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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12 Responses to What Do Beginning Bloggers Need To Know?

  1. Christina @ homemade ocean March 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Love it!!!! I take all the help I can get 🙂

    Thanks Janice, hope you are having a blast I’m NOLA….have a beignet for me!!!!

  2. Whitney March 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    I have bookmarked this post, thank you for the love Janice. I had a blast.

    • Janice Person April 1, 2013 at 7:04 am #

      Thanks for the compliment Whitney! See ya next month!

  3. Murees Dupé April 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    This is a very helpful post with lost of great information. Thank you so much for sharing this and for visiting my blog, I appreciate it.

    • Janice Person April 2, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

      Thanks! I really love how helpful the blogging community is… so many people are generous with time, ideas, etc that it keeps me going! Have to do my part and pay it forward too.

  4. Maggid April 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    amazing blog – like an amusement park ride . . . Wheee!
    thanks,
    -g-

  5. @Dayngr April 7, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    All great tips! I love the idea of a series too. I am going to have to swing by and read A thru Z!

  6. carolyncares April 25, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Thanks for putting all of these great tips in one place! It is now in my AgBlog bookmark folder. 🙂

    • Janice Person April 25, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Glad it was helpful! I have other social media stuff on here as well — just at the top of the page in a black menu bar is the heading “social media” that will help you scroll through some of those. 🙂

  7. Julee K May 20, 2013 at 12:33 am #

    Just read this… nice. Good advice and I liked the tweets at the end!

    • Janice Person May 20, 2013 at 9:03 am #

      Thanks! Years of participating in #blogchat and working on my own blog have given me a few ideas…. one of the best that has been solidifed for me is sharing ideas makes them stronger as people can add to them!

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