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Technically, this week's topic is "Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers." Also technically, I'm not a book blogger; reviews aren't a high enough percentage of my content. I write a personal blog focused on books and writing. Therefore, these tips are for keeping a personal blog going without personally going crazy.
1. Figure out what tips work for you, and ignore the rest. These will be different for everyone, so take all the rest of my suggestions with that disclaimer in mind.
2. Decide how much a large following matters to you. That pursuit is not for every blogger. If you want it, there are lots of resources on the internet. For example, if I wanted to go there with this blog, I know I'd drop some of the personal content, aim for reviews twice a week, host a lot of giveaways, switch to WordPress for the SEO controls, and go back to Twitter. I'd also get more involved in blog carnivals. I'd also never get any writing done, so I stick to the quieter blogging that I enjoy.
3. Figure out a posting schedule that works for you, and keep to it. It's better to have fewer posting commitments, even if you sometimes go over, than to have more than you can keep up with.
4. Use regular features such as memes, weekly or monthly themed posts, etc. These will save your sanity by taking much of the pressure off coming up with content.
5. Make the blog user-friendly and attractive. Don't make your design too flashy, and don't overwhelm it with widgets and gadgets that make it slow to load; err on the side of simplicity. Do choose appealing colors and a look you find pleasing.
6. Proofread. Spell-check. Do what you must to avoid the general appearance of grammatical slovenliness. Occasional mistakes are not a serious problem, but error-littered posts are just plain hard to read.
7. Interact with other bloggers. Comment. Reply to their posts with posts on your own blog. Making friends is the fun part.
8. Do not feed the trolls. Either have a comment policy that allows you to moderate, or give generic and defusing responses to heated comments, or don't respond to them at all. Unless you really like the battles, of course.
9. Be yourself, but be the happy version of yourself.
9a. Unless your blog is focused on a difficult part of your life, avoid dwelling on those. If you mention something rough you're going through, approach it philosophically. Write your "getting real" post(s) if you need to, and then move on—this will help you move on in life, too.
9b. Unless your blog is focused on politics, I strongly recommend leaving them off. And never, never assume everyone agrees with you on anything. I've unfollowed some of the most interesting and amusing bloggers I've ever come across because they're (sometimes even unwittingly) derisive and belittling toward the generality of their opposition.
9c. Sarcasm, foul language and adult humor will attract some readers and repel others. Consider carefully whether you want that persona. Realize, too, that even people who will read Cracked.com on occasion may still avoid a random blogger who mocks and swears and talks dirty.
10. Persevere. It took me a long time and a fair amount of struggling to find a good rhythm for this blog, but now it goes along pretty smoothly. Difficult days happen, but overall I honestly have a blast with it—and with all of you.
Best of luck, fellow bloggers!
Re #2, hopefully we commentators provide quality here...if not quantity. :)ReplyDelete
Re #9b (cough)Neil Gaiman(cough)
All things being said, I just don't think I'm the type of person to host my own blog. But I'm glad others do. I can be involved at The Hogshead but there I'm part of a team, not everything's on me. And then I'm glad for this blog. I like the quiet, genteel nature of it.
Haha! George, in the context of book bloggers, "quantity" is a couple thousand followers. :) But I love the ones I have!Delete
Re #9b: Well, I wasn't going to name names, but...
And thank you. It always makes my day to hear that someone likes my blog. :)
"Don't feed the trolls" seriously just LOLed at work, love it!ReplyDelete
Yeah, that makes me smile, too. Unfortunately I can't take credit for the phrasing, as I stole it from somewhere or other. :PDelete
Thanks, Angela! And I know just what you mean. :)ReplyDelete
Great list of tips, Jenna. I think you hit on why I enjoy your blog so much: while it is definitely the blog of a writer in the writing business, it is also personal, and you have found a lovely balance between the two which, to me, enriches your more "professional" posts (i.e., the book reviews, etc.). I'm aiming for a similar balance over at my blog. I also know it's going to take quite some time for me to develop consistency with it, both with posting on a regular schedule and then getting that personal/professional balance right for me. Thank you for the great post :)ReplyDelete
Thanks so much, Donna! Glad the post was helpful. It took me several years to figure out the balance that worked for me; there's nothing wrong with taking the time to work through all that. Best wishes as you develop your own blog! :)Delete