A lot of my subscribers are fairly new bloggers (which, I suspect, is why they subscribe here – they don’t know any better).
Thank you, new subscribers, for subscribing, however misguided you may be.
Formalities over and naming no names, I have noticed some common errors on my visits to your new blogs, and I thought I would give you some tips that I wish had been given to me early on in my own blogging career:
- Use no more than ten tags, including the category. Any more than that and search engines think you are spam and put you to the bottom of the list. Good tags encourage more hits. Failing that, they garner amusing searches which you can shamelessly turn into their own posts. Or is that just me?
- Break up paragraphs. It is difficult to read one huge block of text; people don’t have time to persevere or just can’t be bothered, and you might get hits because of your perfect tagging, but no possibility of a relationship with your visitors. Short paragraphs/bullet points/photographs/bold/italics all make your post more attractive and easier to read. Your mantra should be: Illustration Illustration Illustration. It is easy to upload your own photographs but if you don’t have any that are suitable, use Zemanta, to the right of your new post. Type in a key word for a royalty-free illustration.
- Interact with your readers. Respond quickly to comments and always return visits, leaving a friendly comment when you do. To begin with, it is worth having the Like and Comment Notifications sent to your email inbox; as you get busier you can turn it off again. As your blog grows and becomes more time-consuming, your regulars will know that you are busy like them, but you won’t ignore them.
- Use 140 character titles. Search engines like them. Get key words into the title. If you can’t make it relevant, make it interesting or amusing, to catch readers’ attention.
- Write right. Bad punctuation, spelling and grammar can be off-putting. If it’s not a skill of yours, sign up to blogs that offer tips; turn on the spell checker (but bee warned: it is not infallible); and read read read! Reading is the best way to improve your skills, find interesting topics to blog about, and to cultivate good blogging relationships.
- Link to other blogs. Links not only publicise those blogs you like (the only reason I do it, I swear), they encourage search engines to find you (a fortunate side-effect, that’s all).
- Learn to count. Readers get seriously annoyed if you promise them seven tips and only give six.
There are lots of other great tips, but these are the ones I think most important to new bloggers.
Here is a good link, which is in no way a shameful flatter of my WordPress masters in an attempt to get myself Freshly Pressed: sign up to The Daily Post; they send out all kinds of useful information.
Happy blogging! Remember who set you on the right path when you are a superblogger, and throw a link my way (no slighting the hand that reads you).