wine on the keyboard

Tips for New Bloggers…

by Kay~Kacey on 8/11/2005

So we met a lot of people in Reno who seemed interested in starting their own blogs, so I thought some tips for the new, or not so new blogger might be a good topic to talk about.

1) if you want people to come to your blog, go comment on other people’s blogs. The blogging community is a give and take thing. This doesn’t mean make a big grand round and comment everywhere once or twice…and then don’t commment anymore. People won’t come back to your blog if you don’t come hopping to their blog.

2) blogs not open to comments. Yes, I realize some truly big time authors just can’t. But the rest of us ?? And if you’re on blogger, open your comments to non blogger members.

3) make a point to comment on the comments in your blog. Answer questions. Say hi to new people who comment on your blog, and pop over to their blog and say thanks for visiting my blog.

4) if possible, get a blog with an RSS feed. More and more people are reading blogs that way. They know which blogs are updated and can hop right over there and check out your posts. (I get the RSS feeds, but then click on the link to go directly to the blog to read the entry and comment, I think more and more people read blogs this way) I sometimes forget to go to blogs that don’t have the feeds directly pushed at me.

5) some people like snarky blogs. That’s fine. I personally don’t read the constantly snarky, ranting, whiney blogs. But some people do. Decide what tone you want for your blog. You’ll attract readers that want that type of postings.

6) remember you’re putting your words out there for everyone to read. Decide what information you’re comfortable telling the world about. And remember that if you post in haste, and delete it…it’s still probably out there somewhere cached where people can find it.

7) think about who you’re trying to attract to your blog. Other authors? Readers? General public? Tailor your posts for them.

8) don’t post that you’re too busy to blog hop, but ask people to still come by your blog. Uh, huh. You’re too busy to read their blogs, but you want them to come visit yours? You’ll notice as you get into blog hopping, that when people do this, their comments drop way off. Besides it’s rude.

9) If you’re going to be away for awhile…conference, vacation, life too hectice, whatever. Post a post about when you’ll be back. Then make the blog hopping rounds when you get back so people know you’re back.

10) a blog is a powerful tool for building traffic to your website. I’m getting 5 times the traffic I used to get in the 6 months I’ve been blogging.

11)okay, this a personal preference, but I prefer WordPress, Moveable type, and blog platforms such as that, rather than blogger or livejournal or free blogs. I think they look more professional, they save the commenters info so they don’t have to keep typing it in, and you should get great statistics through your control panel on your website. These platforms are free. WordPress is now designed for “themes” and there are TONS of free ones out there, or you can have someone design and set it up for you for not too much $$. Look for people who aren’t charging an arm and a leg to do this for you. Some have templates you can buy and have installed for about $50, and some will actually design and install for about $100. Most of them will have a portfolio of designs on their website you can look at. Webspace can be gotten for less than $10 a month. Stay away from free webspace with pop ups. Domain names are less the $10 a year to register now. Invest in your career.

Eleven. Weird number. But that’s how many I came up with. Any other tips you want to add?

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Mary August 11, 2005 at 8:24 pm

ANOTHER great post. I wish I’d linked to it in the article I just did for my chapter newsletter.

Mary August 11, 2005 at 8:48 pm

What great ideas. I will follow some of them.

Rene August 11, 2005 at 8:51 pm

You are on a roll with the great posts. I’d like to invest in a really cool blog, but I will probably wait until I’m closer to publication. In the time that I’ve been blogging, I have found such support from everyone and it really has been a great experience.

Kelly =) August 11, 2005 at 11:56 pm

Kacey, you did awesome! Hopefully if I sell, I’ll get to upgrade to the cool WP too. :cool2: It would be nice to have an entire site ran by WP, like Suzanne & Jill.

Gina August 12, 2005 at 4:29 am

I just found your blog linked from another blog, so I decided to hop on over, and take a quick look. Saw this post, and it has a lot of great tips. I’ve been blogging since March, and there are some things I know I can improve on myself.

Michelle August 12, 2005 at 5:34 am

Kelly–Once you have your own website, just make sure it offers you a mysql database. Then you can download Wordpress for free. After Kacey got her Wordpress site up, she taught me how. She is the techno-goddess!!:love:

Suzanne August 12, 2005 at 8:16 am

Yes, WordPress is free, so why wait? Or, if you have a blogspot blog, please install Haloscan comments, which stores the commenters’ info so they don’t have to RETYPE it every time. Makes it much easier to comment.

Also, it really does bug me when someone does a big bloghop around a couple of times to get you to come to their blog then they never bloghop again. BUGS ME. It’s rude.

Steph T. August 12, 2005 at 9:11 am

Again – excellent ideas!

I had Movable Type, and I liked it, but unless the new version allows you to time-stamp your entries, WP is the way to go. Plus, you can save drafts, which you can’t with MT.

And I just saw the registry info for AOL users. I know a few people who have trouble commenting on my blog because of that, so I’m going to have to install that to make it easier for them. Thanks!!

Tori August 12, 2005 at 12:44 pm

Another fabulous post, Kacey! I totally agree with everything you said. Even though I know I sometimes fall down on the job with my own. :mad2: Bad Tori!

When I switched to WP from Livejournal, Kacey and Michelle were a HUGE help because my brain turned to mush while reading the how-to info. :rofl:

kacey August 12, 2005 at 1:50 pm

Rene, there is a lot of support out there in blogging land, isn’t there?

Gina, thanks for stopping by. Your link didn’t work. If you see this, check out your link so I can hop back over to your blog.

Suzanne, great comment on haloscan for blogger users. Rene listend to you and installed it today on her blogger blog!

StephT, I had used moveable type before. But I do like Wordpress better.

I know, I know…kid me about being a techno geek..but I can’t help it. I love all things geeky :roll:

Melissa August 12, 2005 at 1:57 pm

Great post, Kacey! I’m going to link to your article (if you don’t mind) and share it with my local RWA chapter. I don’t even know if any of them have blogs – but it’s such a great tool for support and encouragement (not to mention getting your name out there, too!).

Lory August 12, 2005 at 3:59 pm

Kacey,
What great tips — thanks!
Now–to show my inexperience and technologically-challenged mind: what is an RSS feed?
I think I want it (?) but I don’t know what it is!

(I sound like my children after watching all those toy commercials at Christmas time! “I want that and that and that!”
“What is it?”
“I don’t know but I NEED it!”)
; )

Gina August 12, 2005 at 6:35 pm

Sorry about that! I missed a letter in the link. Shouldn’t post comments late at night! :lol: It should hopefully work now.

kacey August 13, 2005 at 6:29 am

Melissa, go ahead and link. We need to convert more people over to the dark side…oh, I mean over to blogging :mrgreen:

Gina, great, the link works now and I popped over to say hi!

Lory, you have an RSS feed…that’s how I know when you’ve posted a new entry. It’s basically a service that goes out and checks a list of blogs you set up to see if there are new posts. So you don’t have to hop your whole list to find out. I use Pluck. Another RSS feed aggregator is Bloglines. I wrote about them Here ~RSS FEEDS

Leanna Ellis August 13, 2005 at 7:12 am

Great info! Thanks for sharing!

Lory August 13, 2005 at 3:20 pm

I’m back.
I did install Haloscan. It deleted all my previous comments–but I should just look to the future, right?!
Thanks again for the great info!

Cece August 13, 2005 at 6:48 pm

Taht was the downside from upgrading from Blogger to wordpress–I lost all my comments but I’d only been blogging a couple of months. If you can afford the small expense involved with hosting your own domain, wordpress rocks! Great Post kacey

Cece
who has been a bad blogger lately :mad2:

Emma S August 14, 2005 at 2:53 pm

Really great post! And you’re totally right about the “you visit me, I’ll visit you” comment thing. I’ve been really bad about my commenting lately (mostly ’cause I’ve been swamped with work) and my comment’s have dropped way off.

And another Woo Hoo for wordpress!

Brenda Bradshaw August 14, 2005 at 5:13 pm

Holy crap, chica. There’s so much on this list that I’m SO WAY guilty of! I do suffer blog guilt, from writing on my own to visiting other blogs (and you’re totally right on about that, btw!) Heck, I don’t know if I have an RSS feed or not. And now I’m thinking about WordPress, but then I saw that CeCe lost all her comments and that would suck.

Heck, I don’t know if I’m a snarky blog or not. I don’t know if I whine or not. I don’t know what “audience” I’m aiming for. I never thought of myself as a newbie blogger, but I’m suddenly feeling that way!! Ugh. I suck. ~sigh~

BUT!

(dramatic pause for effect)

Tomorrow I start my “fulltime career”, and part of that is having a schedule, with a definite time to “blog”, from writing my own to visiting others. I hope that with school starting and all the kids outta the house, and having a real schedule, that I’ll be able to get control of all the stuff currently surrounding me like pukey chaos.

kacey August 14, 2005 at 6:25 pm

Brenda, you go girl! a fulltime writing career!!

(and yes, you have an RSS feed…I get it for your blog.)

Danica August 15, 2005 at 6:39 pm

Wow, Kacey, I love this article! I think you helped me make up my mind about something I’ve been debating on for a while now. Definitely going to look into switching to Word Press, but of course that means I will need to look at hosting and having my website built (since DH bought me my domain name almost two years ago, you’d think it was time, eh?). UGH. Okay.

Peggy August 15, 2005 at 8:54 pm

What a great post! Lord I didn’t know half the things you guys were talking about…but I took notes! It usually takes me five times as long to understand techi stuff than the norm. But I’ll eventually get it right. Thanks Kacey!

Larissa August 16, 2005 at 11:46 am

Good post! :wink:

One tip I’d like to share: list links to other blogs you visit. A lot of times, that’ll lead to reciprocal linkage, which leads to more visitors. I know I often check out new blogs when they are listed on the blogs of people I visit regularly!

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