This post was originally supposed to just be a list of all the things I’ve learned by blogging, but after looking it over I realized it could just as easily be considered as a guide for newbie bloggers. So if you’re new to blogging, this could be quite the helpful post for you.
And if you’re a blogging veteran (a bleteran!), you should still read this post, because I’m lonely.
1) Comments are the most important thing.
It’s nice getting lots of traffic, but that means nothing if none of them comment. Luckily I learned that right away, and after a few days I stopped spending every moment refreshing the stats page to see if I got a new viewer and focused on the more important things instead.
Comments are a lovely thing. When I get a like or a new subscriber, I think, “Well, that was nice of them,” but I don’t usually check their blogs out. Not to brag or anything (and by that I mean I definitely do want to brag), but I get a lot of those. It’s the comments, however, that make me figuratively jump with joy.
Well, at first it’s joy, but before I click on the notification thingy a whole bunch of conflicting thoughts run through my head. “What if it’s just a spam comment?” “What if it’s a comment saying, ‘This blog sucks, and so do you!’ or something else as cruel?” It’s only when I read the comment twice that I calm down, and when it turns out to be a friendly one, it honestly makes my day.
My advice to new bloggers is this: value comments above all else. And always respond to them, because then they’re more likely to come back.
2) The amount of responses each posts get will surprise you.
Occasionally I write a post and actually think it has a chance of getting Freshly Pressed, or at the very least get a lot of comments. Then it gets a total of two spam comments and a pity like, and I can’t help but feel disappointed.
Then there’s posts that I put barely any effort into and don’t have any hopes for when I publish them. Those are the ones that usually end up at the top of my “Most commented posts” list. It’s really confusing. Luckily, the two types of posts tend to even themselves out.
3) Incredibly obvious self-promoters are incredibly obvious.
Some of them are sneaky and well disguised, but when they like your eight hundred word post twenty seconds after you published it, you know they’re only doing it in the hopes that you’ll check out their blog.
I’ve only done this twice; once when I saw a post titled, “I Hate Shameless Self Promoters,” just for irony’s sake, and the other one was an accident.
Or so I tell people.
Then there’s other people who say things like, “Great post! Check out my blog at _________!” Ignore these people, and never click on the link. At least not until they learn to be more subtle.
4) Make sure to comment on other people’s blogs.
Not for self-promotion, but because you’re actually interested in what the blogger’s saying. Yes, commenting on other people’s sites does help your blog gain more traffic, but that should not be your goal. If you comment for that reason, either two things will happen. 1) He/she will know what you’re trying to do and ignore you, or 2) the conversation will lack depth or any thing memorable.
Plus, commenting is cool. The idea of having a deep conversation with a stranger living in a completely different part of the world as you is something I still can’t entirely get my head around.
5) Try not to write completely off-topic posts.
99% of my posts are always somewhat related to reading and writing, so when I make the mistake of posting about unrelated topics such as snowboarding, it never does well. (Actually, that post didn’t do so bad, but in general, they almost always do.)
6) Don’t let blogging take over your life.
You should always dedicate time to your blog and post consistently (something I’ve shown trouble with in the past), but don’t spend too much of it. If it starts to interfere with school, your social life, your job, or other important parts of your life, you should tone it down a bit. We’ll understand.
Unless you’re doing NaBloWriMo. In that case, ignore this entire point.
7) No matter how much you proofread for typos, there will always be at least one left when you click ‘Publish.‘
It’s a sad fact of life.
Blogging has changed my life in so many positive ways, and I wish I could give something back to it somehow.
Perhaps I’ll get a dog and name him/her “Blogging,” then give him/her all the treats I can afford. Just because….