Not that I’m anybody special, you understand. If you really want to see how it’s down go visit Notefromlapland or Bloggertropolis Follow people like MTJAM so that at a later date you can proudly say ‘I knew her before she become a publishing genius!’ Me, I’m just an enthusiastic amateur.
For your edification, and perhaps amusement, here’s my tips for making your blog world famous in your living room!
1/It’s all about the peeps!
Blogging, in fact any social media is different in that it invites interaction. It’s not as one dimensional as writing for a printed publication. When you blog, you want comment, debate, sometimes even disagreement. It’s all about engaging your readers and inspiring them to have a voice. I’ve discovered that the blog posts that are most viewed (and yes I have metrics that tell me such stuff) are the ones that people relate too. Get to know people through your blog – invite comments, go to their blogs and comment back, and engage with them on Twitter. If you don’t know who to follow on Twitter you can use tools that’ll help find twits like you! This piece from ReadWriteWeb is excellent for explaining the tools available. Join communities of like minded souls – I’ve enjoyed my involvement in Kiwi Mummy Blogs, Aussie Bloggers and British Mummy Bloggers. I’ve also really enjoyed the groups of bloggy chums I’ve made along the way, the unofficial groups as much as the official groups – like that very exclusive club the Vegemitevixens!
2/Blog regularly – How many times a week should you blog? Up to you, and whether your family wishes to actually see you. As for my family, I’m so busy with work, and blogging and consultancy that my family has become self-sufficient. Even the cats have learnt how to open their own cat food! There’s no doubt that if you blog every day (or nearabouts) your blog will grow rapidly. It’s a numbers game. As more people read and share your posts you’ll build up more weight on Google also and that’ll bump your blog up the ratings. I used to blog twice a day, and that was too much for some readers, but now I try to blog about three times per week at least.What you want is for people to look forward to a new post from you! That’s bloggy nirvana.
3/What to blog? – Up to you but developing a tone of voice is really important. It’s no different than writing for magazine readership. Learn what your readers are into (track the comments and views of each post! More about that later) and write that. You can overdo the product reviews and the commercial content and turn people off and do remember that your blog is valuable internet real estate, advertising on it does have commercial value. My most important piece of advice – blog from your heart. That’s the best way to have marketing differentiation, as after all, there’s only one you in the world!
4/Keep a list – Of subjects and ideas. Sometimes ideas for a blog post will come whilst you’re on The Tube, or on the bus or making the kids tea. Jot those ideas down, because you can be certain there will be times when you go to blog and the blank screen taunts you. Most journalists (especially freelancers) have lists of possible stories so that when the day comes that they don’t feel up to writing anything at all, they can pull something out of the wordy hat.
5/Be thankful - Always remember to thank those who helped you along the way. Remember the first inspirational blogger that set you off on this track. Thank them! It may seem a little sychophantic but honestly they’ll be chuffed. Remember to thank those who tag you in memes, even if you don’t do memes, and alway reply to your commentators. You’d be surprised how many people check excitedly to see if the blogger has replied to their comment. Yes, even well known experienced bloggers, ahem, do this!
6/Get Stumbled! And digged and shared about on Facebook! I’ve had the most views of a single post from Stumbleupon and get quite a bit of traffic from Twitter. Announce your blog posts (hopefully with a little humour!) on Twitter, and put them on your facebook page also to help reinforce your community and reach. Put one of these share boxes on your post (see below!)
7/Be a Groupie – follow those bloggers you admire. See what they do. Do what you see. Easy.
8/But be original and generous – don’t forget to share your stories and experiences. Yes, there are all sorts of riders on that statement. Obviously you don’t want to spill all the dirt on your nearest and dearest, but the more honest you can be, the better. People relate to people. They relate to stories. Some of my most read blog posts have been based on some pretty difficult situations and some very embarassing ones!Link to other blog posts from yours and participate in Linky’s (where bloggers link up posts on a shared theme!) to put you in front of new audiences.
9/The Measure of a blogger – Use a measure to find out where your readers are coming from, and what they favour in terms of topics. I use Statcounter and love how they even tell me if a reader has searched on a key word and what rating I have on Google for that word! There’s nothing quite like knowing that I rated 2 on Google for the search term ‘show us your growler!’
10/Hang in there – I’ve been blogging just over 18 months now (regularly, longer since I first started the blog) and my experience is that we all have times when our real life is too much and we just cannot get the words out. Yup, even those of us with verbal diarrhoea! Hang on in there. All the brilliant and the best bloggers take a break from time to time (like Mrs Woog) to freshen their approach, so don’t beat yourself up!
Most important advice for a newbie blogger? Don’t let blogging take over your life, let your life take over your blog!