I just had a loyal reader ask me if she should delete her blog. To which I of course say, “Nooooooooooo are you crazy!”
Er, um, I mean unless you really want to.
I understand the sentiment. It’s tough day in and day out to put your heart out there and get very little in response. I do it because I love it. But I had to learn what I liked. And learn why I do it. And then just have fun.
My reader then asked me what I should do to improve her blog. Which is a little like asking someone to decorate your home. What if my style isn’t yours. I’m not a knick- knacky person and hate clutter. ( To which my family will laugh since I always have clutter around me!)
I can offer some pointers though. In no particular order here are some things I thought of…
Define your niche. I used to have more of a mish-mash style, but now my blog is more of a photo, journal kind of blog. I gradually came to this because I found that I loved to experiment and was most excited when I could share my photography. But my sister still asks for more of the kids stuff, so that’s what I put in.
Know why you are doing it. It is for money or hobby? If it’s a hobby then is there some other reason why you are doing it? I quickly realized that I wanted to get better with photography. Some people use it to meet new people or stay in touch with their family.
Be faithful in your posting. If you want the person to get up everyday, drink their coffee and visit you, then you’d better be there.
Look at sites that you want to emulate and learn from them. There is one site in particular that I always go back to. I don’t even care that she doesn’t write back. That should tell you something.
Simplify your blog presentation. When I first started mine was too dark and didn’t have a good spot to put my photos on. As I learned and read other people’s blog, I gravitated to what I liked.
Get to the point- I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to comment on someone’s blog but the post itself rambled too much. If you do tend to ramble, make sure you’re a good writer. I’m not that good.
Insert paragraphs so that your reader can flow through the post.
Be real. When I admit my fears and just write from the heart people listen. Sometimes just forget about punctuation and being clever and just write. Write from the heart.
If you want people to comment then ask a question.
Put it in your email signature.
Think about your blog platform. Think about the name. Investigate Wordpress.com and blogger and type pad and then look at wordpress.org. I had to learn a bit about servers and content management systems to finally get mine the way I wanted. I still plan on changing some things and creating a new blog name. But I knew Drcason.org was something I could work with in the future.
Lighten up. Most people have too dark of a background or have too dark of lettering. It makes it uncomfortable to read.
Visit Barbara at Blogging Without a Blog. She has a personal way of interacting with her followers and really good pointers. Of all the blog about blogs this is my favorite.
Interact with your readers. If you have noticed I have gone back to responding to my comments. I found that when I didn’t take the time to interact with my readers, my stats gradually went down. Who wants to keep visiting with someone who won’t speak back.
Allow yourself to discover what it is you want to say. In other words find your voice. You’ll know it when it comes.
Don’t go widget crazy. More isn’t necessarily better.
Don’t compromise your style. I don’t swear or gossip about my neighbor. I write with my real name and honor my patients and family. I don’t post long clever posts or cruise through my entire reader on a daily basis. I just don’t have the time. But I still enjoy it.
Relax and have fun
Last but not least- Pace yourself-
This last piece of advice, I’m still having a hard time with. I’ve been posting every day for 6 months (Except for one time when I tried to stop in the weekends and *gulp* felt too guilty and then logged on the next day.
I’m going to experiment here and not post on the weekends for the next couple of months. I know, I know, I’ve said this before, but it really is encroaching on my family time. Besides this might give me more time to visit other bloggers as well as more time to do more photography and cooking. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think. Of course I’ll check in and see if anyone has shown up!
Can anyone (Barbara??) think of other advice for a new blogger who wants to improve their stats, comments and site?