I have been blogging since April, and now that I am officially at the 6 month mark, I have gotten quite a following, and I have a few people on my Facebook who have asked me to give them some advice for beginning a blog. In my limited experience with the subject, I like to think of blogging as the way you eat a Reese’s peanut butter cup: there’s no wrong way. But I will do my best to offer up what works for me as a blogger. And then, to all my friends who have blogs of their own, I would love to hear your advice on beginning a blog.
TIP #1:READ OTHER BLOGS…
I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep in the know by reading other writers’ work. Without the blogs I follow, I would not gain new insight, pay attention to style, and see how actual professional blogs work. The very first blog I read was actually a bridal blog, called Offbeat Bride. Ariel Meadow Stallings (how great is that name?) is the author of the site that has grown into the ultimate mecca for guys and girls that are willing to tread down the “unbeaten aisle.” This blog offers great wit in the writing, fantastic ideas, as well as a different point of view to the traditional “white wedding.” The weddings featured on this site go against the grain, and often have more to do with the actual couple than the event itself. I remember being stuck in bed a couple of summers ago pouring over this site. I didn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg. Simply phenomenal if you are a wedding-loving freak like me.
The next blog I stumbled upon (and read religiously) is a little home blog called Young House Love. I can’t even remember how or why I found this site, but I fell in love with the writers of the blog Sherry and John Petersik (yes, they are married) who are constantly renovating and decorating their home WHILE blogging AND raising their toddler Clara AND playing with a dog they named Burger AND they have a book deal in the works. I don’t think they have enoug on their plate, do you? But they still turn out great posts twice a day on their blog. This is a BIG recommendation if you are looking for some great interior design ideas.
There are additional blogs I follow, but those are the main two. On all the blogs I follow, I comment on as many posts as I can. You connect with people there, possibly open yourself up to more readers, but more importantly…more ideas.
TIP #2: BLOG ABOUT WHAT YOU LOVE!
Here is my problem with some blogging advice sites. They recommend to sticking to one subject: i.e. interior design, taking care of kids, weddings, cooking, real estate, etc. But I can’t be put in a box! I have blogging A.D.D. No, really, I do! Some days I feel like talking about fixing up the Treehouse, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I get obsessed with wedding planning and want to write a post about that, and other days I want to set bridal magazines on fire. The best piece of advice I ever received for blogging: write about what you’re passionate about. If your hobby becomes actual work to keep it up, then why are you even bothering anymore? I only write about what makes me excited and it shows in the finished product. If I don’t feel like blogging at all one day, I don’t. I would rather have a “barren” blog day than one where the post is crappy.
TIP #3: KEEP YOUR PRIVATE LIFE…PRIVATE!
This year has been a mess for me. But you would never know it from the blog. Want to know why? Because I keep the drama of what’s going on in my life OFF THE BLOG! When you start bogging down your beautiful creation, something you created to relieve stress with “she said this” and “he did that,” it’s no longer a creative outlet; it’s now a bitch blog. And nobody likes bitch blogs. That’s all I will say about that. Okay, one more thing…KEEP IT POSITIVE. Unless you want negative readers coming to your blog. Good begets good, bad begets bad.
TIP #4: KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO WRITE ABOUT IN ADVANCE
When I first started writing Living Young and Wild and Free, there were some days I had no idea what I was going to write, which led to writer’s block and several days of scratching my head and not blogging at all. If you really want to become a blogger, you need to set up a schedule for a) When you’ll post and b) What the post will actually be about a week in advance. I carry a handy little book around with me that I joy down blog ideas on when I am out and about. Serves me quite well. You don’t have to post everyday to be a good blogger. Just create some continuity so readers will know when to come back. Sporadic posts create less readers.
TIP #5: PICTURES!
I am pretty sure I annoy the mess out of my friends and family whenever I go anywhere, because I always have to pause and say, “Hang on, I want to get a picture of this for the blog.” The blog is a photo-hungry monster, I tells ya! But most people are very visual. I bet most of you guys are just looking at the pretty pictures right now and aren’t even reading what I am writing down…let’s test this theory. Boogadee Boogadee Boo! If you are actually reading this, reply with KooKoocachoo in the comments box. My point is, you need pictures for your blog to gain at least a smigeon of a following. And just to prove that point, I am not posting any pictures here. Boring, isn’t it?
Well, boys and girls, that’s all I have for today. What blogging tips do you have to share? What blogs do you read regularly (besides mine…blush)?