10 Tips for New Bloggers

After blogging for over 2 and 1/2 years, I can definitely say that I’ve learned a few things about the subject. I started out “green” just like a lot of you new bloggers out there.  I had to learn how to do posts, how to spruce up my blog and make it look all purdy, and how to add gadgets and widgets and all those other things that make blogging fun.

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(all of these images were found online under Google images…pretty funny & a reminder not to take blogging too seriously)

So, in light of all of that, I thought this would be a good time to share with you new bloggers out there.  And there are a bunch of you! I see new blogs every single day and am amazed at all the new ones on the block now.  So, we all have to start somewhere.  I’m going to share some hopefully good tips for you to take and use to perhaps make blogging easier for you and fun too.

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Many of the things I’ve learned have been trial and error.   I can’t tell you how many emails I sent in those early days, trying to figure out how to do something, so I would ask another blogger “how do you do that?”.  Everyone was so kind along the way, so I would like to pass on some of that to you “newbies”.

I changed my blog around so many times that first year, trying out backgrounds, headers, adding widgets, and so on.  Now that I’m on my own domain and with WordPress, I can look back and see how far I’ve come.  And hopefully, I can share some of that with all of you.  Figuring out HTML is a whole ‘nuther subject and one that I’m just beginning to conquer just a little bit.  It was scary at first, but once you learn some of the basics, it all gets easier.

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1.  Writing posts in Windows Live Writer: I did a whole post on Windows Live Writer earlier this year. Another blog friend told me about it and it made posting blogs and uploading pics SO much easier and faster than writing in Blogger.  I have now moved my blog over to WordPress (I have all these options built-in now), so I don’t need to use Windows Live Writer anymore, but if you are still on Blogger, I would highly suggest you download this wonderful tool and use it.  You will be able to get much larger pics without all the hassle of changing codes or anything.  I learned how to do that too with my pics before I started using WLW, but once you start with it, you will never have to change any code again for your pics to be larger.  You can drag them any size you want and they will stay.  Not to mention, you don’t have to worry about loading them a certain way or if you want to go back and add a pic in blogger, it messes everything up.  You can load them and then move them around in WLW before you ever send them over to Blogger.  Read all about it HERE.

One little tip about WLW. Once you get it loaded on your computer, you will then need to link it to your blog.  Click on the Blog tab at the top and you’ll see Add Blog Account, you just put in your blog url and follow the steps to get your blog linked up with WLW, then you’ll be all set.  When you write a post, you will have the option of Publishing right then, or you can Save to Draft, as well as Send Draft To Blog. Once you start playing with it, it’s easy, I promise!  I usually Save to Draft first and then Send Draft to Blog, since most of my posts are done ahead of time.

2.  Letter Verification: This is #1 on my Personal Pet Peeves.  If you are a new blogger, I would highly recommend that you TURN OFF the comment with letter verification.  Your readers will be SO frustrated constantly having to type in those letters to leave you a comment.  And it is totally not necessary to do that.  If you feel you need privacy and some form of control over spam or bad comments, then just simply have all comments moderated.  That way you can delete anything that shows up that you don’t want posted.  Putting the letter verification thingy up there is just plain NOT necessary and makes people jump through some aggravating  hoops just to leave you a comment. You may find that people will not leave as many comments if you continue to keep this on your blog.  I know it certainly makes me think twice about leaving one. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve typed in those letters, only to have to do it again….sometimes twice.   Don’t chase your readers away by doing this! PLEASE! I see SO many new bloggers with this feature turned on and you may not even know it’s on there.  Go and check your comments and see how you have them set up.

3.  Music: If you are a serious blogger and want to be taken seriously, turn off your music.  Now, there may be some exceptions to this and this is just my opinion, so take it for what it’s worth (about 2 cents :). I know some who have sort of a theme music going on their blog and that I can see. But, for you to have random music blasting all the time on your blog, it just makes me get off really fast if I go to a blog with blaring music. Chances are, your readers will not have the exact same taste in music that you do.   But, if you’re just having fun with all your friends, then do what you want about the music situation.  You won’t see any long-standing blogs with music for the most part.

4.  Have fun, be friendly, and be yourself: Have fun with blogging!  The best thing I can tell new bloggers is to be patient, get out there and meet a lot of people.  Comment, comment, comment all over blogland.  There are a TON of new blogs out there in the time that I’ve been blogging and it is really overwhelming to try to meet all the new ones even when we are all in generally the same niche:  mom blogs, homemaking blogs, crafty blogs, decorating blogs, thrifty blogs, cooking blogs, etc. It’s gotten impossible for me to keep up with all of YOU who come to visit me.  I hate that, but that’s just the truth.  I keep up with almost 200 blogs on my Google reader and I can’t even read all of those consistently.  So, please understand how hard it is to stay up with everyone.  But, if you are a new blogger, the best way to get known is to keep commenting.  Strike up a conversation and talk to those that you’d like to get to know. If  you keep talking, they will notice you! Be friendly and you will make friends!  That’s a simple one, but it works.

Don’t try to be someone you’re not.  Just be yourself, that’s one of the best things I can tell you.  We are all made differently, with unique personalities, so let yours shine.  No one can be YOU better than YOU.  If you are passionate about what you’re blogging about, it will show.  Blogging can sometimes feel competitive and a little bit like a High School popularity contest.  But, that is part of putting yourself out there.  Again, just be true to who you are and your blog will be uniquely yours.

5.  Be patient in growing your blog. This is one of the things I see too, lots of blogs all trying to get noticed, make a name for themselves, and grow big.  It may or may not happen, you just have to be patient and it probably won’t happen overnight.  It’s taken me over 2 1/2 years to grow my blog to where it is now.   There are many blogs who are bigger than I am and some of them grew much faster than I did. That is just the way it is in the blogosphere.  Most of the time, it takes time and effort put into a blog for it to grow consistently and most blogs do not explode in growth the first year.  Time, grasshopper, it takes time!  Plus, with all the new bloggers out there, I think it’s even harder to get noticed and to build a successful blog takes much effort and time. I can’t tell you the hours I spend behind my blog to make it all work.  Lots of hours! :)  But, it’s fun and I love it!

6.  Add your Email: Encourage interaction with your readers by adding your email address in your Profile or sidebar.  Most people just want to be friendly and they may want to just email you a question or comment about your blog.  It’s fun to get emails, so don’t be afraid of that. This is a community.

Edited to add: Also, sign up with Sitemeter (I have it on my blog) or one of the other stat counters to get an accurate count of who is visiting you.  Google Analytics is also another great thing to add to your blog. You can find that in My Account under Blogger also.  You’ll have to add some code to your blog, but once you set it up, you can go in and look at all your stats and  get an accurate count of who is visiting, where they came from, and if they landed on your page from a Google search, it will tell you that too.  Good information to know!

7.  Learn How to add a Permalink: Most of you have probably participated in linky parties before and I do a lot of them myself and I still see a lot of folks who just don’t understand the permalink thing.   When you are participating in a party and want to leave a permalink, here’s what you do:  type up your blog post on your blog and once it is posted “live”, then you can get the permalink by clicking on the blog post and highlighting and saving the url address.  That is what you will paste into the party box, along with your blog name.  There are other ways to get the url address too, but this is the most direct for me.  It’s easy once you give it a try.  I can’t tell you how many people still don’t understand this simple process or they don’t take the time to read and do it correctly.  Everyone who hosts a party will love you and thank you for learning to do this right.

8.  Taking pics for your blog: As a new blogger, I knew nothing about taking photos for my blog. It was all definitely trial and error and if you look back on  my earlier posts, you can see how far I’ve come. :)  Thank goodness!  I’ve also upgraded my camera, but I still don’t own an expensive one.  Mine is a Canon Powershot A570IS and cost less than $150, but I have managed to get some pretty good pics with it.  One thing I learned early on is to turn off the FLASH! Such an easy solution, but it really makes all the difference. You’ll have to learn h0w to keep very still while you’re shooting so that pics will not be blurry, but my camera works pretty well without the flash and I don’t ever use a tripod.  Your pics will look SO much better.  And post your pics as large as you can (see Windows Live Writer above)! Your readers will love that.  Don’t you love to open a blog with big, beautiful pics??  Yeah, me too!

9.  Learn how to do “live” links in your blog posts and sidebars. I still click on some blogs that have the whole string of url addresses in their sidebars or blog posts.  That is so messy and there is a really easy solution to this.  Every blog post will have an icon for “live” (clickable) links, all you have to do is use it.  If you want to make a word or sentence “live”, all you have to do is type it out, go and grab the link url where you want the link to go to once it is clicked on, come back and then highlight that word or words, click on the Globe icon on your blog post bar and it will bring up a box so that  you can paste in the url for the link.  Easy, peasy!  So, if you haven’t learned how to do that, do so pronto.  The same thing goes for your sidebars.  You can paste in live link urls to your sidebars too.  Just play around with doing that and you’ll get it.  If you have questions about anything, there is always someone around who will answer it for you.  Myself included, I’ve answered many questions about blogging how-to’s along the way.

10.  Google Reader or Bloglines: If you haven’t signed up to read blogs in a reader yet, you will definitely want to do that.  It saves a ton of time to get all the blogs that you subscribe to in one spot, so that you can click on there and immediately see who has a new post up.  It’s so much easier to keep up with your favorite blogs this way.  I now use Google Reader, but started out with Bloglines.  I found that Bloglines didn’t update properly for me all the time, so I switched.  Adding a subscription and feed option to your blog will help your readers too, so do that also.  If you don’t understand that or know how to do it, I can help you.  Blogger has their own feed service, under Feedburner and it’s really easy to get installed.  You can also receive blog posts by email and that is another option.  I like to offer all of these options to my readers, so you can all pick and choose the best method.

I also want to take a minute and just say a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who take time out of your busy schedules to come by and read my blog. It means the world to me and without all of you out there, I wouldn’t be doing this. I have so much fun with it all and it has taken me places I never dreamed I’d be.  So, I just wanted to tell y’all how very much I appreciate all of you out there who consistently support my blog, the ones who leave comments AND the lurkers.  I love you lurkers too! :)  How about throwing me a comment occasionally?! :;

Susan, over at Between Naps on the Porch wrote a nice, concise post on blog tips and she goes into even more details than I did here, so check that out for more particulars on how to add widgets and other things on your blog.

Also, check out some new blogger tips on styling your blog from Donna at Funky Junk.

I hope this helps all of you new bloggers a little bit.  Blogging has been SO much fun for me and if I can pass on some of my knowledge to you newbies, I want to do that.  There are always more things to learn and I’m always on a quest to learn new and exciting things to make my blog better too.  Sometimes it’s totally overwhelming and over my head, but I keep plugging away at it.

Two really neat success stories are two blogs that I’ve been following since they started.  One of them, Young House Love, just celebrated their 2 year blogoversary and they just did a post on how they got started and how their blog has exploded in this short time.  They’re a fun young couple in their first house, sharing their remodeling and DIY projects and their blog took off like a rocket.  If you’ve never visited, go over and take a look, as they are a very inspiring young couple.

And my friend, Layla, from The Lettered Cottage, has had tremendous success with her first year of blogging and has really taken off too.  You can definitely see when someone is sharing their passion and these 2 definitely do that.  Heart and soul combined.

Happy Blogging! :)


- Rhoda


Comments

  1. Such good tips. I find comment moderation is helpful. It really makes sure you read all of your comments. A tip for you is to let people who don’t want to give their email address comment. I made a seperate email address on gmail for my blog. It as been well worth it. So I suggest that to any blogger. Also, NEVER put too many advertisements.

  2. Thanks for the advice. Your blog looks beautiful and I really appreciate the advice. I’m not on blogger/blogspot. Is it bascially the same at wordpress? I searched their support for similar tips but came up with nothing!

    Thanks again! You are kind to share. I have sent so many help emails to support at wordpress that I actually recognize the helpdesk names.

  3. Hi! Love your blog…not even sure how I found it! Have saved it and continue to read snippets here and there on your blog tips. I have a Mac, so obviously cannot use WLW. Any suggestions for a Mac user? I need a blog coach on all the ins and outs…thanks for this post and I’ll check out the other tips links you posted.
    Blessings, Amanda

  4. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. We (my daughter and I) have been trying to figure out how to blog for months and have experienced more frustration than pleasure – technology has kept us from expressing our creativity.

  5. Thank you for suggesting turning OFF the music. I find it very annoying to visit blogs with music attached to them.

  6. i love the nice , fresh, friendly look and feel to your blog, i am very new to blogging but i thought it would be a fun thing to do so im trying to pick up simple tips here, there and everywhere.
    Give me a website and i can advertise till the cows come home, but blogging, its a whole new ball game.
    wish me luck guys x

  7. thanks soooo much for these tips

  8. Thanks for the tips!! Great! I am going to check my settings and switch that annoying letter verification thing OFF!!!
    LOVE your blog and CONGRATULATIONS!

  9. Michelle says:

    Thanks so much for the tips! It was nice of you to take the time to write this.

  10. Thank you so much for posting this information! I just started my first blog yesterday after thinking about it for ages! It was a bit overwhelming, but with your tips it was easier to just go for it. Congrats to you on your fun blog…I really enjoy it!

  11. Thank you for the tips!!! I still don’t really understand linking, but I’m trying to figure it out! But your tips are great!

    Cindy

  12. Charlotte says:

    I love reading your blog everyday…..I found you about 3-4 months ago and really enjoy your information and all that you share with us, your
    readers….. I would love to blog, but I’m afraid I would fall short after seeing and reading all the wonderful information that you share with us.
    Keep up the good work.

  13. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this email for us newbies. I appreciate your opinions and experience.

    Looking forward to browsing your site some more.

    Brittany
    http://www.prettyhandygirl.com

  14. This is seriously, seriously good info! Exactly what I needed. :-) Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and especially for all the useful info! It is now in my bookmarks and I will be sure to share it with any other new bloggers I meet by the way!

  15. Stumbled upon your blog and found this post that was extremely helpful! I really appreciate someone who has been through it and had help and is now paying it forward :) Wish more people did that! I will certainly use these tips since you seem to be doing very well for yourself. Love your designs also :) From one GRIT to another, thanks again!

    Dime Store Decor (AKA Kellie from Atlanta, GA)

  16. Thanks so much for the tips, that was great! :)

  17. Thank you so much for these tips, just found you through the upcoming Christmas links. I will use many of these tips! And, I am just about to become a follower! Thanks!

  18. Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you again!!!!!!!! I just tried out the writer feature and my life has just been changed. I was almost ready to give up on this whole gig because it was taking so long to do a post. I knew I was missing something. Thanks for showing me the way. I also inserted a post to your blog (just in general) to give you credit for showing the way.

    Thanks again,
    Laura of Finding Home

  19. Hi Rhoda,

    I remembered that you had some tips posted in your blog archives and several months ago when I ran across them, I made a mental note, “Rhoda has tips if you ever start your blog!” I literally just started lastnight. I did a few posts in one night. I had so much fun. I will be trying some of your suggestions about Windows Live Writer and the verification thing. So far, some of your suggestions are “chinese” to me, but I will be playing around with it some more and referring back to your tips! Thanks for thinking of helping us newbies out! ..Oh yeah, if you go to my blog, the mirror that my husband and I built from your “Shopping in Destin” post is in my “Christmas Cheer” post. I painted mine white and glazed it though. Check it out if you get a minute!

  20. Thank you so much for sharing all of your wisdom with those of us who are still working out the kinks with our blogs. I found your blog recently and have really enjoyed reading it and love viewing your photos. Thank you again for such a lovely blog and sharing lots of great ideas. You’ve inspired me!

  21. You seem very generous with your kindness. Thank you for sharing.

  22. Thank you, thank you, thank you,…………….I really appreciate your wisdom!!!

  23. Kim @ Today is my Someday says:

    Thanks so much for these well-written tips. I am still working my blog to get it ready. Haven’t even published my first post yet. But, some of these tips are truly moving me along toward my goal. Thank you!

  24. These tips are so great! The only tips I could find before this were not very simple or user-friendly (which so defeats the purpose). I appreciate you sharing this. I’m doing my best to put some of it to use over at http://cupcakescandycanes.blogspot.com

    Thanks
    Allyson

  25. Shirley says:

    This is my first time to leave a comment on anyone’s blog, but I have just discovered blogs. I know where was I…living under a rock? Well no, just busy. I love Southern Hospitality as I am a southern girl living in the southwest. Thank you for all your hard work. I love all the interesting tips I have acquired reading your blog.

  26. This post was so helpful and it was encouraging to me to know that the blogosphere is so friendly even to us newcomers. I appreciate your generosity. I have been wondering for weeks how to get that nifty cursive signature to post at the end of my blogs, perhaps you could direct me where I could go to figure out how to do that? If you are willing it would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  27. Thank you so much for the above post and particularly the section on Live Writer. It is going to make writing my posts so much easier. All the information in this post is very helpful to me as a new blogger. I would like to include this in my Friday Finds and link it up to Friday Favorites at Finding Joy in My Kitchen if that is OK with you. I know that other new bloggers, and maybe some old ones, will find your information very helpful. I will be subscribing to your posts.

  28. I’m a new blogger and am always looking for good tips! Thanks for sharing some of your wisdom:)

  29. Hi, just jumped over from Serenity Now’s commenting series…this is such a great post for newbies (like me!) Thanks so much for sharing and I’m off to implement some things I just learned!

  30. I really enjoyed reading your website. The tips and ideas you give are wonderful. You have inspired me!

  31. thanks for all your wonderful hard work & tips. Having trouble with framing my “boring” bathroom mirror — your instructions are great —problem is adhesive– mirror is 80W x 39 H. Side pieces stick fine with hot glue, but top piece fell off — hot glue not strong enough. Can’t find adhesive for glass & synthetic molding as cannot clamp it to mirror on wall — any suggestions? The frame looks awesome….thanks

  32. Love these tips- thinking about jumping in myself, but wasn’t really sure where to get started and this really helped! Thanks!!!

  33. This information is invaluable. I posted it to my FB wall…

    Thank you!

  34. Thank you for all the wonderful tips-I greatly enjoy your blog! There’s a book out there called “Blogging for Dummies” that has a lot of useful info in it too and it’s written very simply and explains a lot to all us newbies.

  35. Great tips for us new bloggers. I emailed a link to my husband for him to read, learn and enjoy! I sure do! I have been trying to get him on board with me into the blogging world! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, some people don’t share for fear of being passed by a newbie. You are a special person, thanks for helping me and many others as well!

  36. Thank you so much for the information, and for being so willing to share. Your knowledge is such a great help to those of us just starting out. My blog is underway. I have been following other blogs, and yours has really got me hooked!

  37. Felicia Schneider says:

    Rhonda,

    I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. I just found it for the first time today and started reading your story. It’s so sweet and honest that I just had to keep reading. I’ll definitely be around reading, learning and following for as long as you continue.

    Felicia

    • Thank you, Felicia for stopping by and reading! I’m so glad you enjoyed my story, it’s real, that’s for sure. Welcome!

  38. Thank you for the helpful info. I have just recently started taking my blog serious and I am trying to learn all I can, I knew you would be able to help me. I think I have many steps to go to grow my blog, but it will be fun. I know my pics are the worst ever, I am asking for a new camera for my birthday, I have been good. Thanks again for sharing. Any feedback from you about my blog would be amazing so if you get a minute check it out queenofmycastle3.blogspot.com

    Thanks,

    Dana

  39. Thank you ! I am that lurker who has decided I need to leave and occasional comment ;) seriously I am a huge fan ,all this info is so helpful. I started my blog almost 4 months ago. I feel so lost in the blogosphere and trying to use my blog to help other biz in my local community and my creative outlet. Xoxo

  40. Rhoda,
    Thank you so much for these great tips! I’m a new blogger and am still trying to figure it all out. Your blog site is fabulous. I love reading your story too. Congrats on turning nothing into something and succeeding in the blogging world. I know it wasn’t easy. You are my inspiration! I sure hope our paths cross some day. I noticed there is a Haven conference (which I just heard about) and I’m definitely going to sign up for next year.
    Susan

Trackbacks

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rhoda and Barbara Graves. Barbara Graves said: RT @Rhoda_SouthernH: Don't miss 10 Tips for New Bloggers today: http://bit.ly/3Mwu6D //great post!! […]

  2. […] Hospitality was one of the first blogs I looked to for help when I started. Rhoda has a great post for new bloggers.  I really took her words to heart.  I’ve learned from her that it is okay […]

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