Tuesday, April 17, 2012

ttt: tips for bloggers

I almost didn't participate in this week's Top Ten Tuesday on the Broke and the Bookish. You see, the theme this week is "Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers." And as a new book blogger myself, I don't think I'm qualified to give advice to others yet. I started this blog to share my semester in Greece (which I did from August to December), but I've only been blogging about books since January. 

Really, I'm just excited to hear what others have to say. Clicking through a few, I've already learned a new word: ARC (Advanced Reader Copy). Am I only the one who didn't know that?

So like I was saying, I wasn't going to participate. But then I realized, I might not have a lot of blog writing experience, but I do have a lot of blog reading experience. So the tips below come from my experience as a reader. They focus on what makes me really enjoy a blog and want to stick around (and they're not limited to book blogging). So without further ado . . .


TOP TEN TUESDAY:
Top Ten Tips for Bloggers

1. Simple, attractive graphic design. This is probably the #1 reason I turn away from a blog. Most people can write clearly, I've found, and have something worth saying, but not everyone takes the time to make their blog a visually appealing site. And for me, that's a deal-breaker. You don't have to study graphic design or hire a designer; you just have to take the time to play around with the design template. Clean, non-distracting, personalized design draws people in and makes the words you write (the most important thing, usually) stand out. 

2. Never post without a picture. This goes along with #1. Pictures help break up the text and catch the reader's eye. Even if your post doesn't have a matching picture, you can find something. Find a comic on Google or take a quick picture yourself. Or if you're book blogging, just post a book cover!

3. Blog consistently. If you want consistent readers, you have to blog consistently. It's so frustrating to find a great blog and then (A) realize they haven't posted in months or (B) wait and wait and realize they're not going to post again for months.

4. Be blunt. No one wants to read a 2,000 word essay on a blog. Write clearly and get to the point. If you do write a lot in a post, keep it entertaining, keep it engaging, and try to post several pictures to break up the chunk of text.

5. Introduce yourself. Either on the sidebar or on a page, tell us who you are. Hit the basics- age, location, occupation, hobbies. It doesn't have to be specific (you could just say "twenty-something" if you wanted, or "Midwest" or "in healthcare"), but it should give readers an idea of who's talking to them. Include a photo too. 

6. Title of blog should be consistent with the hyperlink, if possible. Just to make it easier for us all. But of course I understand if the link was already taken. At least make it close. I purposely named this blog "A Quick Red Fox" because someone (who hadn't posted in years, mind you!) had already taken "The Quick Red Fox" as a hyperlink.

7. Check out other blogs and comment. Comment on those who comment on your blog. Share the love. If you just post and never look at what others are doing, no one's going to know about you. It's a community, so it's important to keep the conversation going and make friends. Also, if someone posts on your blog, try to reply to their comment or return the favor (and comment on their blog).

8. Organize, tag, and make pages. Make it easy for readers to navigate. What if I want to read all your book reviews? What if I want to look in your archives and read your first posts ever? What if I want to read all the posts you have about movies? Make it easy for me. List tags that are clickable. Have an archive on the sidebar. Make it easy.

9. Share some other things you like to do. It's a good idea to keep your blog's theme consistent: books, food, fashion, etc. But everyone's more complicated than that one theme might show. No one's just a bookaholic or a foodie or a fashionista. Show your personality and (sparingly) share your love of other things. It gives a personal connection and helps readers feel like they're hearing from a real person and not just an anonymous website.

10. Write the blog you want to read. It's as easy as that. Would you read your blog if you weren't you? If not, you better change it.


Agree with me? Disagree? Have some other tips I should know about? Let me know!


6 comments:

  1. I love these tips - and you said it so well. Your idea about clean attractive design is on point! It's the thing that makes me check out more than 1 post on a blog! And honestly - blogs with stock templates makes me think the blogger doesn't spend much time on their website, so I'm not inclined to check out the content.

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    1. Definitely! If you don't spend any time looking at your blog, why should I? It's lazy. Plus, with a little playing around, it's not very difficult to make an attractive design (and honestly, it can be pretty fun!).

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  2. OMG. Your blog is...SO BEAUTIFUL! I love it. Instant subscriber. Your point number 1 about design is so true- as you can tell I can't help but follow a quirky blog with a gorgeous design! <3 x

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  3. I so agree with you, about sharing personality. I think that can bleed into theme though. Simple and neat works with some personalities -- but color and splash better fits others.

    My tips were all about writing for yourself, first.

    Good to meet you! :)

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    1. Nice to meet you too! I just checked out your blog and loved your tips, especially the one about not worrying what others will think. Too often we forget that! I began this blog for me, not for whoever might stumble upon it. Though I'm happy those people are here too :)

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