[At the request of a lovely reader, we wanted to start giving more advice to new bloggers who are just getting started. We’re kicking off this new category with posts this week from the veterans on things they wish they’d known when they started blogging! Just consider us your we’d-totally-give-you-our-IDs-when-you-went-away-to-college big sisters. Love, The Hollaback Girls]
I just celebrated my blog’s first anniversary (as in, I still have blog birthday cake left) and I can’t believe it’s only been a year! I learned A TON in this first year of blogging. I’ve had many a head-scratching moment, had many a writer’s block, and had way more instances of blog-related hyena face* than I can possibly number.
I’ve loved every second of my year of blogging…. except when pictures wouldn’t load and I pressed cancel and accidentally deleted a post once or twice, that is.
I’ve made some great friends and found an awesome group of blog friends over this past year, but when I started… Crickets. I had no one to talk to about blogging.
So, in the spirit of fairy godmothers of the kindly, Disney variety (but hopefully foxier!), here are five things I wish someone had sat me down with a cup of coffee — or vat of margaritas — and told me:
- Write about what interests YOU. That way, you’ll have always have something to say on the subject. You should look forward to writing your posts and time should fly while you’re blogging. That only happens when you love what you write about and love writing about it.
- You CAN have a multi-interest blog, but… You probably should stick to writing about just one main interest in each post because it makes your posts stronger. It took me a while to figure this one out and now I cringe when I think of how I tried to cram so much incongruous content into each post — I was literally burying my own content! Just think of it this way: if you want to write about more than one of those interests for a post, you have TWO potential posts on your hands. Sweet, huh?
- Don’t feel like you need to post every day. However, set up a posting schedule for yourself, don’t share it with your readers, and stick to it. Knowing that you told yourself you’ll write X posts per week will get you writing much faster — and better — than if you tell yourself you’ll just post whenever.
- Be patient. It takes a LONG time to build a big readership, so just chill like a villain and don’t lose fact of why you are blogging: because you have something to say. And, as Sophie has written before, be patient on the design and tech stuff too.
- Learn to use your camera. It may sound harsh, but I’d honestly rather read a photo-free post than see a bad picture thrown in just “because you’re supposed to.” You want to put your best foot forward right from the beginning, and that means putting your best picture forward. Leah has great tips on how to get great pictures with a cheap camera, and remember: free photo editing programs like Picasa your best friends.
*hyena face: facial expression bloggers unconsciously make when they are loving what they are writing. Can manifest itself as a psycho smile while writing; usually accompanied by clacking of keyboard and total obliviousness to surroundings. Until the blogger has discerned how garish he or she may look to others, the blogger may wish to blog in private spaces (because nice bloggers do not generally want to scare their friendly neighborhood barista, library employees, or those who control access to free internet areas.