Recently beginning bloggers have been on my mind a good bit and then last night at. St Louis bloggers meet up, I met Christina from Homemade Ocean. She had lots of enthusiasm and questions. Whitney from Cafe Mocha Reflections was there too and although she had more experience, questions remained.
Next thing I knew the early happy hour had turned into us closing down the restaurant as Danielle Smith of Extraordinary Mommy and I tried to share some of our experiences. It reminded me that I recently had pulled out some tips for beginning bloggers that I have shared in various places so I am putting the post together finally. and you can see from the photo, we enjoyed trading stories & tips!
My Basic Blogging Tips
Leading the discussion around basic blogging for the AgChat Foundation a couple of years ago, I would prepare handouts. Recently, as they held the regional conference, I pulled this out for this year’s speakers.
Key Components of Your Blog
- Audience Definition (who you really want to reach & ways to engage them)
- Current stream – break posts (read more) so a new visitor can see several posts quickly
- Have an “about you” page to help them get to know the author – other pages? (disclaimer, etc)
- Some customization of the blog design through photos, etc
- Consider the widgets you use as resources for readers, especially use navigational options in widgets – archives, key word search, recent posts, etc.
- Post to all your social media channels
- Use autofeeds wisely – tags for Twitter, pointing to friends on your Facebook page, etc
- Subscriptions through blog
- Email signature is a great way to share.
- Post to other sites that have an interest – pages/groups on FB that share that interest
- Do unto other bloggers as you would have them do unto you (comment, like, blogroll connections, send them traffic, etc)
- Make accessible in wording, vocabulary, etc.
- Encourage interaction on the blog
- Use categories & tags – categories link within your blog whereas tags link to others on the service (wordpress, blogspot, etc.)
- Clear headlines help you show up in search engines – creativity great for tweets, etc, use photos and give them descriptive names & alt text, use headings within longer posts
- Save drafts with just an idea or two when you get them, go back & write more later (great mobile applications/access for this)
- Mixture of timely & timeless
- Try to have two posts (or more) a week, maybe look at whether a series is something you can do regularly (a great example of a series that fits is Beyer Beware’s hunk of meat Monday)
- Bring posts back up when makes sense (for instance @GilmerDairy had #moo post back out on first anniversary because lots of people had joined Twitter since #moo trended)
- Know what’s available (from host, Google webmaster, etc)
- Watch to see what is working (some days get better traction, publish key posts those days)
- Play around with keywords at times
A Few WordPress Specific Tips
- Go to “tools” and use them
- Use “press this” on WordPress on your toolbar to highlight & amplify news (find it in settings for writing to add it to your toolbar)
- Post by email or phone lets you do something simple while you are on the go
- Apps available for mobile devices are useful, use for simple posts or drafts for posts with more formatting.
A month or so ago, there was a #BlogChat on things we wish we had known when we started blogging. I thought that could be helpful to some new bloggers and I saved my tweets.
Good one! MT @CTrappe: Give photos, etc., descriptive names so you can find them later. Dont save as PHOTO1 #blogchat
I wish I’d known from the start to go self-hosted. At the time free sounded good but later it was a hassle to move #blogchat
I wish I had also taken more time to think about what I’d blog about & be more selective setting up categories #blogchat
Another thing I wish I’d known? How to network with other bloggers, but folks in #blogchat already see that LOL #blogchat
RT @DigitalMktgGirl: I wish someone would have told me that it’s not just about content. It has to be easy to navigate! #blogchat
one of the networking things I didn’t know too RT @ChloeJeffreys: I should have been a better commenter on other peoples blogs.#blogchat
Wish I had known how important posting consistency was. I really was haphazard at first, consistency later #blogchat
Wish I’d know about smart linking. Used to link to things like “my earlier post” instead of “how cotton is grown” @MackCollier#blogchat
@Yogitastic I have too many categories that I’ve only used a few times. Could have made bigger buckets on some, smaller on other#blogchat
Yeah, what you said RT @MackCollier: @JPlovesCOTTON You mean linking to descriptive terms to tell Google what the link is about? #blogchat
I think its interesting that looking through the tweets some make me think “that was me” others I think “lucky I avoided that” #blogchat
Wish I’d known that simple promo like email signatures, blog business cards, etc could really help gain audience #blogchat
Wish I had known that the quickly written posts “in the heat of the moment” can be the most well-received. #blogmore #blogchat
I wish I had a clue about how much people search the internet for the basics on cotton (my niche) Took a while to learn that #blogchat
Still more 🙂 RT @wordwhacker: And then more still. RT@CollinKromke: Learn as much as you can about SEO. Then learn some more. #blogchat
YES! I do! RT @BeckyMcCray: When I started blogging, I wish Id known where to go looking for other bloggers. Follow smart people.#blogchat
Took a while to learn if embedding a video I should put enough text there for search engines to know what is in the post #blogchat
wish I’d known how many family members & friends would find it interesting (personal blog so that’s a good thing LOL) #blogchat
simplicity rocks RT @AllieRambles: Have a good URL that is not trendy, too long or misunderstood, I made that mistake. #blogchat
@StephLibo make sure your comments and tweets aren’t all about you — make them mostly about others #blogchat
BIG ONE!!! RT @DebWeinstein: Advice from #SOcialceo @AVV — Dont feed the trolls. #blogchat
Really like @Quora RT @DigitalMktgGirl: Using Quora for blog ideas has been the best thing Ive discovered since I began blogging#blogchat
@wendypgreene it is one outlet for writing, also important to network, listen, etc #blogchat
Yes. Have seen folks burned RT @wordwhacker: IMPORTANT: Own your blog. Own your URL. Its the only thing on the Web you can own. #blogchat
Important point RT @AllieRambles: Never, ever steal content or images. If you use someone elses stuff reference them. #blogchat
RT @MattLBrennan: Agreed! RT @wordwhacker: Your best blog investment? A phone with a good camera. ABS = Always be shooting. #blogchat
RT @problogger: #9 Do GOOD with your Blog (make the world a better place than when you found it)#ThingsIWishIdKnownWhenIStarted #blogchat
Everyone, don’t forget these great minds tweet all week, give the folks you listened to a follow #gettingmyfollowonnow 🙂 #blogchat
What do you think beginning bloggers should know?
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