Top 10 Tips for New Bloggers

My very first blog post was written in 2004 on the now defunct AOL Journals. (I know, right?) Back then I was known as the Mad Secretary, and I wrote a lot of ranty, angsty crap about how much I hated clerical work. Since then I’ve had 3 different Blogger blogs, 1 blog and 1 Typepad blog.

Then about a year ago I bought and started Suess’s Pieces. And you know what, guys? I think this could  be my blog’s forever home.

Anyway, doing this blogging thing for seven years has taught me a lot, and I’m going to share what I’ve learned with all you noobies out there.

Top 10 Tips for New Bloggers

  1.  Accept your blog for what it is. Free blogs are great, and fulfill a very important purpose. But there’s a chance you’ll  end up with blog envy after about a week. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent on my Blogger blogs tweaking the template HTML and trying desperately to turn them into something they could never be. Man, I wish I could get those hours back now.
  2. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. You can fill your sidebars with gobs of blinking blog awards, but do you really want to be responsible for giving someone a seizure? If you feel it’s just too rude to ignore awards from other bloggers, you can acknowledge them in a single post. Then just let them gracefully fade into your archives.
  3. Don’t compare yourself to the A-listers. If you didn’t pay a grand for your blog template, don’t compare it to any of those celebrity blogs out there. Yeah they look prettier, smarter, and more customized than yours. That’s because the owner shelled out some serious cash for template customizations and killer design.
  4. Don’t use auto-play anything. Ever. I admit I put some auto-play songs on an old blog like five or 6 years ago. It’s not something I’m proud of.
  5. Make sure your RSS feed works, and publish the full post. Some well-established bloggers truncate their feed to force click-throughs to their site. It’s a personal pet peeve of mine. Although some of the big guys can get away with it, as a new blogger I recommend you publish posts in their entirety for your RSS subscribers. If the content is provocative enough, they’ll still click through.
  6. Don’t steal stuff. Don’t rip off content or photos. If you quote another blogger, do it sparingly and always include a link back to the original site or post. It’s about more than just respecting copyright law, it’s about respecting other people.
  7. Use pictures. There are plenty of places to get images that are licensed for reuse, and you can always upload your own. Even the most well-written posts are enhanced by a simple photo or graphic.
  8. Complete a profile or include an ‘about’ section. Blogging is a social activity, and your readers want to know about the person behind the blog. Even if you’re blogging for your business, it’s a good idea to include some personal tidbits that show readers a real, living, breathing person is working behind the scenes.
  9. Don’t take blogging too seriously. Even professional blogs should be enjoyable to maintain. Don’t be afraid to try something new, and don’t be afraid to fail. If a post or idea  flops, it flops.
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Bloggers are a friendly bunch for the most part, so if you have a question about how to do something or you just want some advice? Ask for it! Send an email, post a question, or use a poll to get input from your community.

What advice would you give to new bloggers?

Photo credit: alicja_sto

This post is part of #SummerBlogSocial 2011 hosted by Liz and Jessica and is a response to the prompt, “If a real life friend approached you and said, ‘I want to start a blog. Can you give me a list of helpful tips?’, what 10 (or more) things would you tell your friend?”

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