Ten Easy Blogging Tips for Beginner Bloggers; Or, What I Wished I Had Known in 2006

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When I started blogging in 2006, I didn’t even really know what blogging was. It seemed like a normal progression from those livejournal entries of my high-school days and the written journals I kept before – and after – then. I stopped journaling about the time I started dating my husband, unfortunately.

Most people today know what a blog is; I presume many have read one or even read one or two on a regular basis. So I think people who begin blogging probably do so with a purpose. Is it to inform your friends and family of what’s going on in your life? Voice your opinions for the general masses? Try to make some money?

Edma Pontillon Blogging, after Berthe Morisot

If your purpose falls into those latter two categories, here is some quick advice that I wish I had received five years ago.

Ten Tips for Beginning Bloggers

1. Buy your domain.

I was shocked at Blissdom ’09 to find out that it only costs $10 a year to own your domain. Ten dollars! (Now it appears to be $12 if you want a .com and less if you could deal with a .us, .me, or .org.) It’s super easy to redirect your site to a domain. I am always flabbergasted at the amount of sites that still have “.blogspot” in their URL. “Vanderbiltwife.blogspot.com” just doesn’t have the same ring as VanderbiltWife.com.

If your domain is already taken, you might consider renaming your blog, inserting a number instead of a word, or something similar. Be creative!

2. And while we’re talking titles, choose something with zing. Be original. What makes you uniquely you? What exactly is your blog about?

3. Make yourself accessible.ย 

Please, please make it easy to e-mail you from your blog’s homepage. See that little “e-mail me” button on the sidebar? I wish everyone had one. Because sometimes I just have a burning question about you or a post that is too long to post in a comment, or maybe too personal.

Using Twitter and starting a Facebook fan page are great, too, if you’re going to use them.

4. Set up a profile on Blogger (whether you use Blogger or not) so it’s easy to comment on Blogger blogs. MAKE YOUR EMAIL VISIBLE. (If you use gmail or other Google apps, you already have an account ready, I think.) Lots of blogs are Blogger-based (like this one), and it’s a pain for a blog author to compose a whole e-mail reply to someone who commented just to realize that their e-mail is not there.

I would respond to nearly all my comments if their e-mails were available! (I try to respond to many as long as that e-mail is visible. PLEASE MAKE IT VISIBLE.) Blogging is about conversation and we authors want to respond!

5. Blog hop. See what other people are doing. Leave comments. See if others want to guest post on your blog, or do a series together, or just chat on e-mail. Follow lots of people on Twitter, if you use it. Share links. Be generous. Be genuine.

6. For the love of Pete, unless you are Ann Voskamp (and that’s still iffy), do not have music auto-playing on your blog.

Suzanne Valadon Blogging, after Lautrec

7. Install Google Analytics. At some point, you might want to see how people are getting to your blog, what they search for to find you, or how many pageviews you are getting. Go ahead and do it now! I wish I had!

8. Apply some simple SEO (Search Engine Optimization.) This is MUCH EASIER to do on the front end than after you have 900 posts. (Not that I would know. Cough, cough.) Tara has two excellent slideshows with easy tips.

9. Link to carnivals. You know Menu Plan Monday, Top Ten Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday? Those are carnivals. Linking will bring you a little traffic and checking out others’ links will expose you to blogs you might never have found otherwise.

10. Don’t underestimate your worth. You probably don’t have The Pioneer Woman‘s traffic, a book deal like MoneySavingMom, and the striking good looks of Jill. That doesn’t mean you should settle for a toothbrush as payment for a review, or bend over backwards for a company that does nothing in return. Determine your worth and stick with it. Only do what you really want to do. And don’t force yourself to write when you don’t want to … the content will never be as good.

If you’re a veteran blogger, what would you share? If you’re a newbie, are these tips helpful at all?

Added to Top Ten Tuesday at OhAmanda.

33 thoughts on “Ten Easy Blogging Tips for Beginner Bloggers; Or, What I Wished I Had Known in 2006

  1. Thank you for your tips! I just started up my blog and I'm very, very new to SEO, site design, etc. I'm going to implement a bunch of your suggestions.

    Also, I loved your pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. These are excellent tips! I also started blogging in 2006 and these are all things I learned the hard way.

    My tip to all Blogger bloggers – allow commenting using Name/URL for those of us who don't have blogger accounts.

  3. I'm not making money with my blog so I'm not going to spend money on a dot com name. I'm not even sure if my hubby would approve even if I wanted to. Maybe in the future, but I think people don't have their own domain because they are still new to the whole thing. Just another point of view ๐Ÿ™‚ …

  4. I like these tips Jessie. I didn't realize the whole domain thing either. I'll have to ask John what he thinks about that. ๐Ÿ™‚ My biggest advice is have fun with a blog. I have heard people say, "I feel bad that I haven't written on it." So what??!! It shouldn't be another stressor in life. Not everything we write about is fun, but I tell people do what YOU want, not what you THINK others want.

  5. Great post! Would you consider doing a tutorial on how to direct traffic to your own domain? I have massive fear about this process…

  6. Great points! I'm so glad I bought my domain early on… but I'm considering a name/domain change and everything I want is taken. I'm digging deep to come up with something that "fits" me better!

  7. Great post! I *totally* agree about the music!!

    I disagree somewhat with the "email me" button. I don't use Outlook (or anything similar) and I hate that those buttons want to start up those programs. I'd much prefer it if authors wrote their email addresses out or had a "contact me" form. Just another point of view. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. great tips… i'm new to this. I love the carnivals b/c it's an easy way to see what others are doing. #10 helped too b/c sometimes I think, maybe I'm not good at this, etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. @Damsel – You're right. I don't have Outlook either and when I click on something and it pops up that does annoy me. I guess what I mean is make you e-mail address accessible. I hate it when I can't find a way to contact the author by email or at least by Twitter.

    @Janna – You're 100% right. It's YOUR blog. Write when you want to write!

  10. Hi Jessie-
    Boy, I needed that!! My blog is one week old, and I feel as though I really am flying by the seat of my pants. It was good to read that there are actually a couple of things that I am doing right :D. I will certainly work on the rest. Come stop by if you have time… Thanks

  11. I blog mostly for me, but it is nice to get comments – and I totally agree reading around and leaving sincere comments is the best way to inspire some return traffic.

    Thank you sooo much for mentioning #6. I read at work, and it is disconcerting to have music suddenly start. If you MUST have a player, put it near the top of the page, so viewers and see (and silence) it right away.

    Best tip? Be the authentic you. After having been blogging for two years, a real life friend found my blog – and read through all the archives in a week. I had to go back and do the same, and will say that on the whole, the blog is an accurate reflection of me, warts and all.

  12. I am grateful for this post–I did not know I could set up a blogger profile even though my blog is not blogger-based. I have been frustrated by the comment form on some blogs for this reason–but no longer! I just set up my profile. Thanks SOOO much for this tip!

  13. Great post! Totally agree about the music. Nothing turns me off a blog faster than auto-play music.

    I have mixed feelings about bloggers with book deals. On the one hand, I'm happy for them (and for the idea that it's possible to get a book deal!). On the other, blogs seem to lose some of their charm for me once they're super "professional". Just my take.

  14. Great tips! I've been blogging since … ahem… ~1998 and I definitely recommend grabbing a personal domain.

    I'd also suggest — it's worth the extra $10 or whatever it is to pay for the secure option of not exposing your home address via your registration info for your URL. If you don't pay to make those details private, anyone who wants to look-up who the owner of a domain name is, can do so via whois.net or other sites and it will show first and last name, address and email.

    Enjoyed reading your tips!

    Kendra aka
    The Meanest Momma

  15. I HEARTILY agree with #4. That is the one major downfall to blogger in that people can leave comments without an email address. Grrr! ๐Ÿ™‚ I really do want to communicate with you and sometimes I have to go looking to the profile or website and sometimes that's just not as worth my time!

    And #6. Especially the ones where it doesn't start playing until you scroll part way down? Freak me out every time!

    I just recently discovered google analytics. And site meter. Very fun!

    Now to learn a little more about SEO… 600+ posts in… ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I've been at it for 18 months. Please, please make your site EASY TO NAVIGATE. If I can't find what I'm looking for immediately, I'm leaving. Plus, once I created categories and linked within posts and such, people stuck around awhile and kept reading. If you want any kind of decent traffic you must do this.

  17. Good tips. I love when I can email someone back. WordPress is the best for things like that.

    and my favorite carnival? Mama kat's Losin' it Thursday writers workshop. Can't be beat.

  18. I love owning my name. It was worth the money for me to buy it. Your tips are wonderful! I bookmarked the slide show to watch later.

  19. okay, I just recently moved to tumblr and if it weren't for stumblingupon this post it would have taken me a hell of a lot longer to find out about google analytics! I've been whining about how tumblr doesn't have blogger's "stats" ever since the transition and now I couldn't be happier. Thank you!

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