What I've Learned About Blogging (Part Two)

Welcome to the one thousandth and first post!  Yesterday, for my 1000th post (I know, it's a lot, right?), I shared a few of my best blogging tips, and today I'm going to share the rest of them.  Without further ado. . .

 

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Be Social

Link-ups and giveaways can be really good for building up a follower base quickly, but it's been my experience that even if you gain a lot of followers that way, if you want people to actually read what you have to say, you have to be social.  Meaning, you have to get out there and read what they have to say, and you have to comment, at least occasionally.  

This can get harder as your readership grows and as life gets busy, but blogging is all about community (unless you get to be really big, then you can slack on this and people will still read - but if you are reading my blog, you're probably not one of the big guys).  And the community is the fun of blogging anyway, right?  So don't neglect it.  If you want to have an engaged audience, you have to find a way to interact with them, and that's easiest to do through commenting/interacting on Twitter/responding via e-mail/writing posts that encourage feedback/etc.  Otherwise your posts could be in danger of that little "mark all as read" button in people's readers.

 At the same time. . . 

 

Know When To Take A Break/Cut Back

It's your blog and you can write when you want to, but anyone who has been blogging for a while has at some point felt that pressure to "get the blog updated" or "catch up in my reader".  When I start to feel that pressure I cut back on my posting frequency or take a week-long blog break.  Blogging can suck the life out of you and your family if you let it, and you know what?  Getting the blog updated or commenting on everyone else's posts is not the most important thing - spending time with your family is.  

 

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(Me and the fam on vacation.)


Trust me, it'll sit for a few days while you go out and live life - you won't lose readers because you didn't post anything for a week.  As a plus, I usually find that after taking an intentional blogging break, I come back with more ideas of things to write about - it's a great cure for writer's block!

 

Write Posts Ahead Of Time

You might be thinking "Callie, I have been reading a while, and I rarely remember you taking any week-long blogging breaks."  Ah, my friends, it's called scheduling posts!  

You know how sometimes you are just bursting with blogging ideas, and you don't know how you are going to have time to share all the posts you want to write?  Sit down and write them all at once - don't even worry about adding pictures and links, just get the bare bones down.   Then there they are, sitting there in the archives, waiting until you need them.  

I use those posts when I'm having a period of writer's block, when I'm on vacation, or just when I want a break for a while.  I have a couple sitting in the drafts right now that I'll probably utilize after Baby Girl gets here.  I actually do a mini version of this every week - I usually have an idea of which posts I want to write that week, so I'll sit down on Monday or Tuesday, write them all up, get them scheduled, and then I have the rest of the week off.  Writing things ahead of time is a wonderful thing.

 

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Set Some Limits.  

Like I said previously, your family is the most important thing, not your blog, but it's easy for your blog to suck away all your time.  You need to set some limits.  

My limits are (1) I don't blog in the evenings when Derek is done with work - that's strictly family time; (2) I try not to blog on the weekends, unless I clearly have some time on my hands and everyone else is doing other things, and (3) I try really hard to restrict my blogging to nap time, because Wyatt needs my attention when he's awake.  

Do I always succeed at keeping my rules?  No, but I think the majority of the time I do.  Just having them in place helps me to do so much better, and gives me guidelines for when I get off track.

 

Keep Things In Balance

Know when to say no.  At some point in your blogging life, if you continue long enough,  you'll get opportunities to participate in link-ups, reviews, giveaways, guest posts, features, etc, etc, etc. When it starts to seem like you never have time to write what you really want to write and these  "obligations" are sucking the fun out of blogging, it's time to cut back.

 

Don't Get All Hung Up On The Numbers

It's really easy to get obsessed with the numbers - how many followers do I have, how many pageviews did I get today, why didn't I get more comments on that post, why am I not getting more sponsorship or review offers?  But if you start to get too focused on the numbers, it's easy to quit when you aren't seeing them go up - you just aren't going to last.  

These things go in cycles - some months you might get a bunch of new followers, and some months you won't.  Some posts might get a lot of comments, and some might not.  Trust me, after four years and 1000+ posts, I know.

First of all, it doesn't mean people aren't reading.  I've noticed the number of comments going down in general more recently, and I think it's because people are reading more on smartphones and it's harder to comment on a smartphone - there can be all kinds of factors like that.  I love it when I hear from a reader who has never commented before, because it confirms my suspicion - sometimes people read regularly and they just don't comment!  The numbers can lie.

And secondly (and probably more importantly), what are you blogging for anyway?  Because blogging purely for the numbers will burn you out in no time, not to mention make your life miserable because the numbers do fluctuate.  This goes back to my very first tip - know why you are blogging.  Have a purpose.  Don't do it just for the numbers - write quality content and let the numbers take care of themselves.  You'll enjoy your whole blogging journey way more, and your readers will appreciate it too.

 

 And those are my top eleven blogging tips!  For those of you who have been blogging for a long time as well, anything you would add to my list?  Comment below!

 


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Rebecca Louise. said...

100% right about the last one Callie! When I first started blogging I used to look daily at a my blog follower counter. And now I honestly couldn't tell you what the number is! As it was getting silly.

Plus scheduling posts is what I do a lot of the time. In fact, all my Christmas ones are sorted, so I can take a nice break and enjoy some family time!

Good tips and happy 1000th!

Nadine Dillard said...

Love it. Thanks for sharing!

Melanie said...

Agreed!! And scheduling posts ahead of time? Brilliance..do it all the time and I honestly don't know what I'd do if we bloggers didn't have that option..lol! Like you said..family first..no matter what!!

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