Tag Archives: Blogging Tips

Top 5 Blogging Tips

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Top 5 Blogging Tips

It’s been estimated that 80% of blogs fail. I got that wonky statistic from a website that helps people earn money from their blogs. I think they’re saying that 80% of professional bloggers are disappointed with their blogging income.

But many of us don’t even try to earn money by blogging. We’re more interested in sharing ideas. For us, failure is feeling like we’re not being heard. If no one is visiting or following our blogs, we wonder if we should even bother continuing. If you google what percentage of blogs are abandoned, the number is more like 95%.

So, how can we remain among the 5-20% of blogs that succeed? It’s about commitment and quality. How do we get there?

Choose a focus. Why are you blogging? Is blogging how you keep family and friends up to date on what’s happening in your world? Is your blog your forum for sharing your thoughts and opinions about deep topics? Do you have something to sell? Or do you have expertise in a certain field that you’re willing to share? My own reason for blogging is to build a fan base. I have several books in the works, and it would be nice if there were already people out there who like my writing by the time my books hit the bookstores.

If you want to write about a particular topic, make sure it’s something you foresee keeping your own interest for an extended period. I know I love the arts and the creative process, so that’s my focus. That’s not to say that everything I post has an arts tie-in, but most of my posts do.

Also, once you choose a focus, that doesn’t mean that you can’t pivot to a new one. But help your readers adjust during the transition. When they started following you, they did so with the expectation that your posts would center around a certain theme. Assure them it will still be worth their while to continue to visit you.

Come up with a posting schedule that you can maintain. You don’t have to post every day. I do, because I like to. And I’ve planned it so that most days my posts are quick and easy to come up with. Two days a week I post articles that take several (or many) hours to prepare. But I no longer have a fulltime job outside the home. You might not have the flexibility I do.

In my opinion, once a week is the minimum you should post. Less than that, and it won’t become routine for your followers to visit. You want your readers to look forward to next post, and know when to expect it.

That said, life happens. You may occasionally miss a day or more. If you can, write a short message to your readers. A post entitled “Taking a Break” and saying, “Can’t blog right now. Come back in a week or two. I’ll explain then,” will at least alert your readers that you haven’t forgotten them.

Do your best work. Think about what a reader might enjoy—step-by-step directions for a craft project, a review of the movie you saw last night, a different insight on an issue than what is currently being offered on talk shows—and strive to provide it in an interesting, informative, helpful, amusing, or imaginative way.

If you do your first drafts in Word, take advantage of the spelling and grammar check. Literate people cringe at mistake-ridden posts. They might even neglect sharing your post on their social media if there are too many mistakes.

And before you let your post go live, reread it again in preview format on your site. You may catch some errors that you missed earlier.

Engage with your followers. If someone comments on your post, reply to the comment. Some of my favorite bloggers do this: Gwen Lanning of Deep in the Heart of Textiles and Little Wild Streak; and Donna Kramer of My OBT are both wonderful at acknowledging responses. So is Cee Neuner of Cee’s Photo Challenges. If you enter one of her challenges, she will make every effort to visit your blog and comment on your post. All of these bloggers have thousands of followers, undoubtedly because they show their readers that they care.

I’m not so good about replying. I often can’t think of anything to say in response. Did you know I’m an introvert? I’d much rather write a blog post than call a friend. Yet, when someone comments, I can’t find words.

But I will go take a peek at your blog. I’ve discovered lots of good blogs that way, and if I like your blog, I might feature a post of yours in my Friday Creative Juice feature, or post a link to social media, or mention you in an article like this. WordPress requires that you have a Gravatar to leave a comment on a WordPress blog like mine. I can click on your Gravatar and find a link to your blog. (If your blog isn’t linked to your Gravatar, you should fix that.)

Try not to rant. Unless the focus of your blog is politics or hot button topics, avoid those subjects, please. One of my favorite bloggers (I won’t tell you who) is on the opposite end of the spectrum from me politically. She’s been lied to, and unfortunately, she believes and defends the lies and the liar. She recently made a comment on her blog that I just couldn’t let slide, and I gave the most innocuous reply I could think of, and she blasted me. I unfollowed her for two months. I like her blog too much to stay away forever, though, and I’m back reading it. But I scroll past the political stuff and just read the artistic content I like. Pretty much, if you can’t say something nice about somebody, maybe do what mama said and say nothing at all. Your readers will thank you for it (unless they follow you for that kind of controversy).

In conclusion, if you’re already doing these five things (identifying your focus, posting with consistency, providing quality content, engaging with your readers, and cultivating a positive tone), you’re already a successful blogger in my book. Keep up the good work!

Now it’s your turn. If you consider yourself a successful blogger, to what do you attribute that success? Or are there any other suggestions you can give that will give a blogger an advantage toward success? How do you gauge the success of a blog? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Video of the Week: Blogging Tips

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Guest Post: 9 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid–and the Easy Fixes, by Web Design Relief

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This article has been reprinted with the permission of Web Design Relief.  Whether you’re just starting out or a best-selling author, Web Design Relief will improve your existing website or build you an affordable, custom author website to support your author platform, boost your online presence, and act as a hub for your social media outreach. Web Design Relief is a division of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. Sign up for their free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit the site today to learn more.

Blogging is a smart way for writers to grow their audience. But just because you can write a great short story, poem, or novel doesn’t mean you’ll also be a natural at writing and maintaining an interesting blog. The experts at Web Design Relief know that new bloggers as well as those who have been blogging for a while can make some common mistakes. Here are the 9 biggest blogging mistakes to avoid, along with the easy fixes!

Common Blogging Mistakes To Avoid

Posting Only For Yourself

Your blog is not a diary! While it’s important to enjoy what you write about, your posts must be geared toward a wider audience. Talk about what your audience wants to know—not just what you want to tell them. Your content should be user-focused and educate, instruct, or entertain so visitors will want to return again and again to read your latest blog entry.

Constant Repetition

Your blog posts should make a point. It’s important that they have a point. One thing your post should definitely include is a main point. Do you see how annoying this is to read? While some repetition helps with SEO, don’t get carried away. Be sure to have something meaningful to say without reiterating the same information over and over again and again. The same goes for your blog topics—posts offering a range of topics will be more interesting than fifty-three posts about what to name a particular character.

If you search for your blog topic on the Internet and find thousands of similar blog posts, you might want to consider writing about something else—or choose a new angle for familiar content. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but try to keep your content fresh. If you need some inspiration, check out these forty blog post ideas.

Not Professional Looking

The writing for your blog articles should be conversational and casual, not stiff and formal. But that doesn’t mean you can skip formatting your posts! Your blog style should be professional and consistent. For example, if you title your posts, make sure you title ALL of your posts. Similarly, you should use the same design theme for each post.

Incorrect Length

You shouldn’t try to write a 50,000-word novel on your blog, because no one wants to read an overly long post. But your post shouldn’t be just three or four sentences, either—put something so brief on social media instead! A good rule of thumb is to aim for about 500 to 1,000 words per blog article.

Wrong Font Choices

Your font and the size of the typeface you use can make or break the readability of your blog post. If your text is too small, readers will have to zoom in to see your post. Likewise, using overly large text or fonts will have your visitors scrolling excessively or trying to shrink your posts. Choose a text size that visitors can read without adjusting—12 point often works well.

Avoid fonts that are too decorative, and don’t make your text the same or nearly the same color as your background. You can’t go wrong using Times New Roman or Calibri in black on a white background.

Posting Inconsistently

Whether you post once a month, once a week, or every day, choose a schedule that works for you—and stick to it. If you post every day for a week, then skip two weeks and post once, then don’t post anything for a month, your followers won’t know when to return to read your next installment. Being inconsistent when posting is one of the main ways that blogs lose readers. Use a calendar to plan your posts in advance.

Inaccurate Information

The only thing worse than a “this is old news” blog post is one that’s littered with incorrect information. Unless you are an expert on your topic, you should research your blog articles and include links and references for your readers. Your blog posts are more worthwhile to your audience when based on data that supports your claims. If you post inaccurate information, you risk damaging your credibility with your followers.

Being Unresponsive

When a reader comments on your blog, they’re often hoping to receive a response. When you don’t take the time to interact with your followers and respond to their comments, it limits all future engagement from your audience. Fans who get a response will feel a personal connection with you and your blog and are more likely to return.

If you’re not getting any comments, here are some tips on how to get people to comment on your blog.

Not Proofreading

Your blog article isn’t a casual throwaway piece—it’s an important way to build your audience and connect with your fans. Make sure your blog posts are proofread and edited just as thoroughly as your short stories, essays, poetry, or book. A post filled with typos and poor grammar will reflect poorly on your writing as a whole. A sloppy post will lose readers and leave any visiting literary agents or editors unimpressed.

Blogging can be a fantastic marketing tool and a way to stretch your creative muscles. Avoiding these common blogging mistakes will help you grow a larger audience and effectively engage your readers.

Question: Which blogging mistake do you see most often on blogs?

10 Ways to Give Your Blog a Boost

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10 Ways to Give Your Blog a Boost

If you’ve been blogging awhile, you’ve probably had days when you feel like giving up. It takes too much time, your readership is growing too slowly, you’re not sure if your blog really stands out. You feel like your work doesn’t matter.

But you’re not a quitter, so you decide to stick it out a little longer and try a fresh approach.

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Check out the following suggestions for making your blog even better than it is now, with ideas from some of the best blogs on the web.

  1. Repost some of your best stuff on Medium. Are you aware of Medium? It’s a gigantic blogging community, free to use (although some portions of it are for paying member only). Here’s how to use Medium to boost your own blog. And here am I on Medium. Some people do all their blogging on Medium.
  2. Use keywords strategically. You might need to do a little keyword research.
  3. Research efficiently. Know where to look for facts and figures to authenticate your posts.
  4. Mix it up to keep your blog fresh.
  5. Devise a strategy that will generate topics for you. Here’s one way to do that.
  6. Write killer headlines. Use words that will catch readers’ attention.
  7. Solve the most common blogging problems. Fine tune your concept, write exceptional content, and increase your engagement.
  8. Streamline your productivity. Try batching your posts.
  9. Create special emails for your loyal readers. Many bloggers have newsletters, but don’t let yours be like your Great Aunt Tilly’s annual Christmas letter. Instead, send them something they’ll actually be eager to read.
  10. Share your content on many social media platforms. Here’s how one blogger gets extra mileage from her efforts.

10 Ways to Give Your Blog a BoostI’m assuming that if you’ve read this far, you’re a blogger. Did you find this article helpful? If so, please click the “like” button and share this post on your favorite social media. Do you have something to add? Please share in the comments below. Feel free to illustrate with a link to your blog.