5 Tips To a Better Blog

It’s been over a year since I wrote my first post on observations in the blogosphere entitled, “It’s a Blog Eat Blog World.” Since then, I’ve had a lot of valuable learning moments from figuring out how to grow my blog as well as from reading others. I am by no means ProBlogger, and still worship the page that Kasey Buick types on, but I’d like to offer my input from my trials and tribulations.

Top 5 Tips to a Better Blog:

  1. Kill the Diary: We know it all too well, the “too much information,” rambling, FaceBook-gone-blog posts. These posts consist mainly of word vomit that lack creativity and quite frankly, unless you’re a celebrity, interest. Lives can be creatively captured in blogs (see Kasey Buick’s page), but when your posts sound like you’re thinking out loud and transcribing your day…save us all. Please.
  2. Stop Preaching to the Same Choir:Β You tweet, share on FB, tweet, retweet, share on FB, and then retweet again but change the words…all on the same post…in the same day. Your followers will click if they want, and get annoyed if they don’t. Personally, I start unfollowing these individuals no matter how interesting they are as they turn into the telemarketer that won’t stop. Try networking your blog on different online groups. Spread the love and you won’t have to keep beating the same horse.
  3. Consistency is Critical: You post every day for three weeks and then disappear for three months. It starts feeling like a really bad relationship in which your followers can’t keep up with the yo-yoing. I will admit, I have done this a few times and for that I apologize. I also paid the price by losing half the followers I had every time and then having to rebuild interest all over again. If you cannot put out quality posts consistently, then lessen your posts weekly, but continue writing overall instead of disappearing.
  4. YoUr PAGE has *ToO MUCH going ON!!!? Backgrounds, colors, columns that take up every inch of space, scrolling pictures, flashing advertisements, links, widgets, music and anything else that sends the reader running or into a seizure. Sometimes, simplicity is better. Your blog is mainly carried on quality content anyways, so don’t scare readers away before they can read (or find) what it is your writing about.
  5. Listen and Learn From Your Audience: Your followers are your audience, and without them, you’re keeping an online journal. Listen to what they have to say, or don’t say, and learn from that. Watch statistics on what posts get the most views and comments, and watch for other patterns as well. Ask for feedback and appreciate their input. I try to respond to every.single.comment. If a reader took the time to comment, take the time to return the favor and respond. Above all, remain open-minded to critique. This doesn’t mean that you have to follow every single comment, but be willing to self-assess and adapt if you start hearing repeat suggestions. If you have the means to, give back when you can. When I hit important blog milestones, I like to celebrate by rewarding those who got me there, my followers (marketing plug for gift card giveaway when we hit 200 subscribers!).

My time in the blogosphere has been short, but I’ve remained observant and adaptable. Due to that, I’ve been able to grow in a rapid time and hit milestones in a few months that I set for a year. As previously mentioned, I’m not ProBlogger or Kasey Buick, I am just simply Stephanie, but I like to think that maybe one day someone could be writing about me too.

Happy Blogging,

Stephanie

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61 thoughts on “5 Tips To a Better Blog

  1. 1cruzdelsur says:

    Hello, you have a very interesting blog, this post is very good. It will be my pleasure to follow your steps, as well congratulate you for your smile in the gravatar.
    AdiΓ³s
    Cruz de Sur

    • Simply Stephanie says:

      I like your blog quite a bit. The widgets go on for a while though. The only suggestion I have is maybe reduce the # of what shows for each widget? (instead of several twitter posts maybe show the most recent?) Overall though, very nicely done!

  2. Chellet says:

    Hi, Stephanie. This post is what I need. I always procrastinate and think if I should blog or not. I set up two blogs of different themes and see how it goes over the next couple of weeks. Thank you for also stopping by and checking out my blog. Have a good day!

  3. homehearthandgarden says:

    Hi Stephanie
    Thank you for the tips. As I mentioned before, being a new blogger, I find these very helpful. Especially the one about being consistent. I am having a little difficulty with that, but will try to keep to at least a blog a week to start. I forgot to ask you how you found my blog. You were the first blogger to respond, so I am interest in finding out this information. Have a good day.

  4. chwdg10 says:

    I really like the idea of posting tips based off of what you have experienced. I’m always trying to figure out how to improve my blog without going over the top. It is nice to hear from other people in similar places.

  5. katemeadows says:

    Thanks for sharing this. And thanks for the “like” on my Memorial Day blog post. It sure takes time to figure out the blogosphere, doesn’t it? I am still an amateur student. I appreciate your honesty and clarity here. Happy blogging!

  6. RCLewis3 says:

    You wrote of hitting milestones quickly that you had set for a year. Could you share one? How was that milestone then reached? Great post for a newbie like me.

    • Simply Stephanie says:

      Hi Mr. Lewis! So to give you an idea of where I was at “stat” wise as of April this year…less than 100 views a day, 20 some subscribers, and a few thousand total page views in a little over a year since I started blogging (Jan 2011). I decided that I needed to keep up with it, put out decent posts, and actually try to network more instead of hoping that people magically ended up on my page. By the end of the year, I was hoping to get 100 subscribers, 10,000 total views since started, and a max day view of 300. Today, my subscriber count is 230, my total page views is at 14,500 and my most popular day was 450 some views. I started making sure I put out at least 4 posts a week, make them about fun and/or thought provoking subjects, and blog stalk…which means I went out anywhere I could find bloggers and started finding ones I liked, and then saying hello and starting a networking bond. I hope this helps! πŸ™‚

      • RCLewis3 says:

        Great Stephanie! Thanks for the tip. You have hit the nail on the head. I’ve often thought that actually stumbling upon a ‘blog’ would be like finding a needle in a haystack. But, if you get out and spend some time perusing like-minded bloggers and “blog stalk” them, they will reciprocate. Good tip – thanks.

  7. shimmeshine says:

    First of all a thank you for this post πŸ™‚
    This sure is a guideline for newbies like me, who spend in a lot of time blogging, and wait for someone to respond !!

    Thanks for leaving a like on my post.

  8. dogprints13 says:

    Awesome! Thank you so much for calling past and liking my post ‘Social Networking’, your ‘like’ has brought me here and this post is just what I needed, I have been thinking some of the tips you brought up here but not all. I have only just gotten started and with your advise here I will hopefully not make some of the basic mistakes. Thanks again.

  9. alundeberg says:

    This is really informative– thank you for posting! I’m a newbie to blogging and have been trying to follow this kind of advice from people like you and WP. In point #2 you mention using other online resources. What are those resources beyond FB and Twitter? Also, when I ask for advice from my readers, I get a bunch of “likes” instead of actual help. How can I get better responses? Also, how does a writer know if she has entered the diary phase? Sorry for dumping a bunch of questions on you!

    • Simply Stephanie says:

      Hi dear! Welcome to the blogosphere. I’m glad to be able to help out. I remembered when I started and I felt just like you! FB and Twitter are your big ones, so use them, but use them wisely! There are lots of other sites like WordPress, like Blogger/blogspot.com (another big one), that you may want to try interacting (networking) with other bloggers on. RSS feeds, Bloglovin, Google reader, etc. are more sites to try. Try not to spread yourself too thin, but think of each one like a different country and you want to meet the people in each. When you ask questions, instead of asking general questions, try asking more “yes” or “no” or “this or that” questions. People like feeling like they are giving their opinion- when it’s easy to give. When the question is open ended (i.e. What do you think I should do to my blog?) most people will skip right over it. If you make it an option though about what they think (i.e. “Would you rather see this on my blog or like this?), then you’re more likely to gain interest. Also, try posing some questions in some posts that isn’t about you but about them, to keep them interested. If you entered the diary phase, it sounds like this, “Today I ate breakfast, then I went to work. Work is boring. Then I did this, then I…” Think of “are my readers going to find this interesting or entertaining?” Maybe you had something funny happen that day, or watched a good movie or tried a great food- highlight that. I hope this helps! I feel like I just may have typed too much, lol! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. That’s how we learn. πŸ™‚

      • alundeberg says:

        Thank you for taking the time to reply to all of my questions! It’s all helpful. I have been asking open ended questions, but have not entered the diary phase. I’ve been very careful to make sure that there is a point or some resolution to the things I post. One more question, and I feel lame for asking this, but what is a good question to ask about my readers? Would it be something like what their favorite book is? I’m an English teacher, so sometimes my questions can get quite involved. Again, I appreciate your time and support. You have a new follower. : )

        • Simply Stephanie says:

          Hi dear! You’re most welcome. I’m glad to be able to help (assuming what I said helps, lol). Questions that you should ask your readers should be something related to your blog theme (if you have one) or the certain post. So if your post is about cats, and then at the end you ask your readers if they prefer chocolate or vanilla ice cream- it will make no sense. If you’re trying to just get a general idea of likes/dislikes form your readers, I would go to their blogs, read about them, and actually comment on their blogs. πŸ™‚ That way, they will respond and then maybe even pay a little more attention to you, now that you waved hello. Once you get the audience coming back, they will start answering more of the questions you ask outright in your posts. πŸ™‚ Hope this helps!

  10. Julie Goldberg says:

    Great stuff! I cringed a little bit at #2 because it’s hard to know with Twitter. If you tweet a link to your blog at 9am, the people who check Twitter around 9am will see it, and those who don’t get on until later won’t, unless they only follow a few people and therefore read every tweet. It seems to be a choice between alienating people who never miss a tweet, and missing those who dip into it throughout the day. In any case, I hardly ever get any clicks from Twitter. Today, so far, my blog has 260+ clicks with exactly one from Twitter.

    • Simply Stephanie says:

      Hi Julie! I think that one morning and one evening tweet is more than ok. I was talking about the 5 tweets a day…and then retweeting other tweets in between the new tweets…etc. It can be a bit much!

  11. Brainy Pint Sizer says:

    Thanks for the visit! And this is interesting, this post, your post. These five I’ll definitely keep in mind. Thankfully, I think I haven’t made gross errors perhaps because I actually thought about this carefully for a few year on and off before doing it. Hasn’t been easy, but in February I decided to stick with it, and now months later, here I am — 6 months old. Great post!

  12. pacwp says:

    I am so glad you came to visit my little corner of the Blogosphere! I am so curious: How did you find my blog? Would love to know what you think og my blog, always open to suggestions.

    • Simply Stephanie says:

      Hi! I found you on the WordPress reader under “blogging” as the topic. πŸ™‚ I enjoyed your content on your blog a lot! My suggestion would be to maybe try 2 columns, or 3 but sans bird border. There is a lot to look at, which takes away from your post, which is strong!

      • pacwp says:

        πŸ™‚ Thank you for the kind words about the strength of my blog and I am always looking for what looks best for my blog, it must be the bloganista = fashionista of the blogosphere, trying on as many themes as are in my “blog closet!”

  13. Cafe says:

    Great suggestions, Stephanie! I whole-heartedly agree πŸ™‚
    I’m taking on #5 right now as I am polling my readers for how to improve my blog layout — just changed the entire theme! πŸ™‚

  14. Scott Marshall says:

    Well I think you have raised a lot of interesting points – particularly the marketing thing – I have diversified my marketing ploy and seen a noticeable upturn in traffic as well as new faces. Thanks for this Stephanie an excellent uncomplicated read.

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