What I've Learned About Blogging

 This is my 1000th post!

Yes, you read that right.  One. Thousand.  Ah!

I started really blogging about four years ago, and I had no idea I had that many different topics in me, or that I could keep this little space going for so long!  

I didn't want to just skip by  my 1000th post unrecognized, so I thought a lot about what I wanted to write for this milestone, and I kept coming back to writing a post about blogging itself.  So after four years at this, here are my top ten blogging tips.  Okay, eleven actually, because I didn't know how to leave some of it out.  So in no particular order . . .

(Note: I got the chalkboard background here, if anyone is interested - fun, right?) 

Know Why You Are Blogging

Blogging is all good and fun, but you'll never make it for the long run if you don't know why you are doing it.  Are you trying to make money? Are you recording family memories?   Are you blogging because you just need a place to write?  Are you using it as a platform to share your ideas or faith with others?  There needs to be a reason or it's not going to last.  The sooner you figure out your reason, the better.  

I started this blog originally because (1) I needed a space to write - writing is how I organize my thoughts and feelings, and blogging is more fun than a journal; and more importantly I started this blog (2) for the purpose of sharing what the Lord has been teaching me.  It morphed over the years into also (3) recording fun family events.  I'm pretty confident I can keep this blog going as long as I want to and as long as it still works with my family life because those three purposes are never going to run dry for me.

Carry A Notebook

I read once that if you are a blogger, you should consider yourself a writer, and writers carry notebooks.  Because sometimes post ideas come to you, and if you don't write them down when they do it's easy to forget them later!  I try to carry a notebook around with me everywhere so when inspiration strikes I can capture it before it disappears again.  Then I refer back later to the ideas I wrote down and it makes getting started on a post so much easier.

Content, Content, Content

You can have the prettiest blog design in the world, but if you don't produce good content no one is going to read.  Different people's ideas of "good" content are going to vary, but this is your blog, right?  What do you think is good content?  What kinds of things do you like to read on other blogs?  

Personally, I'm drawn to blogs that can come up with original, personalized content on a regular basis.   I get disappointed (and a bit bored) with blogs that constantly and only post link-ups, sponsor feature posts, guest posts from other bloggers, and giveaways.   I choose to read certain blogs because I'm interested in what the author has to say - who are they, what is important to them, what kinds of things they want to share with us (the readers).  That's the kind of thing I like to read the most.

Of course link-ups, memes, reviews/giveaways, sponsor features, and guest posts have their place - I post that kind of thing on here too occasionally, as you all know.  But it's everything in moderation.   My personal limit as a reader is a 50/50 ratio of all of those things vs. posts that are personally thought out and created by the blog author.  I try to keep my own blog at more of a 10/90 ratio, and I think 25/75 is a good goal to keep in mind for bloggers in general.  Anyway, that's my personal opinion on what is good blog content.

No One Cares What You Had For Lunch by Margaret Mason is one of my favorite resources for getting the creative juices flowing, so check that out if  you need more ideas for what to write about!

Get Your Blog Set Up On Social Media Websites

This never seemed as important in years past, but alas, the world is changing.  I'm still trying to figure out all the benefits, but it's a good idea to set yourself up with a Facebook page and Twitter account for your blog (and probably Google Plus, though I'm still trying to figure out the point of that one).  This is the direction it's all headed, people - readers want multiple ways to connect with you, the author of the blog, and they want multiple options for following your blog.  I'm not going to say a lot about it because this could be a whole post itself, and I'm still trying to determine the value of some of these social media sites.

But, quickly, I will say that if you set up a Twitter account, don't use it only for promoting your blog.  Twitter (unlike your Facebook page) is all about being social and interacting with readers, and if all your tweets are just for self-promotion it gets old really fast.

Learn The Technical Stuff  

If you're going to make a go of this whole blogging thing, you need to learn some basics of html, search engine optimization, and legalities.  

Do you know the different parts of the html for a text link?  

What are no-follow links, and why/when should they be used?  

Who is visiting your blog, from what sources (I like Sitemeter best for analytics, fyi)?

What is your Google page rank?

What is search engine optimization, and how do you make the most of your SEO potential?  Or do you want your blog showing up in search results at all?

How do you protect your pictures?  

Do you know your responsibilities if a giveaway sponsor does not follow through with a prize?  

Are you aware of your legal obligations when it comes to disclosure in blogging (for example, you must let your readers know if you are receiving anything in exchange for writing a post, including discounts)?  

What constitutes plagiarism (ex: is that recipe/picture you're posting really from somewhere else on the web)?

If you are planning on blogging for any length of time, you need to know the answers to all these questions.  There is no way I can cover all that in this post, so I'll just direct you to a couple good resources that I've found useful for these topics.

-Blogging In Pink by Michelle Mitchel.  Read this one first!  It has lots of good information and tips on blogging in general, and it's easy to read.  She also explains things really well for those who are just starting out.

-Mom Blogging For Dummies by Wendy Piersall.  This book covers a lot of legalities that I wasn't even aware of, and it's important for bloggers to know what their legal obligations are.  And if you want to get into sponsorships/reviews/giveaways you need to read this book - it's not just for mom bloggers, and it also gives tips on how to keep Google happy if you are concerned with that.  And you probably should be concerned with that if you want to do sponsorship/reviews/giveaways.

Now don't freak out and think you need to know all of this before you write another post - it took me a while to learn all this, and I'm pretty sure there's a bunch more that I have yet to learn.  Just be aware that there are a lot of aspects to blogging that you need to be aware of, depending on what your goals are, and don't just put anything out there without keeping this kind of stuff in the back of your mind.

I'm going to break this post down into two parts, so check back tomorrow to read the rest of my blogging tips!


I had this post all ready to go for today, but I didn't want to let today pass without saying something about what happened last Friday.  Remembering to say a prayer for those families who lost someone in Connecticut.  I can't even imagine what those families are going through.  I'm just praying for God to give them comfort in the coming weeks.  Also, I really enjoyed Jenni's post pointing out a few of the heroes in the midst of this horrible tragedy, and I thought she offered a good perspective, so check that out too.


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Paula @ Beauty Through Imperfection said...

congrats on your 1,000th post! these are great tips! pinning them :)

Venessa said...

Congrats on this post!!!! Great tips too!!

Melanie said...

Happy 1,000th post!! Thats an awesome milestone to achieve!!

Michelle said...

Thanks for the tips!!

Jenni Lynn said...

Callie, there is so much I appreciate about this post. I couldn't agree more about the blogs that just continually post link-ups & give-a-ways..... not so good, the blog loses its personal touch and then loses its reader. I have encountered this, I start following a blog, and then I just never read it again bc it's "linky this linky that" non-stop! I so appreciate your balance of personal, good photos, and an occasional give-a-away or link up. You are just well rounded, more of what I like to read and follow. And you don't force people to follow you, you just allow your blog to grow simply because people like it. I also loved many of your tips and insights on this post. There were a few things I did not know or have yet to do. And, I am also glad you liked my post about Connecticut. I still can't stop thinking about those families, especially now that I have seen the precious faces of those who passed away.....

Julie S. said...

Great post! :) I LOVED these tips!

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