Advice for New Bloggers

November 18, 2009

No offense to anyone in particular; just had to get this out of my system.

1. You can't gain 30+ followers after publishing your first post.

Attracting followers takes time. Most readers want to see you well established before they commit to following. Many new bloggers abandon their blogs after the first few posts or run out of quality material. If you're serious about blogging, stick with it. Followers will come, but weeks may pass before you see decent numbers.

2. Don't fall for the "I'll follow you if you follow me" trap.

I can almost guarantee that these types of followers aren't reading your blog (which means they won't be leaving comments, either). They are simply using you to try to illegitimately boost their standing within the blogging community. News flash: it never works. Plus, your dashboard will end up cluttered with bad blogs that you'll never read...and the moment you drop them, they'll drop you!

3. Feel free to advertise your blog, but don't beg for readers.

Begging just makes you look desperate and immature, and is usually taken as a sign that the blog's content is sub par. Good writers don't need to beg.

4. Don't insult your target audience.

Seems like a no-brainer, but I've run into more than one blogger who did this routinely, and had few to no followers to show for it. Telling your readers that they're wrong or stupid only (surprise!) alienates them. People read blogs to be informed, entertained, or inspired--not to be lectured or ridiculed.

5. Paragraph spacing, length, grammar, spelling, punctuation, font color, layout and blog design count almost as much as content.

A black background with neon green font may look cool to you, but it's murder on the eyes. (Several fellow bloggers have admitted to me that they refuse to follow any blogs published on a black background, no matter how stellar the content.) Same goes for pastel fonts on a white background, blogs written in size 6 Times New Roman, or huge blocks of text that go on forever. Posts without punctuation, however, are the worst offenders in my book. A period indicates that a sentence (or thought) has ended. If your sentences never end, I cannot process the information--nor will I attempt to. If you want to be a writer, bring something of the craft to the table.

6. Shakespeare hates your emo poems, and so do I.

Yes, we all get it: your life is circling the yawning abyss of angst and darkness. But people can only read so much badly constructed verse about the waves of isolation sweeping over your soul before they want to gouge their eyes out with a shrimp fork. Vary it up once in a while with a fresh perspective or a different topic. Use allegories or metaphors. Better yet, study up on the craft of poetry. A creative rhythm or rhyme scheme, a clever use of vocabulary, or a profound insight can suck me in like a Hoover upright. Otherwise, I'm not interested.

7. Post regularly, but not obsessively.

It's true: the more often you publish, the more often your blog will come up when readers click the "Next Blog" button on the Blogger toolbar. But publishing five times a day isn't going to help you gather followers any faster. In fact, it may actually drive followers away! Many readers follow several blogs at once, and they don't have time to read a blog that features several posts a day. Plus, in my experience, obsessive bloggers tend to quickly run out of quality material, ramble, or publish posts that are too short and utterly meaningless. Quality always trumps quantity in the quest for followers.

8. To gain followers, become a good follower.

Posting sincere comments on other writers' blogs often leads readers to your blog. The key word here is "sincere." Don't use another's comment box simply as advertising space for your own work. Instead, provide positive feedback on what that blogger has written. Doing so will earn you the respect of other bloggers and increase your exposure within the community. In time, fellow bloggers may begin promoting your blog of their own volition.

Keep up the good writing!


coloradosugar said...

I couldn't agree more!! Thank you.

Hunter said...

Number six made me laugh.

Sanctum's Muse said...

Thanks. I just feel bad that it sounds so mean. I may have lost a follower over that one. Unfortunately, that's how I really feel.

Konnor said...

Hahaha I think six was funny too, and I have an emo poem on my page! This was a good list, included a few things I never would have thought of. Thanks Muse!


Sanctum's Muse said...

You're welcome, Konnor. And I must admit that I've written my share of emo poetry in my lifetime. I just know no one else would care to read it.

I have read a couple of good emo poems by other bloggers, but they are far and away the exception rather than the rule. Most blogs dedicated solely to emo poetry feature the same stale crap ad nauseum. That's the type of blogging I'm ranting against. One emo poem once in a while isn't a crime against literature.

aynzan said...

I loved this!
Thanks for sharing some invaluable information.

Well Being Psychology said...

Thanks for this post
I started a mental health blog 2 months ago and I am getting little traffic. I felt like quiting but this has given me the encouragement to carry on.

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