I’ve been spending some time revisiting, editing and deleting old blog posts and I discovered a number of articles that have been lost in the hundreds (about 750 at this present moment) that I have generated over the last three-and-a-half years.
I created this one about blogging regrets based on what I have learned and suggested ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ to consider after the first year and much of what I wrote then still remains the same. I’ve decided that it is worth sharing again, so I’ve updated it and added further information and links to useful posts.
What I would do differently
1. I would decide on a name that I was happy with at the very beginning. In my excitement about the prospect of starting the blog, I hastily chose the name ‘Suzie81’ – my name and the year that I was born. After a while I became really dissatisfied with my choice – it had no real reference to any of the content in the blog – but by this point my readers knew me by this name. When I later purchased my domain name, there were very few options that I could use and I ended up changing it to ‘Suzie Speaks’ to avoid as little confusion as possible.
2. I would create a set of profiles on other social media networks right from the beginning. It took me about eight months to establish a Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook account, two years to develop a Pinterest and Stumble Upon page and I’ve only just started using Flipboard within the last few weeks. I’ve always regretted not doing this sooner as these are now responsible for the majority of my views on my site.
3. I would develop a routine and learn how to schedule things sooner. I always pride myself on the fact that I post when I get the urge to write (mainly to avoid it becoming a chore), but it was a long time before I started working out when my highest traffic was and began routinely scheduling posts to go out on social media during those points.
4. I would join blogging Facebook groups and participate in link-ups and chats earlier. These have been instrumental in growing my traffic and readership, particularly on Twitter and Facebook. For the ultimate list of hashtags, chats and link-ups on Twitter, click here.
5. I would use my own pictures right from the beginning and create pinnable vertical images using Canva for easy use on Pinterest. I’m currently having to spend lots of time going through my post and deleting images that I have obtained from Google.
6. I wouldn’t be as hasty to post something just for the sake of posting it. In my early blogging madness I posted everything I could think of. Looking back, I’ve had to delete lots of articles simply because they have no meaning or relevance to what I thought I was trying to create.
7. I would appreciate the importance of the community sooner. They’ve proven to be an invaluable source of support and have been extremely generous in sharing and promoting my posts. While promotion of others is now a regular part of my blogging tasks, it took me a while to start doing this.
Thinking of starting your own blog? Here are some simple ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ that may be useful…
1. Don’t expect too much. There are MILLIONS of blogs out there. You are not going to gain thousands of followers (unless your post goes viral) simply by pressing the publish button. Blogging takes LOTS of time and effort.
2. Don’t feel that your blog should have a niche. I follow lots of great blogs that do, but I prefer to cover lots of topics within my own.
3. Do take the time to visit lots of other blogs, leave meaningful comments and follow the ones that you genuinely enjoy.
4. Don’t automatically expect (or even worse, request and plead for) a follow back. This is one of my biggest annoyances – I follow about 250 blogs, but I often receive messages saying ‘I’ve followed you, now you need to follow me.’ Why? Others shouldn’t be made to feel obliged or bullied into following you simply to return the favour.
5. Do take the time to check for spelling and punctuation errors – while very few readers act as the Grammar Police (although I have received emails in the past that highlight mistakes that I’ve made), poorly written articles may prevent potential readers from returning.
6. Don’t spam comment sections with links to your own posts. This happens to me a lot, and while I always try and share, tweet and reblog posts I get irritated when others end their comment with a link to their latest post, demanding that we ‘check it out.’
7. Do make the effort to reply to comments that have been left on your posts, even if it is just to say thank you.
8. Do remember that content is key. I love inspirational posters, but there are only so many that you can post before your audience may start to get bored. Make sure that your content is your own – if you have used somebody else’s and images, be sure to credit them.
9. Do be respectful at all times. One of the best things about the WordPress community is that the majority of people are unbelievably friendly and supportive.
10. Don’t expect everyone to agree with you. If you choose to write about a controversial subject, it is highly unlikely that all of your audience will support you in your arguments. Listen, respond and be respectful about it.
What about you guys? Any hints and tips that you have learned in your blogging endeavours?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.