I'm linking up to Kelly's Show Us Your Life (SUYL) - Blogging Tips post this week because I think it's a fantastic roundup of advice for both new and experienced bloggers. I often get asked in comments or emails about any tips or advice I have for new bloggers, and while I'm not an expert on this subject in any way, I would love to share some things I've used since starting Brunch at Saks as my online inspiration board in September 2008. These are just personal tips that have worked for me, so please know I am not saying this is a 'how-to guide' to blogging, or anything of the sort. I'd love to hear your tips, too.
Blog for yourself. Blogging is about you; a place for your likes, desires, thoughts, and feelings. Write, share, and express as if no one is reading. If you are concerned with comments and followers, they will come in time. My first few months of blogging I had 2 followers (my boyfriend and myself), about 100 visitors per month (again, probably all my boyfriend and myself) and maybe a comment every ten posts or so. I put the whole number thing out of my head and continued to focus on what my blog meant to me. After a while I looked up and noticed that people started to trickle in here and there. While it has always meant the world to me to have others visit, read, and share, I still try and focus on why I started my blog and stick to blogging for those reasons alone.
Be honest. If there is one thing blogging has taught me, it's that truth in what you write is of the utmost importance. I have been disappointed and hurt as a fan of some blogs that I realized were pulling the wool over my eyes. Stories weren't adding up; convictions in old posts didn't match those in newer posts; the list could go on. Respect your readers and visitors enough to be honest with them. They are intelligent and will always figure out if honesty is being compromised.
Communicate. Not only is blogging about sharing your own life and inspirations, but it's about connecting with others. If someone is kind enough to take time to read your post and comment on it, then if it all possible, return the gesture. If you are the one who comments first, be genuine. Saying things like "come read my blog" or "follow me and I'll follow you back" only turns people away. Read the post and comment as if you were talking with a friend. I've been surprised by the lifelong friendships formed from blogging, and I've found that having a network of blogging friends makes the experience all the more valuable and meaningful.
Too much of a good thing is never a good thing. I mean this in two different ways! First: while blogging is fun and entertaining, don't become so consumed to where it interferes with your real life relationships, as time spent with your loved ones trumps all. Secondly, and more literally, too much posting can often times turn people away. I have found a good balance is one post a day, or one every other day, with a possible break on the weekends.
Photos. Even though I love to read, I have to be honest and say that it's hard to read posts with a lot of paragraphs and no pictures. The photos don't have to be self taken, they can be from the internet or scanned from magazines or wherever really, but they do help keep readers interested.
Lastly, give credit where credit is due. If you post a photo, project, recipe, etc. that is not your own, give credit to the creator if possible, or link back to where you found the piece you are sharing. We are all creative thinkers and as bloggers, we know how much time and effort goes into creating a post, so please always keep that in mind when sharing about others' work.
Again, these are just personal things I follow that have worked for me. Every blog has it's own unique flow and style, which is what makes the blog-o-sphere such an exciting place. Most importantly: HAVE FUN.