Hey guys, Maggie here. I'm so excited to be guest posting for Anna today! When Anna e-mailed me asking if I was interested in guest posting, I knew immediately I wanted to do a list post. I've always loved writing lists and getting my thoughts out, so after a little bit of thinking about what all of you would enjoy reading, I came up with this list of blogging tips! I hope you enjoy.
1. Be original
I can't tell you how annoying it is to find a copy cat. People have taken my posts, pictures, and even pieces of my blog design. Even though the wonderful Laney is behind the design of this site, I am sure if she pulled up the blog that stole her design from my site would make her just as frustrated as I was. There is something about being original. My blog design boldly wears pink. If you think my blog design is bold, then you obviously haven't seen the pictures of my room which is purple through and through. Bold colors, vintage, modern, whimsy, is me! It's who I am. It's what I love.
2. Stick to a topic
The other day I was commenting on some new blogs. As I was scrolling through one of the blogs the topics where every where. Fashion, every day life, pictures, picture how to's, annoying things about Facebook, and the list went on and on. Not only where the posts scattered, but my brain was scattered. What was this blog about anyways? This particular blog was supposed to be about a girl's everyday life in the country, but from what I was reading I didn't see anything about the country. When you decide to open a blog, find a main topic and stick with it. Whether fashion, design, photography, baking, or everyday life, that's what you main posts should be about.
3. Declutter--and often too
I can't tell you how many blogs I have opened, taken a glance at the screen, gotten a pounding headache, and then quickly X-ed out. That might be a little extreme, but you have got to understand that two sidebars stuffed full of crap--sorry, but it's true--takes people's eyes off of your posts and onto those cluttered, overly filled sidebars. Yuck! Take some time every once and a while to look at what's in your side bar and decide if you really need 20,000 blog buttons and all of those awards cluttering your valuable space. Remember, when you post something on your blog, you want your readers to read the post not look at all of the junk in the sidebars.
4. Follower Friendly
There are lots of girls who whine and moan in there posts that they have no followers and don't get new ones very often. Sometimes I have to reread their sentence because when I got to there blog I didn't even see that they have a followers icon. Stick your followers gadget either A. Under your header or B. At the top of your sidebar. Not only will your followers number grow, but you will have a findable followers gadget which of coarse takes us back to A, to give you more followers.
5. Get to the point
A post titled Random or Sick, even Dog, doesn't make me want to stop by your blog and read. Seeing the word random lets me know that when I stop by I am going to be reading 6 paragraphs of randomness squished together in a very unorganized manor. When you make a blog title, get to the point. For instance, Olivia over at ofHorsefeathers recently wrote a post titled: Olive Tree had an Identity Crisis. You wouldn't believe how fast I clicked on the link to hop on over and read because the title drew me in.
6. Be yourself
I can't explain how quickly I have become a professional at figuring out if girl's are being themselves on their blogs or if it is a big, jumbled mess of post ideas taken from the bloggers that they admire. Even though their posts impressed you, you need to come up with original ideas. Yes--I get inspiration from other bloggers. There is no such thing as an original story line, let alone blog post, any more. It's the way that you write it, use pictures, and "frame" your post as I call it, that makes your blog you. I'm not saying to think, "Oh hey, Maggie just said to take ideas from people!" That's not what I mean. I read posts, I get inspiration whether from a good quote, great photos, or for the theme of a post I hope to get around to writing.
7. Don't become obsessed
Yes, all of us want to get tons of comments and have the best blog out there, but don't become obsessed with that. Blogging shouldn't be the thing you think of when you wake up, the thing that fills your mind during ballet class, or something you that you stress over because you couldn't come up with an idea a post one day. Really, it's a day. Your blog will be fine. Don't obsess over your blog. When you become obsessed, your posts show the strain, your pictures are taken in a frantic manor, and often those little spelling and grammar errors are completely overlooked. Enjoy blogging. Take a deep breath. And most importantly, don't stress. Better blog=bigger following=more comments. Frantic blog=less followers=less comments. Remember that.
8. No text speak
im rlly bsy 2day sono blogger 4 me.
Um...excuse me? What was that? I don't know what you are trying to say?
Text speak is not the answer to all of your problems. Even though you might find it time consuming to write out your post without using a gtg here or a lol there, it saves your readers from attempting to translate and then leaving because they got frustrated. Leave the text speak for your cell phone and Facebook chat. That's where it belongs, so leave it there!
9. Don't disappear
Back in June, right after my blog first started, I learned this the hard way. As I set out for church camp, I didn't even think to write and schedule posts for that week and finding guest posters didn't even cross my mind. Little did I know my blog had already picked up quite the following and when I got back from camp and checked my e-mail I was greeted by a little note that read, "Hey Maggie! Is everything okay? I hope you aren't dead. You haven't posted in forever and that's not like you!"
So now I know, when you leave and won't be around for a little while, let your readers know so that they aren't worried that a pack of hungry wolves had you for their supper last night.
10. Make a community--spread the word
The only way to gain followers is to let people know that your blog exists. People won't know that if you just post and don't tell any one. So comment on blogs, participate in blog hops, host giveaways, and find and follow new blogs. In the end, your not only will your followers count drastically go up, but so will the number of people who stop by your blog every day.
11. Make me feel. Make me visualize. Make me keep reading.
In your posts, make your readers see and feel things. Whether it's an emotion or a wonderful description of how beautiful the lake was last night, allow your readers to get lost in your posts so that they can't stop reading. There are many wonderful blogs out there that feature posts that have a beautiful description of a sunset along with breathe taking pictures to follow. After you get wrapped up into the pictures, the blogger swiftly moves onto the next topic and you feel gently swept up because a change in the post didn't suddenly hit you if you know what I mean.