Tuesday, 31 July 2012

10 Things I Wish I'd Been Told When I Started a Blog

2012-07-31 TEN THINGS I WISH

After one year of blogging I've realised that it's very different to what I thought it would be when I started. These are the things I would tell myself if I could go back in time to the date of my first post... though there may be some you guys agree with and some you don't, which is totally fine! It's simply a list of tips I personally would have found useful - if you find some of them useful too then that's a bonus!

(Remember this is me writing to me... I either found out the hard way about this stuff, had to ask for help or tried to look it up. In a way I want to repay the favour to those who helped me :)


1. Link up parties bring you traffic.
There are loads of them out there, but good ones to start with are What I Wore Wednesday, Visible Monday and Monday Mingle. Return the favour and visit others who have linked up and leave a link to the host.

2. Get out there and promote your blog straight away.
You don't need to post outfits on your blog for weeks before doing this. People will visit AND comment if they like your one and only post so don't be afraid to tell everyone where to find you.

3. Don't use the Google "insert image" button when compiling a post.
Instead embed the images from your Picasa album or similar - they'll be crisper and easier to resize to all the same width.

4. Leave an actual link to your blog when commenting.
Get to grips with basic HTML code:
<a href="YourBlog'sURLhere">TheTextYouWantToAppearHere</a>
...make it dead easy for others to go straight to your blog rather than via your profile.

5. Sort out a bold, eye-catching avatar.
Make it recognisable and colourful, then get it registered on gravatar.com - it will follow you from site to site appearing beside your name when you comment or post on (most) blogs. Use the same avatar on everything from Facebook to Twitter so everyone will recognise you instantly. Using a clear shot of your face will make you recognisable: a real person rather than a virtual entity.

6. Comment on the top blogs even though they get 100+ comments.
It IS worthwhile because it actually brings you traffic if you leave a thoughtful, well observed comment (and you've got yourself that bold avatar so you stand out).

7. Add LinkWithin thumbnails to the bottom of your posts.
The more outfits and posts you can promote, the better - others will get more of an idea of your style and whether yours is a blog they want to return to (which it is, tell yourself).

8. Turn off the word verification thing for comments.
Google will make them almost impossible to read (etjtlbTrav 54? Is that right??). You will get zero spam even when it's turned off so it's totally ineffective, just a barrier to easy commenting.

9. Don't be afraid to nurture relationships with other bloggers.
Remember they are real people, so use their name in your comments, leave yours when signing off - it makes it so much more personal. They'll be more likely to remember you next time you comment, because you'll remember the ones that do likewise on your blog.

10. Finally... blogging will take up an inordinate amount of your time.
From outfit choosing, accessorizing and photographing, to editing, posting and commenting, your whole daily routine will change beyond recognition. But you will realise that the internet isn't completely full of trolls and cowardly people hiding behind a computer - there are some truly wonderful, real people out there who you'll form great bonds with. These are the special ones you'll refer to individually as "one of my girls"... and you'll wonder what you did before blogging ;)


As I said these are not things I'm telling everyone to do. It's just what worked for me and what I wished I'd known up front... the stuff that your blog host doesn't tell you. If you've got any more tips (I'll bet there's tons more) then feel free to share them below - I love learning new things!

53 comments:

  1. Great advice Catherine. I have had to remind myself that having fun with my blog is the most important and forming relationship is just as important. Dawn suitcase vignettes. Xo

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    1. You're absolutely right, Dawn - it is the best bit...! C xo

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  2. these are great tips - not like the other "how-to's" of blogging. Blogging seriously is an all day every day routine. It doesn't start at 9 a.m. and it doesn't end at 5 p.m. but that's what I love about it!

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    1. I thought I'd write something about blogs that's less to do with money-making, Madalynne... glad you liked them! x

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  3. Great post..great ideas..would have never thought of them on my own :)
    These ARE so helpful and make a HUGE difference when incorporated!
    Sheree
    www.itsnotthatdeep.com

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    1. I am SO glad, Sheree... thanks for the inspo to write the post!!! C x

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  4. Great post, I especially like number 10, so true! I am working on the Chanel post for tomorrow and you look so gorgeous, I can't wait to publish and share with everyone! XO, Jill

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  5. These are great tips; not just for someone starting a blog, but for those of us still learning. My blog is covered in virtual cobwebs. If I ever decide to dust it off, I'll definitely follow your advice.

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    1. That's great, Mary! And I still have many things I need to change STILL, so maybe another similar post will be written in time with more tips! xo

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  7. Aww, thanks for the mention, Catherine! And for the excellent tips - you have done a wonderful job of summing up very helpful techniques. xoxoxoxoxo

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    1. Visible Monday is a great link up, Patti - also very reliable and regular!! Thanks for the comments sweetie xoxo

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  8. These are straight up, great points. I'm still learning 6+ months in...

    Thanks!

    Molly
    More Charming in Person

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    1. I'm still learning, too, Molly!! Glad you liked them, hun xo

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  9. This is really very helpful - and there are a few tricks I'm off to test immediately! Thank you so much for sharing this, Catherine!

    Kaffesoester

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    1. You're so welcome, Kaffesoester!! I'm so glad... let me know how you get on!! x

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  10. I REALLY appreciate this post! Having just started out as a blogger, I'm always looking for new tips and suggestions! I never EVER had trouble picking out outfits before (okay, maybe it took a LITTLE longer than the average gal....), but now that I have a blog I feel like it's a whole ordeal! Takes up so much time. You're definitely right about that.
    Anyway, thanks so much! I'll definitely remember those things.
    xo
    Olivia
    http://www.wanderlust-and-such.blogspot.com

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    1. The clothes are the easy bit, aren't they, Olivia??!! You're very welcome for the tips - as I said there's so many things that would have helped me a year ago. You're MUCH further ahead than me when my blog was the same age as yours! xo

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  11. Thanks for #7! I've been trying to do that for months. And I definitely agree with you on #9/10 - so many times I'll be telling Josh a story about someone, and he'll ask "Who's she? I've never met her" and I'll say "Oh, she's one of my blog friends. I've never met her either."

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    1. Haha that's so true, Stacey... except my husband is getting to know "my girls" as well now. He knows exactly who "Stacey from Gray Skies" is!! (I think that's lovely!) xoxo

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  12. Wow Catherine....that was a very well-written & well-anniversary post! It's really so thoughtful of you to share these tips/insights to help out fledgling bloggers out there like me! :-)

    Rebecca
    www.redtagchiclosangeles.com

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  13. Brilliant post Catherine! Some really helpful tips here. There's also a lot things I wish I knew befor hand but I guess that the learning process and it is crazy how much time blogging takes, I means it almost 24/7 but the benefits far out way :)

    Take care, Daniella xox

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  14. Agree with everything. I wish I had known about link ups earlier! I love them and finding new blogs through them. I also like the ones that give challenges, like EBEW and Marionberry's Trend of the Month because it makes you plan around something.

    And I wish people would turn off those word verifications once and for all. I never once got spam when I was still using the google comments. It's just an extra step :(

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  15. I am a new blogger, and this post is so helpful. Thanks for all the great tips. ;)

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  16. Thanks for sharing your tips. I appreciate it. There were some things there that I hadn't thought of.

    I recently discovered your blog and I'm enjoying your style and sense of humor.

    Robyn @ Robyn's Nest

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    1. I added the html code for my blog as you suggested above; however, on its own, it inserted your blog post's url before it so there is no valid link to my blog here. Hmm...

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    2. Hey Robyn - I'm going to insert the HTML as per the email I've sent you to create a link to your blog - here goes:

      Visit me @ Robyn's Nest

      Catherine x

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  17. ONE THING FOR SURE BLOGGING IS MESSING UP MY EYE-SIGHT!! GREAT POST CATHERINE, THANKS FOR SHARING!

    KISSES FROM :
    A SMALL BLOG WITH A BIG HEART
    MRS JACK OF ALL TRADES DAILY where Fashion and Food collide!
    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.com/

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    1. Haha Oh yeah I'd agree with you about the eyesight, Mrs C...! x

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  18. This post really helped me! I'm brand new to blogging and just stumbled along your blog, glad I did! Absolutely LOVE you're about me page too, totally different to anything I've seen it's very creative & original!
    Rachel :) x
    http://rachhskii.blogspot.co.uk/

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  19. Hi Catherine,

    This is fantastic advice, thank you for sharing. I've been meaning to sort out a gravatar for a while, but I can't seem to link it to my .com address as I transferred from a .wordpress account, ahh...technical glitch, I'll keep trying.

    I'm really enjoying your blog, fantastic photography and great content.

    Katie x

    Visit me at Style Quandary

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    1. That's great, Katie! Thank you so much... hope you get the avatar thing sorted soon (can't help with Wordpress stuff I'm afraid)! x

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  20. This is such brilliant advice, Catherine! Recently I integrated LinkWithin and am really wanting to start participating in more link parties, so I'm so glad that you suggested a few good ones to start out with. The thing I find that works best for growing comments and readership is commenting on other blogs. I've recently connected with the Seattle Blogger Meetup and there's plenty of great local blogs to connect with there.

    The only other thing I'd add to this list is the benefit of having your own blog domain rather than one with a .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com. Especially when you have a business attached to your blog like I do, any new content added to the blog helps with the site SEO.

    Sarah
    Cable Car Couture

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  21. It is! Really great advice. I'm going to join the party and try no. 4

    Rachel

    PS Wow! It worked! I've just done my first bit of code!!

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  22. Thank you Catherine for this great post and the advice! As a relatively new blogger, I've found it extremely useful and relevant! I appreciate you sharing your experience! And BTW I found your blog from a link-up (this is just my second time!) and I have enjoyed it because I'm finding other great blogs like yours!

    Jenny
    http://www.jensoutfitjournal.com/

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  23. #8 - YES!!! #4 - no, no, NO! (I find it annoying and unnecessary. basically, it's overkill.)

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    1. I'm surprised you find leaving a link to your own blog overkill, D...?!! Personally, I find people NOT leaving a link to their blog equally as frustrating as having to fill in the word verification thing. I WANT to visit the blog of the person leaving a comment!! If I have to go round the houses trying to find them I often give up. And if it does go straight to the name of their blog with a link, some people have more than one - then which do I pick?? I just can't see how allowing people an easy way to look at your blog is overkill...?

      Don't forget I am a Blogger user, and I wrote this post to myself. Blogger doesn't automatically allow you to leave a website link the same way Wordpress and others do. Just sayin'.

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  24. I remembered another one (and I find this one essential): don't compare yourself to other bloggers. nurture your individuality instead of doing it the same way that everybody else is.

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  25. I loved this post and set my IT Department (AKA Husband) to work on several of these items straightaway when I read it. Thanks for the oh so practical advice!! ~Sarah

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  26. So honest!
    Bthw, really like your blog and will follow you!
    I'll be delightful if you follow me too. (If you like my blog)
    Truly inspireing to b a fashion blogger if you're not a teenager or 20smthng gal!

    I'll be honoured if we follow eachother

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  27. Yes. Yes. and YES!! Especially to #10! My daily routine has changed DRASTICALLY since blogging. That's all I want to do these days! My eyes are gonna hate me when I get older!

    http://thriftyandshameless.blogspot.com

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  28. Hi, not sure how I found your site I think it was through a link posted on the Modest Clothing blog" so I have been viewing your post. I have been a blogger for less than a year and still I am excited! Really appreciate the info posted here in this post and really wish there is someone out there that can teach me about how to use all the features to make my blog better. I will take all your notes and do some studying of my own to see if I can figure it out. I am a mature blogger and some of this is a little foreign to me but thanks again for this WISDOM.

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  29. I LOVE this advice! I feel like whenever I ask veteran bloggers their advice, I always get the same thing...be yourself, blah blah. Not that their advice isn't great and much appreciated, I just want more literal advice like what you have posted here. Thanks so much!

    Stephanie
    Here goes to trying out your #4
    ...xoxo Stephanie

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  30. Found this from Pinterest. I just started my first "real blog," so your post was a great way to get information on how blogs are perceived. I really loved your tip to not to wait for more posts before promoting a blog. I always thought the wrong way, but now I'm making the effort to get the word out for my 4-post blog! Thank you.

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  31. Good advice for people starting out, like myself! Some I've heard before, and some are brand new! Just installed the 'link within' gadget, so thanks :)
    This Analog Adventure

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