Blogging Lessons that I learned the HARD WAY:
1) Do not Comment Vomit (thank you Melissa for this phrase! Love)
This is a great post by Melissa from Blog Clarity is a must read. She hits the nail on the head with this post & it was something that I learned the hard way in the first few weeks of blogging. Basically, don’t leave comments asking people to come visit your blog, linking back to one of your posts, giveaways, etc.
Bloggers write blog posts for the community that blogging gives people & they want to know their time isn’t being wasted. So be genuine when you leave comments & people will be genuine with back. It’s a simple mistake, but it’s also easily rectified. And once this mistake is fixed it can be such a game changer for your blog, growing readership, & most importantly, meeting new people!
2) Have a good design & keep it simple.
Try to keep your blog layout simple. People come to a blog to read posts, so make sure the post is the main feature of your blog & that they aren’t getting lost in a cluttered sidebar. I used to have really messy designs with a lot in the sidebar. It was hard to read my posts because it was hard to FIND my posts. Keep it simple & people will come!
If you want to invest in a design, find a few blogs who have great designs that catch your eye & see who designed them, there is usually a link somewhere on the blog linking back to the designer. Contact those designers & see what their prices are, their terms of service, & have them answer your questions. If you want to work with them, hire them! You will never regret investing some money in your blog, especially if this is something that you plan on growing. Here’s a great blog post to read on How to Choose a Blog Designer.
Here is a great e-book resource list for improving your blog. Be sure to check out: Do it yourself Blog Critique. It’s REALLY amazing & helps you get all your ideas down!
3) Invite people to guest post & submit your work to be featured on other blogs.
There was a blogger I loved to read who had turned her blog into something really great. We had started around the same time & I couldn’t figure out what she was doing differently than I was. Her blog seemed to be growing at an exponential rate & while mine was growing, it wasn’t growing at the speed I want it to. So instead of sulking I looked at what she was doing. She was brilliant about asking people to come write on her blog AND she was great about getting her content on other blogs & websites.
The simplicity is genius. When you invite someone to write at your blog, your blog is introduced to new readership. When you guest post on another blog or site, you are allowing your SEO to grow and introducing your blog to a whole new audience. Trust me, don’t learn this a year into blogging like I did. Get this down in your first few weeks & you will be golden!
The best part about swapping guest posts is that you really do meet some amazing people this way & it’s great to blog with people you really care about.
4) Don’t overdo it.
I did too much those first two years that I blogged. WAY TOO MUCH! I went from being a blogger to a blog designer & it wore me out. I was putting 40 hours a week into my blog, it became a very very big time suck. And when something becomes a time suck, it isn’t fun anymore. When it becomes a “job” instead of something you genuinely enjoy, you probably shouldn’t do it anymore. I allowed blogging about my family to overshadow my actual family.
Taking time away may be hard, but it might also be the right thing to do. I took my entire second pregnancy plus a year off of blogging. Enjoyed not answering emails, tweets, Facebook posts, comments. I enjoyed not dreading checking my email. Don’t let yourself get so far in that you’re miserable. Keep the perspective!
5) Don’t rush into blogging.
I rushed the process of blogging. I decided I wanted to blog, so I didn’t even think about my name, what my goals were, or why I was even blogging in the first place. I jumped in headfirst & went with it. That works for some people, but with some hindsight I wish that I had taken my time to really discover what I wanted my blog to be & what I wanted it to evolve into.
I have a second blog that I didn’t rush. I spent months considering a name, the goals & purpose of the site. What I wanted to be in the present & what I wanted it to turn into for the future. I knew eventually that what I really wanted was for the site to grow into a place where a community of bloggers were sharing about the beauty in their lives. I doubt myself a lot less over there than I ever did here, because I took my time. Don’t be afraid to do the same!
I recommend getting out a sheet of paper, write “ME” in the middle & then write all the things that represent you. I promise promise promise that will help you come up with a good sense of what you think your blog should be about. If you’ve already jumped into blogging, it is never too late to do this! You can always hit “refresh” on your goals, it’s your blog after all!
What are blogging mistakes you have made, fixed & they have improved your blog??? What are some things you know you should change?