June 25, 2012

Blogging is a Journey...

I've had a couple of people send me emails asking about how I started blogging or if I have any tips for them on how to do a "successful" blog. By no means, do I consider my blog a success yet. I have so many other blogs I follow that I think, "God, she's really got this down." But I read. I
make mental notes. I evolve. Hopefully, I get better. Overall, I'm just happy to have a place that is mine. All mine.

Below I've listed some things I've learned along the way or figured works for me. The key is "they work for me." Its your blog and you need to make it yours. If you blog for others, then your heart won't be in it. Please, feel free to give any words of advice or add to my list. I too am always looking for ways to have a "successful" blog.

In no order of importance:

  1. Talk about something that you are very passionate about and won't bore you over time. This is about you so make it what you like. But at the same time, you have to think of your audience as well. If you are writing a parenting blog, then using the "F" Bomb every other word, will probably turn your listeners off. Me? I'm an expat, mommy, housewife, scrapbooker, runner (ummm...sometimes), and traveler. So my blog is just a general all purpose whatever kind of blog. You're going to be sitting down for 1-2 hours each post in order to make it good so make sure its something that really tickles your fancy.
  2. Talk often. If you want people to become engaged in you, then you have to talk a lot.  But if you only blog once a month, then well, people are going to find someone else to follow. They have to feel like they know you and connect with your topic. Its like your old college roomate. You can't call her your best friend after 10 years if you only talk once a year because when you do talk, "oh, its like you were never apart." Because you can spin that relationship around however you want, but the fact is that she's just someone that you like, but you aren't willing to put the effort into truly knowing. That's like blog life. You have to make people invest in YOU.
  3. Talk like its your best friend. Make it first person. I'm quirky and goofy and ramble on and on. I use funny little sayings, and I'm not afraid to put myself out there. When I write, I talk as if its my sister, and I'm telling her a story. I love how funny Sara in Le Petite Village makes her stories sound. I love her funny little names for her friends and family. Her banter just cracks me up. Why? Because she writes the way she talks like we are her best friends.
  4. Follow other blogs. If you want to be followed then you have to follow others. Its pretty simple. Plus, you get tips from other blogs which help you to evolve or get ideas of things to write about when you're in a slump.
  5. Comment on other's blogs. Goes with #4. You can't expect people to comment on your blog if you don't comment on their blog. And for goodness sakes, sign up for a google or yahoo account and post a picture. I want to see who those "Anonymous" people are that are following me or comment on my blog. Just like you are engaged in me, I'm engaged in you. 
  6. Respond to comments left on your blog. It takes a lot of courage for someone to finally leave a comment on your blog. They are throwing themselves out there. Give them the respect of a comment back if their comment warrants it. If its just a "neat" or "cool" comment then maybe not. But if they take the time to introduce themselves and tell you they love your blog, then give them the time to thank them back. I had a blog that I loved. I wrote a personal email to that person asking them a simple question. I guess I wasn't on the list because I received no reply email. Not only did it make me feel left out, but it kinda ticked me off. They were quickly taken off the blog roll, and I just was no longer engaged in them anymore. Note to all: If I don't respond to an email or question you ask me on my blog. Then something happened. It is not intentional. 
  7. Pictures! Pictures! Pictures! People are visual. Its a fact. Give us some pictures. If you ramble on and on and on (like I do sometimes) but don't give us anything to look at, then well, that's boring. Think of us (your readers) as little kids. I want to feel like I'm right there in your kitchen if you are baking a cake. I want to be right there with you on that cliff that you climbed. Think out of the box when taking pictures. Don't make everything so obvious. I love how Laura on Gringanation Cancun takes pictures of sand. Just sand. But its a great picture of the sand. Which leads us to #7.
  8. Edit your Pictures. #7 and #8 are best friends. There are numerous websites out there that are free and easy to use; Adobe Photoshop (not free), Pixlr, FotoFlexer, BeFunky, etc. If you want us to admire the etching on the side of a building, then we need to be able to see it. Look at Plain Chicken. I can see the cheese in her lasagnas. I can see the bacon bits in her salads. I can see it so well, that I can smell it. I want to eat it. I must eat it!
  9. Register your blog on blog topic websites specific to your blog. If you are an expat, then sign up on expat blogs. If you are mommy, then sign your blog up on parenting blogs. You can find them here, or here, or here, or maybe here. Or you could just google your topic like "Expat Blogs," "Parenting Blogs," or "Photography Blogs,"and you're bound to find something. Google is so dang smart! 
  10. Limit the noise on your sidebar. If you have a lot of junk on the side, then I get distracted when I read your posts. Don't do ads, or if you are going to do ads then keep them tasteful. I know we all want to be the blogger like Perez Hilton (example only, don't judge me) or Pioneer Woman whom made it big. But the chances of you making millions off of your blog are pretty slim. After you have a few hundred followers and get about 500 hits a day, then your audience probably won't mind a few ads placed here or there. Its just an opinion and don't hate me if you have ads on your blog.


  1. These are really good tips! You've covered all the bases, these are all things I've learned and am still learning about blogging! Totally agree about the sidebar ads, a very cluttered one can be really offputting. I'm not against swap-sponsoring a blog is young, so long as the sidebar ads are organized and not distracting!

    <3 Daryl

  2. Great tips! (and thanks for the mention, I'm blushing)

    I decided to go with ads recently on my sidebar, but trying to keep it low key. No pop-ups or aything... I hate those.

    1. I think your ads are tasteful. Like I said, when you get a few hundred followers and have as many hits as I know you do, then it's warranted. Ditto on the pop-ups.