The Life of Bon: So You Wanna Be a Blogger PART 2

Thursday, November 15, 2012

So You Wanna Be a Blogger PART 2

Alright, chicas.  I promised it.  You're getting it.  A continuation of last week's So You Think You Wanna Be a Blogger.  AKA Blog tips part 2.  And, yah since you are wondering, it would be much much easier to just say blog tips, but that would be so boring, wouldn't it?

P.S.  If you didn't check out Part 1 of this hooplah, you're going to want to.  And isn't that weird that I put a P.S. at the beginning of my writing instead of the end?  Well, I'll be!

1.  Looking good.  This is a huge one for newbies.  The blog has got to look professional.  Like I have mentioned before, I started blogging consistently last fall.  My friends and family were all supportive and one day my best friend was chilling at my house watching the Kardashians with me.  I brought up my blog and told her how excited I was about getting people to read it and she replied very nonchalantly.  "Yah, I like it.  It's funny.  You should make it not look so ghetto though."  "What?"  Naturally I was offended.  "You know.  Like some blogs look nice.  And professional.  Yours should look like that."  Touche, Amy.  Touche, Amy.  Do a little research on google and learn the basics of web design.  Or, if that makes you think about vomitting, pay someone to do it.  Lots of girls will do it for $10 or $20 and make it look a millions times better than it currently is.  Among the HUGE blog no-nos/ AKA things that will give you away immediately for a newbie

- Polka Dots
- Dark backgrounds with neon writing
-Colored backgrounds.  Always better to go with the white background and add color in your header or font.  I've rarely rarely seen a legit looking blog that didn't have a white background.
-  Playlists.  Oh, stop the playlists!  Don't make us listen to your music.  Nothing is worse than having my own music on and then visiting a blog and having their music blast on top of mine while I scramble frantically to find the stop button.  Half the time I just exit out of the blog entirely and that's the truth


Take this blog design for example.  It might be cute once, but who is going to want to visit this site every day?  No one.


2.  PICTURES.  I feel like it takes most bloggers a little while to figure this one out.  A couple of things about pictures that I notice all the successful bloggers do:

-Make pictures as big as possible.  None of this small or medium crap.  Hit the x large button every time.
- Don't post every picture you have take on your blog.  Especially if they are very similar.  Choose the very best pictures.  People gotta stay interested.
-Some people even edit their photos.  Blogger veterans, what are your thoughts on this (or blogger newbies... anybody can answer!).  I have rarely taken the time to edit my pictures.  I would like to if I had more time, but it's all I can do to get the words on the page most nights.  Besides that, I want the focus of my blog to be my writing, not my pictures.  While people might enjoy the pictures, that will never what brings me joy from blogging.  That being said, it is definitely on my to do list to find a good photo editing program and be a bit more serious with the pictures I take.  I would love to hear thoughts on this one...

3.  BE CONSISTENT.  Now, some people might disagree with me, but when it comes to blogging, I say that quantity over  quality.  That doesn't mean I think you should be writing garbage, but some nights you just don't have a stroke of brilliance.  But you can still write something entertaining to your readers.  When I started blogging I set the goal to blog 5 times a week and I have stuck to that religiously.  People need to know that when they check your blog in the morning there will be something new.  If there isn't, they will check less often.  Less traffic.  Less followers.  You get my drift.  There have been lots of times when I've thought, "But I have nothing to say!" and then I sit down at my computer, and what do you know?   My fingers go buck crazy with their talking.  Get in the habit of writing consistently.

4.  HAVE SOMETHING THAT KEEPS PEOPLE COMING BACK.  Every blogger fills a niche.  You've gotta have something that makes you stick out a little bit.  Something that sets you apart from the (literally) millions of other bloggers.   I think a blog should have energy to it, almost likea vibe.  I think a blog should have personality and reflect the person that is writing it.  Be comfortable with yourself when you're writing and write stuff that other people want to read.  When writing a post, think to yourself "Would I be intersted in this if it weren't about me?"  If not, you got yourself a bad sign missy.

5.  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT BLOGGERS ARE WRITING AROUND YOU. To be a blogger you have to read blogs.  I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is.  You have to know what's out there, you have to know what other people are reading, writing, saying.  I've had several posts that have been triggered by reading a post on someone else's blog.  Just today Jenni wrote about the relation between babies and marriage and a post was born in my head.  Next week I can't wait to write my thoughts about this. 

6.  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT'S GOING ON THE WORLD.  Taylor from The Daily Tay is one of the best at this... her "Best Week Ever" feature is all about news and gossip from the week.  She is totally up to date with current events and celebrity gossip so she writes these hilarious, timely posts about it.  There is so much going on around us that can trigger post ideas... BE INFORMED.

7.  MAKE YOURSELF UNCOMFORTABLE EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE.  I talk about this at length in my "Risky Writing" Post, but you gotta go outside your comfort zone every once in a while.  Mix things up.  Make it interesting.  Dan from Single Dad Laughing says he tries every couple weeks to write something that he knows is going to shake things up a bit.  Another one who writes some pretty edgy stuff is Raven from Don't Quote the Raven.  What I love, though, is that she makes no apologies for it.  She disses on Obama, claims that cardigans are frumpy, and makes fun of almost everything that the typical blogger wears.  Yet her traffic is off the charts.  She gets ot of her comfort zone.

8.  GIVEAWAYS, LINK UPS, BUTTONS, ETC, ETC, ETC.  If you are seriously trying to grow your blog, you should consider it a business.  Businesses advertise.  So should your blog.  I have already told you I think you should start sponsoring as soon as possible, but there are other forms of advertisement... button swapping, link ups and giveaways are some of the best.  You can enter giveaways or host giveaways.  Lots of blogs that have sponsors do a monthly giveaway where anyone can give something away.  It's all one giant blogger circus game, but learn how to play it and you'll see your traffic climbing.  (All within reason, though.  You can't let this stuff overtake quality writing.  I've unfollowed lots of blogs that were nothing but giveaway after link up after sponsored post.)

TURN OFF YOUR DAMN CAPTCHA.  If you don't know what I'm talking about read this post and then get to work.  You want to encourage commenting on your blog and captchas discourage it.  Plus they  make everyone who comments on your blog want to tear your hair out.  If I know a blog requires a captcha to comment I just don't comment.  Simple as that.



10.  BE VULNERABLE.  There is a fine line from turning your blog into a sob fest to showing  bit of weakness, but it is one I think merits playing with.  I like to hear about people's struggles.  Because I struggle too.  And when I hear that the blogger who seems to have every single thing in her life put together struggles with anxiety/ feels inadequate/ sometimes argues with her husband/ can't get pregnant/ sometimes wants to kill her kids/ burns dinner/ lost a loved one/ has regrets... it makes me like that blogger more.  Every once in a while you have to be willing to expose your vulnerable side to your readers.  My mom used to tell me when I would mess up at my piano recitals, "She made a mistake and we loved her all the more."  People want to read about real people with real problems so it's okay to open up on your blog.  Let your readers see the real you.

45 comments:

  1. WONDERFUL post. i just read it twice and then looked at my blog to make sure it was in line with this.

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  2. You are the bomb, Bonnie.

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  3. I was getting sooo much spam email because I don't have captcha on and was about to do one of the worst blogging sins...add it...however came up with an even better idea- added a filter to my inbox so now all anonymous blog comments just go straight into their own special folder. Voila- I'm happy and my readers are happy :)

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  4. The picture thing kills me. My friend has a craft blog with tutorials and the pictures are tiny! She asked for feedback, I told her and she still has yet change that. But what do I know, she has like three times as many followers as me!

    I have a colored background, but its so light it reads like white (well, my design blog background IS white, but my personal blog is light pink) but now I might have to think about changing that. . .

    I'm trying to decide if having two blogs is making them both mediocre and neither one great. And if that is the case, which do I give up???? I don't know if I can make that choice.

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  5. It's been over a week since I had anything of substance on my blog {Ride The Spiral} and it wasn't until I read these blog tips that I got inspired to open up a bit. So I did. Thank you!

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  6. PREACH sister. Love these posts!

    Got some great inspiration from them :)

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  7. MY BACKGROUND HAS COLOR.
    Hahaha.
    Just giving you a hard time.
    But I agree with everything. Amen.

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  8. hahaha this was awesome!! Thank you a million for the shoutout!! This was a really good post....people should definitely take note!

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  9. I agree with all of your points! I hate it when people put music on their blog or even their tumblr. I'm trying to listen to my music!

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  10. I agree with all of this!! My blog background isn't white, though...but at least there are no polka dots or neon colors or OMG I HATE PLAYLISTS......they make me want to punch something.......

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  11. OH and I absolutely agree with making your pictures big. I hate it when bloggers keep their pictures tiny, I feel like I'm straining to be able to tell what I'm even looking at! As far as editing...I do it if I have time, if I don't, I don't, and I don't stress about it. I've never quit reading a blog just because they weren't a professional Photoshopper. :)

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  12. Great post.
    You could try www.picmonkey.com for editing your photos, it's free and easy to use, I use it every now and again to add borders/text/effects etc.
    Captcha is awful, another thing I don't particularly like is when bloggers reply to comments by hitting reply under your comment rather than doing it through email as I always forget whose blogs I have to go back to to check comments.
    I haven't come across a blog that plays music yet, thankfully

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  13. This helps sooo much!! Great tips :)

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  14. Loved it! Thanks Bonnie!

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  15. Very helpful for us newbs...thanks, girl. I think I pass. No play list- check. No polka dots- check. Just did a little makeover now that my following surpassed 25 ;) Happy weekend!

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  16. You hit the nail on the head with this one!! And my "captcha" has been long gone but I'm glad I now know it's called "captcha" and not "robot shit" ... because that's what I've long since been referring it as.

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  17. Amen, sista!

    As a fairly new blogger, this has been extremely helpful! Thanks!!!

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  18. I am getting a new blog design as we speak, I am super excited!!! And AMEN to the music and captcha!!!!

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  19. what timely advice! thanks so much for writing these...seems like some bloggers out there achieve a level of success and give only vague advice to anyone who is starting out. this is greatly appreciated :)

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  20. Amen, sister!

    I've become obsessed with blog design lately, so if you see any bad ones send them my way. ;)

    Captchas are the worst. Half the time you can't even read them.


    As far as editing pictures, if its a recap of something I won't. But if its more of a outfit post type thing I'll at least run it through pic monkey.

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  21. 1) My blog is gray, not white. When I redesigned it in the fall, I first made it white, but the feedback from my boyfriend & friends was negative. They thought the white didn't match my blog content.

    2) I try and use pictures/videos for longer posts. I'm just more focused on my writing than the images, but apparently writing for the masses means appealing to the lazy and ADD. (Insert bitch face here).

    3) I disagree 100% here. My primary concern is quality. I only post a few times a month, but the majority of my posts take 3-4 hours to compose. But my blog has a different intention than that of most bloggers. The quality & theme of my blog led to me being in a documentary on virginity, so I think I'm doing it right.

    4) My niche is talking about something that almost no one else discusses. Not having sex. It's surprisingly more taboo than talking about sex.

    5) I love reading other blogs, even though 90% of them have nothing to do with my blog. I'm rarely inspired in my own writing, but I'm inspired for shopping & crafting. :D

    6) I pay attention to virgins in the news...

    7) I came out to my blog as bi. Hardest post I've ever written. I've also opened up about being sexually assaulted.

    8) I limit my link ups because they detract from the purpose of my blog. I do read a lot, so I often link up for Book Club Friday, but that's about it.

    9) YES. But I started getting spam, so now I moderate my comments. =/

    10) For me, the same as #7.

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  22. This is so so sooo good! Captcha makes me flip out but the music is even worse! At least when I go to leave a comment I know there is the possibility of captcha but with the music I'm always completely caught off guard. And I second the idea about being vulnerable - sometimes when people are too perfect it makes it hard to connect and relate. We all appreciate these blogs tips, Bon! Thanks for all your help!

    Lauren
    Kisses from the Mrs.

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  23. I feel like point 1 of this list was pointed directly at me... I have been stubbornly refusing to give in to the clean, streamlined layout for quite some time. But today I finally took your advice, and did a little work. You might remember mine -- bright green and purple and blue and polka dots everywhere. And honestly I did love it. But, I've done some work on it all today after reading this, and I think it's much nicer now. I couldn't totally go all white yet, but I'd say it's a step in the right direction... Hopefully you're right, and this update will help me out a bit! Check it out if you have some time, and let me know what you think :) And thanks for all the helpful tips and tricks! Because even though I've been blogging for over two years officially, I'm still pretty new and just recently getting into it and really working hard!

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  24. Thank you for all the advice!!!! I am slowly working my way through everything to make sure mine is up to par! :)

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  25. What I have seriously been needing to hear recently. Thanks for sharing your tips!

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  26. Great post. Very helpful for new bloggers. I have to agree, I hate that Captcha feature so much.
    Thanks for visiting me today!

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  27. Thank you for this post! I'm new to the blogging world and apparently have a few things to work on...
    thanks to you just figured out how to turn my captcha off :)

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  28. Thank you for this post! I'm new to the blogging world and apparently have a few things to work on...
    thanks to you just figured out how to turn my captcha off :)

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  29. Note taken about the pollo dots Im guilty! And new of course!

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  30. This is such a brilliant post! I started blogging around 3 weeks ago so I loved reading Part 1 and 2 - thank you for sharing!!

    Lauren @ www.stylelixir.com

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  31. Hello!I just read your sweet comment on my blog. Thank you for visiting and following. I was very excited. I spent several nursing sessions, exploring your blog the last few days after I saw it on Casey's blog. You seem like so much fun and are a great writer! Thanks for sharing your life and story!

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  32. Um, your blog is hilarious. Kind of dying right now. :) Definitely going to follow! :)

    <3

    www.caidailyrant.blogspot.com

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  33. I completely agree with everything, especially the last one, be vulnerable. I wrote a couple tough posts about motherhood and I get the most hits on those.

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  34. Thanks again for the wonderful info!

    And glad to see you're not trapped under the barbells at Planet Fitness :)

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  35. Awesome post! Thanks for stopping by! Following you back! :)

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  36. Hey!New follower here and I have LOVED reading up on your posts. This one especially resonates since I am still trying to grow my blog (or more specifically re-grow since I just switched servers) Thank you so much for this!

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  37. I am a new blogger and if it werent for your part 1 post and this post I dont think i would have ever gotten started! thank you SO much for all of the info! Have a great weekend! XO

    wideospaces.blogspot.com
    I would be ever grateful if you could be my third follower!!

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  38. I love your post today. I have to say, a few days ago I read another from another blogger and her was kinda exact opposite from yours in regards to new bloggers. She was saying to not go on blog hops as a new blogger, instead promote in different ways. I completely disagree, I think blog hops have helped my me and my blog. haha I have the captcha right now, I was getting spam at least once a week. Im taking it off now, youre completely right! Thanks again for this post!

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  39. I think #9 is my favorite tip because I can't stand blogs that require me to fill out a captcha every time I try to post a comment! It's very discouraging, especially since I can't read the damn thing half the time.

    Elle
    Lipstick & Lace

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  40. So glad to have found your blog! Thanks for stopping by mine. Love all your blogger advice. Can't wait to read more of your blog. xoxo

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  41. Hi Bonnie!
    Super helpful advice for this blogger newby!Thanks!
    xox

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  42. Part 1 was good, part 2 is awesome! Great tips for us newbies out there. My mom and I each recently started blogging and it's become more than just a creative way to keep in touch with each others lives but quite the obsession! I'll be sure to forward these posts on to her.
    I totally agree with the XL photos! I think the majority of people out there reading blogs are super visual people and having things to look at while you read is as good as being a kid reading a picture book. Go big or go home!
    Coincidentally: I'm a new follower :)

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  43. I'm not remotely popular (I have like 30 followers and I'm super excited about that) so I'm definitely going to start doing this stuff! I already have the white background and NO captcha codes so I'm off to a great start :)

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  44. Thank you so very much for writing these posts. I throughly enjoyed both of them and am learning a lot too! I put my heart and soul into my blog and am eager and excited to share my story and hopefully inspire others. Thank you for amping it up a bit for me right now! :)

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