell people your address and it gives you the power to move platforms without losing your address.I only bought my domain in July of this year and having built up a good google pagerank I had to go back to zero with my new domain.

(2) Network 
When I started blogging I honestly believed I could just write a blog and people would find it without me doing anything, but that does not happen! To find an audience you need to be active on social media, take part in link parties and comment on people's blogs. This is not as calculated as it sounds though. Doing those things has made my blogging life richer and helped me discover some inspirational people online

(3) Make all your social media photos the same
This is so simple and so obvious, but a lot of people don't do it. Your photo is your visual representation, much like a companies logo. People may forget your name, but chances are they will recognise your image, so don't keep them guessing if the "you" they have found on Instagram is the same "you" as on Twitter

(4) Don't try and put too much in a post
New bloggers do this all the time, then they feel they have to dedicate a whole day to writing up everything that happened in the last fortnight. Write more frequently and write less. Photos and a few words can speak volumes.

(5) Make your photos big and bright
When I first started blogging the advice was not to make blog posts too photo "heavy" because of download speeds, so I had lots of diddy little images which were hard to see. Now those days are long gone, so make your photos big and bright. If you need to brighten them up use picmonkey. Most of the images on this blog are technically slightly over-exposed, but it's deliberate and makes them much nicer to look at.

(6) Get a decent blog header
I read somewhere that your blog header should be able to tell a new reader straight away what kind of blog to expect, I think this is good advice, but remember don't make your header so huge that it gobbles up all the "above the fold" space.

(7) Invest in design
If you want to take blogging seriously (and by that I mean you want to make any money from it directly or indirectly) ether invest serious time in researching blog design, or invest money in someone doing it for you. A bad design is the number one reason I don't bother to follow a blog.

Like this? Let me know and I might write a part two...

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  1. Seven reasons I read or don't read a blog...
    1. The topics are banal or repetitive
    2. The blog is months without an update
    3. I don't relate to the values, moral compass of the writer (you can tell a lot about a person in a blog)
    4. The photos are poorly taken or unclear
    5. The blog is designed to "sell" me something all the time - I like it if a blogger says up front that the post is sponsored. And sponsored posts should not be more than once a week or every two weeks. I don't mind them - they are a source of income but I don't read blogs that are endless sponsored posts.
    6. The blogger is not genuine - one of the reasons I read blogs is to understand myself through the experiences of others. When I relate I often post out of an emotional connection.
    7. The blog is not about topics I have an interest in - when I get hooked and #3 and #6 are in sync with me I can often look past #7.
    That being said this is one of my favourite blogs - I found it by accident and for whatever reason it resonated with me - I have one or two others I follow as well, but not many for all the above reasons.

  2. need all the info i can get , thanks

  3. I only started blogging in April and this is great information. I particularly like the 'don't try and put too much in a post'. All of my posts so far have been quite long (more than 300 words), but I'm struggling to come up with new ideas at the moment. I'm hoping I'll get my mojo back soon but in the meantime I may add a few slightly shorter posts with perhaps more photos. Thanks for sharing your information :-)

  4. Hi Clare! You've given some spot-on advice! I wish I had known it when I first started blogging more than 3 years ago, but I've learned with the passing of time. My problem is keeping things short--I really try to, but sometimes it's not always easy.

  5. All great tips I would definitely agree with. I would add think carefully about the name too. I rushed into mine & it's too long, I'm thinking about shortening it so I don't have to change everything. Know what you mean about photos too, mine have all got progressively bigger over the past 2 years. Picmonkey is fab - just wish they would bring out an iPad app x

  6. I agree with everything you say and have been guilty of almost all of these over the last 5 years. Recently though I've had lots of opportunities come to me from my blog so I must be doing something right now.

  7. I'm new to blogging and have been doing a lot of my own research to try and suss out how this whole thing works. This has been such a helpful post, some of the things that more experienced bloggers know instinctively are not done isn't always so obvious to a newbie. Thanks for the insight!


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