Top 10 Tips for New Bloggers

Top Ten Tips for New Bloggers

I don’t know if I have the right to write my version of the Top 10 Tips for New Bloggers. You see, while I have been blogging since the mid-1990s, it is a very on and off thing that I have going. I’m pretty sure that is an ADHD thing. Recently, I used the Way Back Machine in an attempt to find out the names of all my previous blogs. So far, I have found about 25 domains that I have owned. That means I have definitely learned what doesn’t work.

Unfortunately, I cannot find my very first website – I don’t even remember the name (it was on AOL)! I do remember that I updated it daily using writing as a means of depression therapy. I am aware of only one other site that was doing what I did at that time: Wing of Madness. She had begun her site a year or two before mine and I didn’t discover hers until after I had started mine. I have such a HUGE admiration for her because her site is still up and running under the same name. She has been consistent for over 20 years and continues to be a hero for all the help she has given to countless people by always being there.

When I think about all that I have learned over the years about blogging, it is that consistency that stands out the most. It is also something I’ve never been able to match. I love creating blogs and at the end of this post, I have made a note of all the domains I can remember having owned and run over the years. Those were the places where I gathered knowledge through my own mistakes and years of accumulated research.

From that, I put together these top ten tips for new bloggers that I truly hope help you with your site.

The true key to success in any field is consistency. If you work hard on something every single day, all the rest will follow.
-Melissa Ruppert Olivero

1. Be Consistent.

It was probably an easy guess that being consistent would be the number one rule of blogging. Take this site, Daydream Lane, as an example of poor consistency. I began this site in March 2009. It has gone through many incarnations over the years, starting out as a digital art site, eventually evolving back and forth between that and personal experiences. When I was consistent, a few of my posts received views in the mid to upper hundreds and three posts have had over 1,000 views. Can you tell that I am proud? During that era of the internet, it was almost “viral” level”. LOL That was exciting to me.

Everything changes when you don’t write. People stop caring and stop visiting and eventually your readers forget that you ever existed. If writing and sharing is truly your passion and life dream then make sure you have at least four new posts published each week. Find guest posters for when you’ll be out of town and try to write as much as you can ahead of time. Plan ahead for as far in the future as you can so that you can be the one still standing two decades from now.

Never Stop Learning About Blogging

2. Never Stop Learning About The Industry.

Yes, blogging is an industry though it has changed greatly due to social media. There continue to be many bloggers who bring in a little extra cash by selling ad space, getting sponsorships to attend conferences, becoming brand ambassadors, and even obtaining book deals. Of course, you can still write for the sake of writing, for therapy, for venting, and for fun. If you want to take that step up to the next level though, you need knowledge behind you. There are some really wonderful sites out there devoted just to help you learn the ins and outs like Eli Rose and The SITS Girls. Read everything you can find whenever you have the time because things are always evolving.

The internet is NOT the Field of Dreams. Just because you build the site doesn't mean anyone is going to come for a visit.

3. Writing From The Heart Is Not Enough.

Your writing skills are important, though as much as we each try to proofread, we all have posts with grammatical errors and entire words left out from run-on sentences. Writing poignant, funny, or informative posts of quality with peeks into your soul are required because that is how you keep your readers. The internet is NOT the Field of Dreams and just because you build a site, doesn’t mean that anyone will visit.

Social media needs to play a part in your daily life if people are to find, connect and remember you. Talking about your blog by sharing on Facebook with a separate fan page, a few tweets for each post at different times over a couple of days, sharing a story on Instagram, pinning away on Pinterest, and using other social platforms will be things you have to become comfortable with to get the word out about your work.

Then there is something called SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization. Basically, it is using popular keywords naturally in your headlines and post body. You have to think of what words someone may use to find your topic. Take time to research the right way to do this. Most of all, remember that it will take time to build your readership and that it will totally be worth it.

Choosing the right brand name for your blog daydreamlane

 4. Make Sure to LOVE Your Name.

Number 4 of my Top Ten Tips for New Bloggers has to do with your website name. As I shared above, I’ve taken many breaks from blogging. Unfortunately, I wasn’t always financially able to keep up with hosting or even paying the for domain name. I have lost so many domains, it is hard to count them all. To be honest though, my ADHD would convince me that I would need additional names for all my different interests.What can I say other than I love starting new things? But … you shouldn’t do this.

If you haven’t started your blog yet, please take time to consider what name you choose. Every time I made a switch, I would lose readers and oftentimes my focus, as getting involved in switching everything up made me lose track of what was really important — to keep the posts coming. Some folks just use their actual name while others will try to find the right phrasing that captures the goal of the blog. If you go with a phrase, try to make it short and catchy because writing out a long domain name for your email address many times a day is just excess finger exercise. It should be something personal and meaningful to you. It should also be professional and on brand. Most of all, it should be something that you truly love.

5. Word Press Is The Best Choice

Okay, that is just my personal opinion but allow me to share why. On one of the earlier websites I owned, I actually sold a few things from it (mostly books and vintage fun stuff). That particular site was, like my first, a freely hosted one from AOL. These were also the years when there was Geocities and many other free hosting sites that many of us took advantage of them. I used that site for items that I hadn’t yet put up or hadn’t sold on eBay yet and I advertised through AOL forums and other internet-based message boards. I did this until someone said, 

“Sorry, I never buy from sites that use free hosting. If you aren’t interested in putting money into your business then I’m not interested in giving you mine.” 

Boy, did this stick with me. Even though I have no interest in selling products from my blog, her words still impact me enough today. I continue to believe there is a level of professionalism and implied seriousness that comes from using your own domain name. Now, you can use your purchased domain name with other free webhost sites, but you are still restricted by their rules and limitations. By investing a very small amount of money into your own self-hosted Word Press blog and using a webhost like HostGator (they are awesome and you can get up to 60% off by using my sponsored link), some readers out there will think of you at a different level than a site has another company’s name in the middle of your name.

The Why

This is my personal fear that someone will take me less seriously combined with my true love for the Word Press platform making this an important point to share. Additionally, if that isn’t enough to entice you, then take a few hours one day to look at all the free plugins you can get for your Word Press site to make it really reflect who you are as a blogger.

one of my top ten tips for new bloggers is to keep their site clean and simple

6. Keep Your Layout Clean and Light.

Again, another top ten tip for new bloggers that is strictly a personal opinion. However, there is enough clutter in my real world and I don’t need to see anymore online. Whatever tools you use to create your blog, there are many free or paid themes you can use to style your website. As a blogger, I’ve always appreciated the sidebar/content/sidebar layout because there are always so many things I want to share, and that gives me the room to do that. BUT as a blog reader, I tend to avoid blogs that have so much going on within that main page. I have no interest in being startled by your automatic music player or automatic video ads that I have to rush to find and shut off.

If it takes too long to load, I’m leaving and I am not coming back.

My ADHD plays a part in feeling very overwhelmed when I come to a three-column or grid site that is completely filled with flashing graphics, more than 10 animated small square ads on both sides, and everything else that grabs my attention away from the reason I am there for to begin with: your content. I will be 45 54 next month and my eyes are tired exhuasted. There needs to be white/blank space so my eyes can rest on your words or products. Personally, my eyes also give bonus points if you are using dark text against a light background and not the other way around. It may not be trendy, but even though I want to share so much with you, I create with with the type of reader I am in mind and stick with a main column and a sidebar style.

be authentically you on your blog - make sure you shine

7. Show Me You.

It is great when a national brand wants to connect with your readers through your blog. You get to test products for review posts in addition to maybe doing exciting giveaways. I know how much that means and how fun it is to do those things. If your reader is going to believe your recommendations though, then they want to know who you are by a great About Me page and personal, non-promotional postings you do in between the sponsored ones.

If day after day the only blogging you are doing is telling me how great this product is and how wonderful that service is, then you become a commercial and no longer a person. Personally, I stream every show I want to watch so there is no dealing with any commercials. When it comes to making purchases it is the recommendations from people I can relate to that help me make my decision. So keep who YOU are as the blog’s main focus because your readers want to care about you. They wouldn’t be reading otherwise.

communication is magic daydreamlane

8. Reply To Your Comments.

If a reader takes the time to read a comment, please put back the effort to respond. It is really sad going to a blog and see posts lucky enough to get comments, but the author doesn’t bother acknowledging it. It takes seconds to write: “Thank you for your time.” Go the extra mile and have an actual conversation.

All right, if you are The Bloggess and receive hundreds, even thousands of comments on every single post, you are excused. If not, you may write the greatest piece I have ever seen online, but I am not going to waste my time sharing how I feel if I know that you won’t even acknowledge me. So again because it is my pet peeve — Reply To Your Comments.

Even introverts need a friend daydreamlane

9. Find Your People.

Let’s be honest, I blog because sometimes I need to communicate with other humans, but struggle with actually do that in person or on the phone. I am socially awkward, even online. Due to this shyness, I have stayed away from the message boards and networking sites. I can get lost in them and find it hard to connect. Even introverts need a friend or three. Finding a support system for not only blog reasons, but also just for mental health is necessary. Finding your people, your tribe, your clique or whatever is a huge component to the entire blogging experience. Take part in writing challenges. Read other blogs and leave genuine engaging comments. You may write alone, but you don’t have to be alone.

Honesty and Integrity in Blogging Daydreamlane

Number 10 of my Top Ten Tips for New Bloggers is: Be Honest. 

What you put on the internet is forever thanks in part to Google Cache, so be honest in your work. Don’t make up stories without marking them as fiction. Don’t give a good review for an item you really didn’t like. Admire other bloggers, strive to reach their level of professionalism along with their writing skills without taking their words as your own. Most importantly though, our reviews and recommendations mean something real to every person who reads them. The trust they put into you and your words should be honored.

Take this pledge with me by leaving a comment below to let your readers know that you respect them enough to only be honest in what you write. If you want, you can use the 250px x 250px below on your site and join me in making the internet a more trustworthy place.

Link back to so other folks can take the pledge.

Well, there you have it. The above is the best advice I can share with you. Even after all these years though, I am not in any way an expert and there is so much more you should know on top of these top 10 tips for new bloggers. Additionally, be aware that a good part of this has been personal opinion and you need to create a site that is unique to you. I hope that you will comment and contribute with your own tips or with questions knowing that I will read, appreciate and always acknowledge you!

P.S. An extra tip — no post should really be this long in this day and age.

P.S.S. Some of the domains I’ve owned over the years (this part is really for my benefit)

  • daydream-lane.blogspot
  • dream-scraps.blogspot

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