What Do Beginning Bloggers Need To Know?

Recently beginning bloggers have been on my mind a good bit and then last night at. St Louis bloggers meet up, I met Christina from Homemade Ocean. She had lots of enthusiasm and questions. Whitney from Cafe Mocha Reflections was there too and although she had more experience, questions remained.

20130330-102719.jpgNext thing I knew the early happy hour had turned into us closing down the restaurant as Danielle Smith of Extraordinary Mommy and I tried to share some of our experiences. It reminded me that I recently had pulled out some tips for beginning bloggers that I have shared in various places so I am putting the post together finally. and you can see from the photo, we enjoyed trading stories & tips!

My Basic Blogging Tips

Leading the discussion around basic blogging for the AgChat Foundation a couple of years ago, I would prepare handouts. Recently, as they held the regional conference, I pulled this out for this year’s speakers.

Key Components of Your Blog

  • Audience Definition (who you really want to reach & ways to engage them)
  • Current stream – break posts (read more) so a new visitor can see several posts quickly
  • Have an “about you” page to help them get to know the author – other pages? (disclaimer, etc)
  • Some customization of the blog design through photos, etc
  • Consider the widgets you use as resources for readers, especially use navigational options in widgets – archives, key word search, recent posts, etc.

Outreach

  • Post to all your social media channels
  • Use autofeeds wisely – tags for Twitter, pointing to friends on your Facebook page, etc
  • Use Networked Blogs on Facebook
  • Subscriptions through blog
  • Email signature is a great way to share.
  • Post to other sites that have an interest – pages/groups on FB that share that interest
  • Do unto other bloggers as you would have them do unto you (comment, like, blogroll connections, send them traffic, etc)

Content

  • Make accessible in wording, vocabulary, etc.
  • Encourage interaction on the blog
  • Use categories & tags – categories link within your blog whereas tags link to others on the service (wordpress, blogspot, etc.)
  • Clear headlines help you show up in search engines – creativity great for tweets, etc, use photos and give them descriptive names & alt text, use headings within longer posts
  • Save drafts with just an idea or two when you get them, go back & write more later (great mobile applications/access for this)
  • Mixture of timely & timeless
  • Try to have two posts (or more) a week, maybe look at whether a series is something you can do regularly (a great example of a series that fits is Beyer Beware’s hunk of meat Monday)
  • Bring posts back up when makes sense (for instance @GilmerDairy had #moo post back out on first anniversary because lots of people had joined Twitter since #moo trended)

I met Will Gilmer aka @GilmerDairy about the time of the anniversary. 🙂 20130330-101704.jpg

Data

  • Know what’s available (from host, Google webmaster, etc)
  • Watch to see what is working (some days get better traction, publish key posts those days)
  • Play around with keywords at times

A Few WordPress Specific Tips

  • Go to “tools” and use them
  • Use “press this” on WordPress on your toolbar to highlight & amplify news (find it in settings for writing to add it to your toolbar)
  • Post by email or phone lets you do something simple while you are on the go
  • Apps available for mobile devices are useful, use for simple posts or drafts for posts with more formatting.

Recent #BlogChat

A month or so ago, there was a #BlogChat on things we wish we had known when we started blogging. I thought that could be helpful to some new bloggers and I saved my tweets.

Good one! MT @CTrappe: Give photos, etc., descriptive names so you can find them later. Dont save as PHOTO1 #blogchat

I wish I’d known from the start to go self-hosted. At the time free sounded good but later it was a hassle to move #blogchat

I wish I had also taken more time to think about what I’d blog about & be more selective setting up categories #blogchat

Another thing I wish I’d known? How to network with other bloggers, but folks in #blogchat already see that LOL #blogchat

RT @DigitalMktgGirl: I wish someone would have told me that it’s not just about content. It has to be easy to navigate! #blogchat

one of the networking things I didn’t know too RT @ChloeJeffreys: I should have been a better commenter on other peoples blogs.#blogchat

Wish I had known how important posting consistency was. I really was haphazard at first, consistency later #blogchat

Wish I’d know about smart linking. Used to link to things like “my earlier post” instead of “how cotton is grown” @MackCollier#blogchat

@Yogitastic I have too many categories that I’ve only used a few times. Could have made bigger buckets on some, smaller on other#blogchat

Yeah, what you said RT @MackCollier: @JPlovesCOTTON You mean linking to descriptive terms to tell Google what the link is about? #blogchat

I think its interesting that looking through the tweets some make me think “that was me” others I think “lucky I avoided that” #blogchat

Wish I’d known that simple promo like email signatures, blog business cards, etc could really help gain audience #blogchat

Wish I had known that the quickly written posts “in the heat of the moment” can be the most well-received. #blogmore #blogchat

I wish I had a clue about how much people search the internet for the basics on cotton (my niche) Took a while to learn that #blogchat

Still more 🙂 RT @wordwhacker: And then more still. RT@CollinKromke: Learn as much as you can about SEO. Then learn some more. #blogchat

YES! I do! RT @BeckyMcCray: When I started blogging, I wish Id known where to go looking for other bloggers. Follow smart people.#blogchat

Took a while to learn if embedding a video I should put enough text there for search engines to know what is in the post #blogchat

wish I’d known how many family members & friends would find it interesting (personal blog so that’s a good thing LOL) #blogchat

simplicity rocks RT @AllieRambles: Have a good URL that is not trendy, too long or misunderstood, I made that mistake. #blogchat

@StephLibo make sure your comments and tweets aren’t all about you — make them mostly about others #blogchat

BIG ONE!!! RT @DebWeinstein: Advice from #SOcialceo @AVV — Dont feed the trolls. #blogchat

Really like @Quora RT @DigitalMktgGirl: Using Quora for blog ideas has been the best thing Ive discovered since I began blogging#blogchat

@wendypgreene it is one outlet for writing, also important to network, listen, etc #blogchat

Yes. Have seen folks burned RT @wordwhacker: IMPORTANT: Own your blog. Own your URL. Its the only thing on the Web you can own. #blogchat

Important point RT @AllieRambles: Never, ever steal content or images. If you use someone elses stuff reference them. #blogchat

RT @MattLBrennan: Agreed! RT @wordwhacker: Your best blog investment? A phone with a good camera. ABS = Always be shooting. #blogchat

RT @problogger: #9 Do GOOD with your Blog (make the world a better place than when you found it)#ThingsIWishIdKnownWhenIStarted #blogchat

Everyone, don’t forget these great minds tweet all week, give the folks you listened to a follow #gettingmyfollowonnow 🙂 #blogchat

What do you think beginning bloggers should know?

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About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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