Monday, November 12, 2012

Blogging Tips: "the swing of things"


Since my recent post HTML Tips for Beginners (e-mail response) got such a great response from my readers I have gladly decided to continue with the posts. I wanted to respond to each person but this comment caught my eye.

"I feel like I need a one-on-one lesson with you, Sherry! haha You have SO MUCH knowledge about blogging. You've mentioned a few bits and pieces before but it would be cool if you dedicated a post just to how YOU got the swing of things on here because for people like me, it's reassuring to know that we all have to take baby steps before we start to walk :) As always your blogging tips are absolutely phenomenal!"

So I have decided that It would be best to rewind a bit and talk about how I "got the swing of things."

Blogging is fun, but of course it's not easy all the time. Sometimes you get stuck on posts, sometimes you get stuck because of your design and you just feel like giving it up, leaving it to the rest of the bloggers in the world with all there reign and glory. I get it. I have been there. But then I realized, why? Why am I getting so upset because my blog isn't where I want it to be? I was still a new blogger so really my blog didn't have anywhere to be, and I realized that things like this take time and as long as you stay true to yourself, things should work out.

BLOG FOR YOURSELF.

When I started blogging my blog was a mess.The design wasn't good, my posts were incomplete and I had no readers. That's usually how it starts. I didn't just start blogging with a great design and a large following. It took time. I actually started my blog around January and gave up, then I decided to try again around May, and it went from there.

 DESIGN AND POSTS

Most of you have seen my blog go through the changes. I have probably changed my layout or tweaked it 10 times. I didn't just automatically have a good looking blog, even with my prior knowledge of graphic design and web design. It too took time, like all things blog related. I tried to strategically place things on my blog to catch my readers. I started to lessen the amount but still keep important things that will help my blog. Once you have gotten better with blogging, you will know what is necessary to have on your sidebars. Some like less, some like more.  

Posts? Write about what you want. Not what you think others want. Did you create your blog for yourself? Or was it for someone else? Most likely you created it for yourself, it is great to appeal to other bloggers but there are many ways to do that. Just stay true to yourself, write what you want to write about, say what you want to say, and share what you want to share. Don't hold back because you think someone won't like it, it's YOUR BLOG, not theirs.

With that in mind, another important thing I learned is to keep self promotional posts at bay. Giveaways, Blog Hops, and Guest Blogging's are fun, but when you see it all the time, I think it loses focus on the blog.  Since I host the FTF Blog Hop everyweek, I try to keep other self promotional posts at a minimum, I know not everyone fancys those kinds of posts, and it's not why I started blogging, so I don't want to overwhelm myself, or my readers with things aimed just to gain followers. (minus yesterdays post! I couldn't turn down a friend like Tami!)

 NETWORK AND BE INTERACTIVE

I was apart of a website called Beautylish which really helped me gain a following from other beauty bloggers. It was really all about networking and getting your blog out there. In the beginning it did feel like I was talking to my self, It was somewhat weird in a way to think that no was listening to what I had to say. Sometimes it felt like "Why am I writing like someone is reading?" I almost thought that I should be writing "Dear Diary" because like a Diary, no one was reading what I wrote, and if I did, I had no idea about it. And that is where networking comes in. Promoting yourself and being interactive with others is what gets you a good following, people who actually care about your blog.

During my free time, I would go through blogs, leave genuine comments, and leave my link giving the option for the other blogger to visit my page. I would spend some time on Beautylish "introducing" myself, and sharing my blog with others. That's all I knew how to do, that's only way I knew how to get my blog out there, I had NO idea that there were other easier ways to get my blog out. So that's what I did. Read. Comment. Link. Interact.

DONT JOIN BLOG HOPS

Well, what I actually meant to say was DON'T JOIN BLOG HOPS IF YOU ARE A BRAND NEW BLOGGER. Don't join Blog Hops? Yes, I did just say DON'T join Blog Hops. Right now you are probably reading in confusion. Even though I host the Followers to Friends Blog Hop, and I do love how big it has grown, and I do love everyone who links up (thankyou!) I sincerely DO NOT recommend joining Blog Hops when you are a brand new blogger. 

Why? When you join a Blog Hop, you are gaining followers, which is great, BUT if you aren't interactive and they are interactive then you will find yourself with a ton of followers and no actual readers. I can't stress it enough that Networking is the BEST way to get a good following, and to stay true to yourself, your blog, and the ORIGINAL reason why you started to blog. 

The first time I joined a Blog Hop, I would say I was already at around 200 followers through Networking,  and then I gained some following through the GFC Blog Hop. I liked the results of Blog Hops, but you don't really get that personal level of readership like you do with Networking. 

My thought of creating my own Blog Hop started almost immediately after joining the GFC Blog Hop. I didn't really think I could, it was always in the back of my mind that it wouldn't work out, that no one would join, that it would just fail. (Like I use to think about my blog) but I wanted to create a Blog Hop to help other bloggers gain a following so they wouldn't feel like they were writing in their diary, or get discouraged about blogging. And so the Followers to Friends Blog Hop came to life and It has reached many people and I have met some great new friends. And when I look at it now, I start to think about how I was so lucky to have the followers I already had to begin with because without them, the blog hop would never have really grown, and I wouldn't have interactive followers, just blog hop followers

Looking at my blog now, I have over 700 followers, some came from the blog hop, some just came on their own, and some were already there to begin with. And that has created the balance for me between people who know and care about my blog, people who come by every now and then, and people who came by once, and will probably never come by again. I am still very grateful for ALL of my followers, of course it means a lot whether you came by once, twice or 50 times, my blog wouldn't be the same without you. 

You have to remember that having a bunch of followers doesn't mean having a bunch or readers. The numbers will always be 'off' and you can probably go back to feeling like you are writing in your diary again.  

The more you blog the more you learn.

And that concludes how I got into the swing of things. My journey with I AM PISCES has only just begun in my mind, and I am so glad to have come this far and to have others really believe in me and my blog, and consider my blog a "success." With all the comments I get, and ESPECIALLY the personal e-mails thanking me, asking me, or complimenting my blog, it really has given me even more of a push in the "right" direction and I will forever be grateful.

 For other blogging tips and HTML tips here are a few links

  • Bloggers Etiquette : a post about the Do's and Don'ts about blogging and self-promotion
  • Blogging Tips: a post about the start of designing your blog, simple do's and don'ts regarding layout, font, and gaining followers.
  • Building Your Blog 1: a post for the new blogger, how to add GFC and how to add labels/links at the top of the page.
  • HTML Tips (e-mail response): a post about the basics of HTML in response to an e-mail from one of my readers.

11 comments:

  1. Great post :) I'm not a brand new blogger, but reading posts with tips in is always helpful :) Definitely agree you have to be interactive with your followers, Twitter is a great place for this! xx

    http://belle-amiebeauty.blogspot.co.uk/

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  2. These are great tips that I'm going to have to come back to and read again. Thank you!
    Found you through the blog hop!
    Your newest follower,
    Jamie
    http://chatterblossom.blogspot.com/

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  3. I love this! I like how you explain how self promoting isn't always a great idea with blog hops. Yes, you have to interact so others will want to interact with you.

    Recently added:
    Analilia
    http://ride-thespiral.blogspot.com

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  4. that was so helpfull for me...it takes away a lot of insecurities and it gives much more confidence!

    thank youuu. I'll always look out at blogs like yours that seem to grow quite fast.

    Xo Bea
    (I hope you are both having or had an absolutly blast!!!)

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  5. This is a fantastic post - the part about hops is so so true. All the best - Monica

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  6. This was a very informative post with great tips and info for bloggers old, new, and in-between. Thanks for posting this. I'm newly following from the blog hop. Stop by my place to say hi! Take care :).

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  7. These are very helpful tips hun, I've been blogging as a book reviewer for 2 years and I completely agree. I've just recently began beauty blogging and will definitely use what I've learned over the last two years and apply it to my new blog.


    New follower, follow back?

    http://www.simplyblushed.com/

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  8. really incredible post. thank you for sharing!

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  9. Beautifully written, Sherry. I can't agree more about how important it is to interact and network. That's the best way to meet readers and friends! :D

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  10. Really great points made in this post! Some of which I will have to consider as I develop my own blog. New follower here through your blog hop :) Have a great Wednesday!

    xo

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