I don't think it is a secret that I am a new blogger. (And by new, I mean that this blog has only been around for a few months, which means I have been blogging for all of 2 seconds in the blogosphere.) It's aways inspiring to read some of the more established blogs that have been around for awhile (and by established, I mean that they've been blogging for a few years, and know exactly what their blog is, or what they want it to be. That kind of thing shows! ) Love Taza - the Rockstar Diaries, Radical Possibility, and Story of My Life are a few blogs that come to mind when I think of "established blogs"that I enjoy reading, and I am learning from them every day.
I hope to still be around a few years from now, and hopefully I will have settled in and made this blog what it is supposed to be. However, starting a new blog can be daunting, and I wanted to share a few things that I've been learning thus far! (Again, I'm not saying I'm an expert, but these are things I now know to be true, even with my limited experience.)
1. NETWORKING. Oh my goodness, networking. Prior to this blog, I thought that blogging was about putting some great thoughts out into the web, people would come across them, be dazzled and intrigued by your thoughts, they would tell their friends, and BOOM you'd have a blog. Um, naive much?
There are probably millions of blogs our there, half of which are trying to do the same thing as you, so if you don't get off of your butt and make an effort to reach out to other bloggers and individuals, the only people who will come across your blog will be bots or VampireStat.com. (Don't go to this link or google it - just trust me, it's bad.
2. YOU HAVE TO READ OTHER BLOGS. Duh! Not only can you be inspired by what others write, but to blog well you have to be aware of what is going on in the blogosphere. What is that blog doing for promotion? Who is doing what kinds of linkups? Wait, that blog also knows that other blog that I also read - what a great opportunity to connect! Etc etc.
3. FOLLOWERS DO NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT. At least they haven't for me, although I have heard that for some blogs that this does seem to happen. I'm not sure what they are doing differently than the rest of us, but for the majority of blogs, I don't think you should expect this, and that's okay.
4. BLOG FOR YOURSELF, NOT FOR YOUR FOLLOWERS. Your blog shouldn't be about how many followers you have. Your blog should be about YOU and what you want to put out there; how you want to express yourself. While you want your blog to get found, at the end of the day, blog for yourself. Anyone who does end up following along will be able to connect with you on a much deeper level, which is the whole point, isn't it?
5. DON'T GO CRAZY WITH SOCIAL MEDIA. I might be standing alone here. I've read a lot of "beginning blogging tips" on other blogs, and most of them say things like "if you aren't on Facebook or Twitter, you are losing followers!" So obviously, one of the first things I did was sign up for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
However, after only a couple of weeks, I felt like these multiple social outlets were just vehicles for wasting my time. I'd get confused - what would I post on Twitter but not on Facebook - is it okay to post the same thing on both? If I share a photo on Instagram, should it also go on Facebook? What exactly was I trying to do with these accounts? I had no idea, so I ended up taking these off my blog.
Now, I am only actively using Pinterest, Google+, and Bloglovin', none of which confuse me at all. I know that a lot of blogs (most, probably) have mastered exactly how to use multiple platforms of social media to connect with people, but I'm just not one of them yet.
Eventually, once I've built up Google +, maybe I'll get back on Twitter or Facebook - but for now, it was just too much. (Quick note - I really love Google +. I know it's the newer of the social media platforms, but the way it allows you to connect with communities and new people is really awesome. Plus, I blog via Blogger, which is built into Google and Google +, so… bonus!) :)
Thankfully, one of the bloggers I had recently connected with (shout out for Sofie from Little Green Sofie - thanks again, Sofie!) sent me a message that comments was one of the best ways to connect with other bloggers, and recommended I turn them back on.
Obviously, I did, and have met several new people since then that I never would have otherwise. I'm not sure why this blogging tips post recommended that new bloggers turn off the comments on their blogs for awhile, but for me, this turned out to be bad advice.
So far, I think these have been the real "Ah-Ha" moments of my 3 month blogging journey. Are there any other new bloggers who have anything to add? After all, we all want the same thing, right? To share parts of ourselves and connect with others doing the same thing? Best of luck to all the new bloggers out there - hang in there, I hear that it really does get easier! :)
NOTE: All of the images used in this post - aside from the Word Cloud, which I made via Wordle.net - have been taken from royalty free websites such as Morguefile.com. Thanks!