It has been a year since I began this blog and I feel like I have learned a lot. I’ve managed to gain readers from all over the globe, made friends with so many other booklovers, and finally learned to enjoy writing again. Since the whole point of a blog is to share things with others, I figured I should share some of the things I have learned in hopes that it will help someone new to the blogging world.
- Spellcheck. We all make mistakes when typing, and even the best authors need a little help to ensure that their message gets across. If English (or whatever language you are writing in) isn’t your first language then spellchecking is even more important, as readers aren’t always willing to try to puzzle their way through a bunch of errors.
- Proof read. A sentence that seem to make sense as you are writing could end up being a long-winded mess when you read it back to yourself. Proofreading also allows you to catch those words that spellcheck didn’t flag because they were spelled correctly but might not have been the word that you wanted. Autocorrect is the enemy. Don’t let it win.
- Stockpile ideas. Most successful bloggers seem to have a backlog of post ideas waiting in the wings. Great post ideas don’t always come to us at the best time. Jotting down one or two lines while you are on the go will help remind you when you finally get a chance to sit down and write.
- Format your posts, and keep it consistent. We all have different styles and your blog should reflect who you are, but make sure you keep it consistent. If you like italicized book titles or pictures on the right, make sure that you continue to use this style throughout your blog. Your readers will begin to recognize your unique style which sets yours apart from the other blogs they follow. It also makes your job easier when you plan your next post.
- Get to know your community. The blogging world is a vast and wonderful place, and there are a lot of amazing people sharing their passions with the world. Find your people and read what they have have to say. You might notice a trend in your chosen audience that could help drive traffic to your blog, such as a weekly meme or another popular type of post.
- Engage with other bloggers. Just reading other blogs isn’t enough to drive traffic to your site; you have to engage. Even if you just “Like” their post, you’ve taken a step in the right direction. Leaving a comment gives you a far greater chance of a reciprocal visit. If you start following their blog, your odds get even better. If you are lucky enough, they may even start following your blog. But don’t get frustrated if they don’t respond or follow you back right away. If you like what they are writing just enjoy the posts and maybe one day they will decide to check out what you have to say.
- Be polite. Unless your blog is known for it’s “in your face” attitude, the fastest way to lose a reader is by being rude. Whatever your blog is about, readers will likely want to talk to you about it. Book bloggers should expect reading recommendations, just like food bloggers should expect restaurant recommendations, travel bloggers should expect destination recommendations, and so on. Even if someone leaves a rude comment for you, that doesn’t mean you have to be rude back. Be the better person; thank them for their visit and move on.
- Use the free resources available to you. Most of your readers are going to have social media accounts. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another great new social media trend, there are so many ways to reach your readers. Create user profiles for your blog on all the social media sites you feel comfortable using and let people know about them. That friend from highschool who you only have on Facebook may never join WordPress or Blogger, but you might be able to get them to click a link from their Newsfeed, which is one more reader than you had before.
- Ask your friends for help. If you are struggling with ideas for posts, or can’t seem to motivate yourself to write something, asking for help from a fellow blogger or a friend who likes to write can be very rewarding. They might have an idea that you never would have thought of on your own, or maybe you can team up to do something together that would generate blogging material. You might even be able to convince them to write a guest post or two!
- Don’t give up just because you don’t meet your own blogging expectations! There are only a few bloggers who have actually been able to make it into a career. Most blogs aren’t going to get thousands of visits per day, but that doesn’t mean that your blog isn’t great. Enjoy yourself and others will enjoy reading what you have to write. And if you need to take a break, that’s okay! Take all the time you need, because we will all be here when you get back. And of course, HAVE FUN!
Do you have any great blogging tips to share? Leave a comment!