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 trafficThere 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.
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.
2. Get out there and promote your blog straight away
3. Don't use the Google "insert image" button when compiling a postInstead 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 commentingThis applies to Blogger blogs only - the link on your name doesn't go straight to your blog so you need to leave it in the comment. You'll need to get to grips with basic HTML code:
...make it dead easy for others to go straight to your blog rather than round the houses via your profile.
5. Sort out a bold, eye-catching avatarMake 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+ commentsIt 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 postsThe 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 commentsGoogle 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.
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.
9. Don't be afraid to nurture relationships with other bloggers
10. Blogging will take up an inordinate amount of your timeFrom 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!