I've been blogging for 4 or 5 years now. (I'm not one of those bloggers who knows the day they started their blog. It was sometime in April my Sophomore year of college. Who knows.) I like to think I know a thing or two about blogging, even if I'm not a "top tier" blogger (thanks, IFB, for giving us that weirdly insulting term!).
Starting a blog is always really daunting and I don't think a lot of people really know what they're doing at the start -- I definitely did it! I wrote some truly awful articles. And once I started doing outfit photos, I took some truly awful outfit photos of truly stupid outfits... simply because I thought it was fun. Actually, I kind of miss that impulsive silliness when it comes to blogging! We're all so serious now.
However, I think for newbies who really want to dedicate themselves to blogging and have a blog that develops into something more than them sending words out into the Internet, there are four tips you really need to follow.
1. Get on Twitter. You might hate Twitter. You might think it's totally stupid. But if you want a blog with readers, you should join Twitter. Twitter is the #1 way I stay in contact with other bloggers. It's the main way I find new blogs to read and it's actually one of my top traffic sources. Twitter is awesome. You can micro-blog. You can ask and answer questions. You can rant about your smelly coworkers. Whatever. It's Twitter. Say what you want; be funny, be friendly; and most importantly, post your links... and hashtag them.
2. Comment -- don't spam. And there is a different. Leave comments. Meaningful, real comments. If you read a blog post and can't think of anything to say, don't just post something stupid. Move on. If you want to leave a comment, leave one. And maybe that blogger (or someone who reads their comments) will follow back to your blog. But that's not the point. When you blog, you're part of a community, which you interact with via comments (and on Twitter... see?). It doesn't make sense to blog and just let it sit there. But don't leave comments just to leave your link. And for the love of all that is holy, do not ever use the words "I follow back."
3. Do your thing. And by your thing, I mean your thing. Want to take outfit photos? That's cool. But don't try to copy another blogger's style. Figure it out for yourself. Want to post DIY's? That's cool. But make up your own -- don't just copy ones you find. (Lame!) Want to post recipes? That's cool -- make sure to link to recipes you are following, and note what you've changed. My point is: do what you do, be you. Seriously, don't be a copycat, that's lame.
4. Don't be a jerk. If someone has a criticism of your blog, you can do two things: you can write a level-headed response or you can flip out. Personally, my reaction tends to depend on the tone of the criticism. I've gotten some really nice, thoughtful critiques of my blog that I've taken to heart and used to become a better blogger and writer. And some have made me want to kick through my own window. It's all in phrasing. But, moral of the story: don't be a jerk when it comes to people pointing out flaws. People are people and we all see flaws in ourselves and each other. That's kind of a thing. As someone who has the knee jerk reaction of "YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT" (which is actually insecurity for most people and not overconfidence), I think the number one way to react to criticism is to take it, let it wash over you, and react in the classiest way you can. And most importantly, be objective. What a troll says might actually be kind of true... even if they say it in a rude way.
Do you have any tips for new bloggers?