I’ve been blogging for quite a while now and as I grew out of my 13-year-old self when I first started blogging, my blog grew too and so did my understanding on this whole blogging thing. I’ve made heaps of blogging mistakes in the past and with my 8 years of blogging experience, I kinda have a good idea on what you should and should not do in blogging now that I have established my tone. Of course you are free to navigate your blog however you want to but these are my opinions and what worked for me.
Publish what you write
I don’t know how many times I ‘X’ out of a blog because the post is basically a copy of articles from famous websites. If I’m a long-time reader of your blog, I would be accustomed to your writing style and I know when something on your blog is copied from somewhere else based on the writing. I’m not a big fan of infotainment lifestyle blogs especially the ones with unoriginal contents and a lot of ads ’cause they’re just fishing for pageviews and ads revenue.
My advice is to write your own content and if you find yourself having to google a certain topic just so you can make a blog post about it, you’re better off not writing about it because the chance is you’re not knowledgeable in that topic.
For example; writing about long-distance relationship when you’re not and never have been in one.
Write what you read
This has got to be the most important tip I make sure to always follow before writing a blog post. I write what I love reading on other blogs and I always question myself before I decide on a blog post. “Would I read this if it were written by someone else on their blog?” “Is this post good enough to make someone want to leave a comment?”
I want my blog to be as fun and entertaining as possible so I avoid from publishing boring posts aka posts I do not read. Every person has different preference so making sure that what you write is what you love reading is the best way to make your blog as original and as ‘you’ as possible.
Quality over quantity
I’m a firm believer of publishing one or maybe two posts in a day is enough. Seeing 5 different posts from the same blog on my feed is overwhelming and I end up never reading them nor leaving a comment because it’s just too much and if a person manage to publish 5 different posts in a day, then we might as well conclude that each of them is not curated to the highest quality and to me that’s just meh.
I like quality posts. I love reading posts that are given much thoughts and effort into it that not leaving a comment is a loss for me and not the blogger.
Always reply to comments
Unless you’re receiving at least 100 comments on each of your posts, there’s honestly no reason why you couldn’t reply to people who leave a comment on your post. Let’s think about it — there’s millions of blogs out there yet they stumbled upon your blog, read one of your posts, and left a comment when they could be reading blogs that are better than yours. If Victoria from In The Frow can reply to my comments, so why can’t you?
I’ve also seen blogs with thousands of followers who get the average of 5 comments per post because they don’t or rarely ever reply to comments. What’s the point of having all that followers if your engagement is not at par with the number of your followers, though? I for one am not interested to leave more comments on blogs who don’t reply to my comments and I’m sure some bloggers are disheartened by this, too.
12 px Raleway font with 1px letter spacing and 1.6 line height is probably my favourite font style ever but I have to admit that small font is a turn off. A paragraph longer than 5 lines is also a turn off as we have short attention span and a heck of a long paragraph with small font is a sight sore for the eyes.
I would suggest using 14px or higher font size, 3 to 4 lines per paragraphs, and headings are godsend! Incorporate headings in your blog posts for a more organised and easier read.
Design is important
The amount of time I talked about blog design on my blog is unbelievable. Some bloggers may think that having awesome design is not that important and that’s okay too but I’m a lover of all things beautiful especially blog designs so I pay more attention to what your blog looks like before I decide to read your posts. It’s just an easier way to attract people to read your blog and I do remember blogs whose design caught my eyes.
You don’t have to spend money on blog templates as there are tons free ones out there but those have gotten a bit boring. If you don’t mind to spend some money on blog design, I can help you buy templates if you don’t have a Paypal account (with a fee of RM 5).
Do not feel pressurised to publish
Here’s the thing — it’s okay to not have anything up for a couple of weeks. It’s okay to take a break from blogging as I know it can get too overwhelming that you start to feel like blogging is a job — a chore that you have to do everyday so your readers won’t forget you. I took some time off in December (despite having a few filler posts up) and although I felt bad for my blog, it was a much needed break for myself and now I feel more inspired to start blogging again.
Just remember: if blogging is not your source of income, then why the hell should you stress about it?
Call to action (CTA) is literally calling (call) your readers to interact (to action). It’s usually a question asked by the blogger to the readers, for example, I’m writing about my favourite lipsticks and at the end of the post I leave a question like “So what’s your favourite lipsticks?” to start an interaction with my readers so they would leave a comment. I’ve only started doing it about 4, 5 months ago and my comment interaction has increased tremendously.
Tips: use heading for CTA. I’m currently using h4 as it’s not that large nor small.
Be aware of copyright materials
Do you know that you can get sued for using photos that are not yours? I know a local blogger who uses a famous blogger’s photos without crediting them although it is clearly stated in that famous blogger blog disclaimer that you have to ask for permission first and credit them to use their pictures on your blog.
Newsflash, friends: stating “source: Google images” is not a valid credit. Google is a search engine. Google doesn’t own the photos. The website who hosts the photos is the one who owns the photos so you should credit the website, NOT GOOGLE. Same goes to crediting Tumblr and Pinterest. No, Tumblr and Pinterest and Google images are not a source.
If you found the photo on Tumblr, which Tumblr blog uploaded it? Pinterest? Click on the photo and what’s the website linking to it? That’s the source you should credit to.
The pretty photos in my blog are courtesy of stock photos I receive every month via email and as long as I don’t make money from the photos, then I should be good.
One more thing that you should be aware is do not simply remove credits from your blog template no matter free or paid (some paid ones are okay depending on terms & conditions). Some of y’all love removing credit and putting your name on the template coding “Design by: your name” when the only thing you did were changing font and adding codes that you found on some other websites. Just, don’t. If you didn’t design it from scratch, that template is not designed by you.
Have fun, don’t be a copycat, and know that blogging is not a competition
What’s the point of blogging if you don’t enjoy doing it? The blogging market is super saturated these days but blogging is not a competition to see who get to work with brands or do sponsored posts or go to press trips 20 times a year. If the main reason why you start a blog is to earn an income then you should stop dreaming and go out and get a real job ’cause blogging doesn’t work that way.