Tips For Beginner Bloggers Part 1 – The Basics

Last month, I published my post on How To Start a Blog – Tips for a Beginner. Don’t get the titles confused, they are extremely similar because I lack any creativity. My other post was mainly about how to get going with your blog, and what companies to use to use to actually create your blog (domain, hosting, WordPress, etc.). But what about after you already create your blog and want to get going? What tips should beginner bloggers know about?

I haven’t been blogging for a very long time, and this August will be two years. I’m not sure if that’s a long or short time in blog-land, but I’ll take it. I have definitely made a ton of mistakes (maybe I should make a post about all of the blog mistakes that I made) and I have learned a lot.

Lately I have been receiving many e-mails asking for blog tips. I’m going to guess that a lot of it is because many think that they will get rich blogging, but I’ll save that for a whale post in the future. I will definitely say that I am not an expert, and that I still don’t understand everything.

Luckily, I blog for me and I’m fine with making mistakes. Today, I will attempt to share with you my tips, and hopefully no one laughs since obviously I’m not the most professional blogger. Just trying to keep it real and be honest with everyone!

This will be a multiple series post, so look out for a Part 2 sometime in the near future. Today’s post will mainly be about the basic of having a blog, and some mistakes that might bother me. In Part 2, look forward to reading about how to choose the direction of your blog and more of a post about any wisdom that I have gained in the past 1.5 years, such as with the potential conflict of making money with your blog.

Some are against it, and some are for it. All depends on your direction and will be further explained in the future.

 

Be Yourself

When starting your blog, be yourself! Don’t try to pretend you’re someone else. I love reading real blogs where I can tell who the writer is just by reading what they have written. No one wants to read bland, boring posts, inject all of your personality in them! Have fun with it and determine why you really want to blog.

 

Have an About page

Something that I am currently working on is improving my About page. I personally mainly enjoy reading blogs that have a fun or interesting personal view. Corporate blogs and blah blah blah don’t really interest me as much (nothing wrong with them, everyone enjoys different things). I like to read about the author and see where he or she is coming from. Having an About page lets me learn more about you, all in one easy page. You can include a picture, a bio about yourself, and possibly links to other posts that will describe you and your life even further.

 

Reply to Comments

Something that I always put major effort towards is always making sure to reply to comments. Sometimes the comments are just a “thanks,” but I honestly enjoy knowing that an author has actually read the comment that I have left. I LOVE when I leave a comment on a blog that contains a question, and the writer will answer it. I almost always go back to blogs that I comment on to see what was written back. Interacting with readers is always important.

 

Get Rid of the Captcha

Captcha, oh captcha. I go nuts when I try leaving a comment and I see this. For some reason I can never get it on the first try. I’m fine with the “tests” right before you leave a comment that ask for what “1+1″ is, but when it says to decipher what “32097 dfg fdgjh3 4” and it’s super blurry and all of the letters seem to go in different directions? Sometimes I feel like I’m trying forever and have given up on leaving a comment before.

 

Make it Easy to Subscribe

I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to a website and they have made it literally impossible for me to subscribe. Either none of the links work, or there are no links altogether. No links for e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Subscribing, etc? AHHHH. Please make it easier for readers to subscribe! We want to be able to find you more easily in the future.

 

Make Friends

One of the best things that I love about blogging is the awesome community that it brings. I have made many friends through my blog, and a lot of you I talk to nearly every single day. I really cannot say enough about making blogger friends. Reach out by commenting on blogs, interacting on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter and so on. Of course be yourself, and don’t force a relationship to happen! That’s just awkward :P

 

Link Your Twitter to Your Posts

A lot of the time I like to tweet posts that I really enjoy. I’ve been to a couple of blogs where when you click on the tweet button, the person’s twitter handle does not automatically show up. Fix this! Make it easier for people to show you recognition. This is something that I didn’t do for a long time, until a couple of other bloggers told me that I was making life too difficult for them (joking of course).

 

Have Fun!

Yes, different people start a blog for different reasons. But if you do decide to start one, have fun with it! I feel that the best blogs out there are by writers who are having fun with it. I enjoy having a blog, and it has turned into a great hobby, but also a side hustle machine.

What blogging tips do you have for beginners? What do you wish you knew?

 

Comments

  1. The Norwegian Girl says

    I´ve only been blogging for a couple of months,but I think I´ve done pretty good on all of these. Hurray!
    I especially agree on reply to comments. it`s how you start to communicate with others! I always reply to the comments I get, and I think people like it.
    My recent post No More Gym Expenses

  2. Iain says

    I completely agree with you about the captcha I hate them. There have been many times when I have just left when I saw one.

    A quick tip: a headline that is eye catching will make a world of good.

    For example, what cats can teach you about love.

    Maybe not the best example but you get the idea.
    Iain recently posted..The zen of organic container gardeningMy Profile

  3. Sara says

    My tip would be not to get caught up in the numbers. Yes you want people to follow your blog but building a readership can take time. Sure you can do giveaways and sponsor other blogs to get your name out there, but that doesn't guarantee you interactive readers. I would go back to the point you made about responding to blog comments. Treat your current readers well. Respond to them, get to know them and in time you will grow.
    My recent post Rewind – My 2012 Easter Pinterest Pins

    • MakingSenseofCents says

      Yes something new is good! I don't find reading the same PF posts about saving money (with no personality or personal experiences injected in) to be interesting. I like to read about how an author succeeded (or failed) and what they do!

  4. FrugalRules says

    Great tips Michelle! I for one would like to read a mistakes post to see what you have learned from them as I think they can be invaluable teaching tools. Anyway, Oh how I hate Captcha! I understand the point of it, but come on…it's like a completely different language that you have to get down and if you get it wrong it'll sometimes erase your comment. That said, a lot of your tips lead back to getting out there and networking and getting to know people…all of which are very important!
    My recent post Festival of Frugality #381: It’s Spring Edition!

  5. Shovellicious says

    What I really don't like (I mean REALLY) is not being able to read a full post in RSS. People are so concentrated on statistics sometimes that the last thing they pay attention are readers who make these statistics look great. Then I feel like my comments/voice/visit is not important, only the simple "click".
    My recent post To read or not to read?

  6. leslie beslie says

    My advice for beginner's is to 1) Have something to say 2) Have a personality (and don't be afraid to show it) 3) Find your niche.

    My first blog ran from 2000-2005; I shared with my boyfriend at the time. It was very much a personal blog about random stuff and nothing in particular but our niche was two personalities providing opinions on the same thing. Blogging was a much smaller community then and not taken seriously. I used Blogger (when it was it's own entity) but LiveJournal was still "the thing" to use. Social Media didn't exist (not even MySpace). We had a decent amount of readers considering and I made two really good friends out of it. Even when our posts were mere ramblings, we both kept our individual personalities which (hopefully) made for more interesting reads.
    My recent post Vegetable Delivery Update

  7. @girlmeetsdebt says

    Great basic tips Michelle! I couldn't agree more with Have Fun with it. Blogging takes up so much of my free time that it wouldn't be worth it if it wasn't fun!

  8. Mr. Bonner says

    This post couldn't be more timely for me. I just got started a couple weeks ago and will be putting some of these into practice tonight. Thanks for the great info and I can't wait for Part 2!
    My recent post Bonner family income taxes

  9. Nick @ AYoungPro.com says

    Thank you Michelle for the great tips. As a new blogger I find them extremely helpful. I know there are several things on this list that I can do to improve my blog. Improving my About page has definitely been on my list of things to do! Keep 'em coming! :)

  10. Karyn S says

    Know what you want to blog about, too. If it’s various topics, then it’s more of a Twitter thing in my opinion.

  11. Justin says

    I've spent quite a bit of time learning these the hard way. It's important to make your site as accessible as possible. Being yourself and connecting with others is extremely important. If you're not yourself then you become lost in a sea of faceless sites, I fear I fall into this category at times. My best posts seem to be the ones that fit with my personality. Also connecting with others means that you have a network to rely on when you need their help.
    Thanks for the post. I love learning from more experienced bloggers.
    My recent post Mortgage Loan: How much house can I afford?

  12. Brittany says

    Thanks for the tips! I just started my blog about a week ago – need to find a bit more time to work on some of these things..but I definitely be bookmarking this page for next week when I am finally done uni!
    My recent post Happiness

  13. AverageJoe says

    Great tips. I also don't like the corporate blah blah blah blogs. I think people hear that our site is from two money pros and think we're one of those….that's why every post we try to reaffirm our humanity.

    I find that new bloggers worry too much about stats, too. Jump in and join the community! Stats will follow…..
    My recent post How Colors Affect Your Investment Decisions

  14. My Money Design says

    What a good topic for a series! As a beginner, I'd say the best thing to do is get into a rhythm. DON'T spend every waking minute writing, commenting, replying, etc. You'll burn out. Just put an hour or so away each day and stick to that. Remember that this is all supposed to be fun!

  15. brickbybrickinvesting2012 says

    If I could punch "Captcha" in the face I would do it twice! Great tips, I wish I had stumbled upon a post like this early on in my blogging career, it would have made things MUCH easier.
    My recent post How To Use Trailing Stops

  16. @TheHeavyPurse says

    Great tips, Michelle. It makes me feel a lot better knowing other dislike Catpcha too. I find them so hard to read and thought it was just me. I've actually left blogs because I was unable to comment. They made it so difficult. I understand the annoyance of SPAM, but yikes! I was guilty of not having my twitter account linked to my social buttons. :) Commenting is huge to me. I haven't been blogging for very long, so I very clearly remember the days of no one commenting and no visitors and how I bummed I was. Now that I'm starting to get regular visitors and comments, I want to make sure they know that I'm not only reading their comments, but I truly appreciate them taking the time to share their thoughts with me.
    My recent post 3 Money Myths Parents Need to Stop Believing

  17. live,love, and debt free says

    I really like this blog post you have. I started blogging about my personal finance and progress after I read loads of books of finance and saving. I happened to search personal finance one day and found one blog and through them all these other amazing blogs from different people writing
    about their own personal debt issues and how people were commenting. I decided to create my own blog and document my highs and lows of it all. I love the comments and support via twitter each time I post.

  18. Family Fandango says

    I completely agree with your comment about “being yourself” on your blog. A few times I’ve caught myself censoring my words. Then I think, my friends won’t know it’s me talking if I try to sound “formal” or different! I say do it for the fun, and if the money follows that’s great — just don’t make it your primary reason for blogging.

  19. Jaclyn says

    Hey Michelle, I’m so confused about the advertising. I was having trouble figuring out how to use Google AdSense, so I started looking in the help section and here’s what I found – “AdSense, Yahoo, Chitika, TextLinkAds, and other third-party advertising is not allowed here at WordPress.com. If you would like to run ads on your blog, this support doc explains a few options that may work for you.” Do you know if that’s because I’m not self-hosted yet?
    Jaclyn recently posted..State of the UnionMy Profile

  20. Mel @ Trailing After God says

    I’ve been doing this since 2011, maybe earlier when yahoo had geocities :) I do okay, I get a decent amount of likes from Facebook but I’m not getting the comments. I ask questions at the end. I’ve probably read every “how to” on blogging etc that I can. I think my site is simple, it’s not cluttered. I would like to earn income on my site but that’s been hit and miss. I’d love to make good money, as we are likely moving to Haiti as missionaries and we’re going to have a lot of money to raise. It would be AWESOME if I could bring in a decent income for the orphanage we are going to. Maybe I’m a terrible writer. I just don’t know. Hard not to get down. Money isn’t the reason I started a blog but it would be a nice bonus.

  21. Mel @ Trailing After God says

    My big long comment disappeared :( So I apologize if you see some of this twice. I’ve been at this for years now, back when yahoo had geocities. I got serious about blogging the end of 2010. Yet, bringing any income in has been hit and miss. I’ve tried to keep the blog clean and uncluttered. I’ve probably read every “how to” on blogging out there. I do okay getting Facebook likes but the comments just don’t come. I ask questions at the end but not always comments. I would really like to bring in an income. While I didn’t start my site with that intent, it would be a nice bonus. Especially since we are looking at moving to Haiti as missionaries. If I could bring in funds to help us get there AND support the orphanage we will be going to, that would be AWESOME! But what am I doing wrong? Maybe I’m a bad writer… I just don’t know.
    Mel @ Trailing After God recently posted..Wear GratitudeMy Profile

  22. Steve says

    Thanks for the tips Michelle! Been a regular lurker around here since I started my blog months ago and I’ve been trying to get better at commenting rather than lurking :-)

  23. Reece Pater says

    Hi Michelle,

    I really enjoy reading your blog. Great information and I especially enjoy your transparency with your extra income :) How did you initially build up your readers when you started your blog? I have recently started one myself that I am committing to building for the next 3 years. I would very much appreciate some critical feedback from yourself regarding content and how the blog flows. http://the-simple-life.org/
    Keep it up :)

  24. debt debs says

    I also don’t like it when people’s twitter handles don’t show up when you tweet from their page. I think a lot of people are not aware of this because they never tweet pages. I wrote a post about this in May to try to help people know how to configure this in wordpress.com or self hosted wordpress.
    debt debs recently posted..Debt Update and MVP Blog AwardMy Profile

  25. Rebecca Goyette says

    My mother and I love the idea of having our own blog, but I am confused as how to start one. What are good things to blog about? What exactly do I need to do every month to make it successful? I guess I just don’t know what all there is involved in it. Could you please email me with some useful tips on getting started?

    My mom is a sweepstakes fanatic and thinks it would be awesome to have a blog that contained just product reviews and giveaways. What would your opinion of a blog like that be? Do you think it would be a good hit?

    My email is rahkonen23@gmail.com I would appreciate your advice or anyone elses. I love reading your articles, but I’m still a little lost! But keep posting, because it really is helping those of us that need a sort of “dumby guide to blogging”!

    • Michelle S. says

      Hey Rebecca!

      Thank you for your comment. I actually have an article that will be published tomorrow that will go through each step in actually creating your blog, so I recommend that you check it out. I made it very easy with a step by step process.

      In regards to what to write about, that is all up to you. There are tons of different niches out there: personal finance, investing, mommy blogs, lifestyle, travel, DIY, home, food, and more. I think a sweepstakes blog would be great!

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