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Tips for New (and maybe even old) Bloggers

While I don't consider myself an expert blogger, I have been around the block or two.  This little blog has gone through many many changes.  Some for the good.  Some for the worse.  And even more than the physical appearance of this blog has morphed, my blogging style has changed all the more -- from what I blog about, how often, my commenting consistency, my tastes, frequency, opinions... it's all always changing.  Anywhoo, with all that, I thought I would do a little follow up to Rhi's (heygorg.com) "How to be a better blogger" post by sharing some tips/secrets to fueling your blog and keeping smiles on faces...

portlandbrew
{what this blog looked like circa july 2010}
{1} On Giveaways...

These are not a necessity, obviously, but they are a fun way to display your style and the things you enjoy while at the same time helping small business owners and the handmade world.  With giveaways, start small -- don't bite off more than you can chew.  Take time to talk with the giveaway partner to make sure the giveaway is mutually beneficial.  Don't do giveaways for the sole purpose of gaining more followers.  The point is to highlight the artist/company.  However, don't get me wrong -- giveaways are a great way to thank your followers for, well, following... so it's okay to make being a follower a requirement.  But don't forget to switch things up from time to time and leave things open to everyone.  

Helpful tips:  
* Add numbering to your comments (find out how here) and then use random.org to select the winner.
* Index your giveaway!  There are several sites and other blogs that exist for the sole purpose of spreading the news about giveaways and thus help drive traffic to both your blog and the creative person you are showcasing.  A few of my favorites are:


{2} On Photos...

Photos are great and help catch the eye and set the tone for a post -- but don't feel pressured to pick the perfect one, or even one at all.  Variety is the spice of life and sometimes, variety includes using no picture at all!  However, when you do use a picture that is not your own, always ALWAYS source it.  Unless it is a stock photo from google, it usually means it has come copyright attached.  Even pictures used from popular sites like tumblr or weheartit.com... those pictures all came from someone who may or may not have given permission for them to be shared.  If you find a picture you like on one of those sites, try to source it back to the original artist.  At the very least, acknowledge that it isn't yours and where you found it.  I for one enjoy a picture much more if I can follow a link to it's origin.  If taking pictures from flickr -- ALWAYS ask permission before using.  Not only does flickr require it in it's terms of use, but the artist will appreciate it.  Don't be stuck up like I was once and think you are flattering the person by using their photo, it is still their right to decide where it can go.  Also, don't think they will never find out -- that is selfish, and... they can tell where their photos show up (gotta love technology)... I am calling the kettle black here - I've been "that girl" and I've learned my lesson.

{3}  On Making Friends...

Imitation may be the "greatest form of flattery," but only if you ask first!  If you like someone's post or layout and want to adopt something similar for your own, take a couple of seconds to ask first.  For example, I asked Rhi if she minded that I did a follow up to her post (she of course is super cool and was totally fine with it).  If you are about to do something "new" on your blog, take a couple minutes to make sure it is an original idea.  Sometimes I know imitation can honestly be by mistake (you know like that brady bunch episode where bobby heard greg singing a new song as he was falling asleep and when he woke up he thought he wrote it...) or that sometimes great minds really do just think alike.  There are a lot of things/ideas out there that don't technically belong to anyone... Wordless Wednesday for example.  But I think we all know when we are pushing the limits of infringing on someone else's originality.  There are a lot of blogs out there, why be like everyone else?

* Be a guest!  Guest posting is fun and can be mutually beneficial and enjoyable for you, the blog host, and both sets of readers.  Don't over ask, but don't be afraid to ask either.  Always remember that if someone is guest posting for you, that is your honor and their favor -- not the other way around.  If someone has asked you to guest post, chances are that they like your style... you don't have to conform to their blog style, just be yourself and ask the same for people posting for you.  If you are the host, make sure to give plenty of link backs to the guest's blog.

* Read Rhi's post -- these tips will help keep things friendly.

{4} On keeping a blog...

This is the most important thing I think I can share with you.  Check in with your self from time to time.  How much time are you spending in front of the computer screen?  How much time are you spending commenting on other people's blogs just so they will come back and comment on yours?  Are your posts displaying your personal style/interest/opinions, or are they displaying only what you believe your readers would rather see?

Growing a blog is so much fun -- and even you who are new to blogging already know how addicting it can be.  It is so easy to get lost in this fanciful world.  Determine what you are willing to sacrifice to make your blog what you think it needs to be.  Set reasonable goals.  Don't be a slave to the numbers.  Maybe even take the time to write yourself a little mission statement that includes why you blog and how you intend to carry that reason out.  Make it and then hold yourself accountable.  Ask another person to help keep you accountable.  Live your life for you, don't live your life for the next blog post.  I learned all this the hard way (read my "true confession of a blogaholic" here).

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Thats all this girl has for today folks... although, let me (and/or Rhi) know if there are other things you wonder about... I'd be happy to give my opinion... but just remember that anything I say is merely that -- an opinion... there are in fact no real rules to blogging.  Find your way and just do it & enjoy it!

xo,

Photobucket

32 comments...:

  1. Thank you for sharing honey, I really love your blog!

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  2. great info.
    super insightful to this new little blogger.
    thanks a bunch.

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  3. Wonderful Tips!! Thanks ladies!!
    xoxo

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  4. This was really helpful! I'm not a new blogger, but still I picked up some things that I didn't even consider...like time for myself. I might just do that. I'm worried that I am becoming a blogoholic. Going to sit down tonight and think about this. Thanks so much for taking the time to post this!

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  5. thank you for sharing. I'll have to remember these notes. I really enjoyed reading this.

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  6. This is such a great post - thank you for sharing your thoughts. I learned some things I didn't know and just submitted my giveaway to one of those sites. Thank you!! :)

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  7. Great tips! I think I'll try numbering my comments. That will really help if I do another giveaway!

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  8. Love you Blair! Loved this post. So many helpful items to remember and keep in mind when we all blog. Couldn't have said it better :) And of course thank you for the linkie love xoxox

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  9. Um, I am feeling super guilty about # 2 now. I always reference, but it usually back to we heart it or flickr. Now I know....and now I correct. Thanks!

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  10. great tips and super helpful! thanks sweetie!

    xo,
    cb

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  11. I always love reading tips from bloggers that I love. It's a constant learning process and I appreciate all the help I can get! :)

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  12. Photos are a huge issues right now. I'm glad you addressed it. What's interesting is that not only linking it's source but also asking permission is a huge thing. I am so glad you told us that it hasn't always been smooth for you. I really appreciate that.

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  13. these are great. thanks for sharing. it's important to think about how much time you are spending blogging and how much time you want to spend doing it. there are times i feel i'm blogging more than i'm living and that's when i shut off my computer, take a break and focus on life.

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  14. Great great tips girl! I'm still learning things, so it's good for me to read AND learn about your experiences too. Blogging is a funny world, I had no idea! Here's to more happy moments of authentic blogging days:-) xoxo

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  15. i always enjoy reading tips for bloggers. i still feel so new even though it's been almost a year. i thought Rhi's post was great too, and so are your additional thoughts. i love that you point out to take time to reflect on yourself. thanks Blair!

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  16. those are such good thoughts. thanks for sharing.

    ps: love seeing that little belly grow!

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  17. These are great tips, Blair! :)

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  18. Great tips! I've been blogging for a little over a year, but sometimes it's nice to hear someone else share their perspective! Keep up the wonderful work!

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  19. Tons of great information... thank you! :]

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  20. This is such a good advice, thank you for posting this!

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  21. these are great tips for new bloggers and reminders for old bloggers!! i esp. love the ones around the giveaways!!

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  22. Blaire, I love it. I'm going to be picking your head the next time I see you. We're hoping to be in Nashville for the marathon.

    I hope you and the hubs are doing well.

    allison
    http://hanschenklein.wordpress.com/

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  23. Advice as classic and simple as a Mason jar, well said.

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  24. Blair this was some good advice! Lol and I've given up trying to get followers, etc. Lately I've actually been losing them lol, BUT I think that I'm just going to be me and if they don't like it I don't want them there:-)

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  25. this is fabulous advice. i had a miracle baby, and by that i mean, there are only 5 other women in the world with my disease who have been able to conceive, carry, and birth their biological children. i started my blog to keep memories for her because i don't know how much time i will get with her. i'm all about being grateful and my blog really has helped me focus on practicing gratitude every single day.

    this blog world can feel so big and yet so small at the same time.

    thanks for this information! :)

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  26. thank you so much for the tips :)

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  27. Great advise, I'm thinking of doing a give away xoxo

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  28. I really appreciate everything you've written here.
    Thank you!

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  29. I am trying to grow my blog and get to know others and I will definitely take these great things under advisement and make sure I am actively doing every one.. Thank you!

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  30. gosh, i think i have said everything you just said in my head. the numbers, the comments, the silly stuff that tie us to our blogs...all so superficial.

    thanks for the tips though. a giveaway would be fun! (that link to Rhi's tips doesn't work btw)

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  31. Hi there! I found you via Aisle to Aloha and I have a post coming up on being a better blogger. I've linked this post to mine for "more information" for my readers. Great advice and thanks for sharing with the blogging community! :)

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