Thursday, May 16, 2013

The ABCs of Blogging

So I know this is totally against the whole theme of the blog, but I do get asked this fairly often so here goes. The purpose of this post is to give newbie bloggers a little advice on how to start out on their own blogs. How I did, my opinion basically. Let me of course preface this by saying that I am by no means an expert - so this is literally just my experience. Use it, don't use it. Most recently, Anna Stone asked me for advice as a new blogger - so this is what I told her.

To start off with - design and layout is pretty important. I must say that one of the key things that I found when reading other blogs was that I stopped reading those that were visually difficult to read. By that I mean that there was a picture as a background that was static, i.e. it didn't move. So when you scroll down, the picture stays the same but the text scrolls. This is quite confusing to the eye. Also, having small text in light colours against a dark background - this makes it quite difficult to read... although in saying that. Things like having white text, even if it is bold and in a large font size - the light colour is just way difficult to read against a dark background. You get my jist - when you look at the page - I think it's quite important to be able to read it easily without having to pay too much attention to it and without getting distracted by all kinds of things.

The next thing I would say is that you need to have a point of view - an opinion - something to say basically. I don't really think that this is something that is hard. The whole point about blogs is about getting personal, so it's not about needing to find a particularly strong subject to talk about. Just write. So many bloggers fail because they think that because their blog is targetted towards - say the ED community - that they can only talk about that. NO. Talk about whatever you want. The most important thing is consistency. Even if you don't have much to say. I find that often I'll start writing without anything to say, but it ends up being a long post about dribble. But hey - you are firstly showing your followers that they can come to your blog for an update and also teaching yourself that blogging is a habit to get into. You will surprise yourself with just how easy it is. I promise.

The most prominent question I get is about how to get more followers. This is tricky and it takes a bit of time and determination. The way that I got people to find out about my blog in the beginning was to find a bunch of similar blogs. And literally, it took sometime of hardcore trolling to find these. But generally if you find one blog - you'll find a lot more. Look at the people that comment on the blog, what blogs that blogger follows - which you find by looking at their google profile - and go from there. The next step is to comment on these posts. This serves a number of purposes. The first thing it does is that it lets people know you exist. In the beginning I used to look at the profile of every person that commented on my posts - mostly because I was so damn excited that there were people out there that gave a shit about what I had to say. It also helps because the person on whose blog you commented will get to know you and if they like your blog they will add you to a blogroll if they have one. Winter's blog is an example of one with a blog roll. As your blog gets more followers this process happens on it's own. Sadly, I don't find that I have the time to keep up with my reading list and comment as much as I used to. But I still read them mostly :). People will like you for different reasons. Some of the blogs I love are simply because they are outrageous. Or because I've built a relationship with that blogger over the past two years, such as Sam Lupin (WHOM I LOVE MORE THAN ANY OTHER) and Judith Marie, Miranda, Emily Anonymous, Beth, YoursLittle Miss Thin, Rio and PrettyLies. Beth was my very first follower... I'll never forget it :). In the beginning it is a bit harder because you do kinda feel like you are sending shit in the blogasphere and no one is listening, but there are so many blogs out there - you have to do something to let people know that you exist. Don't be scared to comment. To this day - I still get so excited when I get comments on my posts. :)

The last piece of advice that I can give is ... a bit of an obscure one because it has to do with content... Some blogs work in ways that other blogs don't. People who read regularly will see that I have a general trend with the way that I post... the Peace & Love Xo Xo business for example. Or some blogs are like... two lines. Like Charlies blog. She never posts long posts, but people read it - I read it all the time and I look forward to her posts. So figure out what works for you and stick to it. This won't happen immediately, but it will come to you eventually. I also don't refer back to comments in my blog - although I know that I should, but i could spend hours and hours replying to comments - Brevity is not a skill that I possess. Usually, if something grabs me in a comment then I will write a post on it. Also, be prepared for flack. There are shiton of haters out there as Judith Marie can attest to and if you write about EDs they will tell you how disgusting you are etc etc. If you don't want this - which I don't then change your settings so that only registered users can comment. I used to get really pissed of with anonymous users being assholes so I changed those settings. People also won't always agree with you - so if you can't take honest opinions - maybe blogging isn't the best thing for you. What I can guarantee though is that for every shitty comment you get - you will get a hundred that are lovely and supportive.

So I hope that this is in someway helpful to someone out there. As I said, this is simply my opinion on blogging and what I've learnt over the last two years. Don't be scared to express yourself and if you don't want people you know to read it - don't fucking tell them about it. At the end of the day, if you commit to blogging once every two or three days your blog will be a success. It takes a while to get there, but it will happen eventually. And as always, thank you again to all my lovely followers and the special ones in particular, a few of which I mentioned in this post. Your continued love and support has been absolutely fantastic and I'll never stop appreciating just how amazing you are.

Love & Speedy Fingers
Xo Xo


Rachel said...

this was so helpful, thank youuu<3

liveanillusion said...

Also remember that there's people out there who read your every post even though they comment very rarely. Like me :) I've been following you for almost 2 years now and I check for new posts almost everyday. I feel connected to you in some weird, hopefully not creepy way haha

Anna Stone said...

Thank you so much, I really appreciated all that input. Even if no one reads my blog, it is helpful to just write and I will be grateful. But at the same time, having supporters is helpful so I do want to make my blog attractive or inviting so others can enjoy it. I will try my best, but at the end of the day, I'm doing this how I need to so I can only hope people can relate. I won't change who I am or what I write for anyone else. But I think there are a lot of people like me so I imagine others will benefit, much like I do from all the blogs I follow. Thank you for your support and advice. You are truly wonderful.

PrettyLies said...

AAAaaaaagggghhhHHhhhh!!! You has a relationship with me!! :3 That makes me feel special. Sorry, boredom on the internet gives way to excess letters.

Yes! Where was this post when I started blogging as some awkward 17 year old? I so could have used this. Yeah, a lot of times I don't read people's blog are due to visual reasons. If your background is white and your writing is say...10 pt green font? I cannot read it. I don't consider myself a blogger expert, but I've discovered a lot of shortcuts if anyone needs design help. I always change my background every few months just because I'm bored. Thank you for making this post!

Emily Anonymous said...

I love this. And thanks for mentioning me!
I definitely agree with the first point you made. A lot of backgrounds are really cool but they're so dark which makes it hard to read text in front of them. I'll still read blogs like that if I like them, but it can give a headache.
To anyone thinking of starting a blog- go for it! I don't think there are any downsides.

I wanted to also comment on follower thing. Some bloggers I read like to gain followers for the sake of gaining followers rather than for building their community. I totally understand it, and it's a good feeling when you see a large number on the side telling you your blog is popular. But that kind of thinking just created anxiety for me when I was that way. I wish people would focus more on following and commenting on stuff they feel strongly about or like. Of course, most do this anyway. Does anyone else have that opinion?

ꜛⱴאּ Sⱥm ŁupiƝ ҂ said...

ABCs - like the soup omg i haven't had ABC soup in like whatever
its sad that i think of food immediately after omg
i will have whatever text i want with the background i want (i have a dark background/light text but it's black and white and its sexy). actually this post gave me the final shove to change the stupid font i have its ugly and i cant read easily so that sucks ass
true. agree with point number two. :3 another point i have to make is that its okay to forget loads of people you mention in your blog. i remember Pierre (purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) and asshole Roy.
asshole Roy is an asshole.
omg i love love love how im the first on that list
im like a child its impossible not to love me ok
asshole haters omg
you're so cute i love you <3
-Sam Lupin

yours said...

Oh my goodness, I feel so honored that you mentioned me! You're too sweet! I tend to assume no one actually reads or pays attention to me blog at all... nice to know otherwise every once in a while.
I'm in love with your posts&blogging - so wonderful.
Take care, dearest. :D

D said...

This was really helpful, thanks :) I really enjoy your writing style <3